From 'Gladiator' to 'Joker': 9 Best Joaquin Phoenix Films

October 28, 2019

2019 is the year of the Phoenix.

In this year’s controversial “Joker,” Joaquin Phoenix landed his biggest leading-man role yet.

But it’s taken years of dark daring roles to build up to his unnerving manic-laughing performance in the Todd Phillips-directed origin story of everyone’s favorite Batman villain.

Glowing with a pop culture mythos marked by tragedy -- the untimely death of brother River Phoenix in 1993 -- and controversy -- a perplexing Warholian appearance on “Letterman” in 2009 -- Joaquin Phoenix is an intriguing figure that’s hard to pin down.

But he’s not all antics. One of the hardest things to pin down is the throughline of the wide-ranging, enigmatic roles he’s taken on over the years.

To trace the evolution of the “Joker” star’s latest role, and celebrate his birthday, which is Oct. 28, 1974, these are the best films of Joaquin Phoenix’s career.