I decided to do another list of ten films by a particular actor, but I discovered that I come up short with almost everyone but Denzel. I’m kind of cheating with this list – I’ll explain why in a minute, but here goes; ten films I own that feature Morgan Freeman:
1. The Nolan Batman series. I LOVE these films. Freeman plays Lucius Fox, and I love him in that role. “Mister Wayne, if you don’t want to tell me exactly what you’re doing, when I’m asked, I don’t have to lie. But don’t think of me as an idiot.”
2. Shawshank Redemption. This is one we stop on anytime we find it while channel surfing. Freeman plays Red, the prison ‘acquisition’ guy and best friend to Tim Robbins’ Andy. The appeal of Red is his sense of humor in the face of conditions that break other men. “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish…”
3. Lean on Me. Freeman played the baseball-bat carrying, take no shit principal who turned a sinking school around. I haven’t watched that film in years, but I remember really admiring the character Freeman played (and how he played him).
4. Glory. This is one of my most favorite movies, ever. “Shoes, Suh.”
5. Unforgiven. This is a stunning film, but one that I can’t really watch over and over. Freeman’s Ned is my favorite part of this movie, though; he’s complex and thoughtful and his end gets me every time.
6. Amistad. Another difficult film to watch, but so totally worth it. Freeman plays freed slave, abolitionist, and activist Theodore Joadson, a fictional character in a film about real-life events.
7. Sum of All Fears. This is a Tom Clancy novel made manifest in film. Freeman plays the Director of Central Intelligence with a kind of tightly-wound intensity that I really enjoyed.
8. Million Dollar Baby. This film killed me. I watched it at my mother’s insistence; she was actively dying at the time, and a very big plot point hit me especially hard (I won’t give it away if you haven’t seen it yet, but suffice to say that I was thinking about this film for a very, very long time after… in fact, I’m STILL thinking about it). Freeman plays a former fighter who provides some ethical balance to the film.
9. Gone Baby Gone. This one’s another film that wrecked me. Freeman plays a police officer who does a very, very bad thing that turns out to have a positive outcome. It’s the epitome of ethical quandaries, and Freeman plays the role in a way that’s both entirely sympathetic and skin-crawlingly creepy.
10. The Civil War. Here’s where I’m cheating a bit, as Freeman doesn’t actually act in this series; rather, he narrates letters by Frederick Douglas. His distinctive voice is never a distraction, though, and I always find myself wondering if Mr. Douglas spoke with the same kind of cadence and timbre as Mr. Freeman does.