Having a successful acting career after starring in a popular ‘90s sitcom is the white whale of Hollywood. Plenty of actors have chased that dream of lifelong stardom, but only a few have actually captured it. Of the few stars from ‘90s television we still see coming out on top, Will Smith is the King—or rather, the Prince.
He may have started his career as a Grammy award-winning rapper, spitting teen-angst bars on songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand”, but Smith’s breakout role as the charming, street-smart teen from West Philly on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marked the beginning of his status as a TV mogul. The comedy on the show still holds up today, as do many of Will’s fashion choices and the unforgettable theme song, which should honestly just replace the National Anthem at this point.
Though his legacy as an idol from our childhoods made us love him, the Fresh Prince has done a lot since his days living with Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv, both on- and off-screen. While he wasn’t filming blockbuster hits, Smith became a quintessential family man when he married actress Jada Pinkett-Smith and gifted us with Jaden and Willow. As if being a role model parent wasn’t enough, Smith joined Instagram last year and quickly made up for lost time with a string of viral posts that reminded us why we love him in the first place. Whether he’s spoofing his own kid’s music video or literally taking the latest internet dance craze to new heights, Will Smith is the gift that keeps on giving.
Smith has seemingly done it all on the big screen—action, comedy, drama, and even voice acting. But the people’s champ shows no signs of stopping. The highly anticipated third installment of the Bad Boys film series is set to be released in 2020, reuniting Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as the memorable duo. To celebrate the impending return of our favorite detectives, let’s take a look back at some of the films that made Smith the mega movie star he is today. Here’s 15 of the best Will Smith movies.