Samuel L. Jackson’s 10 Most Badass Characters, Ranked by Badassery

Anything vocal that comes out of Samuel L. Jackson's mouth ought to be quoted and placed in a Hollywood Walk of Fame dedicated for his characters. It's not often we get an actor that's good at anything he does. He can make even the most mundane or dirtiest of phrases sound poetic. For that, he is universally loved and anyone who feels otherwise will feel Samuel Jackson's vengeance upon thee.

With the number of badass film characters he has, he might as well have his own museum. He may or may not have threatened us to make a list about him with his legendary vocabulary and a gaze that pierces harder than a .357 Magnum. So hold on to your butts, because here are 10 of Samuel L. Jackson's baddest of the bad (in a good way) film roles.

RELATED: Samuel L. Jackson Returns for Spider-Man: Far From Home Reshoots

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He's named after the chief Greek myth god in a film titled Die Hard, so you know no one else can handle this electrifying role other than Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson's profession in this film is not exactly what one can consider "badass." He's just a shopkeeper in Die Hard With A Vengeance but that didn't stop him from fighting off enemies of the state.

Alongside John McClane (Bruce Willis), Zeus' resourcefulness, cleverness, and penchant for fixing up broken things have helped the detective a ton. More than that, he proves to be able to handle McClane's tough-as-nails character despite being only a shopkeeper. Zeus and his everyman role here has proven to be one of the best parts of the film.


By far, Frozone is perhaps Samuel L. Jackson's... coolest role to date. He's a superhero in The Incredibles and he's ice cold, literally; his powers involve turning water into ice. Also, we're pretty sure Jackson threatened the filmmakers at gunpoint to give Frozone that exact superpower. The result was a charismatic cartoon ice-man who thankfully, is one of the good guys.

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Frozone has become a fan favorite despite his infrequent appearances on-screen. To his defense, he had problems finding his "supa suit" thanks to his naggy wife. There's no debate to be had whether Frozone needs his own spinoff film after his popularity from The Incredibles and its sequel.


Samuel L. Jackson is at his most badass when he pairs up with director Quentin Tarantino. One of his earliest roles under the brilliantly mad director is in the film Jackie Brown. In this film, he plays a gun runner and drug dealer who's in love with the AK-47. In short, he's a gangsta here-- the only gangsta version of him you'll ever need.

Ordell Robbie, however, is not exactly a nice or even neutral guy here. He's one the villains in Jackie Brown and is portrayed as a ruthless, psychotic, and murderous gangster who's also quite powerful in the criminal underground. Oh, he also sports a ponytail but that's okay because Jackson's got enough spare badassery to negate his choice of hairstyle.

7 SHAFT (SHAFT - 2000)

The man who delivers ten times out of ten. Shaft is the suavest and campiest cop ever but his one-liners work both against criminals and the ladies so he must be doing something right. One those "somethings" is the fact that he's played by Samuel L. Jackson-- at least the second Shaft is. For those who are uninitiated, Shaft is what James Bond would want to be if he existed. He's a black James Bond, but better, and less alcoholic.

There's actually a belated sequel on the way right now and which is set to premiere on June 14. It still features Jackson but also includes his estranged son, Shaft Jr. and the original Shaft from the original 1971 film. It's essentially "into the Shaftverse" so there's a fat chance the film might explode if it cannot contain the awesomeness of three Shafts.


Afro Samurai was originally a manga series and the brainchild of artist Takashi Okazaki who has a love for soul and hip hop music. Hence, his choice of samurai was the spitting image of Samuel Jackson. For that matter, the anime adaptation of Afro Samurai had Jackson as the lead voice actor. That's right, he has his own anime.

It's Samuel Jackson as a samurai, there's no logic needed as to how and why. Additionally, don't ask why some of his enemies in the anime have rocket launchers and motorcycles. Samuel Jackson with a katana is way too unstoppable; they had to cheat with modern weaponry.


If you've had it with these mother******* Samuel Jackson roles, having no sense and having too much campy humor, then you haven't seen anything yet. Snakes on a Plane is Jackson at his most nonsensical and he's in no way apologetic for it. He plays an FBI agent named Neville Flynn aboard a plane with a special human cargo whose also an assassin magnet.

RELATED: Samuel L. Jackson Wants To Play Nick Fury For Another 10 Years

Somehow, along the ride, snakes join the list of those assassins lined up and Samuel Jackson loses his cool. He's not as skillful as he is here compared to the other films. However, he came out as the ultimate badass in a film full of snakes and panicking people. He also let loose here some expletives against snakes that went down as one of the greatest in the annals of film history.


Marquis Warren-- Major Marquis Warren, is no regular bounty hunter. Apart from being portrayed by Jackson, he's also a civil war veteran who fought for the Union. Moreover, he had a high bounty placed on his head by the Confederates during the war for his war crimes that were nothing short of horrible.

Hence, when he got bunched up together with other bounty hunters, former Confederates, and frontier scum, it was a bloodbath of a riot. Thankfully, Tarantino knew how to pull it off. Warren was even able to outlive other certified badasses such as John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell).


Here you go, the Samuel Jackson character most of you came in here to check. It's only fair to place Nick Fury high up on this list. After all, Nick Fury sort of "died" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and came back to life... twice. Fury was also the one behind the Avengers initiative, meaning the Earth owes him a lot.

RELATED: 10 Incredible Worlds In The Marvel Comics MCU Has Yet To Explore

Apart from his usual job of a special/secret agent, Jackson as Fury was also the head of a spy and intelligence network. He was the first line of defense for the poor clueless people of Earth before the Avengers assembled. It is worth noting that the original Nick Fury was actually based on David Hasselhoff (Stan Lee's pick), but Samuel Jackson glared at Marvel executives until they gave Fury a facelift to look like him.


Despite having played bounty hunters, superheroes, and super cops, Samuel Jackson's most iconic badass remains quite simple... or not. It was a gun-toting, bible-thumping, burger-loving hitman named Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction back in 1994. Tarantino was at his best understanding of a Samuel Jackson character here: intense, insane, and interesting.

How in the world did a hitman retain his religiousness both to Christianity and hamburgers (the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast)? We may never know. We know one thing, though: no one gets to walk away safe when Jules starts asking questions. No amount of burgers is going to save anyone from that beef they have with Jules.


If Samuel Jackson pushed a bit more, he probably could have "convinced" George Lucas to retcon Yoda as a bald black man with telekinesis. Lucky for Lucas, Jackson only "requested" a purple lightsaber to make Jedi Master Mace Windu stand out. He is, without a doubt, a Jedi Master that was probably more powerful than Yoda even.

Mace Windu nearly defeated the Sheev Palpatine a.k.a. Darth Sidious single-handedly. Not even Yoda could do that. It's not just Palpatine Mace defeated, he also gave Jango Fett a fancy haircut and also put a raging Anakin Skywalker in his rightful place. Heck, even having a purple lightsaber in a film franchise where there's only blue, green, and red ones transcends badassery.

NEXT: Star Wars: 15 Things You Didn't Know About Mace Windu

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