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Every Laurence Fishburne Movie Ranked Worst To Best

It would be tough to find any Hollywood actor who has had such a varied career as Laurence Fishburne. He has been one of the most prolific actors of the last 30 years and appeared in more than 50 movies. Starting his career in the early 1970s, the actor made one of his first movie appearances in the widely acclaimed Francis Ford Coppola picture "Apocalypse Now." Since then he has had credits in everything from blockbuster movies to hit television series, along with appearing on stage and in video games.

Over the course of his 50-year career, Fishburne has appeared in everything from sci-fi thrillers to crime dramas, from animated films to musical comedies. He has demonstrated time and time again his versatility as an actor and put in admired performances. Fishburne was perhaps at his peak in the late '90s and early '00s, when he starred in "The Matrix" and its sequel as Morpheus. Along with Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving, he became one of the most recognizable figures in the world for his role in the hit sci-fi film.

Before that, Fishburne rose to prominence appearing in a number of praiseworthy movies such as "Boyz n the Hood" and "What's Love Got to Do with It." More recently, he has appeared in a series of superhero movies for both DC and Marvel, including "Man of Steel" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp." Here is every Fishburne movie and where they rank.

54. Imprisoned

"Imprisoned" is one of Laurence Fishburne's more recent releases, with the film hitting cinemas in 2018. Written and directed by Paul Kampf, the film stars Juan Pablo Raba, Juana Acosta, Esai Morales, Jon Huertas, John Heard, with Fishburne taking on the lead role of Daniel Calvin. The plot follows Dylan Burke as he tries to make amends for his criminal past and begin a new life with his girlfriend Maria. Fishburne's character Calvin, a local prison warden, sets out to get revenge on the former convict and goes as far as framing him for murder.

Reviews for "Imprisoned" were not all that great. Most critics agreed that the story was simply boring and uninspired, with little to drive the action forward and keep viewers invested in the characters. This led to an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 0%, with comparisons being drawn to soap operas.

53. Under the Stadium Lights

Hitting cinemas in 2021, "Under the Stadium Lights" is a sports drama film that stars Milo Gibson and Laurence Fishburne. The film is based on Al Pickett and Chad Mitchell's book "Brother's Keeper" and tells the story of a school football team and the lengths that the coach goes to in order to help the kids escape their troubled lives and make the most of their time together.

Fishburne only has a small role in the film despite his billing. He is the owner of a barbecue joint in the area and his performance was one of the few positives in the film, with Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com noting that he put in a performance to put the other actors to shame. Currently, the film sits with a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of just 12%, with the vast majority of critics agreeing that "Under the Stadium Lights" is dull and lacks any real originality.

52. Fled

Directed by Kevin Hooks, "Fled" is a 1996 action comedy that stars Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin. The two portray prisoners who have been fastened together as part of a chain gang. During a shootout started by another prisoner, the pair manage to flee. They have to evade police as a plot is uncovered with U.S. Marshals involving a setup and attempt to recover a computer disc with hidden information.

The film was a commercial and critical failure, only just making back its budget of $25 million. On Rotten Tomatoes, "Fled" holds an approval rating of 18% and an average score of 4.36 out of 10. Most reviewers felt that the story had little to draw the attention of viewers and was full of recycled elements from other action movies, making it an entirely forgettable experience.

51. Ride Along

"Ride Along" is a 2014 film starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. An action comedy, it sees a security guard attempting to prove his worth to his girlfriend's brother while getting unintentionally involved in the criminal dealing of an arms dealer known as Omar. Fishburne portrays the smuggler Omar and interacts with the two characters while they go on a ride along. Omar is ultimately defeated and arrested by police after he is shot and injured during a confrontation.

While it has attained cult status with fans and was commercially successful enough to lead to a sequel in 2016, "Ride Along" had very mixed reviews from critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film suffered from a lack of genuinely funny moments and interesting fight scenes.  

50. The Colony

Laurence Fishburne appeared in "The Colony" alongside Kevin Zegers and Bill Paxton. Set in the near future, humans exist in a world where they can control the weather using massive machines to combat the effects of climate change. When these machines break down suddenly, snow begins to cover the planet, forcing the surviving humans to seek protection from huge underground bunkers. Fishburne portrays the leader of one of these bunkers as they try to keep order and explore a distress signal at a nearby bunker.

Despite the stellar cast and interesting idea behind the disaster movie, "The Colony" failed to leave much of a mark on critics. The film holds a score of 20% on Rotten Tomatoes and has an average rating of just 4 out of 10 based on 33 reviews. In particular, the poor special effects and clunky dialogue were heavily criticized.

49. Just Cause

Starring legendary Scottish actor Sean Connery alongside Laurence Fishburne, "Just Cause" is a 1995 crime thriller based on a John Katzenbach novel. The story revolves around Connery's character, a Harvard professor, who makes his way back to the courtroom after more than two decades away to defend a supposed murderer who is set to be executed. He works together with Fishburne's detective character to discover the grim truth, although there is a surprise twist at the end before justice is eventually served.

