1. 'The Departed'
Stepping into the role of Staff Sergeant Sean Dignam in the Academy Award winning Martin Scorsese directed film "The Departed", Wahlberg showed off his best assets, playing the no nonsense cop who's always ready for a little Boston attitude. Joined by a star-studded cast including: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Alec Baldwin, unlike most of the other characters, Wahlberg's Dignam is the only one who carries out his job without any ties to Boston's Irish Mob, catching on to Damon's crooked crop Sullivan and never ceasing in his hunt to take down mob boss Nicholson's Frank Costello. And it seems that his hard work paid off, nabbing the actor a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
2. 'The Fighter'
Known for his impressive physique, no other role could have motivated Wahlberg to train harder than taking on "Irish" Micky Ward in "The Fighter". Training between 8-10 hours a day for four years for the part, Wahlberg perfected the ultimate boxer's body for the film. He also did all of his own stunts in the ring. Tackling the role, inspired by real life events, Wahlberg not only had to get in physical shape, but gave one of his strongest emotional performances as a boxer who's running out of time to make his mark, fighting against his reputation as a "stepping stone" in the boxing world. Considering he shared the screen with an Oscar-winning performance from Christian Bale, Mickey's crack addicted half-brother slash trainer and as well Melissa Leo, who plays his obsessively controlling mother, Wahlberg showed he's capable of standing out in a star-studded ensemble cast in one of the most memorable underdog stories in the past decade.
3. 'Boogie Nights'
His breakout roles in "The Basketball Diaries" and "Fear" got Wahlberg on his feet as a silver screen star, but it wasn't until he was cast as Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights" that Hollywood started taking notice. Allegedly winning the role after his "The Basketball Diaries" co-star Leornardo DiCaprio turned it down, Wahlberg displayed a wide range of acting, swinging from wide-eyed idealism to drug-addled desperation in the course of the film. The film featured another up-and-coming actor who would go on to become one of the best at his craft, the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who played Scott J, a gay boom operator who is in love with Dirk. The two actors shared a scene in the film that fans will remember for years to come.
Diving head first into the genre in "The Other Guys" with comedy veteran Will Ferrell, the actor's funniest big-screen outing undoubtedly includes a talking plush bear. A film about a guy who can't say goodbye to his living teddy bear, Wahlberg demonstrates his unique sense of comedic timing singing the "Thunder Buddies" song and reciting a succession of "white trash" names by memory. Just in case you missed him throwing a few punches, the film features a pretty wild Bourne-style fight scene as well.
5. 'Three Kings'
Co-starring with George Clooney, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze, "Three Kings" was brilliantly described by late film critic Roger Ebert as "some kind of weird masterpiece, a screw-loose war picture that sends action and humour crashing head-on into each other and spinning off into political anger." The film centres around a gold heist that takes place during the aftermath of the 1991 Iraqi uprising against Saddam Hussein following the end of the Persian Gulf War. Before they head home, a group of soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but found a group of civilians who are in desperate need of their help. Wahlberg plays U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow who gets caught as the soldiers try to make it to the Iranian border. Barlow's call home to his wife, is one of the stand-out moments in the film.
6. 'The Italian Job'
Every actor's got his heist film, and this is Mark Wahlberg's. Wahlberg plays Charlie Croker, a guy with some pretty sweet driving skills who is initially portrayed as a bad guy with integrity seeking revenge on his former partner-in-crime, Steve, played diabolically by Edward Norton, who double-crossed the team and killed their leader, who was obviously a mentor figure to Charlie. With one of the best chase scenes we've seen in a while, "The Italian Job" not only made Wahlberg a household name, but made Mini Coopers cool again.
7. 'The Perfect Storm'
What happens when you get Mark Wahlberg plus George Clooney plus a couple of Boston accents? "The Perfect Storm," that's what. Wahlberg plays Bobby Shafford, a young inexperienced but eager fisherman who has to choose between going out to sea for the last fishing trip of the season or staying on shore with his girlfriend. Of course he fatefully decides to join Captain Billy Tyne's crew despite severe weather forecasts. As the title suggests, the crew spend the remainder of the film battling a really pissed off mother nature.
Taking on the role of a retired military marksman, Mark Wahlberg really shows off his "swagger" in "Shooter". Trying to lead a peaceful, isolated life in the mountains, Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg) is recruited by high-ranking military personnel who seek him out and bring him back into action to defend the president from a potential long-range sniper attack, or so he thinks. After he is double-crossed and accused of the crime he thought he was hired to stop, Swagger ends up taking on the FBI by himself. In the end it's his revenge driven desire to clear his name (not to mention a little extraordinary skill and patience) that are victorious over sheer brawn and numbers.
Inspired by the true story of Vince Papale, a man with nothing to lose, who ignored staggering odds and made his dream come true after the Philadelphia Eagles coach, played by Greg Kinnear, hosts an unprecedented open tryout. We're not sure why Wahlberg seems to love stories from the '70s, but we think we know why he gravitates towards stories of underdogs. Stepping into the corduroy bell bottoms of Papale himself, the actor shines in the film, following Paple's obstacle-riddled path to the NFL.
10. 'Rock Star'
Mark Wahlberg took on the world of heavy metal bands in "Rock Star" and showed that even though we love the actor as an action star, he's happy to indulge his fans in a little ab clenching air guitar as well. Wahlberg plays Chris, an obsessive Steel Dragon fan, who after stumbling into the pit at one of the band's shows, displays his magnetic voice and charm which take him from screaming at the front row to soaking up the love, centre stage. The film shows the machinery behind building rock stars, with a little Hollywood flair thrown in for good measure. He might play out his 'Swagger' in "Shooter", but somehow crafts a character that is innocently full of it in one of Wahlberg's most entertaining films.