Five Best Films Starring Laurence Fishburne

Five Best Films Starring Laurence Fishburne

Laurence Fishburne is one of the most diverse actors working in Hollywood today. He is capable of delivering a performance that appears calm and collected, but which frequently conceals a fierce intensity. Here are 10 of his finest works, beginning with “Cornbread, Earl and Me” and ending with “The Matrix trilogy.”

It’s difficult to picture anyone else playing the famous role of Morpheus in the Matrix film franchise. Fishburne was able to exhibit a wide range of feelings, from uncertainty to faith to resignation, because the part was a natural fit for him and allowed him to do so.

1. Boyz n the Hood (1995)

At the age of ten, Tre Styles moves in with his father Furious Styles to live in South Central and learn how to be a man. The cineb movie  explores the choices that everyone in the hood makes: Doughboy and Ricky must decide whether to go to blows over a wisecrack remark; Brandi must choose whether or not to wait until marriage for sex; Tre must choose between joining the army to earn college funding now, or waiting and hoping he will get a football scholarship.

Director John Singleton crafted this powerful film that transcends the typical cliches of black cinema. The movie challenges the myth that black men are absent in the lives of their children and teaches them how to be responsible for themselves and each other. It also shows that a positive attitude and education are all you need to be successful.

2. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2013)

Although it’s not as good as the original, this 2009 movie is a must-see. Its plot centers on a train dispatcher (Denzel Washington) who is pressed into the role of negotiator when a gang led by John Travolta hijacks a subway car full of passengers.

The movie is based on a true story and has impressive production values. It’s also a good choice for anyone who loves movies about New York City. Quentin Tarantino borrowed the idea of using color coded names for the heisters in his debut film, Reservoir Dogs, and seminal NYC hip-hop group The Beastie Boys name checked the movie on their song, Sure Shot.

It takes a special kind of actor to pull off a dark, volatile character like Jimmy “Jump” Colt in this 1990 film. However, Fishburne does it well and has some excellent scenes with Christopher Walken.

3. The Internship (1988)

Considering that Fishburne began acting as early as 14 in Cornbread, Earl and Me and lied about his age to play Clean in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film Apocalypse Now, it’s no surprise he delivers a confident, yet grounded performance.

His calm in the face of extreme situations is perfect for Captain Miller, and makes him one of the best characters on the list. His performance in this movie is the perfect combination of humor and realism that he’s become so well known for.

Probably not his most popular film, this movie is still worth watching for its stellar cast. This made-for-television movie tells the story of the first African-American combat pilots in World War II. Laurence Fishburne shines as Capt. Hannibal “Iowa” Lee Jr., leading a squadron of Tuskegee Airmen. It’s the perfect film to watch with family and friends!

4. Mystic River (1993)

An absorbing crime drama, Mystic River explores the lives of working-class Boston residents and their morally ambiguous relationships. It’s based on the book by Dennis Lehane, one of the writers credited with creating a new genre of urban noir.

Mystic River centers around Dave, a ten-year-old boy who gets picked up by two plainclothes police officers while street fighting and endures sexual abuse at their hands. The incident scars Dave for life and influences his subsequent relationship with Sean Marcus, the son of a local mob boss played by Tim Roth.

Fishburne’s performance in this movie is nothing short of stunning. He expertly conveys the underlying feelings of pained fury and fatigued loneliness. He also nails the helpless boyish innocence that ties Dave to Sean. It’s a powerful performance that makes Mystic River a highly-recommended film.

5. The Hangover (2013)

Laurence Fishburne may have a storied career that includes starring in blockbuster movies like The Matrix and John Wick, but his best work has been on the small screen. From a schoolteacher who coaches a girl from south Los Angeles to win a spelling bee in Akeelah and the Bee to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention executive in Contagion, he has had some incredibly memorable roles.

In this neo-noir crime film, he plays Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, who takes on a mob boss in Harlem during the 1930s. It’s a fascinating and complex role that showcases Fishburne’s ability to take on any character.

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