Morgan Freeman is a great actor. But The Shawshank Redemption and Driving Miss Daisy star loves to play opposite another strong actor. Here’s his best double-team roles…
Morgan Freeman is a great actor. That’s a fact. However, while watching one of his more underrated films alongside Gene Hackman in Stephen Hopkins’ Under Suspicion I realised he prefers a partner in crime; a co-star to share the limelight. Rarely has Freeman ever taken the leading role without a talented co-star, preferring instead to go fifty-fifty with another actor or take the backseat to other front men and women. It is this sharing of screen time that interests me the most. He’s certainly provided some of his best performances alongside other established stars. Of course it helps when those co-stars include such greats as Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, Tim Robbins, Christian Slater and Jessica Tandy.
10. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (…with Kevin Costner)
Morgan Freeman joins Robin Hood aka Kevin Costner to steal from the rich and give to the poor.
9. Nurse Betty (…with Chris Rock)
Chris Rock joins Morgan Freeman as a pair of hitmen who cause well-meaning waitress Renee Zellweger to suffer a fugue state after witnessing them murder her husband. Neil LaBute’s dark comedy is one of the best films of 2000.
8. Kiss The Girls (…with Ashley Judd)
Morgan Freeman is Detective Alex Cross in this entertaining adaptation of the James Patterson novel. Here he shares screen time with the gorgeous Ashley Judd as the pair try to track down and capture a sadistic murderer.
7. Hard Rain (…with Christian Slater)
It is Morgan Freeman against Christian Slater in a film by the writer-producer team that brought us Speed. When a natural disaster sees the small town of Huntingburg, Indiana flooded with several feet of rainwater, armoured truck driver Tom (Slater), is ambushed by Freeman’s gang while transporting $3 million in cash. What entails is a thrilling game of cat and mouse.
6. The Bucket List (…with Jack Nicholson)
Freeman stars opposite Jack Nicholson in this bittersweet story that follows the exploits of two terminally ill men who plan to fulfil their dreams before they “kick the bucket”.
5. Under Suspicion (…with Gene Hackman)
A couple of powerhouse performances from Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman are the centrepiece of this taught thriller set mainly in the office of a police captain. Based on the 1981 French film Garde à vue, Freeman has to unpick Hackman’s various alibis as circumstantial evidence points to him being the culprit in a violent murder. As the film is dialogue-driven and set predominantly in one location, it is the performances of the two leads actors that comes to the fore.
4. The Shawshank Redemption (…with Tim Robbins)
In The Shawshank Redemption, Frank Darabont’s theatrical adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, Morgan Freeman plays Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, a smuggler serving a life sentence in Shawshank State Prison. There he befriends Tim Robbins’ Andy Dufresne who has found himself serving two life sentences for the alleged murder of his wife and her lover. The pair strike up a friendship lasting more than two decades in this film that has become an audience favourite.
3. Driving Miss Daisy (…with Jessica Tandy)
Morgan Freeman stars opposite the delightful Jessica Tandy in Bruce Beresford’s Driving Miss Daisy. Tandy, an aging widow in Georgia strikes up an unlikely friendship with Hoke Colburn (Freeman) after she is forced to take on a chauffeur after an automobile wreck.
2. Unforgiven (…with Clint Eastwood)
Morgan Freeman steps back in time as Clint Eastwood’s aging ex-partner in the Oscar-winning Unforgiven. Widely appreciated as one of the best Westerns ever made, Eastwood stars and directs the film which, he says, sums up his feelings to the genre. Freeman joins the iconic Hollywood legend on a vengeful mission to kill the men who assaulted a prostitute. However, Sheriff Little Bill Daggett, played by the brilliant Gene Hackman, stands in their way.
1. Seven (…with Brad Pitt)
Morgan Freeman is the star of the show alongside one-half of Brangelina Brad Pitt. In David Fincher’s terrific thriller, Freeman plays the nearly-too-old-for-this shit Detective William R. Somerset. The toughened cop who has seen most things during a long career in the force but has to kerb the more youthful exuberance of new partner Detective David Mills (Pitt) in this perennially dark city of sin.
Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.
Your turn – what are your favourite Morgan Freeman roles (and twosomes)?
See also: Annette Bening | Jeff Bridges | John Candy | Charlie Chaplin | Chevy Chase | Tony Curtis | Robert De Niro | Robert Downey Jr. | Richard Dreyfuss | Clint Eastwood | Michael J. Fox | Whoopi Goldberg | Tom Hanks 1984 to 1989 | Tom Hanks 1990 to 2010 | Dustin Hoffman (Films) | Dustin Hoffman (Performances) | Steve Martin | Eddie Murphy (Characters) | Julia Roberts | Adam Sandler | Arnold Schwarzenegger | Christian Slater | Meryl Streep
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