Iron Man Reporting for Duty! Which of Robert Downey Jr.'s Roles Is His Most Iconic? on People’s Choice Awards

Paramount Pictures

Iron Man at your service!

Today the superhero, or rather, the actor who plays the iconic Marvel hero is 54 years old and that just doesn’t seem right. Sure, Robert Downey Jr. AKA Iron Man has been acting since the 1980s, but he doesn’t look old enough to be in his mid-50s.

He is however in his mid-50s as of today and since we can’t turn back time we’re going to instead celebrate his birthday by taking a look to the past…with his best movie and TV roles of all time. 

Throughout his career, the New York City native has had a lot of phases. He was a bad boy, who attended the Oscars with Sarah Jessica Parker and got into trouble with the law, and then he became one of the most iconic superheroes on screen in the past decade.

He can, and has, done it all and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

From playing a mean, hot guy in Weird Science and starring alongside Molly Ringwald in the 80s to suiting up as billionaire, mastermind Tony Stark in both the Avengers films and Iron Man movies, Downey is a man of many acting talents.

He’s portrayed the legendary Sherlock Holmes in more than one film, played a journalist in Zodiac and been a lawyer in The Judge, and that’s really only the beginning.

Downey is a very memorable and long-working actor who we can’t help but love no matter what character he’s playing. Since this day is all about him, we figured we’d look back at some of his most noteworthy roles—25 to be exact—and let you decide once and for all which one is best.

Good luck…you’re going to need it!

Universal Pictures

Weird Science

Robert Downey Jr. plays Ian, one of the jerky popular guys out make nerds Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt’s (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) lives terrible. Things change however when the nerds makes a hot woman who teaches them how to be popular, look good and no longer be zeros. 

20th Century Fox

The Pick-Up Artist

Womanizer Jack Jerico (Downey) falls for Randy Jensen (Molly Ringwald) only to learn that his perfect match is in debt to the mafia in this 1987 comedy.

20th Century Fox

Less Than Zero

In this 1987 drama, Downey plays Julian, a drug addict whose startup record company takes a turn for the worst in Los Angeles. He tries to hide it, but when his best friend returns from college he has to own up to his issues.

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Twentieth Century Fox

Johnny Be Good

The 1988 comedy revolves around the college recruitment process for high school football players, one of which is played by Downey.

Carolco Pictures

Air America

Downey co-stars alongside Mel Gibson, as a LA radio station helicopter traffic pilot, whose license is revoked. With no job on the horizon, Billy (Downey) is recruited to the CIA’s private airline during the Vietnam War to fly into some pretty intense, and some illegal situations. 

Paramount Pictures


David Barnes (Downey) is a producer of a daytime drama, which stars Sally Field’s Celeste Talbert in this comedy. As Celeste’s life begins to fall apart her on-screen enemy bands together with David to try and ruin her career, but it doesn’t exactly go the way they plan.

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Lions Gate Home Entertainment


Downey is Charlie Chaplin in this 1992 film about the iconic silent film star himself. For this role Downey ended up winning Best Actor at the BAFTA Awards and was nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

Paramount Pictures

Wonder Boys

In this 2000 comedy-drama, Downey co-stars with Michael DouglasTobey Maguire and Katie Holmes, playing the role of a book editor.


Ally McBeal

In 2004, Downey joined the cast of Ally McBeal as Ally (Calista Flockhart), the sweet, but good lawyer’s dreamy boyfriend Larry. Throughout season four of the show the two fell in love and fans couldn’t get enough. Sadly, he didn’t appear in the season four finale or the fifth and final season. 

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Warner Independent Pictures

Good Night, and Good Luck

The New York City native plays reporter Joseph Wershba in the 2005 black-and-white historical drama about broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow when he set out to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Paramount Pictures


Co-starring with Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo, Downey plays the part of Paul Avery, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle assigned to the Zodiac case back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Paramount Pictures

Iron Man

In 2008, Downey put on the Iron Man suit for the first time playing Tony Stark AKA Iron Man, a genius inventor and playboy who becomes a superhero. 

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Dreamworks Pictures

Tropic Thunder

Downey acts as Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method actor, in this 2008 action comedy, which shows a group of actors who find themselves forced to become the soldiers they are portraying on screen. The film also stars Ben Stiller and Jack Black.

Paramount Pictures

The Soloist

Steve Lopez (Downey), a journalist working for the Los Angeles Times, discovers a homeless Julliard alum named Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) and tries to help him improve his life.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Sherlock Holmes

Downey stars as private detective Sherlock Holmes in this 2009 crime film. In the movie Sherlock Holmes and his partner Watson (Jude Law) must use their wits and strengths to stop a bad guy who is threatening to destroy all of England.

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Paramount Pictures

Iron Man 2

In the second hit film of the superhero franchise, Downey along with Gwyneth PaltrowScarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson must keep the world safe while dealing with his identity being revealed and his health on the decline. 

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Due Date

The actor plays the part of Peter Highman, a successful architect who gets stuck on a road trip with an aspiring actor named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) in order to make it home before his wife gives birth.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock (Downey) and Watson (Law) reunited in 2011 to hunt down and stop Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), who decided to commit random crimes all over Europe.

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The Avengers

In 2012, Downey played Iron Man in this whopping $1.5 billion-grossing hit, which was the first film to show the Earth’s mightiest heroes coming together to fight as one to stop Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from enslaving all of humanity.

Marvel/Walt Disney Pictures

Iron Man 3

In 2013, Downey reprised his role as both Tony Stark and Iron Man. This time his character’s world is torn apart by Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), so he must start over and go into rebuild mode to get back to normal. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Judge

Hank Palmer (Downey), a big-city lawyer, returns home to help his father, the town’s judge, who is suspected of murder. Along the way he reconnects with his estranged family and puts his smarts to good work.

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Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Grossing $1.4 billion worldwide, the 2015 Avengers sequel again featured an all-star cast, including Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, with Downey starring as Iron Man. This time around the team of superheroes attempt to start a peacekeeping program called Ultron, but after things go awry they must instead work together to stop the villain Ultron (James Spader) from putting his plan into action.

Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel

Spider-Man: Homecoming

As a young Spider-Man’s mentor, Downey continues his role as Iron Man in this 2017 Marvel film. As Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man (Tom Holland) tries to navigate high school and his super powers, Iron Man is there to show him the way.

Marvel Studios

Avengers: Infinity War

This 2018 superhero film smashed records, grossing over $2 billion, with Downey playing his well-known role of Iron Man once more. In this installment of the Avengers franchise, the Avengers and their allies team up to try and stop Thanos (Josh Brolin) from ending the universe, even if it means dying in the process. 

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Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Avengers: Endgame

In April 2019, the final installment with this group of Avengers will hit theaters and boy, it’s going to be good. In the Marvel flick, the Avengers (with Downey as Iron Man again) and what’s left of their allies team up once again to undo all of the havoc and destruction that Thanos (Brolin) has caused…and hopefully restore the universe to the way it once was.

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