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50 Most Memorable Danny Glover Movies Ranked Worst To Best

Danny Glover was already in his mid-thirties by the time he started having sizable roles in major films. What's even more surprising (and impressive) about that is it was an action franchise — "Lethal Weapon" — that made him a movie star, and he was 41 when the first installment of that series hit. You're forgiven if all those "I'm too old for this" lines made you think he was even closer to AARP age.

Glover soon proved himself to be far from a one-note actor, establishing a career encompassing movies of all genres, from action to drama, comedies, horror, and more.

Every time it seems like audiences haven't heard from Glover in a while, he pops up in something like "Saw" or "Sorry to Bother You" to remind fans he's still around and still as endearing as ever. But that's just the mainstream stuff; Glover showcased early on a desire to balance smaller films with big studio ones, something he has continued to do throughout his 40+ years in the business. Like many actors, some of his best work can be found in indie or under-the-radar movies — which, thankfully, have a lot more visibility these days, due in large part to streaming services. 

When celebrating a career like that of Glover, it's important to touch on all facets of it — every genre, all sizes of roles, and the entire spectrum of production budgets. Read on for a breakdown of not only the crowd-pleasing favorites, but also his lesser-known films, from top-billed roles to supporting roles. 

50. Operation Dumbo Drop (1995)

The premise of this 1995 Disney movie is as unusual as its title suggests: The U.S. military has to load an elephant onto a cargo aircraft and then parachute it into a Vietnamese village. Even more astounding is that it's based on fact — according to Glover, the United States would air drop elephants to the mountain villages of Vietnam to aid in diplomatic relations.

Either way, both the title and the fact that it's a Disney production are pretty big indicators that "Operation Dumbo Drop" is going to be less about examining politics during wartime and more about elephant-based comedy. In that way, both Glover and co-stars Ray Liotta and Denis Leary are wasted here, playing second fiddle to the goofy antics of a massive mammal. But just because any number of people could've led this movie, that doesn't mean Glover didn't do a good job in it, and it's one of far too few big studio films in which he got to be a headlining star.

49. Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Glover began doing more family-friendly films as the '90s went on, specifically ones made by Disney with some high-concept gimmick at the center of them. In the case of "Angels in the Outfield," that concept was that a kid prayed to God to help the California Angels (just before their transition to becoming the Anaheim Angels, but well before they became the Los Angeles Angels) win the World Series so his family can be close again. Of course, rather than have them just get a subtle athletic boost, the result is players flying around the field, as invisible angels carry them to intercept home runs. 

It's all pretty silly, but also heartwarming for those who willingly surrender to the premise — particularly those who believe in the power of prayer. Glover is perfect as the manager of the Angels, leading a cast packed with actors on the verge of becoming big stars themselves: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew McConaughey, Neal McDonough, and Adrien Brody all play roles of varying sizes. 

"Angels in the Outfield," a remake itself, was successful enough to spawn two TV movie sequels; Glover sat both of them out. 

48. 2012 (2009)

After 1998's "Lethal Weapon 4," Glover seemed to have abandoned big-budget action movies going into the 2000s. But when you have the chance to play the president in a blockbuster disaster flick, you don't turn it down. So Glover joined the cast of Rolland Emmerich's "2012," the John Cusack-led film that played into a theory many had around that time that December 21st, 2012 was going to mark the end of the world through one or more apocalyptic events.

"2012" was pretty standard fare for those types of movies, not on the level of the better ones — "Titanic," "Deepwater Horizon," et al — though definitely not as bad as they are capable of being (see: 1979's "Meteor"). It should come as no surprise that Glover is a believable and compelling president, even if he is one of the few disaster movie presidents to die halfway through the movie and have his successor assume command and play an even more significant role in the story. 

47. Blindness (2008)

Now for a different sort of disaster film — one where society is being threatened not by a natural disaster or alien invasion but by an epidemic of a communicable disease that causes total blindness. It is discovered that there is a woman (Julianne Moore) who is immune to the disease, and she is eventually the only person with sight — making her both a de facto leader but also causing her to feel isolated from everyone else. 

Society soon falls apart as everyone fights for the remaining supplies of food and medicine, making Moore's character especially important in finding and protecting the scarce remaining resources.

"Blindness" goes back and forth between being told from the perspective of the sighted woman, and of an eye-patched man (Glover) who delivers monologues and narration that get at the philosophical undertones of the film. While critics weren't especially fond of the movie and some even had issue with Glover's character specifically in terms of how it was written, his performance was still generally praised. Richard Propes of The Independent Critic summed up it nicely, writing "in an underdeveloped role, Danny Glover has a few moments to shine." 

46. Missing in America (2005)

For such a clearly low-budget production, one that honestly doesn't look much better than a network television after-school special from the '90s, "Missing in America" managed to draw in some impressive talent. David Strathairn, Linda Hamilton, and Ron Perlman all come along for the melodramatic ride, the story of a reclusive Vietnam veteran (Glover) who finds himself befriending the young daughter of a sick war buddy (Strathairn). 

Through the girl, Glover's characters rediscovers what it's like to connect with another human. It's a touching story and the subject matter is heavy, but it's all a bit too mushy and overwrought to take as seriously as the subject matter warrants. 

But Glover's performance is excellent, appropriately subtle and understated. It's just too bad it isn't being used in a better movie. "Missing in America" could've been something really special with just a few more bucks to spend, and perhaps a few more rounds of script polish.

