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Was actor, producer, and singer Samuel L. Jackson birthed directly into a suit? Did the man connected more inexorably than any other with the expletive "motherf***er" arrive fully-formed with a blazer and slacks?
He has played a character named "Zeus." He could be the god of suits! We don't know. What we do know, however, is that Samuel L. Jackson has worn suits and lots of them.
If clothes make the man then suits make Samuel L. Jackson all different sorts of men across decades of filmmaking. And this is a ranking of every single suit Samuel L. Jackson has ever worn in his professional acting career. Some of these suits are ordinary, but some are so extraordinary that they helped define his career. I hope you're ready because this list is long, but, obviously, incredibly important and life-affirming. Transformatively positive, really.
A lot of these suits are pretty basic, so many of these entries are gonna be quick, in and out. But the best of the best? We'll dissect them a little more in detail as good fashion deserves.
In order to protect my sanity, we are not including animated movies or occasions of Mr. Jackson walking red carpets. These are strictly live-action movie suits, because otherwise this catalog would be never-ending and you and I would literally both be dead before it is complete. I'd like to think Samuel L. Jackson wouldn't want that for us. He just wants us to appreciate him and his suits. So let's do that.
35. Kadar Lewis - Losing Isaiah (1995)
It's a grey suit! The pin, watch, and glasses are doing more work than the rest. Lapel is too wide, and the tie is... scaley? Not a great look.
34. Doyle Gipson - Changing Lanes (2002)
It's a suit! The overcoat is doing more work than the rest of it, though.
33. Calvin Hart - Kiss of Death (1995)
This is a lot like the suit from Losing Isaiah, but the color is better, the tie is more striking, and the overall fit is a vast improvement.
32. Wes Luger - Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
It's a suit! It almost fits, too! The tie is... fine.
31. Trevor Garfield - One Eight Seven (1997)
I like the suit. Kind of a window-pane plaid. And the yellow and black stripe tie isn't bad, but the red shirt cheapens the rest of the look. Too bad.
30. Coach Ken Carter - Coach Carter (2005)
In which Jackson wears a bunch of very generic suits with what appear to be Jerry Garcia ties. Next.
29. Langston Whitfield - In My Country (2004)
Off-white jacket, gold shirt. It's very messy, though that's by design, I think. Still, the lines on this, the tight lapel giving way to a baggy coat and an untucked shirt end up looking more ill-fitted than casual.
28. Augustus Gibbons - xXx (2002)
Guess what I found? If you guessed, "a suit," then congratulations. It's nice. I like the dark olive wool of the jacket. The shirt and tie are understated but they all marry well together. That's about it.
27. Chaney - Oldboy (2013)
Again with these very red shirts. I'm more interested in the mohawk, honestly. Also, the fit on the waistcoat isn't great. I said what I said.
26. "The President" - Big Game (2015)
Jackson plays "The President" in this movie. And he is dressed as the most generic of Obama suits. Next.
25. Minister Garth - Def By Temptation (1990)
Let's be honest: the cross is doing all the heavy lifting. You could say it's the cross's cross to bear. But it actually does a lot. And the suit is pretty sharp for a reverend.
24. Karl Aker - Kite (2014)
I was unaware that Samuel L Jackson starred in a live-action version of the animated film, Kite. I was unaware a live-action version of Kite existed at all. The suit is fine. Very beige. but the window-pane plaid is nice. It softens Jackson up and makes him seem like a guy who wouldn't immediately murder someone in cold blood, so that's cool.
23. Darius Kincaid - The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
This suit is walking away from an explosion. Points for that, but not much else.
22. Charles Morritz - The Red Violin (1998)
Understated. Clean but not formal. I wouldn't call this any great shake, but the costume does tell the story of a character who wants people to see an instrument and the music that comes out of it more than he wants them to see the man playing it. So that's neat.
21. Nick Fury - Captain Marvel (2019)
Sure, we're all very excited that technology has made it so Samuel L Jackson can look younger than he actually is, but so what? Big whup! What about the suit, friends? It's not bad! I like this soft suede jacket over a teal shirt. The tie ain't bad either.
