We've been loving Samuel L. Jackson since movies like 'Menace II Society' and 'Pulp Fiction,' and he gives one hell of a performance in the upcoming 'Django Unchained,' but in today's Way Back When, we show you what he was up to before he made it big.


One of Samuel L. Jackson's earliest roles was in this 1981 movie called 'Ragtime,' in which he played an unnamed gangster. Directed by the legendary Milos Forman, the film follows a young black pianist who becomes involved with an upper-class white family in New York. You can check out Jackson as a gun-toting gangster below as he and his buddies try to take over a library, of all places:

'School Daze' (NSFW)

In Spike Lee's 1988 film 'School Daze,' a young and unpopular college student wants to pledge a popular fraternity on campus. Samuel L. Jackson plays a local black man who's insulted by the collegiate black men who he thinks are responsible for his inability to get a job. There's some pretty strong language in here, but this is a great scene that highlights how Jackson could deliver one hell of a speech, even back then:

'Coming to America'

If you haven't seen 'Coming to America,' you should correct that immediately. This comedy classic stars Eddie Murphy as an African prince who comes to America (get it?) to find the girl of his dreams and pursue a normal life, rather than suffer an arranged marriage at the hands of his wealthy parents. Part of the American dream is getting a job at a McDonald's-esque fast food joint, where Samuel L. Jackson comes in and robs the place in this hilarious scene:

'Do the Right Thing' 

Jackson reunited with Spike Lee for 1989's 'Do the Right Thing,' a fantastic film about racism and bigotry coming to a boil on the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn. Jackson brings his charisma and notable voice to the part of a local radio DJ named Mister Senor Love Daddy:

'Goodfellas' (NSFW)

Jackson had a small part in Martin Scorsese's classic gangster flick 'Goodfellas' back in 1990. He played the part of Stacks, a criminal who gets on the wrong side of the mafia, so Joe Pesci pays him a little visit and shoots him in the head. Fun for everyone!

'Jungle Fever' (NSFW)

There are two directors Samuel L. Jackson has had strong working relationships with: Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee. He reunites with the latter for the third time in the interracial love drama 'Jungle Fever,' as Gator Purify (yes, seriously), a crackhead who just likes to get high, you know? Bonus fun: his crackhead girlfriend Viv is played by Halle Berry.