With a budget of just $27 million, "Just Cause" went on to gross $36 million at the box office in the United States. Even with the impressive cast, it only managed to get middling reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a rating of 26%, with many reviews praising the actor's performances but lamenting the forgettable plot. Perhaps worst of all is that Connery appeared in this film rather than "Braveheart" as he was close friends with director Arne Glimcher.

48. Biker Boyz

"Biker Boyz" is a 2003 sports drama that was directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood and featured a large ensemble cast. This included Laurence Fishburne alongside the likes of Derek Luke, Meagan Good, Djimon Hounsou, Brendan Fehr, Rick Gonzalez, Larenz Tate, and Terrence Howard. The actor played an undefeated motorcycle drag racer who is challenged by an up-and-coming rookie aiming to steal his crown at the "King of Cali." The plot was largely inspired by a New Times LA article that examined the underground sport of motorcycle drag racers.

While "Biker Boyz" had an impressive cast and a lot going for it, the movie underperformed at the box office and in terms of its reviews. It only managed to just about earn back its $24 million budget with box office receipts. In terms of critical appraisal, the movie has a score of just 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers disappointed by the lack of action and waste of talent.

47. Running With the Devil

Nicolas Cage, Leslie Bibb, and Barry Pepper star alongside Laurence Fishburne in this 2019 crime thriller. It tells the story of a federal agent who is attempting to shut down a cocaine smuggling ring, tracing it all the way from the farm where it is produced to where it is shipped to suppliers. Meanwhile, two executives are sent to investigate missing cocaine from the supply chain and put a stop to whatever is happening.

"Running with the Devil" did not live up to expectations and was almost universally panned. Metacritic gave the movie an average rating of 42 out of 100, basing that score on seven different reviews. Meanwhile, the film has a score of 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning less than a quarter of all reviews for the film were positive, with an average rating of 4.4 out of 10.

46. Bad Company

"Bad Company" was released in 1995, with Ellen Barkin and Laurence Fishburne taking on the leading roles alongside Frank Langella. The pair portray former CIA agents who are now involved in a difficult relationship. They put in place a scheme to murder their boss and take over his company, an organization that deals in bribery, espionage, and other dark business practices. The complex plot falls apart and the two eventually end up fighting each other with tragic consequences.

The film went on to gross just over $3.5 million and faced negative reviews from most critics. With a score of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, some did praise the film for its style and visuals but most found it entirely unmemorable. Some viewers were slightly less dismissive of the movie, giving it a grade of C on CinemaScore and an audience score of 31% on Rotten Tomatoes.

45. Event Horizon

Laurence Fishburne has been involved in a lot of science fiction films over the years but "Event Horizon" is not one that many people will remember. The 1997 horror flick stars Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, and Joely Richardson in the year 2047 as astronauts attempting to rescue the crew of a missing spaceship.

Unfortunately, the movie had a difficult production and director Paul W. S. Anderson was given just four weeks to edit a first cut of the film rather than the traditional 10 weeks. This was largely a result of Paramount wanting a movie to release in the period that "Titanic" had missed due to its delay. The studio later demanded that he cut dozens of scenes and remove much of the gore from the final cut.

When it did release, "Event Horizon" was a huge failure. It didn't recoup its budget of $60 million and holds a score on Rotten Tomatoes of 29%, with an average rating of just 5 out of 10. However, the movie did develop a cult following after its home video release and has grown in popularity over the years.

44. Once in the Life

Many fans of Laurence Fishburne might not even have heard of "Once in the Life. The crime film was a direct-to-video release that was not available theatrically. Uniquely for the actor, he wrote the script as an adaptation of his play "Riff Raff" and also took on directing duties. It tells the story of two half-brothers who reconnect after years of separation while they are both imprisoned in the same jail. The two come up with a scheme to earn some quick cash but end up wanted by a crime boss who puts a bounty on their heads.

Starring Fishburne as one of the brothers, Titus Welliver played the other brother with Eamonn Walker, Gregory Hines, and Michael Paul Chan also starring. "Once in the Life" marked the actor's directorial debut but it was not a successful one. The movie holds a 28% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics disappointed with the lack of novelty and new ideas.

43. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

In "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," Fishburne reprised his role as Perry White. The character is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Planet and the boss of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. He starred alongside an ensemble cast that included Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Gal Gadot, and Jeremy Irons. The story follows Lex Luthor's attempts to force Batman and Superman into a battle in the hopes that they will destroy each other, leaving the villain free to continue his plans.

While the movie had a strong opening weekend, the box office receipts soon dropped dramatically in what was described as a "historic" event. This was largely seen as a consequence of the negative reviews and word-of-mouth from those who had seen the film. It currently has a 29% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and critics criticized the approach of focusing on effects over story, at the expense of the overall experience.

42. Passengers

"Passengers" is a 2016 sci-fi romance movie featuring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the lead roles, with Michael Sheen joining Laurence Fishburne as a supporting character. The movie is set in the near future with a giant spaceship carrying enough people to colonize a planet some 60 light-years away from Earth. The passengers are all put into a state of hibernation but Jim Preston is mistakenly woken up 90 years too soon due to a malfunction. He then awakens Aurora Lane to ease his loneliness but soon discovers the ship is in danger of being destroyed unless they can repair the damage.

