Chadwick Boseman's posthumous win of the Best Actor Award for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was one of the most poignant moments of the 2021 Golden Globes, as it reminded us the actor still had a lot left to give.
Despite his secret four-year battle with colon cancer, which ultimately led to his death at the age of 43 in August 2020, Boseman ensured that he gave each and every performance his all.
His career was short but stellar and varied. He took on roles such as Wakanda's king in Black Panther, the Godfather of Soul in the James Brown biopic Get On Up and Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court Justice in the film Marshall.
Whether you are new to the actor's oeuvre or are simply looking for another Boseman-starring film to watch, here are six of the actor's greatest performances.
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ (2020)
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was Boseman's last film and won him his first Golden Globe.
The film tells the story of Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey (Viola Davis), who was one of the first generation of blues singers to record music, and her ambitious trumpet player Levee Green (Boseman).
Set in 1920s Chicago, the plot follows the tension that arises between Rainey and Green after a white production company signs the singer.
The film is an adaptation of the 1984 play by August Wilson and highlights the white exploitation of black popular culture.
‘Da 5 Bloods’ (2020)
A history lesson, a gory heist flick and a war drama all in one, Da 5 Bloods joined Boseman with seasoned actors such as Clarke Peters and Delroy Lindo.
The film tells the story of four African-American veterans who return to Vietnam to find the remains of their squad leader (Boseman) as well as the gold he helped them hide.
The film, directed by Malcolm X filmmaker Spike Lee, is Boseman's penultimate flick. It was named Movie of the Year at the 2021 American Film Institute Awards.
‘Black Panther’ (2018)
This was the role that made Boseman a household name.
Black Panther tells the story of Prince T'Challa (Boseman), heir to the hidden and technologically advanced kingdom of Wakanda.
After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to take up the mantle of king as well as the role of the Black Panther. However, he is soon pitted against a usurper and must reckon with his country’s past.
The film is undoubtedly one of Boseman’s greatest on-screen efforts and one of the finest instalments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Here, Boseman takes on the role of Thurgood Marshall, a civil rights activist and lawyer who became the first Black Supreme Court Justice in 1967.
By the time the film was released in 2017, Boseman had already proved himself an accomplished biopic actor through his previous roles, but Marshall set a new benchmark.
The courtroom drama revolves around one of Marshall’s earliest cases, in which he defends Joseph Spell, a black chauffeur wrongfully accused of rape by his white employer. The film highlights issues of racism both in the courtroom and on the streets.
‘Get on Up’ (2014)
Boseman filled the Godfather of Soul’s shoes with electric charisma in this film.
The James Brown biopic shows how the I Got You singer rose from crippling poverty and an unstable childhood to become one of the world's most popular musicians.
Boseman effortlessly captured Brown’s speech patterns, as well as his dance moves, in a performance worthy of a standing ovation.
This is the film that proved Boseman’s finesse as a biopic actor.
In 42, Boseman takes up the role of Jackie Robinson, who became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era after he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The film, which also stars Harrison Ford, is a must-watch even if you don’t know the first thing about baseball.
Like many of Boseman's subsequent films, 42 confronts the racism that grips the US while telling a stirring and heartwarming story.