Morgan Freeman's Birthday: His Best 10 Movies Ranked

Morgan Freeman Birthday
Morgan Freeman poses during the unveiling of his dedicated beach locker room on the Promenade des Planches during the 44th Deauville U.S. Film Festival on September 7, 2018 in Deauville, France. Francois G. Durand/WireImage

Actor Morgan Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis Tennessee, and so celebrates his 82nd birthday today. He has appeared in a number of blockbusters as well as on Broadway. However, it all could have been different.

According to Britannica Encyclopedia, Freeman wanted to be a fighter pilot before becoming an actor, but when he joined the air force in 1955, he was disappointed. When he left in 1959, he turned to acting and made his Broadway debut in an all-black production of Hello Dolly! in 1967.

In the 70s, he took parts in children's educational television and a soap opera. Then he starred in 80s films such as Brubaker (1980) and Street Smart (1987). In 1989, he took the role of Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy (1989). As a director, he debuted with anti-Apartheid film Bopha! (1993).

He then starred in The Shawshank Redemption in 1994 which earned him his third Oscar nomination. This was followed by Se7en (1995), Kiss the Girls (1997), Along Came a Spider (2001) and The Sum of All Fears (2002). Following this, he was a supporting actor in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby (2004) and then went on to play Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

After some time on Broadway, Freeman teamed up with Eastwood again for Invictus (2009), a drama in which he played Nelson Mandela. He then starred in Last Vegas (2013) with Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas and provided his voice in The LEGO Movie (2014).

Freeman received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2008 and a Golden Globe for lifetime achievement in 2012.

In celebration of his birthday, Newsweek has analyzed data from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic to rank his best 10 movies of all time.

10. Batman Begins (2005)

Score: 77 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 84 / Metacritic: 70

Plot: A Young Batman watches a tragedy unfold and vows to bring criminals to justice in his home city.

Also starring: Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson and Christian Bale.

What the critics said: "Batman Begins summons up moments of great eloquence and power. If only its cast of characters was as fully inhabited as its turbulent city." Wall Street Journal

9. Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D (2005)

Score: 80 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 88 / Metacritic: 71

Plot: The re-telling of the first walk on the moon with never-seen-before NASA footage.

Also Starring: Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Matt Damon.

What critics said: "Adults will be more than passably entertained by this short, patriotic feature, and kids will be entranced." New York Post

8. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Score: 82.5 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 87 / Metacritic: 78

Plot: Batman must come out of hiding to fight off Catwoman and Bane.

Also starring: Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Cane.

What the critics said: "There was an opportunity here for Nolan to show us another way, to (again) stretch the boundaries of what is possible in a superhero film. Instead, alas, the latter half of The Dark Knight Rises retreats toward conventionality." The Atlantic

7. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Score: 83 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 94 / Metacritic: 72

Plot: A private investigator from working-class Boston who takes on a case involving a kidnapped girl.

Also starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan and Ed Harris.

What critics said: "Flawed but impressive." Time Out

6. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Morgan Freeman Shawshank Redemption
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman sitting outside on the benches playing checkers and talking in a scene from the film 'The Shawshank Redemption', 1994. Castle Rock Entertainment/Getty Images

Score: 85.5 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 91 / Metacritic: 80

Plot: A banker sentenced to life imprisonment for a double-murder brings dignity to inmates at the Shawshank prison.

Also starring: Tim Robbins, Bob Gunton and William Sadler.

What critics said: "In the lead roles, both Robbins and Freeman are outstanding, layering their performances with snippets of individuality: Their small, daily sustenances and minor triumphs are wonderfully inspiring." Hollywood Reporter

5. March of the Penguins (2005)

Score: 87 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 95 / Metacritic: 79

Plot: Emperor penguins overcome daunting obstacles in order to return to their breeding grounds for mating season.

Also starring: Romane Bohringer, Charles Berling and Jules Sitruk.

What critics said: "Watch them march to the very extremes of extremis, though, and it's easy to feel awe. Life must beget life, whatever the cost." Wall Street Journal

4. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Score: 89

Rotten Tomatoes: 91 / Metacritic: 86

Plot: A father who has a failed relationship with his daughter takes a female boxer under his wing.

Also starring: Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank.

What critics said: "A heartfelt, credible picture." The Guardian

3. The Dark Knight (2008)

Score: 89 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 94 / Metacritic: 84

Plot: Batman takes on the Joker, but risks losing the things he holds most dear.

Also starring: Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Heath Ledger.

What critics said: "You will feel utterly numb after the screening of The Dark Knight. The film is bleak and brilliant." The Times (UK)

2. The LEGO Movie (2014)

Score: 89 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 95 / Metacritic: 83

Plot: Everything is awesome in this movie inspired by the toy brick figures.

Also starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett.

What critics said: "As a rule, movies about toys need to be approached with extreme caution; some of them have been bad enough to count as health hazards. This one is the exception." New Yorker

1. Unforgiven (1992)

Score: 90.5 / 100

Rotten Tomatoes: 96 / Metacritic: 85

Plot: Big Whiskey prostitutes take justice into their own hands and put a $1,000 bounty on the lives of the perpetrators who slashed a woman's face.

Also starring: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris.

What critics said: "While not a pretty picture... Unforgiven is a magnificently realized work. In addition to Eastwood's fine, rough performance, Hackman and Freeman stand out." Hollywood Reporter