Even though "Passengers" had moderate success at the box office, with receipts of more than $300 million against a reported budget of $150 million, it fared less well critically. A weighted average calculated by Metacritic gave the film a score of 41 out of 100, confirming that it received mixed reviews from critics. The biggest criticism was aimed at the poor plot that simply wasn't compelling.

41. The Matrix Revolutions

If "The Matrix Reloaded" was perceived as a let down by many fans, "The Matrix Revolutions" left an even sourer taste in the mouth. Concluding the story, Laurence Fishburne reprised his role as Morpheus with almost all of the main cast from the series returning for the third installment. With Agent Smith overrunning the Matrix and the war with the machines looking grim, humanity's very survival is at stake as Neo attempts to end the threats.

"The Matrix Revolutions" was undoubtedly a disappointment for fans and critics alike. It holds just a 35% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 5.3 out of 10. Even with the mixed reviews, the film proved to be a box office success, grossing some $427.3 million worldwide against a budget of around $150 million. 

This was far below what "The Matrix Reloaded" had made but around the same as the original movie. Most felt that the conclusion to the trilogy was lacking in story and character development, instead concentrating on the special effects and action sequences.

40. 21

Laurence Fishburne was part of the main cast for the heist film "21" in 2008. It is based on a true story about a group of MIT students who used card counting techniques to win large sums of money playing blackjack at casinos from across the world. The plot was heavily inspired by Ben Mezrich's 2003 book "Bringing Down the House." The actor stars alongside the likes of Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Jacob Pitts, with Fishburne taking on the role of the head of security Cole Williams.

"21" faced some criticism before it was even released, with many noting that white actors had been given roles that were based on Asian-American individuals, prompting accusations of white-washing. That didn't stop the movie from being a box office success, bringing in almost $160 million against a small budget of just $35 million. What makes that more impressive is that "21" has a score of 36% on Rotten Tomatoes.

39. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Long before Laurence Fishburne appeared in the DC Extended Universe or even the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he had a role in the Marvel film "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." The actor provided the voice of the Silver Surfer, who the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom battle against in the first half of the movie. He was joined by Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis among others. The story largely dealt with the appearance of the Silver Surfer on Earth and the oncoming arrival of Galactus.

While many felt it was an improvement over the first "Fantastic Four" movie, this sequel still received mixed reviews. Making $301 million at the box office, it also was less financially successful than its predecessor. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37%, with most critics arguing that "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" had little going for it outside of the impressive special effects.

38. Armored

Starring Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, and Laurence Fishburne, along with a larger supporting cast, "Armored" is a 2009 heist film. The story follows a new guard working for an armored truck company who is persuaded by his more experienced colleagues to steal more than $40 million. Things don't exactly go to plan, leading to disastrous consequences for everyone involved. Directed by celebrated Nimród Antal, the movie also involved "Pulp Fiction" cinematographer Andrzej Sekuła.

Although it wasn't exactly panned by critics, "Armored" only received negative or mixed reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval score of 40%. Most critics noted the great cast and stylish cinematography but felt that the story was filled with plot holes and had a rather unsatisfying conclusion, while the action also felt somewhat stale. With a budget of $20 million, "Armored" just about managed to make that back with a worldwide box office of $23 million.

37. The Ice Road

"The Ice Road" is a 2021 film released by Netflix and Amazon prime in different parts of the world. As well as Laurence Fishburne, the movie stars Liam Neeson, Benjamin Walker, Amber Midthunder, and Marcus Thomas. The story revolves around a series of big-rig truck drivers who attempt to navigate a frozen lake to help rescue a group who have been trapped in a collapsed diamond mine. Fishburne plays the leader who hires the other drivers to lead the rescue mission and if they fail to arrive in time, the workers will not be able to escape the mine.

Unfortunately for viewers, "The Ice Road" is largely a predictable action film that doesn't do anything original and can't be saved even by its star-studded cast. Both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes assessed the film as having mixed reviews, awarding scores of 42 out of 100 and 43% respectively.

36. Cadence

"Cadence” is a 1990 film that stars Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen, Ramon Estevez, and Michael Beach, along with Laurence Fishburne (credited as Larry). The movie was also directed by Martin Sheen and has also been titled "Stockade." The plot follows the antics of Charlie Sheen's character Franklin Fairchild Bean, an inmate with a rebellious side at an army stockade. Much of the action focuses on race relations between the different members of the armed forces and how they interact with each other.

Fishburne plays the leader of the inmates and someone who eventually becomes friendly with Bean. His performance was one of the few highlights of the movie, according to critics. Reviews for "Cadence" were mixed, with it achieving an approval score of only 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. It also failed to be much of a financial success, grossing just $2 million at the box office despite the high-profile actors involved.

35. Hoodlum

Starring the likes of Tim Roth, Andy Garcia, and Richard Bradford, "Hoodlum" is a 1997 crime drama. Loosely inspired by the conflict between the Italian mafia and the African-American gangsters who were based in Harlem during the 1930s. Fishburne played Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, a notable real-life crime boss who comes into conflict with Roth's character of Dutch Schultz, a mobster who wants to take over Harlem. The two enter into a violent and bloody war that leads to the deaths of many of their friends and acquaintances.

