Samuel L. Jackson is an actor who has appeared in a lot of movies, so to be among his 10 best (according to the critics who contribute to their Rotten Tomatoes scores) is quite an honor. This is an actor who has played a key role in the highest grossing movie franchise of all time (the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and a key role in the second highest grossing franchise of all time (the Star Wars saga), as well as regularly collaborating with the guy who is considered by many to be one of the greatest directors working today (Quentin Tarantino).
So, here are Samuel L. Jackson’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 TIE: Spider-Man: Far From Home (90%)
Earlier this year, Samuel L. Jackson’s initial contract with Marvel Studios ran out with Captain Marvel. However, that didn’t stop him from appearing in Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, with the latter setting up a large role for his character Nick Fury in the future in its post-credits scene. Jackson said recently he’d be happy to keep playing the character for another decade.
In Far From Home, he takes on the role of Peter Parker’s adult mentor, which was vacated by Tony Stark’s death in Endgame, except it turns out (SPOILER ALERT!) he was a Skrull in disguise, so he was never really there – he was in outer space the whole time.
9 TIE: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (90%)
By the time we catch up with Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he’s two years into seeing the success of his 20-year struggle to get a superhero team together for S.H.I.E.L.D. – and then he finds out that S.H.I.E.L.D. has secretly been run by Nazis for decades.
They send a highly trained, brainwashed assassin after him. He’s killed off before too long but midway through the movie, it’s revealed that he just faked his death remarkable well (like, stopping his own heart rate and getting a death certificate well). The Winter Soldier is a visceral, riveting, impeccable spy thriller that also happens to be a comic book movie.
8 Jurassic Park (91%)
When Samuel L. Jackson was cast in Steven Spielberg’s mega hit adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, he wasn’t the huge A-list star he’d go on to be. The character he played in the movie, Ray Arnold, was based on John Arnold from the book. His name was changed to distinguish him from John Hammond, but the role was drastically cut down.
He has the same personality as the character from the source material, but he’s in far fewer scenes. We don’t even see his death on-screen; we just see his severed arm flop onto Ellie to insinuate it.
7 TIE: Pulp Fiction (92%)
Samuel L. Jackson’s longstanding working relationship with Quentin Tarantino began in 1994 with Pulp Fiction, a darkly comic tapestry of crime stories set in L.A. Jules Winnfield is the role that made Jackson a star and it’s arguably still his most iconic character.
From tasting a burger belonging to a guy he’s about to whack to complaining about having to clean pieces of skull out of his car after Vincent accidentally shoots a kid in the face, Jules is responsible for around 90% of the movie’s most memorable moments. Jackson walked away with an Oscar nomination and ludicrously regular work.
6 TIE: The Avengers (92%)
After hanging around in the shadows in supporting roles at best and post-credits scenes at worst throughout the MCU’s Phase 1, Samuel L. Jackson’s take on the comic book icon Nick Fury finally got a chance to shine in Joss Whedon’s ensemble team-up The Avengers. Fury had spent years being called crazy by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s higher-ups for his proposed superhero team, but when an alien army came to New York, who did they call?
Funnily enough, Jackson had been asked years earlier for his permission to use his likeness as the rebooted Fury in the comics. When Fury finally made it to the big screen, casting the role was easy.
5 TIE: True Romance (92%)
Although Quentin Tarantino wouldn’t direct Samuel L. Jackson in a movie until he helmed his sophomore effort Pulp Fiction, Jackson spoke his words a year earlier. True Romance was directed by Tony Scott, but the script was written by a young, struggling Tarantino. All that Scott changed from the original text was streamlining the nonlinear narrative.
While Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette play the lead roles and Gary Oldman plays the primary villain, Jackson plays a key supporting role as Big Don. His scene shows us just how ruthless Oldman’s villain is, establishing him as a formidable force in the criminal underworld.
4 Do the Right Thing (93%)
Written and directed by Spike Lee in one of his earliest big-screen efforts, Do the Right Thing tells the episodic tale of racial tensions boiling to the surface on the hottest day of the year. Samuel L. Jackson plays a radio host named Mister Señor Love Daddy who broadcasts to the section of Brooklyn where the movie is set.
Do the Right Thing is a movie with a very strong cultural and geographical identity, which makes it feel very personal. The movie has been lauded by none other than Barack and Michelle Obama, who went to see it on their first date.
3 Incredibles 2 (94%)
Pixar’s sequels rarely fail to live up to the original (Cars being the obvious exception – it started mediocre with the first one, became dreadful with the second one, and then returned to mediocrity with the third one). Every Toy Story movie has been a knockout and they’re four installments deep.
Incredibles 2 released last year into a crowded superhero movie market and managed to emerge as Pixar’s highest grossing movie ever. Writer-director Brad Bird responded to the cult success of Samuel L. Jackson’s supporting character Frozone by giving him a much meatier role in the sequel, without losing sight of the story’s focus.
2 Goodfellas (96%)
Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas is one of the greatest gangster movies of all time – maybe the greatest. Ray Liotta stars as Henry Hill, a real-life mobster who rose through the ranks of organized crime before his drug addiction became his downfall and he ended up ratting out all of his friends and cutting a deal with the feds.
Samuel L. Jackson only has a minor role since the movie was made before he was famous, but given how iconic he’s gone on to become, there’s no mistaking him now. He’s killed off basically as soon as he’s introduced but it’s one of the movie’s most shocking and violent scenes, which makes it unforgettable.
1 The Incredibles (97%)
Pixar’s take on the superhero genre, The Incredibles, is one of their finest films, due to its balance of comic book spectacle and grounded family situations. Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t the star of the movie, and his character Lucius Best – also known by his frosty superhero alter ego Frozone – isn’t a member of the titular family, but he is there when they need him.
As Bob Parr’s best friend, he has an integral role in the plot. More importantly, he’s responsible for a lot of the movie’s most memorable scenes (“Honey, where is my super suit?”). There’s also a fun nod to Jackson’s role in Die Hard with a Vengeance in a jewelry story.