Comedy, drama, sci-fi — Will Smith is just one of those rare actors who can do it all! Indeed, coming up with a ranking of all of Smith’s best films is not an easy task. That’s why we turned to the thousands of IMDb rankings to determine which of Will Smith’s many movies are considered his very best. Did your favorite make the list?
1. The Pursuit of Happyness
Director: Gabriel Muccino
Will Smith’s feel-good biopic, The Pursuit of Happyness, is ranked by IMDb users as the best film of his career. Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness is about a struggling salesman who takes on full custody of his son just as he’s given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to pursue a better career. Smith’s real-life son, Jaden, plays his movie son, Christopher.
2. Seven Pounds
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Ranked by IMDb users as Will Smith’s second best film, Seven Pounds is about a man with a fateful secret who sets off on a journey of redemption by changing the lives of seven strangers. The movie, which is directed by the same person who directed The Pursuit of Happyness, was nominated for a variety of awards from the BET Awards, Black Reel Awards, and Image Awards, among others.
3. Enemy of the State
Director: Tony Scott
Enemy of the State is a star-studded political thriller starring Smith, Jon Voight, and Gene Hackman, among others. Smith plays Robert Clayton Dean, a lawyer who comes across key evidence in a politically motivated crime, only to be targeted by a corrupt politician.
4. Men in Black
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
The first movie of the Men In Black franchise is, appropriately, ranked by IMDb users as the best. This kick-off movie introduces audiences to Agent J, a police officer who is asked to join a secret organization that monitors the activities of extraterrestrials living on Earth. Tommy Lee Jones plays Agent K, Agent J’s new partner.
5. Bad Boys for Life
Directors: Adil and Bilall
The newest installment of the Bad Boys franchise is ranked by IMDb users as Will Smith’s 5th best movie. In Bad Boys for Life, Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) take on career changes, midlife crises, and the leader of a vicious Miami drug cartel.
6. I Am Legend
Director: Francis Lawrence
I Am Legend takes place years after a plague has killed most of humanity and turned the rest into zombie-like monsters. Smith plays Robert Neville, New York’s sole survivor, who is working to find a cure. The film racked up quite a few award wins and nominations, including a Best Actor Saturn Award for Smith from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
7. I, Robot
Director: Alex Proyas
I, Robot is a sci-fi action film starring Smith, Bruce Greenwood, and Bridget Moynahan. It takes place in 2035, in a world in which a technophobic police officer is tasked with investigating a crime which may or may not have been committed by a robot.
Director: Peter Landesman
In Concussion, Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a real-life pathologist who uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who receive repeated concussions. Smith won a Best Actor award from the African-American Film Critics Association. He was nominated in the same category at the Golden Globes.
9. Independence Day
Director: Roland Emmerich
In Independence Day, Smith plays Captain Stephen Hiller, a fighter pilot who is one of just many would-be heroes tasked with stopping an alien invasion of Earth. The movie — a ‘90s classic — also stars Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and Randy Quaid, to name but a few.
Director: Guy Ritchie
IMDb users rank Disney’s highly anticipated live action Aladdin as Smith’s 10th best film of his career. Like the animated classic, the 2019 version of Aladdin tells the tale of a street urchin who is given three wishes from a genie. Smith, of course, plays the genie.
11. Bad Boys
Director: Michael Bay
Will Smith’s wildly successful Bad Boys franchise began in 1995 with the release of this film directed by Michael Bay. The movie introduces audiences to Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, two “hip detectives” who try to protect a witness to a murder while also investigating a case of stolen heroin from the police precinct’s evidence storeroom.
Director: Michael Mann
Smith was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Muhammed Ali in this critically acclaimed biopic of the famous boxer. Specifically, the film focuses on the sports legend’s triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.
13. Men in Black 3
Director: Barry Sonnenfield
Men in Black 3 ranks as the 2nd best in the franchise, according to IMDb users. In this now-classic action adventure movie, Agent J (Smith) travels back in time to 1969 to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K.
14. Spies in Disguise
Directors: Nick Bruno and Troy Quane
Based on the animated short film Pigeon: Impossible, Spies in Disguise proved one of 2019’s biggest family hits. When the best spy in the world is turned into a pigeon, he must rely on his nerdy tech officer to help him save the world. Besides Smith, Rachel Brosnahan, Reba McEntire, and Tom Holland also lend their voices.