45. Shooter (2007)

"Shooter" feels like a working title that was always supposed to be changed, but then everyone forgot and it just ended up being the final name. It's fitting, since the 2007 movie is a fairly by-the-numbers action thriller that doesn't do much to stand out among a very, very crowded genre. But it does come courtesy of director Antoine Fuqua, who always delivers exciting, stylish action set pieces even when he doesn't have the smartest of scripts to work with — in this case, a script that literally names its hero "Swagger."

But a script with an action lead (played by Mark Wahlberg, of course) naturally goes just as far in the other direction, presenting a trio of villains whose actors were clearly told, "just have fun with it." And have fun with it Glover, Rade Šerbedžija, Elias Koteas, and Ned Beatty do, all having the time of their lives chewing scenery like it's the first meal they've eaten in months. 

Glover doesn't get to be a bad guy that often, especially not in over-the-top action movies, so this otherwise good enough shoot-em-up is worth watching for that reason alone. 

44. Almost Christmas (2016)

Plenty of actors have the token Christmas movie in their filmographies, and Glover happens to have one of the best on his — even if "Lethal Weapon" is in the "Die Hard" camp of movies set at Christmas that some people don't consider Christmas movies. And perhaps it's that point of contention that had Glover decide he needed to make a more traditional, family-friendly Christmas film by way of 2016's "Almost Christmas."

In the movie, Glover plays the father of four grown children, trying to have a peaceful, drama-free holiday with them and their families at his home. The impressive cast includes Omar Epps, Gabrielle Union, JB Smoove, Mo'Nique, Romany Malco, and Gladys Knight, even if the script isn't nearly as special as that ensemble deserves. 

"Almost Christmas" is the kind of holiday movie that is worth watching once, but probably won't be added to anyone's annual viewing schedule. It's obviously not the best Glover Christmas movie — but it's without explosions and curse words, so there's that.

43. Buffalo Soldiers (1997)

"Buffalo Soldiers" was a made-for-TNT movie about the titular black cavalry troops who fought during the Civil War. The film boasted a large ensemble cast of both film and television actors.  

Glover was the biggest star among the group at the time, but to his credit he didn't even play the obvious lead. He has long been a proponent of telling culturally-important stories of the past and present, and he clearly wanted to be part of this project despite not being the star and despite basic cable movies carrying a significant stigma for movie actors back then.

As Variety pointed out at the time, television has long overlooked the real-life Buffalo Soldiers, and the outlet hadn't recalled another attempt to tell their story since 1979. In a write-up for the movie's eventual DVD release, Jose Viera of Letterboxd praised it for having the ambition and scope of a big screen film and wished it could've been released that way just to have given it a potential bigger audience. Either way, "Buffalo Soldiers" is a fine film that shines a much-needed light on a part of history that still doesn't get a fraction of the attention it deserves. 

42. Boesman & Lena (2000)

The original incarnation of "Boesman and Lena" was a stage play by Athol Fugard, first performed in 1969 in South Africa. Consisting of only three characters — the two titular characters and an old man named Outa — it tells the story of two homeless Black people dealing with apartheid. Fugard played the part of Boesman in the original run. 

The first movie adaptation of "Boesman and Lena" was released in 1973 and featured the original performers in the lead roles — Fugard again played Boesman and Yvonne Bryceland played Lena. Fast forward all the way to 2000, and a second film adaptation was released that saw Glover and Angela Bassett take over the main parts. 

It would be the first time Boesman was actually played by an actor of color — despite generally being well-regarded, the original play and movie do have the unfortunate distinction of having the white Fugard playing a black character. That reason alone is enough to consider the 2000 film the best version of the story, and it's definitely the only one that should be watched at this point. But 2000's "Boesman and Lena" doesn't just win by default — it's an overall fantastic version of the story, and its two leads give near-career-best performances in it.

41. The Dead Don't Die (2019)

Whether or not you've heard of writer/director Jim Jarmusch, all of Hollywood has — and they all seem eager to be in the legendary indie filmmaker's latest quirky outing. It would probably be easier to list the big name actors who haven't been in a Jim Jarmusch movie than those who have, and his star-studded zombie comedy "The Dead Don't Die" further hammers that point home. Not only does he bring back frequent collaborators like Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, and Tom Waits, he works in a bunch of actors that he somehow hadn't gotten around to before — including Danny Glover.

Glover proves a great fit for Jarmusch's off-kilter vibe and deadpan sense of humor, playing hardware store owner Hank Thompson. The fact that Hank is such an unfailingly good-hearted and affable man that he's one of the few people to get along with local racist Frank Miller (Buscemi) would normally be hard to believe, but Glover plays him in such a way that you buy he could find the good in literally anybody. Here's hoping Glover becomes a Jarmusch regular going forward.

40. Manderlay (2005)

Lars von Trier has long been one of the most controversial filmmakers in the industry, constantly redefining the very medium of film and pushing just about every boundary there is to push. His harshest critics accuse him of having an almost antagonistic relationship with his audience, looking to actively make people uncomfortable — if not disgusted — by what he puts on screen. "Manderlay" had plenty of those types of reactions, from Marcy Dermansky of About.com saying it made her "feel tired and abused" to Anthony Lane of The New Yorker declaring that "von Trier is not so much a filmmaker as a misanthropic mesmerist."

A semi-sequel to von Trier's "Dogville," "Manderlay" uses the same bare soundstage setup. It's not unlike a filmed play, where characters all sit at tables and/or on chairs and interact in front of a black background, with only things like door creak sound effects indicating a character has entered or exited the scene. Look ... it's a Lars von Trier movie. You'll either think it's a masterpiece, or you'll find it completely unwatchable. 

