The 10 best Chadwick Boseman films to watch in honor of his legacy

The 10 best Chadwick Boseman films to watch in honor of his legacy

One year ago, the gifted and magnetic actor Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer, aged 43.

Boseman donned Jackie Robinson’s cleats and the dance shoes of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, embodying both Black American legends with a searing passion that demanded respect.

When he took on the role of Black Panther, he gave the Marvel superhero a cool, cerebral gravity whose "Wakanda forever!" salute reverberated throughout the world.

Boseman was discreetly undergoing "countless surgeries and chemotherapy" to battle colon cancer as his Hollywood career soared, his family revealed in a statement announcing his death.

He was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2016 but never spoke about it publicly.

Many fans and celebrity pals were heartbroken over the revelation of his quiet battle.

“We are all changed by his work as a result, by his presence in our lives. His power lives on and will reverberate for generations to come. He used his life force to tell meaningful stories. And now we will tell his... I promise not to waste my time. I hope you will do the same,” wrote Lupita Nyong’o, a fellow cast member in Black Panther.

“Chadwick.....no words to express my devastation of losing you. Your talent, your spirit, your heart, your authenticity........It was an honor working beside you, getting to know you....Rest well, prince,” Viola Davis, who plays Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom alongside Boseman.

Recently, Boseman’s wife Taylor Simone Ledward paid homage to her late husband with the classic song “I’ll Be Seeing You” at a "Stand Up to Cancer" event.

And as the world continues to remember Boseman’s impact, indy100 compiled a list of 10 films worth watching to celebrate his artistry and legacy.

1. Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods is a 2020 American military drama film that he directed, produced, and co-wrote. Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Johnny Tr Nguyn, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, and Boseman are among the cast members.

The film’s narrative follows a group of four ageing Vietnam War veterans who return to the nation in quest of their deceased squad leader’s remains as well as the treasure they buried while serving there.

2. Get on Up (2014)

Get on Up is a  biographical musical drama film directed by Tate Taylor and written by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth about the life of musician James Brown.

The film stars Boseman as Brown, Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd, Dan Aykroyd as Ben Bart, Viola Davis as Susie Brown, Craig Robinson as Maceo Parker, and Octavia Spencer as Aunt Honey and is produced by Brian Grazer, Mick Jagger, Taylor, and Victoria Pearman.

3. Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther, which is based on the eponymous Marvel Comics character, is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (MCU).

Following his father’s death, T’Challa (Boseman) is crowned king of Wakanda, but he is challenged by Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who wants to end the country’s isolationist policies and start a global revolution.

Black Panther stars Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett,  and Forest Whitaker. It is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole.

4. 42 (2013)

42 is a 2013 American biographical sports drama about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American athlete to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. The film stars Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, and more in supporting roles.

It was written and directed by Brian Helgeland. Robinson’s uniform number, which was retired by all MLB teams in 1997, is referenced in the film’s title.

5. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on August Wilson’s 1982 play of the same name, is a biographical musical drama film directed by George C. Wolfe, produced by Denzel Washington, and written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Viola Davis, Boseman (in his final role before his death), Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts star in the film. It centers on Ma Rainey, a well-known blues singer, and depicts a tumultuous recording session in Chicago in the 1920s.

According to Davis, Boseman’s portrayal of Levee Green demonstrated his "willingness to let go of ego" and "leave the Black Panther-making-a-billion-dollars at the door."

6. 21 Bridges (2019)

This American action thriller directed by Brian Kirk and written by Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan is based on Mervis’s story.

Boseman plays an NYPD officer who closes down Manhattan’s 21 river crossings in search of two accused cop killers, played by Stephan James and Taylor Kitsch, respectively. In supporting roles, Sienna Miller, Keith David, and J. K. Simmons appear.

Boseman also has his only producing credit on the film.

7. Marshall (2017)

Marshall is a biographical judicial drama film written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff and directed by Reginald Hudlin. It stars Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, an NAACP lawyer who went on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

The film also centers around one of Marshall’s first cases, the State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell.

8. The Kill Hole (2013)

Boseman plays Lt. Samuel Drake, a damaged soldier haunted by his conduct in the Iraq War, in the compelling, atmospheric thriller The Kill Hole. Drake is accosted by military contractors who offer him a new task that he can’t refuse after visiting a veterans group hosted by Marshall (Billy Zane, "Titanic").

The Kill Hole is a frightening narrative set against the gorgeous Pacific Northwest countryside about a man forced to confront his violent past and the unsettling link he establishes with a mysterious assassin he must confront in his search for salvation.

9 The Express: The Ernie Davis Story (2008)

American sports movie directed by Gary Fleder and produced by John Davis. The plot was inspired by a script created by Charles Leavitt based on Robert C. Gallagher’s book Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, published in 1983.

The film is based on the life of actor Rob Brown, who plays Syracuse University football player Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. The movie also delves into civil rights issues like racism, discrimination, and sports.

Boseman made his film debut as Floyd Little, a three-time All-American at Syracuse University and former halfback for the Denver Broncos who passed away at the start of this year.

10. Message from the King (2016)

Message from the King is a vengeful action thriller that centres around Jacob King (Boseman), a guy from Cape Town, South Africa, who travels to Los Angeles in search of his younger sister, only to discover she is murdered and vows to avenge her killing.

The film is directed by Fabrice Du Welz and written by Stephen Cornwell and Oliver Butcher.

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