Happy 71st birthday, Sam Jackson! Here are five movies that prove he’s one of the best Hollywood actors ever
Chennai, Dec 21: Few actors in recent decades have left as indelible a mark on Hollywood as Samuel L Jackson.
Since breaking through with a memorable supporting turn in Spike Lee's sophomore feature School Daze, Jackson has gone on to play everything from acerbic sidekicks and double-dealing criminals to brilliant scientists and villainous masterminds.
That's before you even mention a certain eye patch-wearing boss in the MCU and the first Jedi of colour in the Star Wars prequels.
It's worth noting how many of cinema's greatest directors Jackson has worked with — Spielberg, Lee, Scorsese, Tarantino, and Paul Thomas Anderson among them.
To put it simply, Jackson has portrayed every sort of character imaginable on screen in his now four-decade-long career.
To help you sort the finer moments from the forgettable entries in the beloved actor's oeuvre, here's a list of his five best movies as Sony PIX celebrates his 71st birthday.
Snakes on a Plane
While not exactly a critical darling but how can you resist a movie that tells you all you need to know about it right there in its title? This film is about snakes that get loose on a plane and Jackson gives a gung-ho performance as an FBI Agent dealing with them. Watch Snakes on a Plane only on Sony PIX.
In a really committed performance, Jackson plays a crack-addicted brother to Wesley Snipes in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. Jackson gives a stunning performance and it feels wholly authentic. The movie focuses on an interracial relationship and its effects on society.
Gator is an empathetic character, but also one that’s hard to defend. In some respect, Gator knows what he is, particularly in one heartbreaking scene where he brings his girlfriend to get money from his brother full well knowing what he’s using it for. It’s a powerful movie and a stellar role for Jackson.
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. Watch Jurassic Park only on Sony PIX.
To date, Jackson has appeared in nearly all of Tarantino's feature films. The film was Tarantino's game-changing crime drama Pulp Fiction, and Samuel L Jackson — in his only Oscar-nominated performance — absolutely steals the show as scripture-quoting low-level hitman Jules Winfield.
But odds are you know that already, just like you know Pulp Fiction's Oscar-winning screenplay is one of the best-ever written.
Samuel L Jackson is at his best as a ‘bad’ man, and since there are rarely any ‘good’ roles in any of Quentin Tarantino’s films, he remains one of the director’s go-to actors. Quentin usually casts Jackson as, at least, a likeable bad guy, though, with Django Unchained being the biggest exception.
Stephen just may be the evilest character Samuel L Jackson has ever played, with his complete lack of empathy or respect and his unquestioned subservience to his vile master.