15. Collateral Beauty
Director: David Frankel
Collateral Beauty is a star-studded drama in which Smith plays a man who has endured unbelievable tragedy. He responds emotionally by writing letters to Love, Time, and Death. Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Edward Norton, and Helen Mirren also star.
16. Six Degrees of Separation
Director: Fred Schepisi
Based on the stage play by John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation revolves around an affluent Manhattan couple who find their lives touched, and even intruded upon, by a mysterious young man who is never quite who he says he is. Smith plays said mysterious young man, Paul, while the couple is portrayed by screen legends Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland.
17. The Legend of Bagger Vance
Director: Robert Redford
Based on the novel by Steven Pressfield and directed by Hollywood legend Robert Redford, The Legend of Bagger Vance tells the story of a down-on-his-luck golfer who attempts to recover his game — and his life — with the help of a mysterious caddy. Smith portrays the caddy, while Matt Damon plays the golfer. Charlize Theron also stars.
18. Where the Day Takes You
Director: Marc Rocco
Where the Day Takes You is about a group of teenage runaways trying to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. The gritty crime drama stars a heap of would-be stars, including Dermot Mulroney, Laura San Giacomo, Sean Astin, Lara Flynn Boyle, and of course, Will Smith, in one of his first ever film roles.
Director: Andy Tennant
Perhaps surprisingly, Will Smith doesn’t have a whole lot of romantic comedies on his resume. One exception is Hitch, an Andy Tennant-directed romcom about a professional “date doctor” who finds that his usual tricks don’t work on the gossip columnist with whom he’s completely smitten. Hitch also stars Eva Mendes and Kevin James.
Directors: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
In Focus, Smith portrays veteran con man Nicky, whose latest scheme is thrown for a loop when a woman from his past shows up. Focus is one of two movies on our list in which Smith stars alongside Margot Robbie.
21. Bad Boys II
Director: Michael Bay
Smith, Martin Lawrence, and director Michael Bay all returned in 2005 for this follow up to their hit film Bad Boys. This time, Miami detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are tasked with investigating the flow of Ecstasy into Florida by a Cuban drug cartel.
Director: Peter Berg
Released amongst a slew of other superhero movies, Hancock is a different kind of superhero film. Smith’s Hancock is a superhero whose ill-considered behavior routinely causes millions of dollars worth of damage. Fortunately, one of the people he saves is willing to help him work on his public image. Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron also star.
Director: David Ayer
Bright is a Netflix Original which takes place in a future in which humans live alongside orcs and elves. Smith plays an LAPD police officer who is forced to work with an orc to find a powerful wand before evil creatures do. Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace also star.
24. Men in Black II
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
In this follow up to the 1997 hit, Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agents J and K, respectively. This time, the two secret agents must restore Agent K’s memory after a case from his past comes back to haunt him.
25. Suicide Squad
Director: David Ayer
Smash hit Suicide Squad stars Smith alongside other superstars like Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, and Viola Davis. The movie is about some of the most dangerous incarcerated supervillains who are recruited by a secret government agency to form a defensive task force and save the world from the apocalypse.
26. Shark Tale
Directors: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman
Smith (along with Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and a slew of other big names ) lends his voice to Shark Tale. This animated hit tells the family friendly story of an unlikely duo who come up with a “great white lie” after the son of a gangster shark boss is accidentally killed while on a hunt.
27. Gemini Man
Director: Ang Lee
Smith, Clive Owen, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead star in this sci-fi thriller directed by award-winning director Ang Lee. In Gemini Man, Smith plays an over-the-hill hitman who faces off against a younger clone of himself.
28. Made in America
Director: Richard Benjamin
In this comedy from the early 1990s, Whoopi Goldberg plays a woman who is shocked to find out the sperm donor used to conceive her high school-aged daughter was white. Smith plays Tea Cake Walters, the best friend of Goldberg’s daughter.
29. Wild Wild West
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Smith re-teamed with Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld to make 1999’s Wild Wild West. This action adventure movie with a sci-fi twist is about two special agents in the Wild West who must save President Grant from a diabolical, steampunk-y Confederate scientist seeking revenge for losing the Civil War.
30. After Earth
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Coming in at #30 on our list of the 30 best Will Smith movies is After Earth, a film that proved controversial and polarizing the moment it was released. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, After Earth stars Smith and his son, Jaden, as Cypher and Kitai, two humans who crash land on Earth a millennium after events forced humanity’s escape.