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Best Morgan Freeman Films

Updated on September 19, 2014
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Although Freeman had been acting for over 15 years, 1989 was the year that he really broke through on a major scale and he has never looked back from there. In a twelve month period in 1989, three outstanding Morgan Freeman movies made a lasting impression on audiences; Lean on Me, Driving Miss Daisy and Glory. Driving Miss Daisy received 9 Oscar nominations, won the Best Picture Oscar and Freeman was nominated for Best Actor. Glory received 5 Oscar nominations and won 3 Oscars. Finally, Lean on Me was a critically acclaimed independent film that did not receive any Oscar nominations but was a tremendous film.

Freeman has been nominated for a total of 5 Oscars, which is actually fewer than deserved given his amazing career. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Million Dollar Baby. Maybe an even more important measure of his skill is the fact that 3 of his over 60 feature films have won the Best Picture Oscar including, Driving Miss Daisy, Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.

In addition to acting accolades, Freeman is also known for his distinctive, authoritative voice. He has narrated parts of many of his best movies because he has a such a soothing likeable voice. Movies such as Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby and Lean on Me benefited greatly from Morgan Freeman's narration in parts of the film. With narration, we are given a feeling of getting inside the protagonists head. If done seamlessly, narration can really enhance a film

This top ten list of the best Morgan Freeman movies is based on the rankings of movie bloggers and other fans at Rankography movies. If you enjoyed this list of Freeman film, you might also want to check out our list of the best Robert De Niro movies at Rankography.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 Rankography

11. Lean on Me (1989)

Discipline and Empowerment Turn Around a Difficult High School

I remember seeing Lean on Me when it first came out in 1989 and being completely blown away by Morgan Freeman as an actor. It was immediately obvious that this guy was incredibly talented and likely going to be a huge, award-winning actor. Lean on Me was not Freeman's first film, in fact he had been acting for more than 15 years at this point, but this film was the first lead role in an impactful movie that made you say wow, what a powerful actor.

I absolutely loved this film. It is based on the true story of a down and out high school in Paterson, NJ. It is a troubled school in a poor, mostly black neighborhood, with unmotivated children that see no way out of the ghetto. Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) is appointed as the new principal of fictional East Side High and proceeds to institute dramatic changes in discipline, teaching style and the rewards system.

His goal is to increase the test scores for the children at the schools so they will have increased options of going to colleges and universities. This is an incredibly powerful and inspirational story. You won't always like Joe Clark as a person, at times you will not like his methods but by the end of the film you definitely know that he cared deeply about the students and helping them bootstrap themselves out of a terrible situation.

Morgan Freeman is brilliant in this film and it is one of my all time favorite Freeman roles.

If you liked Lean on Me, you should also see Stand and Deliver

10. The Bucket List (2007)

"You Measure Yourself, by the People Who Measure Themselves by You"

And thus the wisdom of Carter (Morgan Freeman) begins. The Bucket List is a beautifully poignant film about two terminally ill older men that decide to escape their hospital ward and do several things on their "before we kick the bucket" list. What really makes this movie is the brilliance of Rob Reiner, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. What a triumvirate!

Edward (Jack Nicholson) is a cynical billionaire who has chased money at the expense of all the relationships in his life. Carter is a mechanic who has always valued relationships over money. They both start out scared and lonely in their diagnosis, but together they are able to grow together and prepare themselves for the inevitable.

Because of Edward's wealth, they are able to escape the hospital, spare no expense and travel the world in pursuit of checking off their 'bucket lists'. Because of Carter's simple, yet astute philosophy on life, Edward is able to repair some of the relationships. This film is both funny and touching, often at the same time. You will cry, but they are good tears and it is hard not to watch this film without growing as a person.

9. Invictus (2009)

"I thank whatever Gods may be, For my unconquerable soul"

Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman have teamed up on three films (Clint directed all three and acted in two) and all of them were some of the best films ever made. In fact, two of them won Best Picture Oscars. Unfortunately, Invictus was the one that did not win any Academy Awards, despite being an excellent film.

