Celebrating Morgan Freeman's Birthday: 5 Roles That Defined His Illustrious Career

At 87, this living legend is showing no signs of slowing down while taking on roles that prove he remains a force to be reckoned with.

Morgan Freeman is celebrating another trip around the sun.

At 87, this living legend has lived a life many can only dream of. With a career that spans 50 years, Freeman's knack for the big and small screen has contributed to some of the best films and shows in the 21st century.

Along with his outstanding journey in Hollywood, Freeman won an Oscar in 2004 and continues to change the film and TV landscape one role at a time.

Also known as "The Voice" in the entertainment industry, Freeman never ceases to raise the bar while exemplifying the significance of representation in front of the camera and behind the lens.

Here's a look at some of his most inspiring roles over the past five decades.

  • Glory

    In 1989, Freeman starred in this historical drama about the first all-Black army regiment in the Union Army. As Sergeant Major John Rawlins, the actor depicted the complexities experienced by Black men who stood on the front lines in this country for democracy.

    "One of my favorite films to have taken part in," he said of the movie while speaking to Yahoo Movies in 2014."You can't really do anything in a movie to experience the harsh realities of war," he continued, before recounting a shocking moment where a soldier gets decapitated by a cannonball. "You can show that, you can't experience it."

  • The Shawshank Redemption

    Freeman stepped into the shoes of Ellis "Red" Redding in this 1994 prison-break drama that scored high with critics, securing an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    "One of the things that set Shawshank apart is how well the acting was [and] how well the actors took to their situation there," he said while appearing on "Jake's Takes" in 2021.

  • Amistad

    (L to R): Steven Spielberg goes over a scene with Anthony Hopkins and Morgan Freeman on set of Courtroom "Amistad."

    This historical film took Freeman's career to the next level as Theodore Joadson, a former slave who helps free slaves who are being held captive.

    While discussing the movie with the Hollywood Foreign Press, the star took an introspective approach as a Black man.

    "I feel that this story has great importance to us as Americans, on its own merits. It’s a moment in history that has largely been buried in time and is very enlightening to us on a lot of levels," he told the outlet. "So, I have a great amount of self-satisfaction in being part of this project, and probably more so as a Black American.”

  • Million Dollar Baby

    In this 2004 drama, Freeman's role as Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris proved to be a total knockout. The actor won an Oscar for his portrayal in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

    During his acceptance speech, he gave a shoutout to cast members Hilary Swank and Clint Eastwood while dubbing his role a "labor of love."

  • The Dark Knight Trilogy

    Freeman entered the DC Comics universe as Lucius Fox, the brainiac behind Bruce Wayne's alter ego, Batman's, high-tech gear.

    "Batman Begins," the first movie from the franchise, marked Freeman's first superhero movie. With its critical acclaim and box office success, Freeman told HeyUGuys in 2012 that it was an obvious choice for him to sign on for the second installment.

    Of his admiration of his tech-savvy character, Freeman told the outlet, "He's decent, loyal, but I think he is extremely smart. I like that," he said while quipping, "I'm not."

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