20. Madlock - Mo' Better Blues (1990)
I'm not sure about the red tie on the red shirt or the fit on the double-breasted jacket, but the design on the tie isn't half bad. Spike Lee kind of saved the best suits for himself, though, let's be honest.
19. Nick Fury - Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Jackson has to reintroduce Steve Rogers back into the modern world. And, apparently, the best way to do that is with this black on black suit. It's alright, but the most stylish part of the suit is the shirt underneath. It buttons all the way up but there's no real collar. It's Fury's way of saying the world is still around, but all Steve's friends are dead. It's amazing what fashion to get across.
18. Jimmy - Hard Eight (1997)
There's something about gambling that is permanently trapped in the late '70s and early '80s. Sure, you've got your Phil Hellmuth types with their caps, shades, and corporate sponsorships emblazoned on their shirts, but the sport (if you can call cards a sport) is entrenched in polyester leisure. No ties required! Unbutton that shirt down until the chest hairs cannot be contained!
Honestly? It works. Red jacket, rainbow shirt, and a gold chain. I used to dress like this about 10 years ago, but I think that probably says more about my taste level than it does Mr. Jackson's, since what he's wearing here is a costume.
17. Richie - Meeting Evil (2012)
Three piece suit. Check. Matching tie and pocket square? Double check. Hat and a shotgun? Yup. It's nice, it's clean, and Samuel L Jackson's looking mean.
16. Louis Batiste - Eve's Bayou (1997)
Nothing brings a suit together better than complimenting colors. This slate, thin-lapel suit pairs so well with that bronze tie I could cry. And the hat? It just lightens up the whole thing like so much linen.
15. Sam - Fresh (1994)
I can get all the way behind this look. The camel houndstooth coat is giving me a Brooks Brothers vibe, but perfectly dressed down with a mustard shirt. And that brown fedora with the black? Chef's kiss. I'd wear the hell out of this if I was sipping a 40 and playing chess in the park, too, but I wouldn't look as good by half.
14. B-Bop - Johnny Suede (1991)
If all you remember about Johnny Suede is Brad Pitt's atomic weaponized pompadore, you are sorely missing out on some style for the ages. Jackson as B-Bop might hide a little behind his stand-up bass, but the ivory suit with the thin stripe, the purple stripe details on his white button-down and that yellow hat? It's a much better look than that hair fin Pitt's got on his head, let's just leave it at that.
13. Rufus - Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
It's easy to forget that Jackson is even in the Kill Bill oeuvre, especially given all the outrageous costumes. But he's there! And I'll tell you something else: that unbuttoned gold shirt covered by that slightly oversized black suit? Those studded, black cowboy boots? Hell, even the trilby (the most maligned of hats)? They all work in concert together. Jackson is smoking. Literally, he smokes in the movie. But he also looks real good.
12. Barron - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Black pin-stripe, black tie, black shirt. I love the balance with the white hair, white eyes, and sharp, white teeth. I also love the way they've added extra padding to the shoulder area. Everything about this suit is evil, except for how it looks which is good.
11. Gerald Olin - 1408 (2007)
I am, to be plain, conflicted. On the one hand I love a three-piece suit and a pocket square. A nice, yell-gold tie with a wide knot and a pocket watch definitely gives Jackson an air of distinction. But here's my quandary: does this almost brown waistcoat have any place paired with a charcoal suit? When the jacket is closed, I think it looks great. But once it's opened... I'm just not sure. I leave the taste level on this this one up to you. But I do appreciate the hustle at the very least.
10. Stephen - Django Unchained (2012)
This is one of those times where Jackson doesn't really wear a jacket, but the waistcoat and that fancy ass western bowtie make me give him the pass. It's historical. I wouldn't wear it now, but I appreciate the tailoring and the historical accuracy.