While it did not win any Academy Awards, this is an inspiring film based on a true story. After taking office in 1995, Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) tried to unite his country by making a concerted effort to win a World Championship in Rugby. He partners with Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), the captain of the team, to try to change the animosity of the mostly white players and mostly black fans.

Ultimately, the South African Springboks make it to the Championship Game of the 1995 World Cup and I will not spoil what happens from there. But the quote in the title frame gives you a sense of the spirit of this film and why everyone should include this Morgan Freeman movie on their viewing list.

8. Batman Begins (2005)

Nolan Blows us Away with a Whole New Look at Batman

Christopher Nolan directed this outstanding rebirth of the Batman saga and wisely created a role for Morgan Freeman in the film. Freeman plays Luscious Fox who was a key associate of Bruce Wayne's (Christian Bale) father and is Head of Research and Development of Wayne Enterprises at the start of the film. He is a highly moral family man and a confidant of Wayne's.

Freeman's character is a very likable anchor for Wayne's mission. I think this was probably a very easy role for Freeman to assume. While it is a fantastic film and a likeable character for Freeman, it was not one of his more challenging roles, but the film is a must see for so many reasons.

7. Bruce Almighty (2003)

Now Freeman is not Just a God of an Actor...

No offense to a funny movie, but I was very surprised to see Bruce Almighty in this top ten list of the best Morgan Freeman films. While an enjoyable movie, it is by no means worthy of being in his top ten. He has so many films that leave a lasting impression and possible change your perspective about an issue. In my mind, those are the types of films that should be included in this top ten.

As a result, I have added an eleventh film to the list in Lean on Me which I would include as a stand-in for this film.

Having said all that, if you are looking for laughs from a simple film, then Bruce Almighty is quite entertaining. Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman are quite funny together and the plot leaves a lot of room for Carrey's comedic antics.

6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

A Touching Story and Amazing Movie

I have never been a big fan of boxing movies and as such, I put off watching Million Dollar Baby far too long. While a mistake, this is definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen. While fundamentally about female boxing, this is not a boxing movie. There are not a lot of violent scenes in the ring. Rather, this is a movie about perseverance, relationships, overcoming incredible hardships and loyalty.

Morgan Freeman is outstanding in this film as Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris, a former top boxer who stayed in the game for one too many fights and lost his right eye in the process. His relationship with Frank (Clint Eastwood), his former trainer and manager, is highly complex but deeply loyal from both sides.

Hilary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald and Clint are both excellent in this movie, but I really felt that Freeman's role really sets this film apart. He is the bridge between the three characters that lets them all develop the lasting bond that ultimately makes all three of them stronger.

If you have not yet seen this Eastwood and Morgan Freeman film, please make it the next movie you watch. It is so good that everyone should see it at least once.

If you loved Million Dollar Baby, you should also see Gran Torino

5. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Simple Homespun Philosphy wins over A Grizzled Elderly Woman

In one of his first of many films in which he plays a character whose zen-like philosophical outlook have a profound positive impact on those around him, Morgan Freeman portrays Hoke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy. The film won the Best Picture Oscar and Freeman was nominated for a Best Actor for his role. It was an outstanding portrayal and a touching film.

This was the first of three movies that Morgan Freeman has starred in that have won the Best Picture Oscar. That is really quite an amazing statistic when so many other great actors have been shut out of any Best Picture films.

This is a heartwarming film and both Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy were exceptional in their roles.

4. Unforgiven (1992)

Eastwood and Freeman Team up to Win the Best Picture Oscar

As I previously mentioned, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman have only teamed up twice as actors and both of those films won the Best Picture Oscar. That is a real testament to these two great actors and Unforgiven deserved all of the accolades that it received. It is certainly one of the best Western films ever made and an exceptional film.

Bill Munny (Eastwood) is a retired gunslinger who has settled down to a family farm and raising two children. He is widowed and admits he is not a very good farmer. However, he was a very good bounty hunter and decides to take one more job with a big payday to track down two outlaws that cut up a local prostitute. Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) his long-time bounty-hunting partner reluctantly agrees to join him on the hunt.

