Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) Reeves didn't start out playing cool characters in designer shades or cops trying to stop runaway buses. His breakthrough in Hollywood was this comedy, which appears to be goofy at first but actually makes for interesting viewing. Reeves plays Ted, a dumb high school kid who can't graduate with his best friend, Bill, unless they pass a history project. With the help of a guy from the future who comes through a phone box, the pair travel through time in order to get their high school certificates - and save their metal band from breaking up. My Own Private Idaho (1991) Although it was never a box-office success, it's still one of his most talked-about films. The late River Phoenix and Reeves became instant Hollywood heart-throbs after starring in this Gus Van Sant movie loosely based on Henry IV, about a pair of hustlers in Portland who might or might not have fallen in love. Phoenix, with perhaps his best performance, won the best actor award at Venice in the same year. As for Reeves, this film and Point Break of the same year (he plays an FBI rookie who has to go undercover as a surfer) established his name as a hunk in the business. Speed (1994) The plot might sound ridiculous at first (stopping a runaway bus?), but this Jan de Bont-directed film turns out to be one the most exhilarating in years. Reeves plays a Swat team member who has to save the passengers on a bus rigged with a bomb that will detonate if its speed goes below 50 mph - or anyone tries to get off. The Devil's Advocate (1997) After starring in forgettable films for a couple of years, Reeves was back on the top of the list, starring alongside Al Pacino in this thriller by Taylor Hackford (Ray, An Officer and a Gentleman). Reeves plays a lawyer who joins a top firm in New York ... and finds himself tempted to sell his soul to the devil (literally). The Firm meets Rosemary's Baby, with spectacular special effects and production design. The Matrix (1999) The first in the Wachowski brothers' mind-blowing trilogy wowed audiences worldwide with its interpretation of reality and spectacular special effects (remember the 'bullet time' sequence?). Then there are the dazzling costumes, cool attitudes and kung fu routines. The Wachowskis gained a cult following - and made a handsome return at the box office, with almost US$400 million world-wide). Reeves has become one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. He reportedly received US$45 million after the release of the trilogy. Thumbsucker (2005) Besides starring as the action hero in some of the biggest films of all time, Reeves also plays small roles in independent films such as Thumbsucker, which is about a teenager (played by Lou Taylor Pucci) who tries to avoid the problems of growing up by sucking his thumb. Although it's a small role, Reeves shines as the orthodontist.