Six Degrees of Separation and Bad Boys put Smith on the movie map, providing him with a springboard to bag two Oscar nominations and some colossal blockbuster hits. Digital Spy takes a look back at Will Smith's five best movie roles below...
Bad Boys (1995)
Originally conceived as a vehicle for comics Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz, Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay retooled the movie - about two wise-cracking cop buddies in Miami - for Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. The pair improvised during takes, bringing a spark and tangible chemistry to Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey's relationship. The Lowrey part was initially turned down by Arsenio Hall, and his loss became Smith's gain.
Independence Day (1996)
Disaster master Roland Emmerich paired Smith's US Marine pilot Steve Hiller with Jeff Goldblum's computer geek David Levinson to save the world from an alien invasion. The blockbuster became a massive worldwide hit, taking in more than $800 million, and cemented Smith as a bona fide leading man. How many other actors could sock an alien in the face, yell "Welcome to Earth!" and still make it seem cool?
Men in Black (1997)
Smith's '90s hot streak continued with Barry Sonnenfeld's sci-fi Men in Black. As an NYPD cop, Smith finds himself recruited by a covert government agency that keeps extraterrestrials in check on Earth. Tommy Lee Jones's gruff Agent K provides the perfect counterpoint to Smith's energetic performance. Allegedly, the Agent J role was first offered to Chris O'Donnell and David Schwimmer before Smith made it his own.
Smith's megawatt charisma made him the perfect choice to play sporting icon Muhammad Ali in this 2001 biopic. He packed on the pounds and underwent boxing training so that he could convincingly float like a butterfly and sting like a bee for director Michael Mann. Smith's dedication earned him a well-deserved Academy Award nomination.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
This biopic is based on the true story of Chris Gardner, a homeless man who turned his life around to launch a multi-million dollar brokerage firm. Smith's excellent performance earned him plenty of acting accolades, including a Golden Globe nomination and his second Oscar nod. His son Jaden Smith, as Chris Gardner Jr, lent the film's central relationship genuine heart and emotion.
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Photo gallery - Will Smith's career in pictures:
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