Eastwood and Freeman are superb together both in this film and Million Dollar Baby and I hope more films will follow. They have great on screen repartee and it certainly seems like they genuinely like each other.

This is my favorite Morgan Freeman movie and an Oscar winning film that you should definitely check out.

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

Freeman Reprises his Role as the Likable Fox

The Dark Knight is the second installment in Christopher Nolan's of the Batman series. Morgan Freeman reappears as Luscious Fox, who has been promoted to run the entire Wayne Enterprises at the end of Batman Begins. He continues to play an instrumental role in equipping Batman with all the tools he needs to transform from a mere mortal into a superhero crime fighter.

This is a widely acclaimed superhero movie that tops many of the action rankings at Rankography. It is an exciting film and Freeman continues to play a valuable role in the film. Like Batman Begins this role is not a stretch for Freeman's acting abilities but he continues to portray a very likable character with a strong moral compass that is easy to identify with

2. Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Freeman and Robbins are Excellent Together

Shawshank Redemption was both an exceptional book and movie. It is the story of two convicts, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis "Red" Redding (Freeman), that become the most unlikely of friends. But they develop a very strong bond and confide their interesting back-stories in life.

Andy turns out to be a highly unusual prisoner who changes many of the inmates in profound ways, not the least of which is Red. The plot takes many twists and turns throughout but these two friends, Andy in particular, perseveres against tremendous odds.

It is a story about endurance, one's moral compass, deep friendship and the law. It is both heartwarming and shocking at times but it will keep you deeply entertained. I really like his role in this Morgan Freeman Film and Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favorite films.

If you loved Shawshank Redemption, then you should also see Papillon

1. Se7en (1995)

Possibly the Best Psychological Thriller since Silence of the Lambs

In one of the creepiest films that Morgan Freeman has starred in, he plays Lt. William Somerset, a veteran detective chasing down a serial killer that is using the Seven Deadly Sins as a backdrop for his murders. Somerset is paired with rookie David Mills (Brad Pitt). The age and experience differences lead to tension between the two detectives as they race against time to stop this murdering madman.

This is one of David Fincher's early films and yet he does an outstanding job framing the action and dialogue in this psychotic thriller. Freeman, Pitt and Kevin Spacey as John Doe (killer) are all excellent.

If you like psychological thrillers like Silence of the Lambs, The Shining or Zodiac, you will definitely want to check out Se7en.

Vote for your favorite Morgan Freeman movie

Which of these Morgan Freeman films do you think is his best?

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What did you think of this Morgan Freeman Film lens?

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    • yayang0405 lm profile image

      yayang0405 lm 3 years ago

      I love almost all of his movies.

    • alienbritt profile image

      alienbritt 3 years ago

      Who doesn't love Morgan Freeman?

    • Joebeducci profile image

      Joebeducci 4 years ago

      Such a great actor, most people liked him more in the Shawshank Redemption than in Se7en, but I really prefer Se7en, such a complex and dark story where everything is just right. Nice lens!

      Greets,

      Joebeducci

    • jean valdor profile image

      jean valdor 4 years ago

      Great lens! Morgan Freeman is such a great actor

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      I love Morgan Freeman. He's from here and I had a chance to meet him.

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 4 years ago from Vancouver

      I'm a long-time Morgan Freeman fan, too, but I've put off Million Dollar Baby because I'm not really into boxing. But I have to admit it sounds a lot more engaging that I thought it would, so I've added it to my list of movies to see soon. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      One of the all time great actors. Excellent lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Really like all of his Films superb really superb.

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Back for another visit - love Morgan Freeman!

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Back for another visit - love Morgan Freeman!

    • shawnhi77 lm profile image

      shawnhi77 lm 5 years ago

      Morgan Freeman is a great actor. Wonderful lens.

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      one of my favorite actors

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning with angel dust to sprinkle all over the brilliance of Morgan Freeman and your great reviews!