"Hoodlum" had an opening weekend of more than $8 million and went on to gross a total of $23.4 million at the box office. That was in spite of mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Some positive aspects were praised, though, including the deep dive into the characters the film makes rather than concentrating fully on the violence.

34. Khumba

"Khumba" is one of the few animated movies that Laurence Fishburne has worked on. Created by Triggerfish Animation Studios and released by Millennium Entertainment, the film tells the story of a zebra who is born with a mutation that leaves him with stripes covering just half of his body, leaving him ostracized and shunned by much of his herd. Khumba sets out to explore the world and find his place, leaving the safety of the herd as he encounters new friends and foes. "Khumba" stars Jake T. Austin, Steve Buscemi, Loretta Devine, Liam Neeson, and Richard E. Grant — with Fishburne providing the voice for Khumnba's father Seko.

The second film from Triggerfish, "Khumba" was moderately successful. It has an approval rating of 44% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that it had mixed and negative reviews. On a budget of $20 million, the film had a worldwide gross of $27 million worldwide and led to the South African studio getting additional films and television series approved at Disney and Netflix.

33. Higher Learning

Featuring the acting talent of Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, and Laurence Fishburne, "Higher Learning" is a 1995 drama. John Singleton wrote and directed the film, which also had performances from Ice Cube and Tyra Banks. The story revolves around three college freshmen who struggle with different aspects of life at Columbus University thanks to their varying personalities and backgrounds. Fishburne plays a professor named Maurice Phipps who teaches the political science class and has an impact on all three of the students.

"Higher Learning" had plenty of fans among critics but the reviews were mixed. Some gave it a very positive review, like Roger Ebert, while others felt the movie didn't quite tell an appealing and coherent story. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 45% approval rating with an average score based on 40 reviews of 5.4 out of 10. Meanwhile, Box Office Mojo confirmed that "Higher Learning" made more than $38 million at the box office and a further $20 million when it was released on home video. Fishburne won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture at the Image Awards for his performance, while Ice Cube was also nominated in the same category.

32. Bobby

"Bobby" tells a fictionalized version of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. The senator was killed in 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, with the plot revolving around the final hours leading up to the politician's death and the impact the terrible event has on those working and staying at the hotel. With an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Harry Belafonte, Anthony Hopkins, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, William H. Macy, Sharon Stone, Heather Graham, and Elijah Wood, it was one of the most star-studded movies of 2006.

Although it has plenty of talent both in front and behind the camera, "Bobby" didn't perform as well as some might have liked. The film has a score of 54 out of 100 on Metacritic and an approval rating of 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that it has average reviews at best. Many critics felt like there were too many subplots and vague stories that don't add to the overall experience.

31. Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Based on the novel by Maria Semple, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is a 2019 comedy. It stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, and Judy Greer alongside Laurence Fishburne, who plays Paul Jellinek. The story follows Blanchett's character Bernadette Fox as she begins to go back to her creative side after giving it up years ago to concentrate on being a mom. As she sets out to rediscover herself and ventures into the unknown, she meets a variety of new people and unexpected challenges.

With a budget of around $18 million, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" failed to recoup its cost at the box office, grossing just over $11 million. That might have been a result of the mixed reviews the film received from critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, just 50% of the 191 reviews on the site are positive and the movie currently has an average rating of 5.8 out of 10.

30. Osmosis Jones

"Osmosis Jones" is a mixture of animated and live-action comedy. The plot sees a zookeeper contracting a virus called Thrax that threatens his life — his body's defenses must fight back as they attempt to eradicate the virus. The live-action sequences feature Bill Murray as the infected zookeeper — while the animated sections take place within his body, with Chris Rock portraying the police officer white blood cell Ozzy Jones and Fishburne the deadly virus Thrax. Other actors who provided voice work for the movie include William Shatner, David Hyde Pierce, and Brandy Norwood.

Despite a strong marketing push, "Osmosis Jones" proved to be a box office bomb. With a budget of $70 million, it grossed just under $14 million in total, making it the second financial failure for Warner Bros. Feature Animation after the release of "The Iron Giant" in 1999. Unlike its predecessor, though, "Osmosis Jones" did not have particularly great reviews and holds an approval rating of 56% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

29. Standoff

Laurence Fishburne stars as one of the two primary characters in "Standoff," with Thomas Jane taking on the other. The pair portray characters known as the Hitman and Carter Greene respectively, with the story showing the Hitman's attempts to silence a young girl who witnessed him killing four other people at a cemetery. Carter takes it upon himself to protect the girl, prompting a standoff between the two characters.

Released in 2016, the movie received a mixed reception, with some negative and some positive reviews. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave "Standoff" an approval rating of 56% based on more than a dozen reviews, although it seems to be less popular with viewers who awarded it an audience score of 43%. The consensus from the critics listed on the site suggests that the performances of the two actors were exceptional but that the story itself goes on a bit too long with too much happening during the middle of the film.

