Robert John Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor, producer, and singer. At the age of five, he made his acting debut in in his father Robert Downey Sr.‘s film Pound (1970). He would appear in more of his films including an uncredited appearance in Up the Academy (1980), with Ron Leibman, Ralph Macchio, Tom Poston, King Coleman, and Barbara Bach; Rented Lips (1988), with Martin Mull, Dick Shawn, Jennifer Tilly, Kenneth Mars, Edy Williams, June Lockhart, and Tony Coz; Too Much Sun (1991), with Eric Idle, Andrea Martin, Allan Arbus, Macchio and Howard Duff; and Hugo Pool (1997), with Alyssa Milano, Patrick Dempsey, Richard Lewis, Malcolm McDowell, Cathy Moriarty, and Sean Penn.
Throughout the 80s, he appeared in such films as John Hughes‘ Weird Science (1985), with Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, and Bill Paxton; Back to School (1986), with Rodney Dangerfield, Keith Gordon, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young, Terry Farrell, William Zabka, Ned Beatty, Sam Kinison, and Paxton Whitehead; James Toback’s The Pick-up Artist (1987), with Molly Ringwald, Dennis Hopper, Danny Aiello, Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, and James Spader; Johnny Be Good (1988), with Hall, Paul Gleason, Steve James, Tilly, and Uma Thurman; 1969 (1988), with Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce Dern, Mariette Hartley, Winona Ryder, and Joanna Cassidy; and Chances Are (1989), with Cybill Shepherd, Ryan O’Neal and Mary Stuart Masterson.
Roles in the 90s include Soapdish (1991), with Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Moriarty, Whoopi Goldberg, and Elisabeth Shue; Hearts and Souls (1993), with Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Sizemore, Alfre Woodard, Shue, and David Paymer; Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993), with Andie MacDowell, Bruce Davison, Julianne Moore, Matthew Modine, Anne Archer, Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Penn, Lili Taylor, Madeleine Stowe, Tim Robbins, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, and Jack Lemmon; Oliver Stone‘s Natural Born Killers (1994), with Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Sizemore, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rodney Dangerfield; and Only You (1994), with Marisa Tomei, Bonnie Hunt, and Fisher Stevens.
Roles mid to late 90s include Richard III (1995), with Ian McKellen, Annette Bening, Jim Broadbent, Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, and John Wood; Home for the Holidays (1995), with Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg, Cynthia Stevenson, Claire Danes, Austin Pendleton, and David Strathairn; Altman’s The Gingerbread Man (1998), with Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Tom Berenger, Daryl Hannah, Famke Janssen, and Robert Duvall; Neil Jordan‘s In Dreams (1999), with Bening and Stephen Rea; and Frank Oz‘s Bowfinger (1999), with Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham, Christine Baranski, and Terence Stamp.
For his portrayal of screen legend Charlie Chaplin in the biopic Chaplin (1992), he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and won a BAFTA Award. He starred in the TV special Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (1995), with Leslie Nielsen and Stockard Channing. Following a stint at the Corcoran Substance Abuse Treatment Facility on drug charges, he joined the TV series Ally McBeal, for which he won a Golden Globe Award; however in the wake of two drug charges, one in late 2000 and one in early 2001, he was fired and his character terminated. He stayed in a court-ordered drug treatment program shortly after and has maintained his sobriety since 2003.
Initially, bond completion companies would not insure Downey, until Mel Gibson paid the insurance bond for the 2003 film The Singing Detective. He subsequently went on to star in Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), with Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, and Corbin Bernsen; David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007), with Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo; Tropic Thunder (2008), with Ben Stiller (who also directed), Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Brandon T. Jackson, Danny McBride, Nick Nolte, Bill Hader, Steve Coogan, and Tom Cruise; for the latter he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Other roles in the 2000’s include Richard Linklater‘s A Scanner Darkly (2006), with Keanu Reeves, Harrelson, Ryder, and Rory Cochrane; Fur (2006), with Nicole Kidman and Ty Burrell; Charlie Bartlett (2008), with Anton Yelchin, Kat Dennings, and Hope Davis; The Soloist (2009), with Jamie Foxx and Catherine Keener; and Due Date (2010), with Zach Galifianakis, The Judge (2014), with Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Billy Bob Thornton.
Downey gained global recognition for starring as Tony Stark/Iron Man in ten films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Iron Man (2008), with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, and Terrence Howard, He has also played the title character in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (2009), which earned him his second Golden Globe, and its sequel (2011), co-starring Jude Law as Watson.
His career has been characterized by critical and popular success in his youth, followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, before a resurgence of commercial success in middle age. In 2008, Downey was named by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world, and from 2013 to 2015, he was listed by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest-paid actor. His films have grossed over $14.4 billion worldwide, making him the second highest-grossing box-office star of all time.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Pound (1970) – directed by Robert Downey Sr.
- Greaser’s Palace (1972) – directed by Robert Downey Sr. – uncredited
- Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight (1975) – directed by Robert Downey Sr. – uncredited – aka Moment to Moment
- Up the Academy (1980) – directed by Robert Downey Sr.
