Peter Sarsgaard - Rotten Tomatoes

Peter Sarsgaard

Highest Rated:   95% An Education (2009)
Birthplace:   Belleville, Illinois, USA
An actor who has demonstrated a fearless capacity for exploring the darker side of human nature, Peter Sarsgaard became synonymous with the term "edgy young performer." With looks that allow him to either play soft-skinned pretty boys or greasy-haired white trash refuse, Sarsgaard has used his malleable features and brooding charisma to great effect in such films as Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry.A graduate of St. Louis' Washington University, where he was a co-founder of the improvisational group Mama's Pot Roast, Sarsgaard studied at the Actors' Studio in New York. After he completed his studies, he was cast in the off-Broadway production of Horton Foote's Laura Dennis, and, as a member of Douglas Carter Beane's Drama Department, he appeared in John Cameron Mitchell's off-Broadway production of Kingdom of Earth.Sarsgaard made his screen debut in Tim Robbins' Dead Man Walking (1995) but had his first substantial role in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), which cast him as the ill-fated son of John Malkovich's dueling Muskateer. He then appeared in a series of largely unseen independent features, including Larry Clark's Another Day in Paradise and Morgan J. Freeman's Desert Blue (both 1998). In 1999, Sarsgaard broke out of obscurity with his role in Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry. Cast as a violent yet charismatic ex-con, the actor managed to stand out in a film saturated with strong performances, and the film's unanticipated success provided him with an introduction to a wide audience. His increased profile was reflected in the number of projects he was involved with the following year, including P.J. Hogan's Unconditional Love, a drama about a woman (Kathy Bates) who joins forces with the lover of a dead pop star to track down the star's murderer.Sarsgaard reached a new level of critical acclaim with his supporting performances in two little-seen but highly praised features: 2003's journalist drama Shattered Glass and 2004's biopic Kinsey. In the former, he played dedicated, soft-spoken New Republic editor Chuck Lane, who becomes increasingly more agitated as he catches hotshot reporter Steven Glass fabricating stories. Racking up scores of Best Supporting Actor nods from critics' groups and the Golden Globes, it seemed inevitable that the Academy would recognize Sarsgaard, but he was passed over. A similar fate occurred with Kinsey, in which the actor convincingly played the curious, bisexual assistant - and occasional lover - of the sex researcher.Though ignored by the Oscars, Sarsgaard found his profile rising with powerful casting directors, and in turn, the public. After memorably essaying the role of a stoner gravedigger in the popular 2004 indie Garden State, the actor broke through to mass audiences in 2005 with a trio supporting performances in big-budget genre films: the supernatural thriller The Skeleton Key, the blockbuster Flighplan, and the war memoir Jarhead. Bringing his distinctively low-key delivery to a range of parts that were by turns mystical, sinister and conflicted, Sarsgaard secured his place in the pantheon of great Hollywood character actors.Saarsgard delivered solid performances in Year of the Dog and Rendition (both 2007), and co-starred with Dennis Hopper and Patricia Clarkson for the psychological drama Elegy in 2008. The following year he played the role of a man who becomes increasingly concerned about the behavior of his adoptive daughter for The Orphan, and took on the part of the much-older boyfriend of a 16-year-old girl (Carey Mulligan) for the coming of age drama An Education. Saarsgard joined Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise for a supporting role in the action comedy Knight and Day (2010), and joined the cast of The Green Lantern in 2011.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet The Sound of Silence
  • Actor
32% Loving Pablo
  • Neymar
No Score Yet The Lie
  • Jay
87% Jackie
  • Robert Kennedy
$14M 2016
63% The Magnificent Seven
  • Bartholomew Bogue
$93.4M 2016
86% Experimenter
  • Stanley Milgram
$0.2M 2015
71% Pawn Sacrifice
  • Father Bill Lombardy
$1.7M 2015
73% Black Mass
  • Brian Halloran
$48.8M 2015
No Score Yet Ladygrey
  • Actor
20% Very Good Girls
  • Joe Fitzsimmons
86% Night Moves
  • Harmon
No Score Yet Valley Uprising
  • Actor
53% Lovelace
  • Chuck Traynor
  • Executive Producer
$0.3M 2013
91% Blue Jasmine
  • Dwight
86% Robot & Frank
  • Robot
$3.2M 2012
26% Green Lantern
  • Dr. Hector Hammond
$116.7M 2011
52% Knight & Day
  • Fitzgerald
$76.5M 2010
No Score Yet VIPs
  • Actor
95% An Education
  • David
$12.6M 2009
55% Orphan
  • John Coleman
$41.5M 2009
12% The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
  • Cleveland Arning
$33.3k 2009
64% In the Electric Mist
  • Elrod T. Sykes
74% Elegy
  • Kenneth Kepesh
$3.5M 2008
47% Rendition
  • Alan Smith
$9.7M 2007
No Score Yet Indie Sex: Censored
  • Actor
69% Year of the Dog
  • Newt
$1.5M 2007
49% The Dying Gaul
  • Robert
$0.3M 2005
61% Jarhead
  • Allen Troy
$62.6M 2005
37% Flightplan
  • Carson
$89.7M 2005
37% The Skeleton Key
  • Luke
$47.8M 2005
90% Kinsey
  • Clyde Martin
$10.3M 2004
86% Garden State
  • Mark
$26.8M 2004
91% Shattered Glass
  • Charles `Chuck' Lane
$2.2M 2003
47% Death of a Dynasty
  • Actor
21% Empire
  • Jack
$17.6M 2002
60% K-19: The Widowmaker
  • Radtchenko
$35.2M 2002
62% The Salton Sea
  • Jimmy the Finn
$0.7M 2002
14% Unconditional Love
  • Window Washer
35% The Center of the World
  • Richard Longman
No Score Yet Kitchen Privileges
  • Tom
No Score Yet Housebound
  • Actor
88% Boys Don't Cry
  • John
37% Desert Blue
  • Billy Baxter
No Score Yet Freak City
  • Cal Jackson
33% The Man in the Iron Mask
  • Raoul
57% Another Day in Paradise
  • Ty
95% Dead Man Walking
  • Walter Delacroix


94% The Looming Tower
  • Martin Schmidt
  • 2018
90% Wormwood
  • Frank Olson
  • 2017
No Score Yet America Divided
  • Appearing
  • 2016
67% The Slap
  • Hector
  • 2015
No Score Yet Charlie Rose
  • Guest
  • 2015
  • 2014
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
  • Guest
  • 2015
  • 2014
71% The Killing
  • Ray Seward
  • 2013
No Score Yet Conan
  • Guest
  • 2011
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
  • Host
  • Performer
  • 2006
No Score Yet Law & Order
  • Josh Strand
  • 1995

Quotes from Peter Sarsgaard's Characters