Top 5 Will Smith Movies of All Time

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Whether he was a cocky DC villain in Suicide Squad or a romantic comedy star in Hitch, Will Smith never failed to impress. The ’90s saw him embrace a variety of roles from critically acclaimed dramas like Six Degrees of Separation to big-budget alien invasion blockbusters like Independence Day and Men in Black.

1. The Pursuit of Happiness

One of the biggest blockbusters of 1996, this film was a huge success, earning over $817 million worldwide. It also helped to set Smith up for more sci-fi roles in the primewire movies. In this real-life biographical drama, Smith plays Chris Gardner, a struggling salesman who believes in the philosophy that “the pursuit of happiness” leads to success. The film features a strong supporting cast and is a touching and inspirational story.

Smith is sly as ever as a charming con man in this thriller, which doesn’t quite know whether it wants to be a heist movie or a noir. He’s matched by a great script and some top-notch direction from Fred Schepisi.

2. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Before he had his own sitcom, Smith was a hip hop star with a movie deal. He proved he could carry a dramatic film in this John Guare adaptation that tapped into Muhammad Ali’s sting-like-a-bee magnetism. This movie put Smith on the map as a serious actor. He was so good that he was nominated for an Oscar.

A science-fiction classic, this movie stars Smith as Captain Hiller, a Marine pilot fighting an alien invasion. The film has a bit of everything: humor, action, and heroics. It also features a pretty awesome theme song.

3. Hitch

Whether playing a sexy con man in Six Degrees of Separation, a boxing legend in Ali or a superhero in Men in Black, Smith excels as movie characters that feel distinctly real. That said, it was probably inevitable that he would one day have to face the fact that he is a mortal actor and not a box office god, as demonstrated by the 2013 debacle that was After Earth.

Sure, the film is a bit dumb in spots, but it’s also fluffy and appealing in its own way, and Smith gets to flex his 1,000-watt smile while doing rom-com. Plus, who doesn’t love the scene where he coaches dorky Kevin James on how to woo an assertive gossip columnist played by Eva Mendes?

4. The Pursuit of Happiness (Sequel)

A powerful adaptation of a Richard Matheson novel, this movie follows Chris Gardner, a salesman who is forced to go into a homeless shelter with his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, Will Smith’s real-life child) when bad luck and stupid decisions send him tumbling down the social ladder. Despite the painfully earnest tone that inevitably skews this movie toward afterschool special territory, Smith’s charisma and energy carry it well.

A career-launching performance, this clever sci-fi comedy stars Smith as Agent J, a street-smart cop recruited by an agency to monitor extraterrestrial interactions with Earth. Teamed with Tommy Lee Jones as the awe-inspiring Agent K, they become a formidable team. Smith might have lost a little of his edge after Men in Black, but this fun heist/thriller shows he still has it. It features a memorable scene where he smacks seasoned vet Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing in the face.

5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Sequel)

Smith has long been adept at romcom heroes-with-a-twist, and this early 2000’s hit proves it. He plays Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, a dating coach who helps lonely guys find success with women. The film is funny, but it also showcases Smith’s innate charisma as a leading man.

Before he took on the role of DC villain Deadshot, Smith starred as an air force pilot tasked with protecting Earth from malevolent aliens in this blockbuster. The film features some spectacular action sequences, but it’s not a perfect flick. The story can get overly exposition-heavy, and Smith’s performance may be a bit too laid-back for some viewers. Still, this movie helped catapult Smith to superstardom.