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Top 10 Keanu Reeves Roles

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born September 2, 1964 in Beirut, Lebanon, Keanu Reeves spent much of his childhood moving around the world. After spending most of his adolescence in Canada, he relocated to the United States as a late teen to pursue an acting career. He’s since become one of the most successful actors in Hollywood. For this list, we’re focusing more on how iconic a particular performance is, and less on the overall quality of the movie. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 Keanu Reeves roles. Special thanks to our users barllt, Zedfinite, Jacob Pollock, Anthony Newton, Jonathan Orr and Grant Dillard for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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He’s the One. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Keanu Reeves roles.

For this list, we’re focusing more on how iconic a particular performance is, and less on the overall quality of the movie.

#10: Bob Arctor
“A Scanner Darkly” (2006)

Praised for its rotoscoped animation and its fidelity to the Philip K. Dick novel, “A Scanner Darkly” sees Reeves playing an undercover detective charged with finding the source of the Substance D drug. Thanks to his striking portrayal of the scramble-suit wearing narc who finds his life and mind slowly unraveling, this dark and twisted thriller found cult success. Meanwhile, Keanu’s deadpan delivery and co-star chemistry completed the package.

#9: Shane Falco
“The Replacements” (2000)

We can’t help but hold a soft spot for this sports comedy that had us rooting for the underdogs. And leading this ragtag team of Washington Sentinel scabs is “All American” Shane Falco. To play the quarterback with “miles-and-miles-of-heart,” Reeves gained over 20 pounds. While he may’ve been the straight man to the film’s more outrageous characters, he still knew exactly how to show us that “pain heals, chicks dig stars, [and] glory lasts forever.”

#8: Kevin Lomax
“The Devil’s Advocate” (1997)

Mixing legal drama with the supernatural, this mystery thriller pits an undefeated defense attorney against a devilish law firm boss. Not only does Reeves hold his own against Al Pacino; he also brings some much needed control and poise to his co-star’s over-the-top (but still great) performance. And it’s Keanu’s reserved portrayal of Kevin Lomax that makes his descent into amorality all the more effective.

#7: Scott Favor
“My Own Private Idaho” (1991)

Though he also played “Much Ado About Nothing”’s villainous Don John, it’s Reeves’ turn in the loose Shakespeare adaptation “My Own Private Idaho” that lands here. The Gus Van Sant flick stars Reeves as a street hustler that’s also the object of River Phoenix’s affections. While the real-life friends’ onscreen chemistry is undeniable, Keanu also surprises us with his unassuming but poignant representation of Scott’s inner turmoil.

#6: Matt
“River’s Edge” (1986)

Think Keanu can’t do drama? Think again. In what’s considered his Hollywood breakthrough, Reeves plays a reluctant teen hero struggling with his conscience after he discovers one of his friends has committed murder. Inspired by a real-life crime, the critically acclaimed movie gave the young thespian the chance to show off his acting potential and serious side.

#5: John Constantine
“Constantine” (2005)

It may not have worked as a Hellblazer adaptation, but “Constantine” was still entertaining in its own right thanks to some creepy visuals, supernatural themes, and a talented supporting cast. Then there’s Keanu as the jaded, chain-smoking demon hunter who’s going to Hell. But that doesn’t stop John from trying his damnedest to save his soul, resulting in a neo noir action-thriller that puts Reeves’ heroic charisma and characteristic detachment to very good use.

#4: Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan
“Bill & Ted” franchise (1989-91)

There are just no other dudes we’d want to take on excellent adventures and bogus journeys than the not-too-bright Ted and his most triumphant best friend Bill. Keanu was so stellar as the San Dimas teen that he’s still associated with the slacker – and considering how well he pulls off Ted’s energy and playfulness, is there any wonder why? Put this lovable character into a world where philosophy, air guitar and time traveling mix with bodacious babes, evil robots, Rufus and Death and you’ve got the makings of a cult icon.

#3: Johnny Utah
“Point Break” (1991)

As Special Agent Johnny Utah, Keanu proved he wasn’t just “young, dumb and full of cum”: he could be fun, serious and kick ass too. Torn between being an FBI Agent and joining the world of The Ex-Presidents, Reeves is as vital to “Point Break” as Patrick Swayze. Simply put, it just wouldn’t be the same without him.

#2: Jack Traven
“Speed” (1994)

While “Point Break” made us realize Keanu wasn’t just a surfer dude, “Speed” proved he could also be an action star. As the buff, buzz cut-sporting SWAT member, Reeves brought machismo and sex appeal to the fray. Jack Traven also showed how well our star could play the hero. Add the quirky Sandra Bullock and maniacal Dennis Hopper to the mix and you’ve got an Oscar-winning action flick that amped up the suspense to become one of the ‘90s’ biggest movies.

Honorable Mentions

- Tod Higgins “Parenthood” (1989)
- Johnny “Johnny Mnemonic” (1995)
- Sgt. Paul Sutton “A Walk in the Clouds” (1995)
- Donnie Barksdale “The Gift” (2000)
- Dr. Julian Mercer “Something’s Gotta Give” (2003)

#1: Thomas Anderson/Neo
“The Matrix” trilogy (1999-2003)

Though several other actors were considered for the role of this computer programmer-slash-hacker, Reeves ultimately won out. As the everyman-turned-savior in “The Matrix” and its sequels, Keanu’s Neo offered up just the right amount of natural wonder, martial arts bravado and trench coat coolness to make us believe he’s The One. Bolstered by incredible special effects, mind-bending sci-fi and philosophy, the role lets him do what he does best: drive the action with minimal emotion, get the leather-clad girl, and save the world. Whoa, indeed.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is Keanu Reeves’ most excellent role? For more top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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