09. Pat Novak - Robocop (2014)
Now this is a presidential looking suit. If they slicked his hair back on the sides a little tighter, Jackson as Pat Novak would be sporting some serious Ronald Reagan vibes. He's got very classy double-breasted purple coat with what almost looks like a leather tie with floral detail. And, of course, gotta have that pocket square. It's kind of a "What if Mr. Glass went Republican and ran for president" look. On paper, I hate everything about that. But it looks pretty good honestly. 10/10 would vote even if he killed me and all my friends and turned our carcasses into robot cops.
08. Elijah Price - Unbreakable (2000)
Yes, Elijah wears multiple suits in this movie, but what are we even doing if we don't skip ahead to the one with the perched Dracula-looking collar and the zipper with the huge ass triangle on it? Like, what else is there to speak of? That white pleated ascot. That plastic-y pleather coat. The faux purple snakeskin lapel?!
To this day I look back at Unbreakable and gasp that I didn't realize Mr. Glass is a supervillain. To paraphrase Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: he's a blood-sucking fiend: look at his outfit!
07. Octopus - The Spirit (2008)
This is like if Mr. Glass when to Russia with love. The fur lining on the sleeve and the lapel! The hat! The white gloves! And, more than anything, the literal octopus tentacles all over the coat. I feel like Data when he gets his emotion chip in Star Trek: Generations and he keeps drinking this stuff he hates. This is revolting, but, yes, more, please!
06. Eijah - Glass (2019)
This is the ridiculous upgrade from Unbreakable. We lose the snakeskin but the fluorescence of the Glass suit overall is through the roof. Also, that "MG" pin on the ascot. Off the charts.
05. Major Marquis Warren - The Hateful Eight (2015)
The brim on that hat is outstanding, but what makes Major Marquis Warren's suit so striking is that overcoat with the leather tassels and, oof, that canary yellow lining. The yellow paired with that fat, red tie has Jackson in full peacock mode. That suede black waistcoat is sexy as hell, too. Also, a fun thing about that coat: it sure does have a cape. And the long, grey scarf softens the layers and brings it all together.
04. Jules Winnfield - Pulp Fiction (1994)
Blessed is he who, in the name of fashion and good suits, shepherds the stylistically-impaired through the valley of JC Penny's, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of busted-looking children.
Sometimes you can do a lot with a little. A thin, black tie, a thin black suit, and a thin, black man wearing them. What more do you need?
If someone must will strike down upon me great vengeance and furious anger I hope they look as good as Jackson does in Pulp Fiction.
03. Mitch Henessey - The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
Mitch Henessey is one of the classiest small-time crooks in the history of recorded cinema. And even though the man is enduring the absolute ass of freezing cold that New Jersey has to offer (and I grew up there, so I should know), he does it in style. Yellow and black-striped turtleneck, with a baby blue cardigan, classy as @#$% two-button green blazer, some absolutely wild old-man plaid slacks, and a fur-green newsie cap to top it all off.
You know, Mitch says a woman hasn't blown him since candy bars cost a nickel, but anyone who can make clothes they literally found in the trunk of a car look this good is too hot for that to be true.
Final verdict: this is some bargain basement fashion and Jackson looks killer in it.
02. Valentine - Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Valentine has two main looks in Kingsman but they both have the same vibe, which is very youthful. I love this whole look. The clear glasses with the baseball cap. Sometimes we get an ivory waistcoat with a powder blue tie, other times it's a sunrise of oranges and reds. I love the long necklace and the use of sneakers. his is easily one of Jackson's best looks and I cannot believe someone who was around 65 could look this youthful and fresh.
01. Dolmedes - Chi-Raq (2015)
I am in awe. There are a lot of amazing suits on this list, but none comes close to the one Jackson wears playing Dolmedes in Chi-Raq. This suit has all the best of Jackson's fashions in movies: waistcoat, pocket square, hat, except the suit is orange. You know how Jackson wears a lot of purple in other movies? That's the purple stuff to this suits Sunny D basically. And the green it's paired with is perfectly complementary. And the olive hat takes that green to a slightly more sedate place. Also, he has a cane. I dunno, guys. I think this is it. Peak Samuel L. Jackson suit. At last we can rest.