©20th Century Fox
“Can someone come save me please?” ©20th Century Fox

The Martian (see our review) has just opened in Singapore – the story of the international effort to save astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who is stranded on Mars. But if you think this reminds you of Interstellar (2014), think again – the history of Saving Matt Damon stretches back a looong way.

In fact, it runs through many of his movies. And it’s fitting that in Israel, the title for The Martian was translated into Hebrew as Saving Mark Watney.

Matt Damon’s acting career essentially consists of putting himself in mortal/metaphorical danger, then having to be rescued/rescue himself. It’s a bit similar to Tom Cruise’s plot trajectory in every film he makes: cocky maverick starts out cocky, is humbled by his cocky mistakes, then redeems himself in the third act to return to his good old cocky self.

In fact, Matt Damon is the Tom Cruise of rescue movies – the rescue of himself. Here’s the proof.


1Good Will Hunting (1997)

“You really think I’ll get an Oscar for this?” ©Miramax Pictures

The one that started it all. Troubled young math genius and prodigy Matt gets discovered by an academic while working as a janitor. But before he can go get Minnie Driver and live happily ever after, he first needs to be saved from his psychological baggage by bearded Robin Williams.

2Saving Private Ryan (1998)

He wondered what Steven Spielberg had in mind for him ©Dreamworks Pictures

Matt’s brothers die while he gets lost in France. The army sends Tom Hanks and a bunch of young up-and-coming actors to go save him. All of them die except Matt.

3Rounders (1998)

Two of the best actors of their generation ©Miramax Films

Edward Norton gets promising gambler Matt into a huge pile of debt with awful-Russian-accented John Malkovich. Matt has to use his awesome skills to save himself.

4The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

“I always liked you in Fresh Prince, Will.” ©Dreamworks Pictures

Professional golfer Matt can’t seem to find his swing anymore. Karma (or something) sends Magical Negro Will Smith and Charlize Theron to save him from his professional limbo.

5The Bourne Trilogy (2002 – 07)

“Okay, I’ll do a 5th Bourne film.” ©Universal Pictures

Super secret agent Matt can’t remember his past or who he is. He goes on a rampage across Europe and America, all the while fighting off shadowy assassins with pens, magazine and towels. Matt finally learns who he really is. Then saves himself by jumping off a building.

6The Departed (2006)

He couldn’t believe that Infernal Affairs was so much more awesome. ©Warner Bros

Double agent Matt can’t decide whether he’s really working for the Mafia or the cops. He’s saved from exposure when his fellow mole kills off a very shouty Leonardo Dicaprio. But because Hollywood insists on remaking and ruining foreign movies, he gets his comeuppance at the hands of dickish Mark Wahlberg.

7The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

She couldn’t believe Matt had been saved so many times. ©Universal Pictures

Aspiring politician Matt falls madly in love with Emily Blunt (well, who wouldn’t?), but is thwarted by some sorta futuristic/alternate reality bureaucracy. He grabs a fedora and saves their romance.

8Elysium (2013)

“Damn, this gun is heavy.” ©Sony Pictures

Blue collar worker Matt gets hit by radiation poisoning in a dystopian future. He puts on a (sorta) Iron Man and flies into space to try and rescue himself.

9Interstellar (2014)

Matt is in that box. Really. ©Warner Bros

Astronaut Matt gets stuck on a far-off world all by himself. He gets people from Earth to rescue him by sending out false data, then tries to kill Matthew McConaughey-hey in a total dick move.

Have you enjoyed watching Matt Damon be rescued over the years? Tell us!