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @ClassyGals: Thanks a million

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @ClassyGals: Thanks a million

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you thank you

    • Rankography profile image
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      Rankography 5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thanks so much

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I always enjoyed Morgan Freeman as an actor. Loved him in Red. Great movie reviews. Angel Blessings**

    • squidingaround profile image

      squidingaround 5 years ago

      a great lens

    • TriviaChamp profile image

      TriviaChamp 5 years ago

      It was hard to decide which film to vote for as he has so many winners!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Back to bless this.

    • profile image

      JerseyJames 5 years ago

      Nice lens, he is such a great actor!

    • profile image

      LuizAvila 5 years ago

      Excellent!!! A Geat actor and human being!

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 5 years ago

      There are so many reasons I love Morgan Freeman. He can talk to me any night! OH, his movies are great too!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Loved him in Bruce Almighty.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Great tribute to great actor. He is still in pretty good shape, so we can expect more from him in the future.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Loved him in Bruce Almighty.

    • Mariajomith profile image

      maria 5 years ago

      love morgan freeman films. i enjoyed your lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning to love Morgan Freeman once again, he is a favorite and so is Clint Eastwood and I hope they team up for a third time soon!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Wow... I think you did an EXCELLENT job at discussing Morgan Freeman's career and films. I have to say that I hadn't really known all those films, but every single one that I HAVE seen is outstanding. He's really a remarkable actor, and I think any movie that I would see that has him in it is one I would watch! Again, great job on the lens and the summaries. Blessed!

    • LesleyOC profile image

      LesleyOC 5 years ago

      Lots of films here I haven't seen, but now I have a list, I'll start working on it. The Shawshank Redemption is a big favorite of mine, but really if Morgan Freeman is in it, can it be a bad movie?

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 5 years ago

      Lean On Me is a good movie:) This is a good list.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 5 years ago

      Well done and Angel blessed today.

    • cinefile profile image

      cinefile 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed his nuanced performance in Unforgiven but I'm ashamed to admit that I've never seen Driving Miss Daisy.

    • shreeve21 profile image

      shreeve21 5 years ago

      LOVE MORGAN FREEMAN!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Morgan is one of my favorite... Love his movies

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Love it! I really enjoy Morgan Freeman movies. Shawshank and Miss Daisy are absolutely icnonic film portrayals.

    • profile image

      Ajeet 5 years ago

      I liked him in Batman :)

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      A great actor! He has played in many movies I have seen. I really enjoyed this lens!

    • profile image

      termit_bronx 5 years ago

      The Bucket List and Shawshank Redemption are great movies!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Shawshank Redemption was absolutely my favorite Morgan Freeman Movie.

    • profile image

      JGracey 5 years ago

      Nice lens. I like Morgan Freeman a lot - most of his movies in fact. He's one of those "all-rounders" who can do almost anything in film, and do it well.

    • profile image

      Spectresoft 5 years ago

      My vote was for either Unforgiven or Shawshank. I went with Unforgiven, but was close.

      Great lens, great actor!

    • profile image

      AbandonGames 5 years ago

      Great stuff here ! Morgan Freeman is an amazing actor!

    • chrisqw profile image

      chrisqw 5 years ago

      Good lens abouit a great star. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love Morgan Freeman. Superb actor.

    • hippiechicjewelz profile image

      hippiechicjewelz 5 years ago

      A super lens featuring a SUPER star! I love Morgan Freeman, he can play a wide variety of roles and exceeds in them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      One of the best 'behind the scene' superstars!

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      I love Morgan Freeman Films and I loved this lense.

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      I am also a huge fan. There is something about Freeman that is sympatheic and yet uncertain. Very credible in all his films. Favorite is unforgiven.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      I really like Morgan Freeman, he is a great actor.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      you forgot to include the movie 7 with brad pitt.

    • profile image

      slappywalker 5 years ago

      I'm such a huge Morgan Freeman fan. It's cool seeing how good he is in such a wide range of roles.

