News of actor Chadwick Boseman’s death has brought an outpouring of grief and admiration from movie fans around the world. His groundbreaking role in the pantheon of comic book films inspired millions and opened up possibilities for many within Hollywood and without. In tribute to Boseman’s life and work, we present eight key films that can help all of us appreciate the full range of his talent.
The inspirational true story of Jackie Robinson, who overcame struggles to become the first Black player in Major League Baseball and started the process of integrating sports, comes to life in this cinematic biopic. Boseman earned major critical attention for the first time as the baseball hero whose story is still deeply relevant today.
And now, for a completely different kind of biopic. Boseman brings energy and commitment as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, who rose from poverty to become one of America’s most popular entertainers. A solid primer on the music legend’s impact, it’s also a chance to see Boseman pull out all the stops to inhabit the man who got us all up on our feet.
Boseman’s next foray into sports films is this snappy ensemble drama about the tough choices made during the NFL draft process. Kevin Costner headlines an all-star cast in the Ivan Reitman film, with Boseman standing out as a leading prospect from Ohio State.
Marvel first introduced Boseman in his signature role as T’Challa, the Black Panther, in this action-packed entry in which the King of Wakanda is killed during a bomb attack. After seeing this film, audiences were clamoring for the solo adventure of the new leader of Wakanda ... and they didn’t have to wait long.
Stories don’t come much more dramatic than that of America’s first Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, who started off as a crusading attorney for the NAACP. Here, Boseman portrays the legendary figure at a key point in his life with a case that embodies the best and worst aspects of fighting for justice in the U.S.
Going where no superhero film had gone before, this big-screen adventure for the beloved Marvel Comics character ended up winning three Oscars out of its seven nominations. Moviegoers were transported by Ryan Coogler’s sweeping depiction of the technologically advanced land of Wakanda, with Boseman embodying strength and resilience as its crime-fighting leader.
In this marked change of pace for Boseman, he plays an NYC detective who tries to unravel a massive cover-up that leads to the closure of all 21 bridges connected to Manhattan. A gritty crime thriller and covert social statement, it features yet another facet of its leading man’s considerable abilities.
Spike Lee’s most recent film is an ensemble piece about a quartet of Vietnam vets going back to find a hidden cache of treasure. Boseman has a pivotal role as the squad leader whose fate triggers the dramatic odyssey that becomes a broader, audacious look at how our attitudes shape our actions today.