But should you be able to sit through "Manderlay," Danny Glover is mesmerizing as a house slave named Wilhelm. If nothing else, von Trier does get his actors to bring their A-game, and forces them to step outside their comfort zones. 

39. Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

While "Lethal Weapon 2" surpassed the original and is considered by some to be one of the great action sequels in movie history, the franchise was one of significantly diminishing returns after that. The biggest issue with the fourth entry is that the writers had lost faith in Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) being able to carry a movie on their own — and introduced too many extra characters and elements to spice up a formula that didn't need spicing up.

Joe Pesci's Leo Getz returns for added comic relief, bringing along newcomer Chris Rock to add yet another comedic element to the mix. But lest you think they forgot that the franchise's genre was action-comedy, new villain Jet Li enters the fray as well. Pesci, Rock, and Li are all perfectly fine actors on their own, but it's all too much coupled with the usual Riggs and Murtaugh dynamics, plus the fact that both Riggs' wife and Murtaugh's daughter are both pregnant. It's like the movie was trying to check all the boxes of how not to do a sequel. 

But, ultimately, it's still entertaining enough and is worth a watch for series fans. It's a shame the series had to end on its worst entry; then again, perhaps there's something left in the tank.

38. Mr. Pig (2016)

Not to be confused with the 2021 Nicolas Cage movie "Pig," the Mexican drama "Mr. Pig" — originally titled "Sr. Pig" — isn't a slow-burn thriller that sees its main character descend into a city's dark underbelly. Instead, it's a heartwarming road movie that centers around an aging father (Glover) attempting to reconnect with his adult daughter (Maya Rudolph) by way of a road trip that is to end with the man selling his beloved pig. 

Not only does Glover yet another of his wonderful late-career performances, but Rudolph gets the rare opportunity to show off some rather formidable dramatic acting chops. She does silly about as well as anyone, but after seeing her in "Mr. Pig," you might find yourself wishing she did more straight dramas. 

There are some of the usual clichés you'll see coming from a mile away; nevertheless, "Mr. Pig" is still a touching little movie and a trip worth taking. 

37. Waffle Street (2015)

Glover has made a habit, particularly in the last ten years or so, of appearing in indie films where he is one of the only — if not the only — known actor in the cast. It shows a willingness to lend his fame (as well as his acting talents) to projects that might not get made without him. This is clear with the dramedy "Waffle Street." 

The movie follows a Wall Street big shot named Jimmy Adams (James Lafferty) who loses his job to the 2008 stock market crash, then becomes determined to use the opportunity to find work in a more honest profession. Server at a chicken and waffle restaurant wasn't the first thing that came to mind, but it's where he ends up — and that's much of what the movie follows. Among the fellow restaurant employees Jimmy bonds with is cook Edward Collins (Glover), who plays the role of the wizened older man that teaches Jimmy the life lessons he so sorely needs.

It's all a bit on the nose, and is as light and fluffy as a breakfast pastry, but it often tastes every bit as good.

36. About Scout (2016)

The ensemble that makes up the 2015 indie flick "About Scout" is an interesting one indeed. Half the cast are up-and-comers or young indie actors, while the other consists of heavy-hitter veterans like Glover, Ellen Burstyn, and Jane Seymour. The blend works very well, as the assured older performers help to balance out the sometimes slightly overeager and show-offy nature of the younger actors.

Glover plays a Child Protective Services agent tasked with finding 15-year-old Scout and the mentally unbalanced man she has joined forces with as they both search for Scout's little sister. Multiple critics pointed out the fact that "About Scout" has a plot hole problem, but most agree that the performances of the cast — particularly Glover, Burstyn, and Seymour — go a long way in helping overlook the movie's flaws and just focus on what is an otherwise poignant, heartwarming road movie.  

35. Predator 2 (1990)

Upon release, "Predator 2" was almost universally panned, seen as a hugely-disappointing follow-up to the hit original. It had a new setting, a new vibe, and most damning of all, a new lead — with hulking action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger being replaced by Glover. A lot of people's minds were made up from the first trailer, and upon seeing the movie, all of their assumptions were only confirmed.

Over the years, however, this sentiment began to shift. People went back and revisited "Predator 2," and many were surprised to find that it not only wasn't as terrible as they remembered — but it's actually kind of great. A simple Google search for the movie quickly reveals multiple articles about how underrated the movie is; there are even some people, like the blog for the podcast LaserTime as well as Warren Cantrell of Scene Stealers, that go so far as to call it the best entry in the "Predator" series. 

As for Glover failing to fill Schwarzenegger's shoes, LaserTime said he "gave us one of sci-fi's most memorable characters" while arguing that the movie works precisely because it doesn't just duplicate the original's protagonist but goes in a completely new direction. After all, anyone who doubted Glover's chops as an action lead obviously forget he was Roger Murtaugh. 

34. Come Sunday (2018)

It isn't all that hard to make the case for Glover being one of the best and/or most powerful parts of most of the movies he's been in. But in the case of Netflix's "Come Sunday," there is no getting around the fact that the true MVP is the performance of star Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is the true heart and soul of the entire movie — even if otherwise flawed and uneven. Ejiofor plays real life pastor Carlton Pearson, in a story that was originally heard as part of an episode of the NPR show "This American Life." 

As a matter of fact, Glover only has a single scene in "Come Sunday." However, in that scene he plays Carlton's uncle, Quincy, who is serving a prison sentence and asks Carlton to assist him in his parole. Though the decision is a heartbreaking one, Carlton ultimately declines to help his uncle, believing that Quincy is faking the supposed religious salvation he claims to have found behind bars. It's a flawlessly acted scene between two gifted performers, one that deserves to be part of both actors' respective career highlight reels.

