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26 Best Will Smith Movies
Role: Cypher Raige
The big twist in this M. Night Shaymalan joint is that the very bad planet Will and Jaden Smith are on is actually Earth! Unfortunately, that’s spoiled in both the movie title and the trailer. Which makes it easy to skip!
YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHY THIS MOVIE IS CALLED SEVEN POUNDS. SERIOUSLY.
Do you remember Winter’s Tale? Neither do I! But it’s a film where Will Smith is randomly, like, the devil or something.
Will Smith had the best of intentions here: to release something happy and uplifting in the extremely shitty year of 2016. Unfortunately, this film was just as bad as everything else that year.
Bad Boys II
Role: Detective Mike Lowrey
Did you see the first Bad Boys and think to yourself, “I could definitely benefit from more of this”? Then this film is for you!
This film has the same Rotten Tomatoes score as The Room.
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Role: Bagger Vance
In a different time, Will Smith as the titular golf coach might have been a heartwarming film, but The Legend of Bagger Vance has not aged well nearly two decades later.
Role: Daryl Ward
A movie created by a Netflix algorithm based off your interest in Men in Black, Bad Boys, and The Lord of the Rings.
Made in America
Role: Tea Cake Walters
Will Smith, still in his Fresh Prince days, is the only funny part of this otherwise unfunny rom-com.
Men in Black II
In a little bit of role reversal, Smith’s Jay is inducting Tommy Lee Jones’s K into the Men in Black club. Unfortunately, this scenario is far less interesting than the original.
Where the Day Takes You
In his feature length debut, Smith played a crippled homeless homeless man. And it was all uphill from there.
Before they were two super villains, Smith and Margot Robbie were two pretty charming cons.
Role: Mike Lowrey
Even though there’s hardly anything memorable about the general plot of Bad Boys, it did firmly establish Will Smith as a full-fledged movie star.
What any of us would be if we were an actual superhero.
Role: Del Spooner
In hindsight, Smith’s adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s film—three years before the release of the iPhone—seems entirely prescient. Now there are literally vacuum robots called iRobots.
Role: Dr. Bennet Omalu
Another well-intentioned Will Smith flick about the massive moral and institutional NFL response to concussions in the sport. Despite a great performance from Smith, this film never managed to stick, even as the NFL continues to fail in its concussion protocol.
Men in Black III
If you stuck around after Men in Black II, then you were treated to a well-deserved return to form in the third film in this franchise. Plus, Josh Brolin as young K!
Six Degrees of Separation
An adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated John Guare play that surprisingly doesn’t co-star Kevin Bacon.
Role: Capt. Steven Hiller
There’s a reason that Independence Day has become a timeless and mindless Hollywood classic. It’s an idealized summer blockbuster—one that’s fun, exciting, and funny. This is harmless entertainment that arrived during what we’ll call the Will Smith Golden Era in the late ‘90s, during which he made Independence Day, Men In Black, and Enemy of the State in three back-to-back years.
Leave it to Will Smith to anchor the only-ever good Kevin James movie. Sure, the tactics here are kind of manipulative and might not hold up in 2018, but this is a pretty pure rom-com—which is a surprisingly rare look for Will Smith.
I Am Legend
Role: Robert Neville
Really, though, the end of the world doesn’t seem half-bad if it’s just Will Smith and an adorable dog. Sure, the vampire zombies are a real bummer, but this movie is still fun as hell.
Enemy of the State
Role: Robert Clayton Dean
Of the three movies during the Will Smith Golden Era, Enemy of the State marks Smith’s first big, somewhat dramatic role, bringing his big action charm to a political thriller. This at once showed Smith’s range and his ability to draw in audiences for a movie that could have been over their head.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Role: Chris Gardner
The second of Smith’s two career nods for the best actor Oscar, the actor is truly touching alongside his IRL son (a young, not yet weirdo Jaiden!). It’s the pure American dream, and one touching enough to make you forget about the misspelling in the film title.
Men in Black
Another entry in the Golden Era of Will Smith, Men in Black launched the actor/rapper’s biggest smash franchise. Even more than two decades later, Men in Black still hasn’t gotten old. What’s more impressive is that it still looks fresh, with truly solid CGI and visual style.
Role: Muhammad Ali
Even at his best, it’s sometimes hard to separate Will Smith characters from Will Smith the movie star. Yet in 2001’s Ali, Smith is able to capture the eccentricities of one of the greatest athletes of all time. This is a film that looks at the most powerful decade of the boxer’s life—fighting in and outside of the ring. His first Oscar nomination was absolutely deserved for what remains his finest performance.