Former rapper, promising television actor, and now one of the biggest box office draws in Hollywood, Will Smith is no stranger to moviegoers. Called the “most powerful actor in Hollywood” by Newsweek and ranked as the most bankable star worldwide by Forbes, take a look at the 15 best Will Smith movies of all time:
15. Hancock (2004)
Though Hancock terrorizes the thugs in Los Angeles, he is perceived as the bad guy since his frequent drinking habits lead to his intoxication which constantly results in property damage worth thousands of dollars.
14. Hitch (2005)
As Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, Will Smith stars as a professional “date doctor” who specializes in the art of impressing women in terms of a long-term relationship. His skills are put to a test once he falls for gossip columnist and workaholic Sara Melas.
Hitch was Smith’s 20th movie and the actor was just merely getting warmed up for a bright career. The movie was a moderate success and its plot inspired the popular Bollywood movie Partner starring megastars Salman Khan, Govinda, and Katrina Kaif.
13. Focus (2015)
A year before the dreadful Suicide Squad, Will Smith and Margot Robbie got the chance to showcase their onscreen chemistry in the romantic crime-drama movie Focus. Veteran con artist Nicky Spurgeon takes Jess Barrett under his wing to introduce the life of crime but soon fall for each other.
Fearing to lose his A-game, Spurgeon cuts his ties with her but things take a different turn when three years later, he is in Buenos Aires working a very treacherous scheme when Jess unexpectedly shows up.
12. Seven Pounds (2008)
It is no secret that Will Smith makes a few bad choices every now and then and ends up starring in a terrible movie. With Wild Wild West and After Earth among the movies he regrets, the actor still manages to rule the box office.
That is exactly where Seven Pounds comes in. Surely the “best” movie among Smith’s worst movies, Seven Pounds was completely destroyed by the critics yet surprisingly, it earned $168,168,201. That is Will Smith for you!
11. Collateral Beauty (2016)
After the heartbreaking loss of his young daughter, successful advertising executive Howard Inlet loses his grip as he is unable to cope with the tragedy. Once his friends fail to cheer him up, Howard decides to question the universe by writing letters to Love, Time, and Death. To his surprise, he gets replies.
Premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival and starring an ensemble cast of amazing actors such as Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris, Jacob Latimore, and Kate Winslet, and Helen Mirren, Collateral Beauty is a thought-provoking movie.
10. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
Based on the 1995 book The Legend of Bagger Vance: A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life by historic fiction author Steven Pressfield, the movie stars none other than Will Smith and Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Charlize Theron.
Just when the down-on-his-luck golfer Rannulph Junuh feels he has hit rock bottom, he is approached by a mysterious traveler named Bagger Vance who offers his services as a caddy. With nothing to lose, he accepts and cannot seem to help himself noticing that his skills have dramatically increased a great deal.
9. Bad Boys (1995)
Action comedy movies have a charm of their own and with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as the leading men, the movie can do no wrong. Directed by Michael Bay, Bad Boys chronicles the duo as two hip detectives protecting a murder witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin.
On an interesting note, the success of Bad Boys generated a sequel in 2003, and announced two more sequels set to release in 2018 and 2019 with Smith and Laurence set to reprise their roles.
8. Ali (2001)
There was legitimate doubt over Will Smith having the necessary qualities that would require to portray the professional boxing legend, Muhammad Ali. The actor almost declined the part but had the backing from the boxer himself as Ali told Smith:
“Man, you’re almost pretty enough to play me.”
From his shocking Heavyweight Championship victory over Sonny Liston to regaining the title from George Foreman, the movie showcases Ali’s transition into a Muslim and the hot waters he fell in for criticizing the Vietnam War. Ali garnered Smith his very first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor but lost to Denzel Washington.
7. Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play of the same name penned down by John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation stars Academy Award-nominated actress Stockard Channing but it was Will Smith who ended up stealing the spotlight.
With only two feature films under his belt, Smith was still trying his luck as an actor who had yet to prove that he belonged in the big leagues and Six Degrees of Separation proved to be one of the steps on his stairway to superstardom.
6. Enemy of the State (1998)
Perhaps the most underrated movie starring Will Smith, Enemy of the State displays how crimes are often the result of departments whose very job is to stop them from ever happening in the first place.
When upbeat lawyer Robert Clayton Dean discovers convincing evidence that proves the National Security Agency of the United States actually killed Congressman Phil Hammersley, a bull’s eye is formed on his head.
5. I, Robot (2004)
The year is 2035 and humanoid robots are present to serve humans. However, when Detective Del Spooner sees the big picture that reveals that the robots are an upcoming threat to the hand that feeds them, things only get complicated.
Earning a whopping $347.2 million upon its release, I, Robot received mixed reviews but solidified once again why Will Smith is the real deal when it comes to decimating competition and dominating the box office.
4. Concussion (2015)
Based on a true story, the biographical sports drama movie Concussion revolves around Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist who combats against National Football League who are bent on suppressing his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration suffered by football players.
Action and science fiction movies aside, Concussion is one of Will Smith’s movies that begs to be seen. Creating awareness about how multi-dollar cooperation hides facts for their own benefit, the movie leaves an everlasting impact on the fans of football players.
3. Independence Day (1996)
Speaking of Six Degrees of Separation, it was after this movie that director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin wanted Will Smith as the leading actor in their upcoming science-fiction action movie Independence Day. Arguably one of the best movies to revolve around Earth being a victim of extraterrestrials, Independence Day became the highest-grossing movie of the year and established Smith as a star.
In fact, for a time, the movie had the status of being the highest-grossing movie of all time behind Jurassic Park and even won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. 20 years later, a sequel titled Independence Day: Resurgence was released but Smith declined to reprise his role – a wise move as the movie was a critical and box office bomb.
2. Men in Black (1997)
Aliens have been one of the most enduring creatures in Hollywood and Men in Black revolutionized the trend. Starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, the iconic duo are undercover agents who are responsible for monitoring alien activity in society.
Generating $589.4 million at the box office, the science fiction action comedy movie won one Academy Award from its three nominations and even spawned two sequels with Smith and Lee Jones reprising their roles.
1. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Without a shadow of a doubt, The Pursuit of Happyness stands out as the best and most emotional movie starring Will Smith. A heart-warming tale of a struggling father trying his best to get a job as a stockbroker to provide his son with a luxurious life.
Featuring the actor’s real-life son Jaden Smith in his debut role, the movie is based on the true story of homeless salesman Chris Gardner’s steady transition to a successful businessman. Smith’s passionate portrayal gained him his second nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor but lost to Forest Whitaker.
Still in his prime and giving one great performance after another, Smith is undoubtedly one of the best actors who have never won an Academy Award during their illustrious career. As the saying goes, the third time is the charm so it can be safely said that it is only a matter of time before Smith bags the most coveted prize in the entertainment industry.
We can’t resist mentioning these epic performances of Will Smith as well:
- Where the Day Takes You (1991)
- I Am Legend (2007)
- After Earth (2013)
Did we miss any of the best Will Smith movies of all time? You can let us know in the comments below!