33. Death at a Funeral (2010)

For a 2007 movie to already have a remake just three years later — and one that didn't change languages, as is the most common reason for quick remake turnarounds — seems odd. For that remake to not really be attempting something drastically different but instead be a largely faithful one is even more unusual. And for both movies to be written by the same person, well ... that completes the trifecta of abnormalities that resulted in 2007's British black comedy "Death at a Funeral" being remade into 2010's American black comedy "Death at a Funeral." Oh, and Peter Dinklage is in both versions ... but as two different characters.

Critics seem somewhat evenly split on the two most important points — whether the remake is too faithful to the original, and which version is better. Ultimately, the preference will likely come down to familiarity with the cast, as American audiences are going to recognize Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Keith David, Kevin Hart, Glover and Tracy Morgan more than the largely British cast of the original. Other than various nitpicky pros and cons between the two, that seems to be the main deciding factor if someone is interested in watching one of the films but isn't sure where to start — just go with the one that has the cast you prefer, and you'll have a good time. 

32. Be Kind Rewind (2008)

After working with Charlie Kaufman on two films, visionary director Michel Gondry finally took on solo writer/director duties with "The Science of Sleep" and "Be Kind Rewind." The latter would turn out to be the more grounded of the two films, surprisingly light on Gondry's usual reliance on camera trickery and magical realism — instead a mostly straightforward buddy comedy. It's really only when its two leads — Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and Jack Black — set about doing their own homemade versions of famous movies that we see any of the usual Gondry-ness. 

"Be Kind Rewind" is about a local video store in danger of being bulldozed for modern office buildings, thus robbing its small New Jersey neighborhood of its last vestige of charm and originality. The store is owned by Elroy Fletcher (Glover), who doesn't want to close but can't afford the necessary renovations required to keep the building from being condemned. Glover was at the perfect moment in his career to play a man who is trying to keep the old days and old ways alive, willing to change with the times if it's required of him but doing so reluctantly and only because it means disappearing if he doesn't. 

31. Honeydripper (2007)

Glover leads an all-star cast of actors and musicians in this John Sayles musical drama as Tyrone, owner of a failing Alabama music club alongside partner and friend Maceo (Charles S. Dutton). The two decide to get a big name to perform at the titular venue in order to attract customers, booking a celebrity musician who flakes out on the day of his scheduled performance. Left with few remaining options, they find a local guitarist named Sonny Blake (musician Gary Clark, Jr.) to appease the crowd, and what follows are some electrifying musical numbers from Clark, as well as Keb' Mo' and Mable John.

In addition to the musical talent, "Honeydripper" also enlists LisaGay Hamilton, Stacy Keach, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Patrick Thomas, and more for this delightful '50s-set musical celebration. John Anderson of Variety called it "one of Sayles' best films," high praise indeed considering he has two Oscar-nominated screenplays — "Passion Fish" and "Lone Star" — under his belt. 

30. Mandela (1987)

When thinking about actors who have played Nelson Mandela, many people probably default to either Morgan Freeman ('"Invictus") or Sidney Poitier ("Mandela and de Klerk"). Digging a little deeper, they might also consider Dennis Haysbert ("The Colour of Freedom"), Idris Elba ("Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"), or even Terrence Howard ("Winnie Mandela"). But not nearly enough people remember or are even aware that Danny Glover played the South African president for an HBO film back in 1987 simply titled "Mandela."

One of the things that sets Glover's performance apart from those others is that the film was released while Mandela was still in prison. As such, the movie is entirely about his struggles and attempts to continue to enact political reform from behind bars, without the benefit of either portraying his eventual release or at least being aware of it. It gives the film — and Glover's excellent performance — a completely different tone, both when viewing it at the time and still in viewing it today. 

Alfre Woodward plays his wife, Winnie, in the first of three films she and Glover would appear in together.

29. Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" was a successful sequel to/revival of the "Jumanji" franchise, in that it moved the action to the world inside of the game — rather than having the game come to the players as happened in the original film. It also introduced the concept of a "Jumanji" video game that had the young players inhabiting avatars that looked like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, with each player learning a lesson about themselves after getting to experience things through their avatar's bodies. 

Clearly the sequel "The Next Level" was going to need to bring back those four actors, as well as the ones who portrayed the players — but how would they keep it from just being a rehash? By having Danny Glover and Danny DeVito getting sucked into the game alongside two of the original players. The result is that Glover's character plays as Kevin Hart's avatar for a time, meaning Hart has to do a rather hilarious, dead-on Glover impression for a portion of the movie. 

It certainly beats Johnson's ridiculous attempt at being Danny DeVito, though that isn't saying much. 

28. Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

"Lethal Weapon" was great. "Lethal Weapon 2" was excellent. So, naturally, "Lethal Weapon 3" was ... fine. There is a lot the movie gets right, from the very welcome addition of Rene Russo to a climatic action sequence that remains the best in the entire series. Gibson and Glover's chemistry continues to be a well-oiled machine, although maybe it's a bit too well-oiled this time and is beginning to feel a bit more polished and less off-the-cuff; it's not easy to keep a buddy cop duo hilarious into the third entry in a series.

Now for the downsides. First and foremost, the villain is a huge step down from the previous movies' antagonists, even if the final showdown with him is thrilling. Joe Pesci's Leo returns from the previous film, but it feels like he's only there out of a sense of obligation rather than actually serving any purpose in this story. Lastly, the movie doesn't have any of the quiet human drama moments that fleshed out the first two movies so well, setting them apart from typical action comedies.

