With a calm demeanor and an authoritative voice, this popular actor has been one of the most influential and well-respected personalities in modern cinema. Morgan Freeman attracted the world’s attention and gain prominence through his roles in Another World, a soap opera, and The Electric Company, a show for children. Since then, Freeman went on to create one of the most prolific acting careers in Hollywood. His accomplishments include more than 119 acting credits since the beginning of his career in 1964. He has not only starred in a diverse range of movies but has also lent his hypnotic voice to documentaries and animations. Here are the 15 best Morgan Freeman movies of all time:
15. Now You See Me (2013)
Best known for its breathtaking cinematic sequences where the magicians use real-life magic tricks to dup and befuddle both the FBI and its victims. This is also loaded with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Even though, somewhat predictable, this movie is a great source of entertainment. The acting is splendid. Freeman and Harrelson clearly steal the show with their superb performances. It’s also refreshing to see Morgan in a negative role.
This movie grossed $351.7 million worldwide and its sequel, Now You See Me 2 was released in 2016 and performed well at the box office.
14. Outbreak (1995)
This movie is set in 1967 when there is a deadly outbreak of the Motaba virus, and as a result, the River Valley has to be destroyed in order to stop the virus from spreading. However, this virus resurfaces 27 years later in America abroad a monkey. The virus has evolved and becomes airborne.
Amazing storyline and superb acting by the cast, especially Morgan Freeman. It topped the US box office on its opening weekend and grossed $67,659,560 domestically and $122,200,000 internationally.
13. Oblivion (2013)
This action and mystery movie revolves around a veteran (played by Tom Cruise) who has been assigned to extract the remaining resources on Earth but begins questioning his role and the mission he is a part of.
Even though Freeman doesn’t have much screen time in this movie, his short yet powerful role leaves a major mark on the audience. This movie grossed $89,107,235 domestically, and $197,061,337 worldwide closing at a total of $286,168,572.
12. Lucy (2014)
A woman unknowingly gets caught up in a dark deal but manages to turn the tables on the captors by transforming into a warrior when a nootropic drug gets absorbed into her bloodstream. Scarlet Johnson gave an incredible performance while Freeman clearly shines with his persuasive voice, serene presence, and usual conviction.
This movie received mixed reviews due to the storyline but the performances of both Johnson and Freeman were highly appreciated. It was still a box office success and grossed more than $463 million on a mere $40 million budget.
11. Unleashed (2005)
A touching story of a kidnapped boy, Danny the Dog (Jet Li), raised as a kill dog who manages to run away to lead a normal life. With the music intervention and love from a blind piano tuner and his stepdaughter, the boy starts discovering a completely new way of living.
Freeman gives a mesmerizing performance as a blind piano tuner and exhibited an authoritative figure who is kind with a gentle and firm resolve. It earned $24.5 million domestically and $26.3 million internationally.
10. Wanted (2008)
This story centers on a frustrated account manager who finds out that his father was a professional assassin and makes the decision of joining the secret society his father was working for. Freeman plays the role of the leader of society and this is a role completely different from the roles he has played before.
This movie was a commercial and critical success and earned $341 million worldwide. A sequel was planned but was later stalled.
9. Amistad (1997)
This historical drama is based on real-life events on a slave ship La Amistad in 1839 when Mende tribesmen who were abducted to be traded as slaves gained control of the ship of their captives. This followed an international legal battle which was eventually resolved in 1841 by US Supreme Court.
Freeman plays the role of a man who, along with a partner, is fighting to abolish slavery and free all the men who were responsible for causing an uprising on the ship. A truly amazing and excellent performance by Freeman yet again. He received a number of award nominations and won the Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in Motion Picture.
8. Nurse Betty (2000)
With a terrific screen plan, great casting, and outstanding acting, this movie is a mix of chilling moments as well as some funny ones. The story is of a woman who witnesses the brutal murder of her husband, after which she develops amnesia and runs away in his car, unaware of a large volume of drugs stashed in the trunk and two hitmen following her.
Freeman truly shines in his performance by bringing grace to the role of a hitman. He has this amazing quality that makes him sound like the gentlest and wisest man even when playing a professional criminal.
He received several award nominations, including Black Reel Award for Theatrical – Best Actor, Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, and Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy, or Musical.
7. Invictus (2009)
The third movie in which Freeman teamed up with director Clint Eastwood brought us one of the most iconic roles of Freeman, the freedom fighter and later the President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Freeman’s portrayal of Mandela is truly believable and fascinating. He successfully brought Mandala to life with his usual grace and dignity.
His outstanding performance earned him another Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. This movie grossed $122.2 million at the box office.
6. Seven (1995)
Deeply disturbing, abrasive, and corrosive, this movie is about a serial killer murdering people as per the seven deadly sins. It is definitely a movie that will get under your skin but you will also help but keep watching.
Freeman plays the detective who is in despair due to the moral bankruptcy all around him. He gives a quiet, subtle but deeply affecting performance. Freeman earned numerous award nominations, including Saturn Award, CFCA, and ACCA for Best Actor. He also won the Empire Awards for Best Actor as well as the ALFS Award for Actor of the Year.
This movie spent four consecutive weeks in first place at the US box office and grossed a total of $327.3 million.
5. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Freeman plays an African American limo driver and the story depicts his relationship with Miss Daisy, a Jewish elderly lady. Freeman and Tandy share remarkable chemistry with their incredible performances.
This is truly one of the finest Freeman movies ever made. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role as well as a number of other nominations. He also bagged a few awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
4. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Ben Affleck’s directorial debut is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name. It narrates the story of two private investigators hired to find a girl who has been abducted and finds themselves trapped by the criminal underbelly of Boston.
Freeman’s role in this movie is unlike the ones he has played before. He beautifully played the role of the head of a missing person unit having a personal experience of losing his child. This movie was highly praised by critics and audiences alike and grossed a total of $34.6 million worldwide.
3. Unforgiven (1992)
Freeman plays the role of a gunslinger who has been called out of retirement. His role and performances brilliantly illustrate the ways men of color were often subjected to barbaric and cruel racism throughout history. This movie excels in the acting front by the entire cast, especially Freeman who remarkably plays a decent man caught in indecent times.
It spends a complete year in theaters and earned a whopping $159,157,447 worldwide. This movie was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress in 2004 for it being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
2. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
This is an emotionally shattering story about the relationship between an aspiring female boxer and her trainer. Freeman played the role of the trainer’s right-hand man at the gym. Freeman also gave an excellent voice-over narration in this movie making the audience view the story from the secondary character instead of the lead one.
His amazing performance as well as his outstanding narration earned him an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role as well as winning a number of other awards and nominations for his role, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Even though this movie was a disappointment at the box office at the time of its release, in the next two decades it went on to become one of the best movies ever to be made and is still adored by many. It brilliantly captures the feel of Stephen King’s novella. Freeman plays a lifer who befriends a wrongfully jailed man in Shawshank Prison. The story centers on the friendship of these two men in the next couple of decades.
The chemistry between Freeman and Robbins truly shines and makes the movie completely magnificent. This movie also features a voice-over narrative from Freeman which proved to be highly effective in mesmerizing the audience along with his fine acting skills. It received many nominations, including seven nominations at the Academy Awards.
Freeman earned his Oscar nomination for Best Actor in the Leading Role, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as a number of other award nominations. This movie was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress in 2015 for it being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
We feel the following three movies deserve an honorable mention because of Freeman’s outstanding performances:
- Brubaker (1980)
- Dolphin Tale (2011)
- Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Do you have anything to add to our list of the best Morgan Freeman movies of all time? Let us know in the comments below!