28. School Daze

Spike Lee directed and wrote this musical comedy in 1988 — it's a fictionalized account of his time at Atlanta University Center. Dealing with a variety of adult and complex themes, such as racism and social mobility, the film deals with the lives of a series of undergraduate students who have to navigate life in college and how they interact with students who aren't from the same background as they are. Tisha Campbell and Giancarlo Esposito star in the film with Laurence Fishburne, while a young Samuel L. Jackson also appears.

Like many of Spike Lee's releases, "School Daze" has proved controversial with critics and received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes awarded the movie an approval rating of 56%, although audiences seemingly reacted more positively, giving it an audience score of 79%. The film proved a success at the box office as well, achieving gross receipts of $14 million against a budget of $6.5 million.

27. Man of Steel

Laurence Fishburne has been a regular fixture in the modern Superman movies and he made his first appearance in "Man of Steel." He plays Perry White, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet and the person in charge of Lois Lane at the paper. The actor confirmed that he based his portrayal on CBS journalist Ed Bradley, researching his work from "60 Minutes" in preparation for the movie. A reboot of the origin story of the famous hero, this iteration follows Clark Kent's transformation into Superman and battle against General Zod.

With an ensemble cast that includes Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, and Russell Crowe, the film was highly anticipated. It was released in 2013 to great box office results, becoming the highest-grossing Superman film of all time, taking in more than $660 million. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the superhero movie an approval score of 56% and an average rating of 6.2 out of 10, with many critics pointing to Cavill's portrayal of the hero as unconvincing.

26. Assault on Precinct 13

"Assault on Precinct 13" is essentially a remake of the 1976 film of the same name that was written and directed by the legendary filmmaker John Carpenter. Releasing almost 30 years later, this version stars Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne in the two main roles, with John Leguizamo, Maria Bello, and Ja Rule taking on supporting parts. It tells the story of a police sergeant who has to band together with a crime boss when corrupt police officers attempt to assassinate him to keep their secret crimes hidden from the public.

As is the case with many action films, "Assault on Precinct 13" received largely mixed reviews from critics. On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 54 out of 100, with the score calculated from 39 reviews. However, it does have a far better user score of 7.9 out of 10 from more than 100 user ratings. The film was a financial loss, making just $35 million worldwide.

25. The Signal

"The Signal" is a 2014 indie film that was written and directed by William Eubank, with Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio also contributing to the script. The story follows a group of MIT students who are led to a remote location by a computer hacker who had previously interacted with them at university. Nic, who has some sort of degenerative disease and walks with crutches, suddenly experiences a strange situation and is left alone. He and the viewer must then try to understand exactly what has happened and where Nic is. It stars Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, and, of course, Laurence Fishburne.

The complex ideas and themes explored in "The Signal" were always likely to be contentious with reviews. Yet, the movie still managed to achieve an approval rating of 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, boasting an average score of 5.84 out of 10. The biggest factor in whether critics liked the movie appeared to be whether they felt the plot was too complicated and whether it was purposely confusing to keep the viewer guessing.

24. Rudderless

"Rudderless" is a 2014 film that was directed by the celebrated actor William H. Macy. It marked his first film as a director, with the musical drama starring Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, and Selena Gomez. Laurence Fishburne was also part of the main cast, portraying the character Del, owner of a local music store. The story follows a father who finds his dead son's demo tapes and forms a band after being inspired by the lyrics and music.

Macy's first directorial effort was met with praise from many critics, who felt that the musical score and performances were particularly impressive. However, the story was something of a letdown for others, with Rotten Tomatoes indicating that critics pointed to the ending being weaker than the rest of the movie. The film currently sits with an approval rating of 64%.

23. Predators

"Predators" is a 2010 sequel to the original "Predator" movie that was released in 1987. Made more than two decades after the first movie, the story sees a group of mercenaries abducted and forcefully relocated to an alien planet. Here they must battle to survive against the deadly Predators, who are hunting them for sport, while also trying to find a way to escape back to Earth.

The movie features Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, and Walton Goggins portraying the mercenaries, while Laurence Fishburne plays a survivor who manages to live on the island throughout various hunts. He helps guide the other humans and gives them a slight advantage in their fight.

Based on more than 200 reviews, "Predators" has an approval score of 65% on Rotten Tomatoes. It also has an average score of 6.4 out of 10, suggesting it has mixed to positive reviews from critics.

22. Red Heat

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Belushi star in this buddy cop film in 1988, with the two actors appearing alongside Peter Boyle, Ed O'Ross, Gina Gershon, and Laurence Fishburne. The action comes from a Schwarzenegger's Russian cop being forced to work with Belushi's detective from Chicago — they hunt down a drug lord who managed to escape justice in the Eastern European country of Georgia. Fishburne plays one of the police officers who the two interact with as they attempt to hunt down the criminal.

"Red Heat" received mixed reviews from critics and currently has a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 67% and an average score of 5.6 out of 10. The comedy failed to live up to the heights of Schwarzenegger's other hit film of 1988: "Twins." It managed to achieve box office receipts of $34 million and had a successful home video release despite the lack of enthusiasm from reviews.

21. Othello

Laurence Fishburne made history in 1995 when he portrayed the first African American version of Othello in a movie. Based on the William Shakespeare play, "Othello" was directed by Oliver Parker and stars Irène Jacob as Desdemona and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. The story sees Iago plot to implicate Othello's wife and lieutenant in an affair as he is envious of both Othello and Cassio. This eventually leads to Othello killing Desdemona before Iago's schemes are discovered and he is taken away to be executed.