And so, "Lethal Weapon 3" feels like a typical action comedy. A good one, sure, but still a disappointment for a series that had previously served as the gold standard.

27. Beloved (1998)

Oprah Winfrey bought the movie rights to Toni Morrison's 1987 novel "Beloved" shortly after it was released, before it earned widespread acclaim or its eventual Pulitzer Prize (per her interview with Moviefone). But it would be over a decade before the movie adaptation was finally finished and released, pairing Winfrey alongside Glover and Thandiwe Newton. Unfortunately for Winfrey's investment, the movie was a flop at the box office — which director Jonathan Demme blamed on Disney pulling it from theaters prematurely in order to make way for the Adam Sandler movie "The Waterboy."

That being said, most critics (as well as audiences who actually had the chance to see it) praised the film, particularly the performances. Michael O' Sullivan of The Washington Post also called out Glover's performance specifically, gushing that "Glover brings subtlety, depth and sympathy to a part that relegates the actor to playing second fiddle to the film's troika of strong women." 

26. Silverado (1985)

Westerns were one of the first film genres, and they have never gone away for any especially long stretches. They do have their rocky periods though, and the 1980s were one of the first eras that saw the normally durable genre in the decline — before 1988's "Young Guns" rekindled their popularity and 1992's "Unforgiven" made them critically acclaimed again. During the drought, however, there was "Silverado" from writer/director Lawrence Kasdan, fresh off his work on "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones."

Given such high standards , "Silverado" did not disappoint — with critics agreeing that it was "a rare example of an '80s Hollywood Western done right." The unbelievable cast included Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Kevin Costner, Glover, Brian Dennehy, John Cleese, Rosanna Arquette, and Jeff Goldblum, many of whom still considered rising stars at the time. Glover showcased much of what would soon make him an A-list action star in "Lethal Weapon," combining raw emotion with cowboy bravado.

25. The Drummer (2020)

One of Glover's most recent movies is also one of his best in years, playing the lead role in this military drama while also serving as executive producer.

Depicting the struggle of veterans after they return home, Glover saw the script as something personal. As he told Deadline, "My brother was a Vietnam vet. Given the recent announcement that there are even more veteran suicides than U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq makes the film 'The Drummer' more timely than ever."

In the film, Glover plays Mark Walker, owner of a coffee shop that shares its name with the movie's title. The Drummer specifically caters to veterans, and it's a place where they can open up about the various physical and mental issues they face as a result of their experiences on the battlefield. It's a powerful film that addresses society's frequent mistreatment of veterans, alongside the debate over whether war is ever truly "necessary."

24. A Rage in Harlem (1991)

Is "A Rage in Harlem" a serious crime film, or is it a comedy? According to producer Stephen Woodley in an interview he did for BBC radio, he saw it as the latter — something with which director Bill Duke took issue. Duke set out to make a crime film, but ultimately, critics praised the movie's comedic elements and that tends to be how it is remembered. Either way, the movie got a five-minute standing ovation when it was screened at Cannes in 1991 (per William Horberg, another of the film's producers, on his blog), so it did something right — even if unintentional. 

Constructed as a star-making vehicle for leads Forest Whitaker and Robin Givens, "A Rage in Harlem" also starred Gregory Hines and Glover, with their performances getting high praise all around. Ultimately, it might not be as well remembered as a certain other ensemble comedy from two years earlier that also had "Harlem" in its title, but "A Rage in Harlem" is the better movie — comedy, or otherwise.

23. Grand Canyon (1991)

Here's another Kasdan-directed film, only this one isn't a fun, fast-paced action movie. "Grand Canyon" was sold at the time as a spiritual sequel to "The Big Chill," and its ensemble cast similarly tackles heavy issues like racism and socioeconomic disparity. Featuring some of the biggest stars of the time, Glover appeared alongside Steve Martin, Kline, Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard (their second team-up), Mary Louise-Parker, and Jeremy Sisto in his acting debut.

It's one of those movies that features a series of seemingly random events, eventually revealed to be connected in such a way where all of the characters learn some sort of lesson. Think 2004's "Crash," only less preachy; sure, "Grand Canyon" is overly sentimental, overly earnest, and overly melodramatic at times. But its message of why we shouldn't let arbitrary differences divide us was powerful in 1991, and despite a movie of its age, the message and the way it is told has held up surprisingly well.

22. Mooz-lum (2011)

There aren't nearly enough movies (especially American ones) about the Muslim experience in the United States. But filmmaker Quasim Basir aimed to change that with his feature length writing and directing debut, "Mooz-lum." The 2011 film tells the story about a Muslim family dealing with the country's attitude towards Muslims — particularly after the 9/11 terror attacks — and is both powerful and unflinching in its focus.

Rising star Evan Ross leads a cast of veterans that included Danny Glover, Nia Long, and frequent Spike Lee collaborator Roger Guenveur Smith. The performances are excellent across the board, from the Ross character trying to navigate college life to Glover's dean doing his best to provide support to the Muslim student while lamenting that his words can only do so much. 

It shouldn't take a film like this to get people to put aside their misguided prejudices and treat all people with kindness and respect; if more people watched such movies — and more of these movies were made — it would be a step in the right direction.

21. The Prince of Egypt (1998)

For someone with such a distinctive, powerful, recognizable voice, it's a bit surprising — as well as disappointing — that Glover hasn't done more voice work. But there is something to be said for being selective, so it was special when Glover entered the world of feature-length animation, coming out swinging with two releases that year.

