Selected Filmography: Samuel L. Jackson
From playing Nick Fury once again in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron to starring in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight later this year, 2015 is shaping up to be yet another big year for Samuel L. Jackson. And this should be no surprise to fans of the actor. Jackson has been starring in some of the biggest movies since his first breakthrough role in 1991’s Jungle Fever. Sure, he had minor roles before that in movies such as Coming to America, Do the Right Thing, The Exorcist III, and Goodfellas. But his role as Gator in the Spike Lee film was what put Jackson on the map. And he hasn’t looked back since then.
This is a list of the ten films that I like the most from Samuel L. Jackson. I did not include any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films because his roles are very small in all of the movies. His biggest spot in any of them was in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I am not including any of them. I also left out his performances in the Star Wars films for similar reasons. Also not included is 2002’s Changing Lanes and the 2004 animated film The Incredibles. Changing Lanes was listed in my selected filmography for Ben Affleck and Jackson has too many great performances to use a spot on a voice performance, no matter how good it was.Just know that he was great in all of these films and if you haven’t seen them, then don’t wait any longer! But as for the rest of his work, its all up to debate on my top ten list.
10. The Negotiator (1998) – Jackson plays Danny Roman, a police negotiator who is set up and uses his knowledge of negotiation to take control of a building. His uses this knowledge to work with another negotiator, played by Kevin Spacey, to prove his innocence and find the ones that set him up.
9. Jackie Brown (1997) – In this Tarantino film, Jackson plays Ordell Robbie, an arms dealer. He has the lead character, Jackie, smuggle money for him from Mexico to Los Angeles until she is caught. But when he gets suspicious of her working with the cops, he wants her eliminated. But she fights back against Jackson’s over the top character.
8. Menace II Society (1993) – Jackson plays Tat Lawson, father of the main character Caine. They live in Watts, CA and the movie portrays the struggles of life in that environment and Caine trying to escape that life. His role is not as big as most others on this list, but this is a powerful movie that has been a favorite of mine since its release.
7. Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) – In the third film of the serious, Jackson plays Zeus, a Harlem man who is forced to join John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, in order to save New York City from a man who wants McClane dead. Jackson and Willis were a great pairing and played off of one another very well in this movie.
6. Django Unchained (2012) – Jackson plays Stephen, the loyal house slave of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). This is another smaller role for Jackson, but one that he plays to perfection. His loyalty to Candie, even over the other slaves, is played greatly and I don’t think any one else could have played this role like Jackson did.
5. Snakes on a Plane (2006) – Let’s face it, without Samuel L. Jackson playing the FBI agent aboard a plane full of snakes, this movie wouldn’t have been as entertaining as it was. Jackson helped make this movie a cult hit and he delivered one of his most famous, and ridiculous, quotes ever when he proclaimed, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!”.
4. Unbreakable (2000) – In this M. Night Shyamalan drama, Jackson plays Elijah Price, a comic book expert who confronts David Dunn (Bruce Willis) about his theory on how David was the only survivor of a devastating train crash. This movie is a little confusing and not as good as I was expecting it to be, but Jackson’s performance is once again stellar.
3. One Eight Seven (1997) – In this thriller, Jackson plays a teacher named Trevor Garfield, who moves to Los Angeles after being brutally attacked by a student in New York. But despite moving across the country, Garfield finds out that he still has to deal with violent students. The scene of Jackson and a student playing Russian Roulette is amazing and will keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.
2. Pulp Fiction (1994) – In probably his most well-known role, Jackson plays Jules Winnfield, a hitman who along with his partner Vincent (John Travolta), are on a mission to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer. Their lives, along with other characters in the movie, all intertwine in the end and create one great film. If you haven’t seen this yet, do yourself a favor and stop reading this and watch this movie! It is a great movie and it is loaded with great quotes from Jackson, especially his Ezekiel 25:17 speech.
1. A Time to Kill (1996) – Jackson plays Carl Lee Hailey, a man who is charged with the murder of two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter. His actions reignite racism in the Mississippi town and a young lawyer, played by Matthew McConaughey, is his only chance. This is an all-time great movie and I think one of Jackson’s finest performances. It is a movie that stands the test of time and is still as dramatic today as it was when it was released almost 20 years ago.
Daryl Karpinski Jr.