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Robert Downey Jr. has had an enviable career. Thanks to the Iron Man and the Sherlock Holmes films, he’s had plenty of popular success. At the same time, he’s starred in independent dramas.

Needless to say, Downey has an eclectic filmography. He certainly has a lot of great films from which to choose. This raises an interesting question: Which of Downey’s own films is the best in his opinion?

Robert Downey Jr. at the premiere of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang |George Pimentel/WireImage

The film that became Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘calling card’

According to Cinema Blend, Downey discussed this very topic on The Joe Rogan Experience. He said “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is, I think, in some ways the best film I’ve ever done. It wound up being a calling card. It came out, and it bombed, but Jon Favreau saw it, and he said, ‘This guy could do an action movie.’ And so that wound up being my calling card into the Marvel Universe.”

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was far from Downey’s most popular film. Box Office Mojo reports the film earned a mere $15,785,148 on a $15 million budget. However, it’s an acclaimed film with an interesting backstory.

The making of ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’

The trailer for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the script of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was written by Shane Black. The script was rooted out of Black’s love for detective fiction, which he’d been regularly consuming for some time. At one point, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was going to be a romantic comedy, but Black decided to add detectives to the story instead. Attentive fans will notice the homages to classic detective fiction in the film, particularly the novels of Raymond Chandler.

Black enjoyed his own script so much he decided he should direct its screen adaptation. However, Black had a difficult time convincing anyone to fund the project. Black recalled, “Nobody even wanted to read it.“

The film was low-budget and starred Downey, who was not a bankable actor at the time. Black and the film’s producer, Joel Silver, were both impressed with Downey’s work on the film. Black said “When I’d go to Joel’s office for a meeting, Downey was there all the time…So we’d say: ‘Hey, can you read these lines? We’re doing a little read-through,’ and Joel and I would look at each other and go, ‘That’s f*cking perfect.'”

The reception of ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’

Val Kilmer in a casino | Paul Harris/Getty Images

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Val Kilmer was Downey’s co-star in the film. He told The Guardian the film’s reception at the Cannes Film Festival was unbelievable.  ” The ovation was so long. At one point I honestly thought they were applauding Robert for being alive…But then it sort of makes sense because it’s being irreverent toward Hollywood and Los Angeles and American culture, if you could call it that.”

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang didn’t get much attention upon its initial release. However, it has become a major cult film in recent years. Some critics even feel it is a modern classic. Regardless, Downey’s praise for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is deserved.

Also see: ‘Dolittle’: Robert Downey Jr. Movie Has Shockingly Racist Origins