"Othello" received largely positive reviews from critics and Branagh's performance as Iago was especially praised in reviews. The actor went on to be nominated for a SAG Award while Fishburne was also nominated for an Image Award, although both did not win. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has an approval rating of 68% largely thanks to the great performances by the two lead actors.

20. The Mule

"The Mule" is a 2018 crime drama that was directed by Clint Eastwood. As well as producing the film, the veteran actor and director also stars as the lead character, an elderly drug mule based on Leo Sharp who is called Earl Stone in this story. The movie also sees Bradley Cooper play DEA agent Colin Bates and Laurence Fishburne as DEA supervisor Warren Lewis. Michael Peña, Andy García, Dianne Wiest, and Richard Herd all have supporting roles as well. The story focuses on the character being recruited by the Mexican drug cartel, along with the eventual capture of Earl Stone.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, "The Mule" has an approval rating of 70%, meaning the vast majority of reviews were positive. However, the film has an average score of 6.2 out of 10 based on the 190 reviews surveyed. The movie also proved to be a financial success, bringing in more than $170 million on a rather small budget of just $50 million.

19. Mission: Impossible III

The third installment in the action spy series, "Mission: Impossible III" was directed by J.J. Abrams and continues the story of Ethan Hunt. The IMF agent had retired from fieldwork but ends up fighting against an arms dealer who is willing to get personal in order to get even with Hunt, threatening his family. Fishburne appears in the film as the IMF director Theodore Brassel, while Ving Rhames, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Michelle Monaghan, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers all have roles in the movie.

Like most of the "Mission: Impossible" films, this sequel received fairly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes awarded it an approval score of 71% with an average rating of 6.6 out of 10. Meanwhile, viewers seemed impressed with the action, giving it a grade of A- according to CinemaScore, which might explain how it was able to achieve a box office of almost $400 million when it launched in cinemas.

18. King of New York

"King of New York" is a 1990 neo-noir crime film. The story sees a drug kingpin who is released from prison and immediately jumps back into a life of crime as he attempts to take over various gangs in a misguided plan to provide for his local community. It stars Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Steve Buscemi, Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes, and Giancarlo Esposito, with Laurence Fishburne taking on the role of the crime boss's right-hand man Jimmy.

After releasing in cinemas, "King of New York" was met with largely positive reviews. With an impressive cast and great performances, the movie has an approval rating of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics noting that the plot was nothing exceptional but the action and style of the cinematography made up for it. Unfortunately, the movie didn't perform well at the box office, achieving just $2.5 million according to Box Office Mojo.

17. The Matrix Reloaded

The sequel to the hit sci-fi film "The Matrix," this movie was highly anticipated and had big shoes to fill. Carrying on directly from its predecessor, "The Matrix Reloaded" follows the continuing story of Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus as they fight for the survival of humanity against the machines. Released in 2003, Fishburne stars alongside Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hugo Weaving, with Jada Pinkett Smith also joining the cast.

Although it has developed a reputation for being far inferior to the first film, "The Matrix Reloaded" actually received quite favorable reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an approval rating of 73% and an average score of 6.8 out of 10, based on 246 reviews. Most critics noted that it had plenty of great action sequences but fell short of the story from "The Matrix." It grossed $741.8 million worldwide and was only beaten (that same year) by "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Finding Nemo."

16. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Most people would probably not associate Laurence Fishburne with the horror genre but one of his earliest roles was in "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors." Directed by Chuck Russell, it features actors such as Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Priscilla Pointer, Craig Wasson, and the returning Robert Englund as the villain Freddy Krueger. Fishburne portrayed Max Daniels, an orderly at the hospital who helps patients who suffer from chronic nightmares.

Set just a year after the second film, the plot once again sees Krueger chasing down and killing his victims in their dreams as they sleep. Familiar characters such as Nancy Thompson also return. Unlike the second film, which was a critical and commercial failure, "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" went on to be far more successful and holds an approval rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thanks to the performance of this installment, the franchise continued long into the future with several more films and television series.

15. Class Action

"Class Action" is another film that saw Laurence Fishburne credited as Larry rather than Laurence as it was earlier in his career. The 1991 film is a legal drama that stars Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the two lead roles. Much of the story revolves around a trial taking place over injuries that were sustained by a defective vehicle, with the two opposing lawyers having a personal relationship as father and estranged daughter. Fishburne had a relatively minor role as Nick Holbrook.

According to Box Office Mojo, "Class Action" was the fourth highest-grossing film on its opening weekend and went on to gross just over $24 million worldwide. Against the modest budget the film had, this made it a small box office success. Review aggregator Metacritic lists the film as receiving mixed or average reviews, with some praise for its smart script and acting performances from Hackman and Mastrantonio.

14. Last Flag Flying

"Last Flag Flying" is a war comedy that features Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne in the three main roles. The group are all veterans of the Vietnam War and reunite years later following the tragic death of one of their sons in the Iraq War. Sal and Mueller eventually agree to accompany Doc as he goes to collect his son's body. Over the course of the journey, more information is revealed about their past and the dark nature of their actions during the war.

