Mark Wahlberg Filmography

A former rapper with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, Massachusetts native Wahlberg made a quick transition to acting. The actor has starred in everything from serious dramas to action blockbusters.

Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix are dynamite together in James Gray’s moody, eighties-set crime epic. The actor continued to branch out in the 2010s, starring in Seth MacFarlane’s comedy Ted and the sports drama biopic The Fighter.

The Basketball Diaries (1995)

Despite his notoriety as a rapper and Calvin Klein underwear model, Dorchester native Mark Wahlberg began to get noticed by serious moviegoers with this drama. He also landed the role of volatile friend Mickey to Leonardo DiCaprio in this coming-of-age story.

Dirk Diggler — a high school dropout who becomes famous for his well-endowed genitals in the porn industry portrayed by Wahlberg in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights — is one of the most important films of his career, establishing him as an actor of substance.

In this remake of the 1969 British caper film, Wahlberg plays a professional safecracker who teams with a gang of thieves to steal 35 million dollars worth of gold bullion from a Manhattan bank.

Boogie Nights (1997)

With Penny Marshall’s help, Wahlberg dropped his Marky Mark moniker and made a big screen debut in Renaissance Man (1994). Although critics were not yet ready to embrace his acting ability, they were impressed with his sincerity.

A wickedly enjoyable movie, Boogie Nights takes on the porn industry and the sickening fallout from fame with a sardonic wit. Wahlberg is superb as Eddie, a naive burnout who believes fame in smut will vindicate him to the parents who wrote him off. Moore and Reynolds are terrific. Anderson is a real storyteller, able to mix his characters with equal parts nuance and exploitation. He is also a master of comedy.

Three Kings (1999)

After dropping the Marky Mark moniker and proving his acting chops in Penny Marshall’s Renaissance Man, Wahlberg was given a role in this heist drama. Director David Russell manages to inject a hefty dose of black humor into what at first glance appears to be a conventional action film.

George Clooney is a formidable presence as the charismatic lead, and Wahlberg makes his own mark as a shrewd and calculating soldier. A scene in which he downs an attacking helicopter by hurling a Nerf football stuffed with C4 proves particularly memorable. This is a wide-awake, slickly entertaining movie. But it also has some serious ideas under its sedimentary layers of action-film mayhem.

The Perfect Storm (1999)

After Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch suffered a sophomore slump with You Gotta Believe, Wahlberg dropped the rapper moniker to pursue acting. Critics snickered, but he blew them away in Renaissance Man (1994).

He stayed on the right track with his next outings, including Three Kings (1998) and Fear (1996). But it was hard to shake the impression that Wahlberg was trying too hard to be funny in Rock Star (2001).

He made up for it with a gripping account of the real-life disaster of The Perfect Storm in 1999, then got a boost from his performances in a string of big-budget action films. He branched out into comedy with The Other Guys (2010) and Ted (2012), and became the face of two major franchises with The Departed (2006) and Transformers movies.

The Yards (2001)

After dropping his Marky Mark moniker and gaining some acting experience, Wahlberg found his niche with Penny Marshall’s Renaissance Man (1994). Critics and audiences alike agreed that he had the chops to carry off a serious actor role.

In The Yards, Leo Handler (Mark Wahlberg) is a criminal who’s been released from jail determined to walk the straight and narrow. He takes a job with his uncle Frank (James Caan), the owner of a train repair company.

While this remake of the 1969 British caper movie may not be as sharp as some of its ilk, it’s a solid entry into the genre. Joaquin Phoenix and Emile Hirsch co-star.

Rock Star (2001)

Rock Star stars Mark Wahlberg as Chris Cole, a fanatic for the fictional heavy metal band Steel Dragon. The movie’s premise is loosely inspired by real-life Judas Priest frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens, who replaced Rob Halford in the tribute band Blood Pollution and later joined the actual band when they took him on as a touring singer.

Featuring plenty of big hair, blaring metal music, and gaudy outfits, this loud and energetic flick delivers all the requisite elements of ’80s nostalgia. It’s also a cautionary tale about the dangers of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. The cast, particularly Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston, is solid.

Planet of the Apes (2001)

After saving a chimp test subject in space, astronaut Leo Davidson crash-lands on a planet ruled by intelligent apes who see humans as slaves. He meets human-sympathising ape aristocrat Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), while autocratic ape General Thade (Tim Roth) wages war on the human resistance. Genius make-up artist Rick Baker creates stunning ape effects.

Wahlberg, who dropped out of Ocean’s 11 to do this film, delivers a solid performance as the heroic Leo, though his face is mostly obscured in the ape makeup. He’s ably supported by the likes of dignified David Warner as a senator and rumbling Michael Clarke Duncan as a military leader. But this movie never quite figures out what it wants to say about its human characters.

The Departed (2006)

The Dorchester native has proven himself a versatile leading man, capable of bringing off dramas such as Three Kings and The Perfect Storm while delivering popcorn hits like Planet of the Apes and Contraband. He’s also starred in a handful of HBO series, including the period crime drama Boardwalk Empire and the comedy Entourage.

Wahlberg continues to broaden his filmography, embracing a variety of genres from action movies to comedies and even an occasional comedy indies such as I Heart Huckabees (2004). He’s even popped up in a few films based on true events, such as Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon. He next stars in Peter Berg’s Patriots Day, a film that centers on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

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