The traditionally-animated one was "The Prince of Egypt," DreamWorks Animation's first feature and a clear attempt at trying to take on Disney directly. And while it didn't beat either of Disney's releases that year — "Mulan" and 'A Bug's Life" — at the box office, it did earn more Oscar nominations than either. 

Glover voiced Jethro, the father of Michelle Pfeffer's character, Tzipporah. He doesn't steal any scenes or anything like that, but the cast was great across the board and Glover was but one of many excellent voice performances in the film. 

20. The Saint of Fort Washington (1993)

Glover has played several Vietnam veterans during his career; it's something he was doing long before the indie dramas of the 2000s and 2010s. In "The Saint of Fort Washington," Glover plays homeless Vietnam vet Jerry, who takes mentally unstable Matthew (Matt Dillon) under his wing — teaching him the ways of the streets and protecting him from a man named Little Leroy (a terrifying Ving Rhames). 

Though he'd been making movies throughout the '80s and into the early-'90s, Dillon had only just begun the more serious, adult phase of his career, and his performance in "The Saint of Fort Washington" stands alongside "Drugstore Cowboy" as the two films where people really began to take notice of his dramatic chops. For Glover, it was something of a return to the more complex, serious side of his abilities, following films like "Lethal Weapon 3" and the screwball dud "Pure Luck."

19. Beyond the Lights (2014)

Like with "Come Sunday," it would be unfair to try and frame the entire entry for "Beyond the Lights" around Glover when is not the performance that deserves highlighting. In this case, it's lead Gugu Mbatha-Raw who knocks it out of the park, in her second headlining role (after 2013's "Belle"). Her performance as troubled pop star Noni Jean is nothing short of a revelation.

The plot invokes many well-worn showbiz drama tropes, but thanks in large part to the performances of Mbatha-Raw as well as Minnie Driver, Glover, Nate Park, and others, "Beyond the Lights" transcends such clichés to deliver a surprisingly poignant, powerful movie about fame and celebrity. The directing of Gina Prince-Blythewood (who also wrote the screenplay) must also be praised for all it does to elevate a standard story into a great film — it's one of only four movies she has directed thus far, but she's hit a home run with each and every one.

18. Bopha! (1993)

Despite an acting career that began in the 1960s and continues into the 2020s, it's somewhat surprising that Morgan Freeman has only directed a single feature film. But he was all-in on his directing duties for 1993's "Bopha!," not appearing in the movie as an actor save a background cameo. Instead, the lead of the film is Glover, playing a police officer in apartheid-era South Africa who finds himself with a son that is becoming involved in anti-apartheid activism. This naturally creates tension between the two, resulting in a smaller, more personal look at the effects of apartheid than most films on the subject.

Glover's wife is played by Woodard (in their third film together) and Malcolm McDowell plays an officer who starts pushing for more violent punishments for the protestors. It's a volatile situation met with appropriately explosive performances by all involved — and if ends up being the only movie Morgan Freeman directs, he can be proud.

17. Saw (2004)

Though it would devolve into a horror franchise that cranked out annual sequels of diminishing returns, "Saw" had humble beginnings. It's important to note that if name actors like Glover and Cary Elwes hadn't believed in the project and signed on to the first film, it likely never would have gotten off the ground.

The original "Saw" was a unique indie horror movie unlike anything else in the genre at the time, with the grisliest moments taking place off screen and the majority of the terror coming by way of good ol' fashioned psychological suspense. It also ended with a mind-blowing twist.

Elwes and Glover saw the original ten minute short the filmmakers made as a way to pitch their feature-length version, and the actors were impressed enough to join the cast (per interviews with NME and Spike TV, respectively). The pitch that "every studio turned down," according to Elwes, was suddenly a surprise hit and the start of a long-running franchise. Glover was even willing to squeeze filming into an already-busy schedule, managing to get all of his scenes knocked out in only two days. 

In that time, he took what was written as a fairly standard detective-looking-for-the-killer horror movie role and imbued the character with odd little tics and quirks, helping to bring humanity to the horror.

16. Poor Boy's Game (2007)

After a few small movie roles, Rossif Sutherland — son of Donald and half-brother of Keifer — got his first lead part in the Canadian boxing drama "Poor Boy's Game." In it, he plays Donnie "Decker" Rose, just released from prison after serving a ten-year sentence for the racially-charged beating of a black teenager named Charlie. The people from Charlie's neighborhood haven't forgotten what Donnie did, and he is challenged to a boxing match by a guy looking to get even with Donnie in the ring. 

Charlie's father (played by Glover in an absolutely terrific performance) considers shooting Donnie, but decides against it. Instead, he trains Donnie to give him a fighting chance in the upcoming match, owing to both his Christian values and believing that Donnie getting helplessly pummeled isn't going to do anyone any good. It's one of Glover's best dramatic roles, and he throws a few impressive punches as well. 

15. The Rainmaker (1997)

Between 1993 and 2004, eleven movie adaptations of John Grisham novels or manuscripts were released. What's even more impressive is that most of them are at least pretty good, with a few being great. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the critical consensus is that "The Rainmaker" is the best of the bunch. Direction by the great Francis Ford Coppola — who also wrote the screenplay — was probably a big part of that, but "The Rainmaker" also has an extremely talented, star-studded cast.

Glover's part in the movie is almost just a cameo, and he isn't even credited. But it is nonetheless pivotal, as he plays a judge who takes over the case at the heart of the film after the previous judge dies — which completely changes its direction and dynamic. Even in a movie with a dozen or so stars and iconic veterans all playing bigger roles, Glover still manages to make his presence felt. 