An Amazon Studios movie, it had a limited theatrical release and was made available to stream on Amazon Prime. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film strikes a good balance between tense drama and lighter humor. Other critics noted that the three main cast all put in great performances and were the perfect choices for the roles, with the movie holding a 77% fresh rating on the review aggregator.

13. Akeelah and the Bee

"Akeelah and the Bee” is a 2006 drama that focuses on the young Akeelah Anderson as she attempts to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Assisted by her mother and coach, the story shows the challenges facing those who participate in such competitions without coming from well-off backgrounds. Fishburne plays Dr. Joshua Larabee, who takes Akeelah under his wing. Director and writer Doug Atchison had been working on the project for almost a decade before approaching Fishburne. The actor first read the script in 2002 and immediately expressed interest in the part and even accepted a producing role.

Receiving generally positive reviews, the movie has an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most critics praised the film for its heartwarming story and the performances from the cast, including from Fishburne. Noted film reviewer Roger Ebert wrote that it was both "entertaining and actually inspirational" while others noted how it avoided many common African-American stereotypes.

12. Contagion

Although "Contagion" might seem like a movie that is based on events of the last few years, the movie actually released more than a decade ago in 2011. The thriller stars Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet, with Fishburne taking on the role of Dr. Ellis Cheever, an expert virologist. The story is about a new respiratory virus that quickly spreads across the world and causes societal chaos. With a high mortality rate, the action focuses on the breakdown of society, the attempts to develop a vaccine, and the work done to try and halt the spread of the disease.

Reviews were almost universally positive for the film, with many critics pointing to the impressive cast, strong acting, and tense plot. Unlike many other disaster movies, "Contagion" was genuinely frightening and was even lauded by scientists for its accurate portrayal of medical research and scientific discovery.

11. Deep Cover

The 1992 film "Deep Cover" sees Fishburne star alongside Jeff Goldblum and Charles Martin Smith. Directed by Bill Duke, the movie follows undercover police officer Russell Stevens Jr. as he infiltrates a drug cartel in Los Angeles. The movie proved to be one of Fishburne's first major roles and saw him become a candidate for leading roles in other Hollywood movies. Featuring a hit song by Dr. Dre, it also marked one of the first appearances of Snoop Dogg on a record.

"Deep Cover" was widely praised by critics and currently holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the focus was on the stylish cinematography, the strange combination of Fishburne and Goldblum in the leading roles, and the return of a film noir atmosphere that had largely been abandoned. That didn't help it perform at the box office, though, with the "Deep Cover" grossing just $16.6 million in North America when it was released.

10. The Tuskegee Airmen

"The Tuskegee Airmen" is a made-for-television movie that was released in 1995 on HBO. Starring Laurence Fishburne alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and John Lithgow, it's hard to imagine exactly how it could be a flop with such a stellar cast. Telling the story of the first African-American combat pilots to fight in World War II, Fishburne portrays Capt. Hannibal "Iowa" Lee, Jr. as he leads a squadron that helps to inspire a growing civil rights movement in the United States.

While the film is not entirely historically accurate, it does a great job of exploring the struggles of the pilots and their exploits as they developed a reputation for being among the most skilled airmen in the world. Reviewers at the time noted that the script had its cliche moments but offered something different when it comes to war films. "The Tuskegee Airmen" earned numerous Emmy Awards and was nominated for many others, with Laurence Fishburne earning Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominations for his performance.

9. Mystic River

The 2003 psychological drama and mystery film "Mystic River" was directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. Laurence Fishburne is one of the major cast members, joining the likes of Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, and Marcia Gay Harden. Based on the 2001 novel by Dennis Lehane, "Mystic River" is a story about three men who were childhood friends and find themselves drawn together again after a bewildering murder.

While he isn't one of the three main characters, Fishburne plays an important part in the story and is an essential element in the experience, showcasing his range. The film was widely praised for its strong cast and the complex layers of drama that unfolds as the plot progresses. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers explained how the film leaves viewers floored because it "messes with your head" and that it's "that haunting, that hypnotic." Little wonder then that it was nominated for six Academy Awards and came away with Penn and Robbins winning Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

8. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

After his rather brief appearance in "John Wick: Chapter 2," Fishburne returned to the role of the Bowery King for "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum." This time, the character plays a more central part of the film and was more involved in the plot. Punished for helping John in the previous film, he joins forces with the former assassin to help bring down the High Table and fight against the Adjudicator after they brutally kill the Bowery King's men and leave him terribly scarred.

Fans of action films will almost certainly love "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum," which contains all the intense fighting and fast-paced cinematography that fans have come to expect from the series. It was so successful that a fourth film was quickly put into production and a fifth installment is also on the way, although it is no longer being shot back-to-back with "John Wick: Chapter 4" as was originally intended.

7. Ant-Man and The Wasp

Laurence Fishburne might not be a name that immediately jumps out when thinking of "Ant-Man and The Wasp” but the actor plays an important role in the movie. Taking on the character of Dr. Bill Foster, who is an old friend of Hank Pym, he had originally pitched Marvel about joining the MCU. While he previously had roles in the DC Extended Universe, Fishburne explained that he was a fan of Marvel and wanted to be part of the MCU. The character is seeking a way to cure Ava Starr using energy from the quantum realm but is eventually persuaded to stop by Hank and Scott so they can rescue Janet Van Dyne.

