Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan Gosling

Top 10 Films checks out the work of Hollywood “nice guy” Ryan Gosling, the multi-talented actor who broke the hearts of almost the entire planet in 2004 with The Notebook but has proven he’s more than just a romantic heartthrob.

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan Gosling

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling began his acting career in kids TV before becoming an international star following the release of tearjerker The Notebook.

Ryan Gosling is one of Hollywood’s real “nice guys”. Get Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock with a few other kind-hearted Tinseltown folk and you have the Movie World’s philanthropic version of The Avengers; Gosling the well-toned Captain America alongside a chiselled Leo DiCaprio in Iron Man’s suit and Keanu crunching the numbers as the Hulk.

He’s also a great actor. Becoming a heartthrob to admirers all over the world following romantic tearjerker The Notebook in 2004, Gosling has made women (and probably a few men) go weak at the knees at the sight of his disarming blue eyes and fuzzy-chinned five o’clock shadow. But even his most loved-up fans will agree he’s more than a good-looking specimen of the male persuasion. This Canadian’s got talent. Bags of it.

Yes, his charm is enough to extricate you from your underwear but there’s a subtlety about his approach that gives him a sense of mystery. It plays well in a romantic role (take for example Crazy, Stupid, Love) just as its works perfectly in the bleak intimacy of Ryan Fleck’s Half Nelson or the quiet ambivalence of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. He can be funny (The Nice Guys), he can be dry (The Big Short), he can be smart without pretension (The Ides of March), he can be toughened and serious (The Place Beyond The Pines), and he can be quirky with a dose of geek chic (Lars and the Real Girl). Few can match his talent and likability.

Here’s my top 10 films of Ryan Gosling…

10. Crazy, Stupid, Love (Ficarra/Requa, 2011)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingA bittersweet comedy elevated by Gosling’s inherent charm and sparkling sexual chemistry with co-star Emma Stone.

9. The Notebook (Cassavetes, 2004)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingThe film that made Gosling a huge star continues to make lists of the greatest romance movies and tearjerkers ever made. It’s easy to see why.

8. The Ides Of March (Clooney, 2011)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingGosling, as a junior campaign manager for George Clooney’s Democratic presidential candidate, shows he can match strong will with disarming charm in this political drama.

7. Blue Valentine (Cianfrance, 2010)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingGosling’s innate ability to display emotional fragility with an air of outward cool is the perfect basis for his character in Derek Cianfrance’s sobering romance.

6. Lars And The Real Girl (Gillespie, 2007)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingGosling desexualises in this quirky tale of a social misfit who strikes up a platonic relationship with a sex doll named Bianca.

5. The Place Beyond The Pines (Cianfrance, 2012)

The Place Beyond The Pines, Ryan Gosling - Top 10 FilmsDirector Derek Cianfrance, who helmed Blue Valentine with Gosling, draws the best out of the actor again. Here he plays a trouble nomadic circus performer who learns he has a baby son and sets his sights on developing a relationship with him. Struggling to offer financial support, he begins to use his motorbike skills to pull off bank heists, with devastating consequences.
Discover More: Lofty Ambition Is Admirable But Distracting in “The Place Beyond The Pines”

4. The Nice Guys (Black, 2016)

Most Anticipated Movies of 2016 - Top 10 FilmsGosling does funny. And he does it as well as anything else he’s tried his hand at. Thanks to the direction of writer-director Shane Black, and the seismic chemistry he forms with Russell Crowe, The Nice Guys is one of RG’s most satisfyingly entertaining movies.

3. The Big Short (McKay, 2015)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingGosling’s star needed no boosting but Academy Award-winning comedy-drama The Big Short gave him both critical and commercial success in 2015. With Adam McKay’s film he achieved two things. Firstly, to fulfil the integrity he’s shown carefully choosing the films to be involved in. Secondly is that indefinable bonus: mass appeal and thus great box office return.

2. Half Nelson (Fleck, 2006)

Top 10 Films Of Hollywood “Nice Guy” Ryan GoslingThe film that made audiences sit up and take note of Ryan Gosling. Ryan Fleck’s powerful drama sees a drug-addicted middle school teacher strike up an unlikely friendship with his smart but fatherless female pupil. It is a moving portrait of life stripped of its safety nets and American Dreams. Here our protagonists are forced to survive in a contemporary society where personal troubles are as tough to overcome as the answers are to find.