14. Antz (1998)

Here's that other 1998 DreamWorks animated movie Glover did voice work for, the one that instead went the computer animated route. Seen as the grittier, edgier counterpart to Disney/Pixar's "A Bug's Life," "Antz" had a ridiculously star-studded cast at a time when animated movies typically only had a few big names on the roster. Even more fascinating is that much of the cast of "Antz" were performers not typically known for cartoon voice work.

Woody Allen led a brigade that also included Gene Hackman, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Anne Bancroft, Dan Aykroyd, John Mahoney, Jane Curtain, and yes, Glover. It's definitely an eclectic cast, especially considering they all either play an ant or a wasp. Glover is on the ant team, playing Staff Sergeant Barbatus. After all, you don't get Glover in your movie just to have him play a regular old worker ant. 

13. Tour de Pharmacy (2017)

Having previously teamed for the acclaimed sports mockumentary "7 Days in Hell," writer Murray Miller and director Jake Szymanski decided to see if they could do it again while switching from tennis to competitive cycling. The result is "Tour de Pharmacy," which might just surpasses their previous effort in laughs.

You can't do a mockumentary about modern cycling without getting some steroids jokes in there, and "Tour de Pharmacy" pulls no punches in that regard. The fact that Lance Armstrong appears as himself to poke fun at the literal decades he spent cheating in the sport is meant to be edgy yet feels a little "too soon," but that's one of the only major knocks against this hilarious spoof of the racing community. As it often goes with these sorts of things, the movie is full of real athletes playing themselves alongside big-name celebrities playing fictional athletes. 

Danny Glover's role is hilarious on multiple levels; the funniest, perhaps, is that he's playing the older version of Daveed Diggs's character and does a funny job playing Diggs forty years in the future. 

12. Places in the Heart (1984)

After a handful of films where he played fairly small parts and/or the movie itself was nothing special, Glover finally got his first substantial role in a major movie with "Places in the Heart." The Depression-era drama was one of the most critically-acclaimed films of 1984, and earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Costume Design, and Best Supporting Actor for John Malkovich (his first nomination) — while also winning for Best Original Screenplay and getting Sally Field her second Best Actress Oscar.

It must be pointed out that many aspects of the movie haven't aged well; Glover's character is written in a context that might not pay well with modern audiences. But he nonetheless turns in an amazing performance as Moses Hadner, and it wouldn't be fair to take that away from him just because the movie itself was the product of a less progressive era. 

Surrounded by dynamite actors giving performances at their highest levels, Glover more than holds his own — particularly impressive given how relatively new he was to acting.

11. The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

While "The Old Man & the Gun" is all about Robert Redford taking a final bow on his long, peerless career, Glover shows up to not only help send off Redford in style, but also turn in one of his best performances in years. 

Like Redford, Glover just lets his easy charm lead the way here, allowing himself to settle nicely into an age-appropriate part without being forced into the spunky old man or grumpy old man cliches. It”s good, dependable, solid character work in the sort of movie Hollywood doesn't make often enough.

10. To Sleep with Anger (1990)

Glover has won few acting awards during his career, but he at least has an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male lead for 1991's "To Sleep With Anger." Released right in the middle of his peak blockbuster movie star era, "Anger" had Glover reminding moviegoers he was more than just Roger Murtagh or the guy who took down the Predator. 

Written and directed by Charles Burnett — perhaps best known for his 1978 drama "Killer of Sheep" — this dark comedy stars Glover as Harry, a smooth-talking man of questionable morals who turns the life of a quiet Southern family upside down during an extended visit. Glover had mostly played a straight-laced good guy up to this point, so his performance of Harry surprised a lot of people and staked a claim for further small, character-driven pieces.

9. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

While gentrification is the foundation on which "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" is built, it's ultimately a film about staying connected to one's past and to the people who make you who you are. The semi-autobiographical film has first time actor Jimmie Falls playing a version of himself as he tries to keep the house built by his grandfather (Glover), threatened to be swallowed up as the neighborhood around it gets increasingly gentrified. 

There was an effort on the part of the filmmakers (Falls came up with the story along with friend Joe Talbot, who directed) to keep the cast and crew as San Francisco-centric as possible in order to make sure everyone involved had a personal connection to the city. According to Talbot in an interview with Vulture, San Francisco native Glover heard about the movie and reached out to Talbot directly about being involved. From there, casting him as Jimmie's grandpa was a no-brainer, and the results were heart-wrenching and beautiful.

The movie received widespread critical acclaim, appearing in multiple year-end top ten lists as well as being called the overall best movie of 2019 by RogerEbert.com critic Odie Henderson

8. Dreamgirls (2006)

When the 2006 movie adaptation of "Dreamgirls" was released, most of the attention was on the Oscar-nominated performance of Eddie Murphy, the Oscar-winning performance of Jennifer Hudson, and it being the first major dramatic role for Beyoncé. While all of that was justified, Glover was unfairly overlooked for his role in the movie, to the point that anyone who hasn't seen "Dreamgirls" probably didn't even realize he was in it. 

His role as manager/confidant Marty Madison is one of the larger, more important of the supporting characters, and Glover is just the actor to do it. He certainly knew how to expertly guide his own career and has frequently been the champion of up-and-comers, so of course he's perfect at playing a character who does the same.

7. Bat*21 (1988)

Joe Pappalardo of Popular Mechanics called "Bat*21" the best Vietnam War movie of all time. A controversial stance — given that the list of great Vietnam War movies is a particularly stacked one that includes classics like "Full Metal Jacket," "Hamburger Hill," "Apocalypse Now," "Platoon," "Born on the Fourth of July," and "The Deer Hunter" — but "Bat*21" might just qualify for the most underrated Vietnam War movie, and it deserves to be brought into the conversation alongside those classics. 