A sequel to the original "Ant-Man" from 2015, the movie largely focuses on the attempt to explore the quantum realm and save Janet, who has been presumed dead or permanently lost. While this MCU flick isn't held in the same regard as the likes of "Avengers: Endgame" or "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" it is still a solid entry in the franchise and one that showcases a lighter and more fun side to superheroes.

6. John Wick: Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne made such a good team in "The Matrix" series that it only made sense for the pair to reunite at some point. That finally happened in the 2017 action thriller "John Wick: Chapter 2," which sees Fishburne taking on the role of an underground crime lord known as the Bowery King. Reeves' character John Wick seeks out the Bowery King's help and the two eventually come face-to-face.

Unfortunately, the pair share little screen time in this movie but the Bowery King would go on to play a more prominent role in the third installment and is returning for the fourth film in the series. The "John Wick" films are known for their over-the-top action sequences and impressive fight scenes and "John Wick: Chapter 2" is no exception. The film received largely favorable reviews from critics and was praised for its impressive cinematography.

5. What's Love Got to Do with It

"What's Love Got to Do with It?" is a 1993 biographical film that tells the life story of Tina Turner and is largely based on her own autobiography "I, Tina." In the movie, Fishburne plays Ike Turner, the singer's husband and someone who becomes increasingly unhinged. Throughout the film, his drug abuse becomes worse and he turns violent toward Tina, prompting her to leave in order to pursue a solo career.

Despite receiving some criticism for perceived inaccuracies, "What's Love Got to Do with It?" won widespread acclaim and went on to be a big financial success based on its modest budget. Fishburne was particularly praised for his powerful portrayal, with The New York Times describing him as "mercurial." For their performances as Ike and Tina Turner, both Fishburne and Angela Bassett were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress awards at the Academy Awards.

4. Boyz n the Hood

Although Fishburne might not be one of the two main characters in "Boyz n the Hood," he is still a huge part of the story. The 1991 coming-of-age movie was written and directed by John Singleton and stars Ice Cube and Cuba Gooding Jr. It tells the story of a young boy named Tre who becomes more involved in the world of gangs as his friends suffer from the tragedy that comes with the criminal activity and drug culture they are entranced with.

Fishburne portrays Tre's father and is responsible for teaching him the difference between right and wrong, along with setting out the values he should always have. "Boyz n the Hood" proved to be a huge success when it hit screens and helped launch the careers of several actors, including Gooding Jr., and established Singleton as one of Hollywood's up-and-coming directors. The film was nominated for numerous awards, including Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Writing.

3. The Matrix

Few films have been quite so influential as "The Matrix." The film hit cinemas in 1999 and became a cultural phenomenon, blending breathtaking sci-fi visuals with complex philosophical themes. Hit films for years to come would borrow elements of it, with many mimicking the signature bullet time slow-motion shots. Keanu Reeves took on the main role of Neo, with Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving also appearing as major characters. Meanwhile, Laurence Fishburne portrays Morpheus — a mentor and leader who helps Neo as he comes to terms with his powers.

The movie focuses on a world set in the future where humanity has been enslaved by machines. These synthetic creatures keep people docile by trapping them in a simulation that resembles a normal version of Earth — although Morpheus, Trinity, and others have escaped the Matrix and free Neo. Fishburne was entirely convincing as Morpheus and the part is easily one of his most recognizable, especially among younger viewers who might not have seen his older work.

2. Apocalypse Now

"Apocalypse Now" is one of the most famous war films ever created. Starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, and a whole host of others, it is regarded as one of director Francis Ford Coppola's greatest releases and one of the best films ever made. Set during the Vietnam War, it follows an exhausted captain who is tasked with assassinating a seemingly insane Colonel Kurtz after he goes renegade and kills countless civilians.

Fishburne was just 14 years old when filming started. This meant he had to lie about his age to get his part in the movie, portraying the young soldier Tyrone Miller. However, the long filming process meant that by the time the 1979 flick actually released, the actor was actually 17. This was his first major role and helped establish him as an actor, although he was credited as Larry rather than Laurence, as was the case with many of his early films.

1. Searching for Bobby Fischer

The 1993 film "Searching for Bobby Fischer" tells the story of a young boy whose life is suddenly thrown upside down when he takes a keen interest in chess. Playing against the homeless and gamblers in Washington Square Park, the 7-year-old Josh Waitzkin. Fishburne portrays Vinnie, who becomes close to Josh and takes on a mentor role to the child. Eventually, the pair are separated but Josh only finds his enjoyment for chess returning when he is allowed to play with Vinnie once again.

"Searching for Bobby Fischer ” has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received widespread acclaim from critics for its inspired acting and inspirational story. The movie has become something of a cult classic despite not reaching mainstream popularity and is even enjoyed by many chess players thanks to the accurate representation of the game. It also shows the different ways that chess can be played and viewed as a game and what it takes to be a successful player.