List compiled by Eddie on 10/09/2021
A cinematic treasure that is happy to lampoon his swear happy alter-ego at the drop of a hat but also an actor that is more than at home in an awards baiting drama, Samuel L. Jackson is a cultural phenomenon that has at the time of writing 194 acting credits in his filmography on IMDB, as well as the title of the highest grossing movie star ever with his various projects netting over $13 billion dollars at the worldwide box office.
Overcoming early personal troubles in his private life including drug addiction, Jackson first begun to rise in fame and stature in the late 80’s with a string of notable supporting turns but once the 90’s began to get into full swing, the full extent of Jackson’s charisma and star power started to showcase itself in all its glory with the actor never looking back to this day as he continues to collaborate with some of the world’s biggest creators even at the age of 72.
Combing through 100’s of titles that Jackson has appeared in (including an endless collection of Marvel offerings) and culling them down to a mere list of 10 is no easy feat and there are a range of films that should consider themselves unlucky to not have made the cut and some that aren’t representative of Jackson’s performance solely (Goodfellas and True Romance cameos) but there’s little denying that Jackson will always remain a unique and gifted presence on the big screen as his legacy continues to live on long into the years yet to come.
Now did I mention there’s a biblical passage I got memorized? Ezekiel 25:17…….
Happy reading and happy watching.
10. A Time to Kill (1996)
In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.
One of the best examples of a John Grisham cinematic adaptation, Joel Shumacher’s courtroom thriller allowed Jackson to play off an on-song Matthew McConaughey as the two charismatic screen actors bought their A-game to a controversially film that has remained a fan favourite since its release.
9. True Romance (1993)
In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.
A unique piece of cinema from the late Tony Scott, who here teamed up with the then up and coming screenwriter Quentin Tarantino to create a modern day Bonnie and Clyde/Badlands with his own unique twist, this star studded escapade is almost unclassifiable but its a ripping good yarn that to this day is still in class all on its own.
8. Unbreakable (2000)
A man learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident.
Following on from the beast that was The Sixth Sense was always going to be a tough ask for director/screenwriter M. Night Shyamalan and while this film might not have quite reached the levels of his debut its a unique and captivating thriller nonetheless. Pairing stars Bruce Willis and Jackson together was a masterstroke of casting and the legacy of the film extended all the way too Split/Glass where Shyamalan kept this world alive.
7. The Incredibles (2004)
A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world.
One of Pixar studios premier achievements, The Incredibles gave a fresh spin to the superhero rule-book by creating an everyday family with extra-ordinary gifts. Filled with energetic visuals, voice performances and a great mixture of heart and laughs, in a catalogue of outstanding achievements The Incredibles deserves its place amongst the top-tier of the produce.
6. Django Unchained (2012)
With the help of a German bounty-hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation-owner in Mississippi.
Whenever Quentin Tarantino and Jackson join forces, the movie loving world watches on with a gleeful anticipation and the reunion of the two esteemed Hollywood staples here in Django Unchained did not disappoint. A Western that could only be born from the mind of Tarantino, the film gifted Jackson one of his great characters with grouchy house hand Steven as the acting legend supported an all-star cast to great effect. Read my review here.
5. Do the Right Thing (1989)
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone’s hate and bigotry smoulders and builds until it explodes into violence.
In my mind the quintessential Spike Lee joint that is unlikely to be bettered by the hard working director, Do the Right Thing is a stunningly original piece of movie making that has lost none of its power, heart or shock value these many years on from release where Lee’s film seemingly came out of nowhere to shake the industry and ask questions of America that at the time seemed too hard to ask.
4. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
After countless years and roles throughout the Marvel cinematic universe, Jackson may’ve only played a tiny role in Infinity War’s final product but the film itself will likely remain one of it not the key Marvel product to have been delivered as it managed to juggle multiple story-strands, characters and ideas into a masterpiece of popcorn movie-making. Read my review here.
3. Jurassic Park (1993)
A pragmatic paleontologist visiting an almost complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park’s cloned dinosaurs to run loose.
You wouldn’t be the only one that almost forgot Jackson was a part of Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur adventure but that’s more than likely due to the fact this blockbuster smash has so much goodness running through its veins that Jackson is just the cherry on top. A top-tier Summer event film, Jurassic Park deserves its status as a classic of cinema history.
2. Goodfellas (1990)
The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.
One of the most critically acclaimed films of all-time and a candidate for best mob film ever made, Goodfellas is a beloved genre entry based on the true story of Henry Hill and its all-star cast (that includes a cameo from Jackson) have arguably never been better before or since.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster and his wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
Much could be said about Pulp Fiction but I doubt if it hasn’t been said somewhere before such is the debate and talk about this all-time classic. Giving Jackson the role of a lifetime, Pulp Fiction is an ageless gem that is unlikely to ever disappear from the pop culture scene and rightfully so. Read my classic review here.
Honourable Mentions – Die Hard: With a Vengeance, The Hateful Eight, Coach Carter, Black Snake Moan, Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith, Changing Lanes, Deep Blue Sea