The duo of Danny Glover and Gene Hackman have great chemistry, in what is one of the more grounded and straightforward (yet still action-packed) movies about the conflict — not going too far in ether the bombastic set piece direction or the psychological turmoil direction. 

Those extremes both exist in the Vietnam War subgenre, as they should, but there is something to be said for a Vietnam movie that strikes a moderate balance.

6. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Akin to how easily he fit in with Jarmusch's acting troupe, Glover adapted well to the quirky sensibilities of Wes Anderson in this, one of his most beloved movies. Cast as Harry Sherman, an impeccably dressed, confrontation-averse suitor for Anjelica Houston's family matriarch, Glover stood out in a film featuring an ensemble of current and all-time greats.

Glover is one of the only principal cast members that plays a character who isn't a part of the Tenenbaum clan, with the other being family friend Eli Cash (Owen Wilson). Being the new partner to Tenenbaum matriarch Etheline (Angelica Huston), Glover is seen as an outsider and an enemy to most of the clan — in particular Royal (Gene Hackman), Huston's estranged husband; it's fun to see Glover and Hackman play rivals after being so good as allies in "Bat*21." Glover has yet to show up in another Wes Anderson movie, but he made his one appearance in the Anderson-verse count.

5. Witness (1985)

Harrison Ford didn't seem completely comfortable being the A-list sci-fi/action-adventure star that his roles in "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones," and "Blade Runner" made him, and tried to do smaller and more diverse roles in the latter-half of the '80s. The year after his second turn as Indy, Ford starred in the crime thriller "Witness" — which would earn him his first (and so far only) Oscar nomination. 

It's interesting that "Witness" was Ford slowing his career down, as Glover was simultaneously taking his in the opposite direction. It was one of his first big roles in a mainstream, crowd-pleaser type of movie, playing the extremely dirty cop James McFee. It's fascinating to observe the roles now and appreciate that, two years before he would become an endearing cop in "Lethal Weapon," he brought to life such a despicable one.

4. Lethal Weapon (1987)

While Mel Gibson already had an entire trilogy of "Mad Max" movies under his belt that had proven his ability to lead an action franchise, Glover was more of an untested variable. But it's to the credit of folks like Richard Donner and Shane Black that they didn't go with some obvious action hero to play opposite Gibson, instead opting for a gifted actor who could build the right chemistry with Gibson.

And boy, did they nail it with casting Glover. Maybe it wasn't that surprising that he could play the straight man to Gibson's wild child, the "I'm getting too old" partner of the guy who seems to run towards the danger. But Gibson also proved a capable action star in his own right, able to keep up with the much younger Gibson amazingly well in that regard. 

Both actors have been paired with others since "Lethal Weapon" and both have made some memorable partnerships elsewhere, but neither have quite been able to top that Riggs and Murtaugh magic; one of Hollywood's all-time great duos started here, and was surprisingly well-formed from their first scene together. 

3. The Color Purple (1985)

Right in the middle of his prime directing or otherwise being involved in some of the all-time great action-adventure movies, Steven Spielberg showed that his talents stretched beyond exciting set pieces. "The Color Purple" wasn't just a proclamation for Spielberg's career, of course, but also served as such for several of its actors. It was the screen debut of Oprah Winfrey, pre-dating even her signature talk show. She earned an Oscar nomination for the role and it announced her as an exciting actor to watch, but television ultimately proved to be her first love and primary focus.

The movie was also the first major acting role for Whoopi Goldberg, then primarily known as a stand-up comedian. She would also be nominated for an Oscar for the film. Of course, one shouldn't overlook Glover's role in the movie nor its place in his career, one of three movies he made in 1985 — the other two being "Witness" and "Silverado" — that cemented him as having truly "arrived."

2. Sorry To Bother You (2018)

It is Glover who gives the first hint that "Sorry to Bother You" isn't what you'd expect; in the film's trailer, he tells frustrated telemarketer Cassius Green (LaKeith Stanfield) that the secret to success is using a "white voice." It's at this point that we see a completely different voice emerge from Glover's mouth, one that doesn't remotely match his face whatsoever, intentionally jarring and ridiculous. 

Sure, Glover ends up playing a fairly minor role, and it isn't long into the movie that the excellent Stanfield becomes the driver of the very strange trip the movie takes audiences on. But it's no accident that Glover and his white voice were such a major part of the marketing campaign for "Sorry to Bother You," one of the most original comedies of the last ten years. 

1. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

The '80s was a decade of bad sequels to good movies, with a hall of shame consisting of "Caddyshack II," "Grease 2," "Big Top Pee-Wee," "Short Circuit 2," "The Fly II," "Teen Wolf Too," "Cocoon: The Return," "Revenge of the Nerds II," and on and on. There were also several sequels that weren't necessarily bad, but were seen as significant steps down from their excellent originals, such as "Ghostbusters II" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." For a time, it felt Hollywood simply didn't know how to pull off a sequel as good as the original, but better. 

Near the end of the decade, "Lethal Weapon 2" exploded into theaters, setting the standard for popcorn movie part twos for years to come.

"Lethal Weapon 2" really is the perfect example of "more of the same, only bigger and better" — improving on every single aspect of its predecessor and having all of its additions or major reinventions of the formula from the original be positive ones. In addition to being a top tier action movie, "Lethal Weapon 2" is also one of the best buddy comedies of all time, with the chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover nearly untouchable.