This film is the one that fans of Jackson are likely to be quoting in their sleep, as it features the iconic scene where his character Jules recites a biblical verse with pistol in his hand, unleashing his wrath upon an unfortunate soul who has wronged his employer.
Do The Right Thing
The smoothest radio personality in the neighborhood, Jackson is Mister Señor Love Daddy and he lets his charm and charisma do the talking, showing audiences early on in his career that he was ready for the spotlight.
Another one of Jackson's scene-stealing performances, he's an arms dealer that seems to be a reasonable, trustworthy "friend" to those who work with him...but who's also quick to the pull trigger if he feels he's been double-crossed.
Black Snake Moan
What is probably a sympathetic but also disturbing role Jackson took on in his career, he's cast here as a guy who keeps a young, afflicted woman locked in his house in order to help her get clean and cleanse her of her "wickedness."
A complicated situation arises where a young boy witnesses a murder, so in order to choose the right path of what to do next, he leans on the skills that he learned from his drunken father (played by Jackson) who knows all about making the right move from his days as a speed-chess champ.
The Hateful Eight
Jackson can easily fit into any Tarantino flick, and in this one he's a bounty hunter who plays by no rules and will murder any man in cold blood that gets in the way of his bounty.
In another early breakout role, the chameleon actor plays a crackhead named Gator who tries to convince his brother to give him money. If that doesn't work, he's more than willing to rob an elderly person.
Drama / 1991 / R
This is hands-down a most unique and ironic role. Jackson is the right-hand man to a slave owner, yet he's a slave himself. Because he's the head house slave, though, he can order all of the other slaves around in a demeaning way with no qualms about it.
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Jackson's character Zeus Carver is just minding his own business...until he meets detective John McClane on the street. After that, all bets are off.
Jackson pairs with Willis once more. This role is one of an actual supervillain, born with bones so weak that they break like glass. For reasons to be revealed later, he's hellbent on finding the superhero of the story who is supposed to be unbreakable.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
If you're a Star Wars fan, then you'll never forget Jackson's portrayal of Mace Windu, the only jedi to grace the big screen with a purple lightsaber.
Though his first cinematic entrance into the MCU was in "Iron 2," Jackson's character Nick Fury really gets his time to shine in this film. From an MCU timeline perspective this is actually before the Avengers assemble, and before Fury loses sight in his left eye.
Snakes on a Plane
From the title, this film's exactly what it sounds like, and Jackson's character Agent Neville Flynn from the FBI is not messing around letting loose one of Jackson's famously explicit lines about how he's "had it" with the snakes on the plane.
This one's an inspiring role where Jackson plays a high school basketball coach who's determined to show his players discipline on the court and in their classes so that they can be the best versions of themselves everywhere.
The Long Kiss Goodnight
Jackson jumps into his role as an ill-experienced private investigator who is hired to help a woman with amnesia figure out who she is. He quickly finds he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
One of Jackson's coolest characters is where he's able to let it all hang out as former NYPD Detective John Shaft II (deference to his poppa, the o.g. from the inital '70s film series). This is the type of man that doesn't play by anyone's rules...and we're all the better for it.
A Time to Kill
This one deals with some sensitive, unsettling themes as Jackson's character Carl Lee Hailey has a daughter who is taken advantage of...leading him to take matters into his own hands...and later being put on trial to determine if his actions were justified.
What starts as an unfortunate car accident turns into an all-out war between two complete strangers, when Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Affleck go head-to-head with no rest stop in sight.
In this role, Jackson is a hostage negotiator who believes he's been set up, and who'll have to do his best to convince a fellow negotiator that he's innocent.
One Eight Seven
At a troubled school where death threats come by the dozen, Jackson is the teacher who's fed up with the "kids" thinking that they run the school. This time, it may end up with his students learning the hard way.
About the Author
Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.