- Baby It’s You (1983) – directed by John Sayles
- Firstborn (1984) – directed by Michael Apted
- Tuff Turf (1985) – directed by Fritz Kiersch
- Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985) – directed by Alan Metter – uncredited
- Weird Science (1985) – directed by John Hughes
- Deadwait (1985) – directed by Sam Hurwitz – short
- Back to School (1986) – directed by Alan Metter
- The Pick-up Artist (1987) – directed by James Toback
- Less Than Zero (1987) – directed by
- Marek Kanievska
- Johnny Be Good (1988) – directed by Bud S. Smith
- Rented Lips (1988) – directed by Robert Downey Sr.
- 1969 (1988) – directed by Ernest Thompson
- That’s Adequate (1988) – directed by Harry Hurwitz
- True Believer (1989) – directed by Joseph Ruben
- Chances Are (1989) – directed by Emile Ardolino
- Air America (1990) – directed by Roger Spottiswoode
- Too Much Sun (1991) – directed by Robert Downey Sr.
- Soapdish (1991) – directed by Michael Hoffman
- Chaplin (1992) – directed by Richard Attenborough
- Heart and Souls (1993) – directed by Ron Underwood
- The Last Party (1993) – directed by Mark Benjamin
- Marc Levin – himself, co-writer – documentary
- Short Cuts (1993) – directed by Robert Altman
- Hail Caesar (1994) – directed by Anthony Michael Hall
- Natural Born Killers (1994) – directed by Oliver Stone
- Only You (1994) – directed by Norman Jewison
- Richard III (1995) – directed by Richard Loncraine
- Home for the Holidays (1995) – directed by Jodie Foster
- Restoration (1995) – directed by Michael Hoffman
- One Night Stand (1997) – directed by Mike Figgis
- Two Girls and a Guy (1997) – directed by James Toback
- Hugo Pool (1997) – directed by Robert Downey Sr.
- The Gingerbread Man (1998) – directed by Robert Altman
- U.S. Marshals (1998) – directed by Stuart Baird
- In Dreams (1999) – directed by Neil Jordan
- Friends & Lovers (1999) – directed by George Haas
- Bowfinger (1999) – directed by Frank Oz
- Black and White (1999) – directed by James Toback
- Wonder Boys (2000) – directed by Curtis Hanson
- Auto Motives (2000) – directed by Lorraine Bracco – short
- Lethargy (2002) – directed by David Gelb & Joshua Safdie – short
- The Singing Detective (2003) – directed by Keith Gordon
- Whatever We Do (2003) – directed by Kevin Connolly – short
- Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) – directed by Richard Schickel – himself – documentary
- Gothika (2003) – directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
- Eros (2004) – directed by Wong Kar-wai, Steven Soderbergh, & Michelangelo Antonio – anthology
- The Route V50 (2004) – directed by Stephen Frears
- Game 6 (2005) – directed by Michael Hoffman
- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) – directed by Shane Black
- The Outsider (2005) – directed by Nicholas Jarecki – himself – documentary
- Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – directed by George Clooney
- Hubert Selby Jr.: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow (2005) – Michael W. Dean & Kenneth Shiffrin – narrator – documentary
- A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006) – directed by Dito Montiel
- The Shaggy Dog (2006) – directed by Brian Robbins
- A Scanner Darkly (2006) – directed by Richard Linklater
- Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) – directed by Steven Shainberg
- Zodiac (2007) – directed by David Fincher
- Lucky You (2007) – directed by Curtis Hanson – cameo
- Charlie Bartlett (2008) – directed by Jon Poll
- Iron Man (2008)* – directed by Jon Favreau
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)* – directed by Louis Leterrier – uncredited cameo
- Tropic Thunder (2008) – directed by Ben Stiller
- The Soloist (2009) – directed by Joe Wright
- Sherlock Holmes (2009)* – directed by Guy Ritchie
- Iron Man 2 (2010)* – directed by Jon Favreau
- Love & Distrust (2010) – directed by Lorraine Bracco, Daisy Gili, Eric Kmetz, Warner Loughlin, Diana Valentine, & Darcy Yuille – anthology – direct-to-video
- Due Date (2010)* – directed by Todd Phillips
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)* – directed by Guy Ritchie
- Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant (2011) – directed by Leythum – archive footage – short
- The Avengers (2012)* – directed by Joss Whedon
- Iron Man 3 (2013)* – directed by Shane Black
- Chef (2014)* – directed by Jon Favreau
- The Judge (2014) – directed by David Dobkin – also executive producer
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)* – directed by Joss Whedon
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)* – directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)* – directed by John Watts
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)* – directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)* – directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
- Dolittle (2020) – directed by Stephen Gaghan – also executive producer
- Black Widow (2020) – directed by Cate Shortland
- All-Star Weekend (TBA) – directed by Jamie Foxx