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

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

By David Warner

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.

Commentarium (19 Comments)

Feb 10 11 - 1:50am

This list was shockingly entertaining. Went in skeptical, came out a believer.

Feb 10 11 - 2:44am

same here.

Feb 10 11 - 10:43am

jackie brown for life.

Feb 10 11 - 11:52am

this wasn't based purely on hair, and i am pissed. the hair in unbreakable should have won.

Feb 10 11 - 3:39pm

I'm Team Jericurl

Feb 10 11 - 5:17pm

Frederick Douglass. It rocks.

Feb 10 11 - 7:24pm

definitely the frederick douglas. that's got style.

Feb 10 11 - 10:32pm

The Frederick Douglas enhanced with the Soul-Glo shine of a Jheri Curl is downright magical. Er... that's what my wife told me.

Feb 11 11 - 9:43am

Someone didn't do their research; the Jheri Curl in Pulp Fiction was a wig, not Jackon's real hair.
It did look great though, no denying

Feb 11 11 - 1:28pm

the jericurl from pulp fiction belongs on the mount rushmore of do's. it's just... so iconic.

Feb 11 11 - 1:31pm

Holy shit. Sam Jackson has been in far, far too many movies.

Feb 12 11 - 10:13am

I'm surprised SamJack has never rocked a mohawk, that would be really baadasssss.

Feb 12 11 - 5:27pm

I feel like number 5 isn't really a pomp. It's actually a Cesar whereas the one below is just a close shave... :)

Either way: WOW.

Feb 14 11 - 10:31am

Me thinks this list was written by a white person. Not to be racist or anything, but a lot of these hairdos you didn't like I did like and alot that you do like I don't. Plus me being a black barber myself I know no black person wo would be caught dead with the grey pompadour.

Feb 19 11 - 4:41am

Definitely have to agree with Rethro. It seemed like a lot of the hairstyles that would be natural for a Black person was listed as a bad hairstyle whereas the hairstyles that really made absolutely no sense for a Black person to rock (really?! the jheri curl is not cool and never will be cool!!) I'm a black female btdubs if it makes a difference.

Mar 22 11 - 3:51am

Jheri curls may not be "cool" in 2011 but when I was a kid I assure you they were all the rage. One need only look back to the heyday of Full Force and Stoney Jackson and marvel at the vast sea of curls, bag-heads and activator stains. So many activator stains.

Mar 23 11 - 3:17am
S. Leroy Jackson fan

You do know he's naturally bald right? All of those hairdos are wigs.

Apr 13 11 - 6:14am

IMHO you've got the right aenwsr!

Jul 10 11 - 11:33pm

I actually bought a painting at a flea market for the frame. when I took the painting out there was this blown up pic of Samuel and Lionel Richie behind it. SJ's hair was shoulder length curls and they were both looking quite buzzed. Bovioulsy taken bya fan and blown up. what fun!