      Glory and The Shawshank Redemption are my two favorites, but I don't think I've ever seen him in a bad movie. Thank you for making this lens!

    • lunagaze profile image

      lunagaze 5 years ago

      I love Morgan Freeman hes is the best actor ever

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      I love the Shawshank Redemption! This lens should be renamed 'God Movies' because I swear he plays God in like 80% of his movies.

    • harty5680 profile image

      harty5680 5 years ago

      I would have to say Shawshank Redemption was one of his best and one of my favorites. He also rocks a mean narration in the credit card commericals.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      I have never watched a film with Morgan Freeman that I did not like. I loved him in Shawshank Redemption, which still remains my all-time favorite film.

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 5 years ago

      Morgan Freeman is such a great actor. I love him and all of his films.

    • cdltraining lm profile image

      cdltraining lm 5 years ago

      I loved Invictus, I usually detest sports related films but as sport was a very distant second in Invictus, and as the main topic was very powerful (racial apartheid), I thought the movie was quite good.

      For those interested in other movies showcasing South Africa and it's racial problems, I recommend "Totsi".

      Aidan - CDL Training Squidoo Lens

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      I really like Morgan Freeman as an actor, and usually like the movies he is in.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Most of Freeman's characters exude moral authority. He's no doubt one of our greatest actors.

    • stefanruse profile image

      stefanruse 6 years ago

      Really perfect information and opportunity for all fans to enjoy some of the best Morgan Freeman Films. I love his personality and work. One of the best Hollywood actors. Oh, now I got few ideas for perfect relaxing night at home. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Kiss the Girls should be on this list too. Alex Cross is an amazing character and Freeman does it perfectly

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Morgan Freeman has been on my very short list of favorite actors for a long time. His movies are among the few that I can view over and over, most movies today are good for one watch only if that.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors, he always plays a great role. You didn't even mention Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves, but then he has had so many fine roles. Loved him in Glory, Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy too. Nicely done, blessed.

    • betsuzlap profile image

      betsuzlap 6 years ago

      Morgan Freeman is definitely in my top 10 of favorite actors! He's an amazing actor. My favorite is Shawshank Redemption.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      He is classic actor...great to watch him in Shawshank Redemption, million dollar baby , seven etc.

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 6 years ago

      Great lens about a great actor. I love him ineverything but Se7en has to be my favourite.

    • WayneDave LM profile image

      WayneDave LM 6 years ago

      Se7en is probably my fave film of all time. I am a big fan of Morgan though. Need to see some more of these films, only seen about half of them.

    • profile image

      healthandsick 6 years ago

      I like him when being a God

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 6 years ago

      Morgan Freeman is one of the true greats...its nice to see him get some love on Squidoo! A+!

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 6 years ago

      @gypsyman27 lm: Really good input. It had been a long time since I saw Unforgiven and I think your interpretation is correct. It is on my list to watch again because it such a great film.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      I have to correct your idea that Freeman and Eastwood were bounty hunters in Unforgiven. They were ex-outlaws and murderers trying to make one more payday. They used to rob trains and banks apparently and the title is a testimony to the fact that although they were reformed, they had not been forgiven by the general public. This is a very good lens, and your subject is above reproach. I like anything that Freeman has starred in and I have seen all of his movies. Very well done, and a great lens. See you around the galaxy...

    • BrandonSharp profile image

      BrandonSharp 6 years ago

      This lens is a great tribute to a wonderful actor. I grew up watching Morgan on 'The Electric Company' so it is particularly nice to see him finally get the recognition he deserves.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      He certainly is an underrated actor and he has a great voice for narration too. I could be wrong, but didn't he start out on Sesame Street? Perhaps explains why his voice is comforting and great for story telling.

    • Coffeebreak9am profile image

      Coffeebreak9am 6 years ago

      Somehow he just "makes" the movie!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Morgan Freeman is magic, if he's in a film, I'll be watching it. I particularly love Shawshank Redemption and have probably seen it at least ten times.

    • BSieracki profile image

      Bernie 6 years ago from Corbin, KY

      one of the best actors