The acting profession has some gods and Morgan Freeman is one of the favorites (seriously, the man once said he thinks he’s God). Although the sexual harassment allegations hanging around his neck have made some of his devotees less enthusiastic about him, it would be sacrilegious for anyone to refuse to reckon that this American has been a blessing to the industry. More than being an actor, Freeman is a narrator and film director with an endless list of works across theatre, the small and big screens. Thou shall not make any list of movies everyone should see without the ones listed here, they are the finest Morgan Freeman movies.
Must-Watch Morgan Freeman Movies
15. Deep Impact (1998)
Long before Obama was President, we had Morgan Freeman helming the affairs of the United States of America. His character is faced with the difficult task of having to inform the people that he is meant to protect that an asteroid was coming to wipe them off the face of the earth and he could only save a small number of citizens by housing them in a protected bunker. The movie is packed full of suspense and action, and Freeman’s calm demeanor helps absorb a lot of it while reminding us what it means to be a leader.
14. Eyewitness (1981)
This movie manages to spin one of the most believable murder mysteries that have ever been portrayed on film, which is one of the reasons it is amongst the finest Morgan Freeman movies there is. He plays a police lieutenant who is caught up in a murder investigation alongside a janitor and a nosy journalist. There is a lot of twists and turns, but every moment of the film feels earned and deserved thanks to how diligently the director and cast tackle the script.
13. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Ben Affleck entered the league of directors with Gone Baby Gone and he did an excellent job. The movie stars Hollywood heavyweights – Casey Affleck and Morgan Freeman as private investigator and cop who are both committed to finding a girl who has been kidnapped. The case finds them entangled in the vast web of criminality spun through Boston. It’s heartfelt, dark, and melancholic enough to have you clutching your heart or reaching for a box of tissues.
12. Unforgiven (1992)
The Western was going out of style until Unforgiven came along and revived it. Freeman teams up with Clint Eastwood to deliver a beak and bitter exploration of the life-eating disease that is vengeance. They set out to make right the wrong that had been done to a sex worker who was battered and assaulted, but they soon lose sight of where right ends and wrong begins. It’s a powerful movie with an astounding cast and it picked up four Academy Awards including one for Best Picture.
11. Se7en (1995)
Seriously. If you haven’t seen this movie, what have you been doing with your free time? Freeman delivers one of the finest performances of his career as a close-to-retirement detective who gets a new partner (Brad Pitt) and is forced to unravel the evil mastermind behind some of the most gruesome murders the city has ever seen. Each death is meant to depict one of the seven deadly sins. The story gets personal real fast and is sure to leave you close to devastation at the end.
10. Invictus (2009)
Invictus is inspired by real events in that it tells the story of the late South African president, Nelson Mandela and his struggle to rid his beloved nation of apartheid. It’s a wonderfully directed picture that features Freeman and Matt Damon, both of whom earned an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for their dazzling performances. There is never a dull moment in this film and it’s an absolute must-see.
9. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
This Oscar-winning picture featured an ensemble cast which helped transform what would have otherwise been a run-of-the-mill story. Freeman plays the chauffeur hired to take a wealthy elderly lady around by her son. In the beginning, she resents Freeman’s presence in her life and what it represents, he ends up winning her over with his trademark charm and patience, and a beautiful friendship that spans across nearly three decades develops between them.
8. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Although Freeman may not be the first character that comes to mind when people think of the Dark Knight movies, that is not an indictment of his role in the films. In fact, it can be argued that he is the glue that holds the premise of the movie together. He portrays Lucius Fox the trusted butler and confidante of the Wayne family. He glides from one official capacity to another with ease and holds down the fort while Bruce Wayne is off fighting crime and bad guys in Gotham City.
7. Street Smart (1987)
This was the movie that catapulted the actor to fame, so it has definitely earned a place on the list of the finest Morgan Freeman movies. It stars Freeman as a badass pimp who goes by the name Fast Black. His character has a brush with the law when he becomes a suspect in a murder case because of a made-up story that a journalist publishes in an attempt to save his languishing career. Freeman’s acting was so convincing that it helped him bag his first Academy Award nomination.
6. Glory (1989)
Glory is a classic. The movie revolves around the African-American soldiers who fought in the Civil War on the side of the Union. It tells this poignant and important story in a brilliant way that is elevated by the performances of Freeman and Denzel Washington. Both stars pour their heart and soul into their roles and the result is so impossibly beautiful, it renders you unable to tear your eyes away from the screen.
5. Nurse Betty (2000)
There are very few performers who command the kindness, wisdom, and veiled but dangerous presence that Freeman so readily summons on screen. In this Neil Labute drama, he plays a hitman paid to assassinate a soap opera super fan who gets herself tied up in a mess. He manages to perfectly blend precision with romantic longing, senseless violence, and dark humor, and it’s hard not to treasure the end result.
4. The Lego Movie (2014)
Freeman has one of the most recognizable voices in the world so unique and bursting with authority that you have no choice but to listen to what he’s saying, which is why he was the perfect actor to take on the role of Master Builder Vitruvius in this visually stunning animation. He carried the film to the end with gravitas and wonderful humor.
3. Amistad (1997)
In Amistad, Freeman once again shows off his talents as a natural-born leader and exceptional performer. He embodies a fight slave fighting for the abolition of slavery as well as the liberty of the men who carried out a mutiny on a slave ship that was transporting them to a life of servitude in America. Spielberg’s directorial efforts also help to boost the overall effect of the movie.
2. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Whenever Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman come together they create pure magic and Million Dollar Baby is no different. Ultimately, it is a story about redemption so it goes hard on tragedy, grief, and sadness, but somehow never stops being delightful to watch. The film won four Oscars including Best Supporting Actor which went to Freeman. Whether or not you care about boxing, the storyline promises to pull you in and the top-notch acting will keep you glued to your seat.
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Most people agree that The Shawshank Redemption is not just one of the finest Morgan Freeman movies of his career, it is also one of the greatest films of all time. The legendary actor gives the performance of a lifetime as Ellis Boyd Redding in this riveting tale about a banker played by Tim Robbins, who is serving out a life sentence at the Shawshank State Penitentiary even though he claims he is not guilty of the crime. Freeman becomes his closest pal in prison and it is through his eyes that the story unfolds. It comes as no surprise that the movie picked up seven Oscar nominations including Best Actor for Freeman. If there is any movie on this list that you must see while you still have time in the world, it is this one.
What Awards Has He Won?
For his efforts, Morgan has been rewarded with a good number of the most coveted awards. Five times (in 1987, 1989, 1994, 2004, and 2009), he was nominated for the Oscars and Golden Globe. While the nominations were variously for the same film and for each award, he only emerged winner twice. The first time was in 1989 when he received the latter award for Best Actor. More than a decade later, he bagged an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; this was in 2004. In addition to that, Freeman has picked up seven NAACP Image Awards, two Black Reel Awards, 8 Film Critics Awards, and a handful of other miscellaneous awards.