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Ranked: Samuel L. Jackson’s Hairdos from Least to Most Majestic

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Who else can play a badass with the haircut of an eight-year-old girl?

Samuel Leroy Jackson is known for three things: acting in an absurd number of movies, generally being a badass, and doing both with some of the most versatile hair of all time. In his latest film, The Sunset Limited, he kind of mails it in. Grey and balding? C'mon. To make up for it, I've scoured Mr. Jackson's filmography and ranked every distinct 'do of Sam's ever seen by man.

 

18. The Samurai Up-Do 

Samuel L. Jackson in The Spirit

As seen in: The Spirit

It is bad enough that this movie even exists. In fact, this haircut probably would have lost just for being associated with such a shitty movie. But the fact that it looks like a mop head haphazardly spray-painted black really sealed the deal.

 

17. Mini-Twists

As seen in: The Man

I have seen four people with this hairstyle in my life. It hasn't looked good once. Thusly, mini-twists are ugly 100% of the time. I did the research.

 

16. The Half-Fro

As seen in: Black Snake Moan

I've never understood growing half a head of hair out when you're bald or otherwise. (I'm looking at you, George Jefferson.) Sam Jackson's head in this movie is like that guy wearing a winter coat and shorts. I hate that guy.

 

15. "Barely There"

As seen in: Losing Isaiah, 187, The Red Violin, The Sunset Limited

At a point, you just have to stop lying to yourself. What you have isn't hair anymore. You make me sad, basically bald man.

 

14. The Afro

As seen in: Menace II Society, Formula 51

One of these afros looks like a football helmet, and the other looks like it could be housing a small family of wayward rodents — and actually might be. 'Fros aren't always bad, but these just fuck it up for everybody.

 

13. Cornrows 

As seen in: Formula 51

If he were eight years old, I wouldn't be so hard on him, but the man was nearing sixty. Cornrows really shouldn't be considered an option at that point. 

 

12. The Brown MicroFro

As seen in: The Negotiator

That dye job is pretty solid. I just expect more from SLJ. He hasn't done a bowl cut, yet. I'm saying, step it up.

 

11. The Flat Top 

As seen in: The Cleaner, Assault at West Point, Deep Blue Sea, No Good Deed

This haircut is the real Theo Huxtable ca.1987. I'm a fan of The Cosby Show, but when I'm watching it I'm not thinking, "I've got to find a way to look like that."

 

10. The Slickback

As seen in: Eve's Bayou, xXx, xXx: State of the Union

Sam looks super-smooth in his Billy Dee cut, but in a skeevy-molester kind of way. It grosses you out if you look at it long enough.

9. The Crew Cut 

As seen in: Die Hard with a Vengeance, Rules of Engagement

The crew cut: it's fine, and it will work if it's there, but you're not going to walk across the bar to talk to it.

 

8. The Frederick Douglass 

As seen in: Unbreakable

Just in time for Black History Month, we bring you this: The Frederick Douglass. It shall not be moved. Literally, that hair is super-rigid.

 

7. Homeless Dreads 

As seen in: The Caveman's Valentine, Resurrecting The Champ

Somewhere, George Clinton is nodding psychedelically in appreciation of those salt-and-pepper dreads. These don't have the requisite forty-year-old yarn and lanyards tied into them, but you take what you can get, right?

 

6. The Braided Ponytail  

As seen in: Soul Men

Only a man as funky as Samuel L. can have the same hairstyle as a nine-year-old girl and pull it off like that. Kudos, sir. 
 

5. The Grey Pompadour 

As seen in: The Great White Hype

I don't know which presidential candidate he snatched that off of, but that is a luxurious head of hair, right there.

 

4. Platinum Blonde Caesar 

As seen in: Jumper

Look at that guy. Tell me that if he was running at you with a futuristic stun gun, you wouldn't stain your undies. That's what I thought.

 

3. The Brown Ponytail 

As seen in: Jackie Brown

This ponytail says, "I play a mean bass guitar." That, or "I have really bad friends who don't care enough about me to tell me honestly how this looks." Because we're talking about Mr. Jackson, I'm going with the former.

 

2. Bald

As seen in: Iron Man 1 & 2, Unthinkable, The Other Guys, Star Wars, Snakes on a Plane, SWAT, Shaft, Lakeview Terrace, Coach Carter, Sphere, The Spirit, Home of the Brave, Basic, Juice

This is Sam's go-to look, on and off-screen. It works for him. After spending weeks — nay, years — compiling this list, I'm glad he doesn't get more creative very often.

 

1. The Jheri Curl

As seen in: Pulp Fiction

Any list associated with Sam Jackson has to culminate in praise for Jules Winnfield. Plainly put, Jules is a bad motherfucker. It says so right on his wallet. Couple the greatness of the role with the amount of hairspray it undoubtedly took to make that thing happen, and you've got a legendary 'do.