12 Best Films for a Good Dose of Edward Norton

Few actors today deliver so consistently that you can convince yourself to watch any film they're in. Edward Norton is one of those rare few.

Whether it's a 90s classic or an underrated 2000s flick, do yourself a favor and stream one of these Norton-led treasures tonight.

1. American History X

American History X
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Arguably Ed Norton's grittiest role to date, American History X addresses sensitive realities about race in the United States with a deft touch. 

2. Birdman

Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

It's a bird! It's a man! It's Birdman, a masterfully controlled but chaotic film starring Edward Norton, Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, and a host of other talented performers. A movie about a play, Birdman is literally an acting class.

3. Primal Fear

Primal Fear
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

I don't want to spoil anything about Primal Fear. The movie's title is apt, and Norton's performance is why.

4. The Illusionist

The Illusionist
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The Illusionist fell by the wayside for many who saw Christopher Nolan's similar film, The Prestige. However, The Illusionist is not The Prestige. The Illusionist is, however, excellent.

5. Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Wes Anderson. Ensemble comedy. Ed Norton as “Scout Master Ward.”

Wanna smile tonight? There's your elevator pitch.

6. The People vs. Larry Flynt

The People Vs. Larry Flynt
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Milos Forman's The People vs. Larry Flynt tells the unbelievable account of Hustler Magazine founder Larry Flynt. Norton plays Larry Flynt's lawyer, more than holding his own in this cinematic ode to hedonism.

7. Rounders

Image Credit: Miramax Films.

If there was ever a believable role for Edward Norton, it's that of a degenerate gambler. With a buddy like Matt Damon to serve as an enabler, you have one heck of a thriller on your hands.

8. Fight Club

Fight Club
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

I'll abide by Rule Number One of Fight Club and refrain from discussing the plot. Just know that Fight Club has earned its cult-classic status legitimately.

9. Red Dragon

Red Dragon
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

In a list of films where Norton so often plays the bad guy (or at least, morally questionable guy), Red Dragon is a welcomed flip of the script. Don't take that to mean Red Dragon is a feel-good movie, though.

10. Death to Smoochy

Death to Smoochy Edward Norton
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

One of the lesser-seen Norton films, Death to Smoochy opened to polarized critical opinion. But with Robin Williams and Edward Norton embroiled in a revenge plot revolving around a children's TV show, how could you not check out Death to Smoochy?

11. 25th Hour

25th Hour
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

The 25th Hour is a film about a convicted dealer's last day of freedom before doing a bid. With Norton taking the lead, Spike Lee behind the lens, and Game of Thrones' David Benioff penning the script, take two hours and 15 minutes for this heavy dose of Ed.

12. The Score

The Score
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Is The Score Edward Norton's best film? No. Does The Score fall within Robert DeNiro's top-five all-time roles? Not by a long shot. But The Score is a heist movie pairing Ed Norton and Bobby D, and for that reason alone, it is worth your time.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.