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CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17: Actor Will Smith attends the "Ismael's Ghosts (Les Fantomes d'Ismael)" screening and Opening Gala during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 17, 2017 in Cannes, France.

Will Smith is one of the most successful actors of the past three decades. With years of performances under his belt, he’s done comedies, dramas, action films and everything in between.

The Philly native’s breakout role was in the television series The Fresh Prince of Belair and before his television debut, he had a rap career but found a true passion and talent through cinema.

We decided to list 10 of his best films. Check below if your favorite Will Smith film made the cut.


  • 1. The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006

    This Pursuit of Happyness is a film about triumph, determination, and courage. In the film, Will plays alongside his real-life son Jaden Smith as a single father looking to finally be financially stable for his son. Set in ’80s San Francisco, Will plays the role of Chris Garner whose hopeful at the end of his unpaid internship as a stockbroker he will be able to secure a more stable environment for his son. For this role, Will was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the Screen Actors Guild Awards per IMBD.

  • 2. Hitch, 2005

    Will plays the character  Hitch in a rom-com about a man who falls in love with a journalist played by Eva Mendes and helps his friend played by Kevin James grab the attention of a beautiful heiress played by Amber Valletta per IMBD.

  • 3. Bad Boys (franchise), 1995, 2003, 2020

    Comedy and action duo Will Smith and Martin Lawerence started the first installation of the Bad Boys franchise playing two detectives that are protecting a witness to a murder. Fans couldn’t give enough of the Smith/Lawerence combo and greenlit two more films creating Smith’s first break as an actor belonging to a franchise. The duo made headlines last year with their third installment releasing nearly 17 years after the sequel. However, the bad boys aren’t done as Sony Studios has tapped the two for an additional film that will be Bad Boys 4 per The Hollywood Reporter. There is no set release date as of now.

  • 4. Men in Black (franchise), 1997, 2002, 2012

    This sci-fi action film grabbed Will as their leading man playing an NYPD officer investigating extraterrestrial activity. Iconic scenes include Smith fighting with a giant cockroach and the “alien birth” scene. Will plays alongside Tommy Lee Jones offering comedy and action-packed thrill. The two end their partnership in 2012 as Columbia Pictures snags, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson for a reboot for the 2019 feature which they definitely had a lot to live up to.

  • 5. Ali, 2001

    The Muhammed Ali biopic showed Will’s acting abilities for a more serious role compared to a majority of the films he had been in before this time. Ali focused on the life of professional boxer Muhammad Ali from 1964 and 1974 through his heavyweight champion title and political stances. Smith starred in the film alongside Jamie Foxx and Jon Voight. Smith and Voight were both nominated for Oscars for their roles.

  • 6. Hancock, 2008

    Smith plays the superhero Hancock who has a don’t care attitude and doesn’t think too much about what others think of him until he goes out to save Ray and Mary Embrey played by Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron and in turn he has a change of heart. Smith won the “Best Actor” award at the 2008 BET Awards for his role per IMBD.

  • 7. I Am Legend, 2007

    I Am Legend is a sci-fi fantasy film based in New York City where Smith is the sole survivor of a plague that kills most of humanity. Smith won an MTV award for Best Male Performance in 2008 per IMBD.

  • 8. Independence Day, 1996

    This sci-fi thriller is most notably known for its impressive visual effects and sound as it won the 1997 Oscar for Best Visual Effects and a Grammy award the same year for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television per IMBD. Will also has a stand-out performance as Captain Steve Hiller who fights to save mankind from an alien invasion.

  • 9. Six Degrees of Separation, 1993

    Six Degrees of Separation was one of Will’s first larger films starring opposite Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland. Channing and Sutherland play a New York couple that can’t seem to shake Will’s character Paul from their mind per IMBD. Based on a play by John Guare, it follows the theory that everyone can be linked through just six social ties.

  • 10. Enemy of the State, 1998

    In Enemy of the State Will plays a lawyer that becomes the target of a corrupt politician’s game after receiving key information which makes him a target, per IMBD. Will plays alongside Gene Hackman who plays an ex-FBI agent and Jon Voight who is the corrupt NSA official. Will was nominated for Best Male Performance at the 1999 MTV Awards.