1. Drive (Refn, 2011)

Ryan Gosling, Drive, Top 10 Films,The character Gosling inhabits in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is far-removed from the actor’s brash cockiness in Crazy, Stupid, Love or the quirky geek chic of Lars and the Pretty Girl. It’s the clearest example yet that this Canadian not only has bags of talent but the ability to portray all kinds of characters – romantic love interests to soft-centred sad sacks, grubby cocaine addicts to clean-cut self-help gurus, hero to, as he is in Drive, anti-hero.
Discover More: “Drive” Is One Hell Of A Ride

Written and Compiled by Dan Stephens

Dan Stephens
About the Author
Dan Stephens is the founder and editor of Top 10 Films. He's usually pondering his next list, often inspired by his adoration for 1980s Hollywood, a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Callum Reply

    Top guy. Top actor. My favourite film of his is Lars and the Real Girl.

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      Dan Reply

      Yeah, Lars has a great quirky feel to it and Gosling is excellent.

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    Rach Reply

    He’s wonderful! I’m not one to watch The Notebook every year like some people I know as Ryan has done so many good things in film and in life. My favourite is Blue Valentine but The Place Beyond the Pines and Drive are close behind.

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    Holly Reply

    He’s such a great man. I love all his movies but Crazy, Stupid, Love is probably my favorite. The Places Beyond The Pines always makes me cry (in a good way). He’s great in his early stuff as well like Remember The Titans (so cute) and Fracture and All Good Things show off his acting talent too.

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    Rory Reply

    Great top 10 because this guy is underrated.

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      Rory Reply

      I, like many, thought THE NOTEBOOK – pah! – here’s another pretty boy with air between with well-formed ears and piercing blue eyes. But no. He’s brilliant in Half Nelson and The Place Beyond The Pines. Drive is his best work.

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    Angel Herera Reply

    he’s also really good in All Good Things and The United States of Leland

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      Dan Reply

      I don’t think he’s turned in a bad performance yet.

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    CineGirl Reply

    Probably his best is yet to come but he was great in Half Nelson.

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      Dan Reply

      Many years ahead of him. It’ll be interesting to see what projects he takes on in future.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    He’s terrific in everything…great list Dan. My favourite is Crazy Stupid Love. But I can’t knock anything you have here. Well done.I have to admit I really enjoyed him in Murder By Numbers as well.

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      Dan Reply

      Yeah, I have to admit back when he first hit the scene (my first sight of him was, I thought for a long time, The Notebook even tough it was actually his small part in Remember The Titans) I wasn’t sure whether he was just another romantic lead. But he’s proven not only a talent for different types of dramatic roles but a willingness to tackle independent projects and characters who aren’t created for a quick buck.

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    Jess Reply

    more pics of his abs please!

    • Avatar
      Dan Reply

      You’ll have to run a Google search I’m afraid. 😉

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    Rebecca Keys Reply

    He’s an exceptional actor. He has such grace on the screen. It’s not just the way he looks. It’s the way he brings characters to life, makes you believe in their various emotional flaws on the road to whatever dramatic direction he feels like taking us on.

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      Dan Reply

      Do you have a favourite film, Rebecca?

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        Rebecca Keys Reply

        They’re all my favourites. But if you pressed me I’d say Crazy, Stupid, Love followed by Drive.

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          Dan Reply

          He’s great in both films. Crazy, Stupid, Love benefits from a terrific ensemble and great chemistry between the various characters. Emma Stone and Gosling sizzle on-screen too. Drive is just sheer brilliance.

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    Dan Grant Reply

    I think he has something that not every Actor does and that is presence. The Rock has presence, Eddie Murphy has it and when Sean Penn decides to act once every few years, he has it too. Gosling, like Penn, can do comedy and he can do straight drama. Place Beyond the Pines was a terrific film anchored by his intensity in his role.

    Great list Dan. I must step my game up for my next one…..I’ll have to find a good actor to do a top ten for.

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      Dan Reply

      You make me “up” my game! Gosling isn’t an actor I initially rated very highly. The Notebook, of course, has its devoted fans but it wasn’t until I saw Drive that I really noticed him. Place Beyond The Pines confirmed his talent in my eyes and I’ve since gone back to watch the likes of Half Nelson and The Ides of March etc. He’s not quite the chameleon like Jake Gyllenhaal (the best male Hollywood actor of their generation) but it’ll be interesting to see what roles he takes in future because he’s obviously not eager to pursue easy romantic leads.

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    Martin G Reply

    He’s underrated. Great actor.

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    Crazy Stupid Love, Lars and his new girlfriend, Drive, Notebook, Ides of March! Blue Valentine! then that movie with Anthony Hopkins! That was superb too. Have yet to see his two new movies.

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