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Film & TV

Samuel L. Jackson’s Top Ten Movies: List and Full Filmography

Written by MasterClass

Dec 21, 2018 • 6 min read

Samuel L. Jackson was born in 1948 and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A studious youth, Sam developed a love of novels and film early in life. His aunt Edna, who was a schoolteacher, first introduced him to acting. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta and studied acting with Dr. Baldwin Burroughs at Spelman.

He and his wife LaTanya Richardson moved to New York City on Halloween night, 1976, where he joined the Negro Ensemble Theater Company and enjoyed a robust stage career. Sam found breakout success in film when he played Gator in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, and went on to earn an Oscar nomination for his performance as Jules in Pulp Fiction. Since then, he’s acted in more than 100 films.

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Written by MasterClass

Dec 21, 2018 • 6 min read

Samuel Jackson’s 7 Award-Winning Films

Jackson is arguably one of Hollywood’s biggest Hollywood. Here he recounts key moments in the filmmaking process of his award-winning movies, from making tough character choices to working on set.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

On playing an iconic hitman: “Jules has been killing people for a long time, since he was a kid. He and Marcellus grew up gang bangers together. So he's been killing for Marcellus for a long time. And his mom probably told him, ‘I told you about hanging out with that Marcellus boy,’ but he kept hanging out with that Marcellus boy, because he was going to church, too. And he has that whole God thing that comes in; he's got some guilt, because his parents put that shit in him, you know? But he can't walk around with it. He's gotta be Jules.”

Best Supporting Actor, Academy Awards (nominated)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role BAFTA
Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globes (nominated)
Film Critic Awards

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2. The Negotiator (1998)

On playing a conflicted hostage negotiator: “It's devastating. It's that kinda shit. It’s ‘Maybe he'll listen to me, until he breaks your fucking heart.’ Let's explore that depth of ‘it's fucked up’.”

Outstanding Actor, NAACP (nominated)

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3. Jungle Fever (1991)

On bringing humanity to a role: “Spike had a different conception of who Gator was. When I got there and I started talking to him about who I wanted Gator to be, and how I wanted him to use his parents, his brother, all the people around him to aid his addiction, or just get money from them or use them or manipulate them in whatever way. And I would look high in a way, but I'm not gonna play I'm fucked up all the time. Because when you're not fucked up and you're trying to get something, it's another kind of desperation and cunning. And that's how I wanted to play Gator.... because everybody had a Gator in their family. And I consider that a job well done.”

Best Supporting Actor, Cannes Film Fest
Film Critic Awards

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4. A Time to Kill (1996)

On infusing a performance with real-life experience:

“In Time To Kill, that was my grandfather and his brothers. These old country dudes that work the land, work a hard job. They’re pigeon-toed, kinda stooped, arms loose, loping, swaying from side to side. You know, kind of a hangdog look. Brow wrinkled because they’re listening to you but thinking something.”

Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globes (nominated)

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5. Jackie Brown (1997)

On working with Tarantino: “If you want to work on the most harmonious process in the world, you should do a Tarantino movie. The one thing that I think is great about Quentin's sets is that there are no electronics. There's nothing with an on/off switch on set. So when he says, ‘cut,’ nobody pulls out their phone and starts texting and looking at stuff. You have to leave your phone at a phone station they have outside. They play music between set ups. So people sing, people dance. You talk to everybody around about their day, or whatever they're talking about. It makes his set a better place to be.”

Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globes (nominated)

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6. One Eight Seven (1997)

On making character choices: “Being an upright, nerdy kinda guy, I decided to make him slew footed. And he walked upright in a specific way with his feet like that. And he wobbled when he walked. And his glasses—he pushed his glasses up on his face a lot.”

Film Critic Awards

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7. Django Unchained (2012)

On withholding judgment: “When Quention called me and told me to read it, he didn't tell me anything about it. And I finished, and I called him back, and I said, ‘So you want me to play the most despicable negro in cinematic history?’ And he was like, ‘Well, yeah.’ And I go, ‘Okay, let's do it.’ So I can't judge my characters. People have their own reasons for doing' things. And once I sit down and figure out who that person is, and what they're doing', and why they're doing it, then there's no moral judgment about it. That's just what they do. And that's how they operate in the world.”

Outstanding Supporting Actor, NAACP

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Samuel L. Jackson’s Top 10 Box Office Blockbusters

Besides playing award-winning roles in important films, Jackson has also starred in some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of the last several decades. The below list is ranked in order of ticket sales, adjusted for inflation.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The Incredibles (2004)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
A Time to Kill (1996)
xXx (2002)

Samuel L. Jackson Full Filmography

Together for Days (1972)
The Exterminator (1980)
Ragtime (1981)
Magic Sticks (1987)
Coming to America (1988)
School Daze (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Sea of Love (1989)
Def by Temptation (1990)
A Shock to the System (1990)
Betsy's Wedding (1990)
Mo' Better Blues (1990)
The Exorcist III (1990)
Goodfellas (1990)
The Return of Superfly (1990)
Strictly Business (1991)
Jungle Fever (1991)
Jumpin' at the Boneyard (1991)
Johnny Suede (1991)
Juice (1992)
Patriot Games (1992)
White Sands (1992)
Fathers & Sons (1992)
Menace II Society (1993)
Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
Amos & Andrew (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
True Romance (1993)
Fresh (1994)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The New Age (1994)
Hail Caesar (1994)
Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker (1994)
The Search for One-eye Jimmy (1994)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Die Hard with a Vengeance(1995)
Losing Isaiah (1995)
Fluke (1995)
The Great White Hype (1996)
A Time to Kill (1996)
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Hard Eight (1996)
Trees Lounge (1996)
One Eight Seven (1997)
Eve's Bayou (1997)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Sphere (1998)
The Negotiator (1998)
The Red Violin (1998)
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Rules of Engagement (2000)
Shaft (2000)
Unbreakable (2000)
The Caveman's Valentine (2001)
The 51st State (2001)
Changing Lanes (2002)
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
xXx (2002)
No Good Deed (2002)
Basic (2003)
S.W.A.T. (2003)
Twisted (2004)
Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
The Incredibles (2004)
In My Country (2004)
Coach Carter (2005)
xXx: State of the Union (2005)
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The Man (2005)
Freedomland (2006)
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Home of the Brave (2006)
Black Snake Moan (2006)
Farce of the Penguins (2007)
1408 (2007)
Resurrecting the Champ (2007)
Cleaner (2007)
Jumper (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
Lakeview Terrace (2008)
Soul Men (2008)
The Spirit (2008)
Gospel Hill (2008)
Astro Boy (2009)
Mother and Child (2009)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey (2010)
Unthinkable (2010)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
The Other Guys (2010)
African Cats (2011)
Thor (2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Arena (2011)
The Samaritan (2012)
The Avengers (2012)
Meeting Evil (2012)
Zambezia (2012)
Django Unchained (2012)
Turbo (2013)
Oldboy (2013)
Reasonable Doubt (2014)
RoboCop (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Kite (2014)
Big Game (2014)
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Barely Lethal (2015)
Chi-Raq (2015)
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Cell (2016)
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Eating You Alive (2016)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
Unicorn Store (2017)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Life Itself (2018)

Samuel L. Jackson

Teaches Acting : Get into Character

As a kid, Samuel L. Jackson stuttered so badly that he stopped talking for almost a year. Today he’s one of the world’s most successful actors, with roles in over 100 films, including Pulp Fiction and The Avengers. For the first time, the Oscar nominated star teaches how he creates memorable characters, powerful performances, and a long-lasting career. Learn to master auditions, analyze scripts, and find the truth in every role you play.

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