Idris Elba is a man of many talents. If you have only known him through his on-screen characters, let us tell you apart from being an award-winning actor, Idris Elba is a professional kickboxer, a R&B singer, and an outstanding DJ who goes by the name DJ Big Driis. If you are not aware of his works you might recall him from the biopic movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Though we are a bit disappointed he won’t be our next James Bond after much speculation and ugly debates, the actor himself decided against the role when the discussions online became racist. While the actor has a wide range of projects under his belt, we are taking a look at his best works to date. No matter your taste and preference in films, you are sure to find something of your liking in this list of Idris Elba movies and TV shows.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
This is one of the most underrated Idris Elba movies. Beasts of No Nation saw the actor playing a villainous character of a commandant who trains and recruits children to use them as weapons during a civil war. The actor was nominated for various awards and won the Independent Spirits Award and Screen Actors Guild for his role.
The plot revolves around a young boy named Agu who runs away from his home and is forced to become a child soldier. The movie might be difficult for some viewers to watch as it has not a bit shied away from portraying the brutality of civil war.
|IMDb Rating: 7.7/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%|
Watch the trailer for Beasts of No Nation:
The Harder They Fall (2021)
This Idris Elba movie showcased what an all-black cast looks like in its full glory. The Harder They Fall stars Jonathon Majors, Zazie Beetz, RJ Cyler, and Edi Gathegi among others. Elba played the character of the cool bad guy, Rufus Buck who isn’t afraid to shed some blood for his gang.
Rufus killed the father of Nat Love when he was young and since then Nat has sworn to get revenge on Rufus. Elba rocked the character of a notorious cowboy and it is evident that the actor enjoyed portraying Rufus on screen. The Harder They Fall is one of the Idris Elba movies that should not be missed.
|IMDb Rating: 6.6/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%|
Enjoy the trailer for The Harder They Fall:
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
As the title suggests, the movie is a biopic on South Africa’s most prominent leader and political activist. The movie is hands down one of the most realistic biopics we have come across to date. Elba convincingly played the calm yet powerful man who had way more suffering yet managed to stay strong for his people.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom covered Nelson Mandela’s life from his childhood to his harsh life in prison for 27 years and his wife Winnie’s struggles with authority. Elba was nominated for the Golden Globe Award in the best actor category.
|IMDb Rating: 7.1/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62%|
Check out the trailer for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom:
Molly’s Game (2017)
Molly’s Game is based on the true story of a young and talented Olympic-class skier, Molly Bloom. After encountering a serious injury Molly can no longer pursue her skiing. She leaves for New York for a break and works as an office manager where she gets involved in poker games. One thing leads to another she opens her own underground poker community which gets raided by the FBI.
Molly has no one to turn to other than her lawyer Charlie Jaffey, played by Idris Elba. The chemistry between the two created an undeniable tension on screen but the characters decide to keep it professional. Charlie soon discovers that there is more to Molly’s life than what the tabloids are printing about her and this makes him want to protect her more.
|IMDb Rating: 7.4/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%|
Here is the trailer for Molly’s Game:
The Wire (2002)
The crime drama television series The Wire was Elba’s first major stepping stone towards global stardom. The show is about America and its institutions be it political or a cop or even a drug dealer. Though the series did not perform well during the time of release, later it was often cited as one of the best series to have aired on television.
Elba’s character of Russel ‘Stringer Bell’ is still considered one of his best works among all the Idris Elba movies and TV shows. Stringer Bell is a street-smart character with huge aspirations who is willing to go to extreme extents to turn his dreams into reality.
|IMDb Rating: 9.3/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%|
Trailer for The Wire:
Luther is a British crime drama that sired from 2010-2019. This one is among the dark and gloomy Idris Elba movies and TV shows where he plays the titular character. Luther is a dedicated Detective Chief Inspector whose dedication to his profession sometimes gets unhealthy and obsessive.
Once you enter Luther’s world, you can’t help but look at your day-to-day life through his eyes of suspicion. The red tie, grey coat, and shirt became an iconic attire associated with the character. His dilemma between what is good as per the law and what is good morally will have you sympathize with Elba’s character.
|IMDb Rating: 8.4/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%|
Watch the trailer for Luther:
The Jungle Book (2016)
There’s no doubt about Elba’s acting skills but if he was to ever focus just on his voice acting he would be leading that industry and that’s the magic of his distinctive voice. The actor has lent his voice to various characters but his voice as Shere Khan from the children’s classic The Jungle Book remains iconic to date.
His rumbling voice with the menacing nature of Shere Khan sends a chill down the spine of viewers whenever the character appears on screen. The calmness in his voice somehow feels threatening and warns against the upcoming dangers. His disgust toward humans has made him bitter to the extent that he does not even shy away from killing a child.
|IMDb Rating: 7.4/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%|
Enjoy the trailer for The Jungle Book:
The Suicide Squad (2021)
How rare is it to watch an anti-hero movie? The Suicide Squad was released in 2021 and is the sequel to Suicide Squad released in 2016. The whole cast was repeated for the sequel except Jared Leto who was not a part of the sequel for some unrevealed reasons.
The Suicide Squad works more as a reboot of the original Suicide Squad. While the first movie earned good money at the box office, its reviews were highly negative. It can be said that nothing good came out of Suicide Squad (2016), except that it is considered one of the top movies of stars like Jared Leto and Cara Delevingne.
The Suicide Squad aimed to fix what the previous part did and it surely was successful.
Part of the anti-hero squad, Elba plays the character of Bloodsport. He is the responsible leader of the group filled with crackheads. The character has a humorous side that feels more like trauma sharing but is sure to crack you up if you have a thing for dark humor.
|IMDb Rating: 7.2/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%|
Watch the trailer for The Suicide Squad:
Concrete Cowboy (2021)
In simple words, the movie is about the bonding between a father and his son. But there are certain elements that make the movie stand out. The plot is set in a cowboy community of black people who try to survive in a racist world.
Elba plays the character of Harp, who has an estranged relationship with his 15-year-old son, Cole. The young boy has to face the harsh realities of the world like poverty and racism. The movie touches on the lesser-discussed topic in a realistic manner and serves as an eye-opener for society. The movie deserves to be on the list of best Idris Elba movies for the storyline and the perfect execution of the plot.
|IMDb Rating: 6.3/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%|
Check out the trailer for Concrete Cowboy:
The movie that started the multiverse series of MCU. Elba played the character of Heimdal, the all-seeing god in Asgardian. Sadly he had to face some racist backlash from people who did not want to see a black actor playing a god. But the movie not just went ahead with Elba but also reprised his role for the upcoming Marvel movies.
|IMDb Rating: 7/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%|
Watch the trailer for Thor:
Hijack is a series about the nail-biting journey of a hijacked plane. The series stars Idris Elba as Sam Nelson, an arch-negotiator. The tension between the hijackers and Nelson will keep you on the edge and will have you sympathize with the passengers.
The series is set to make a comeback with season 2 and fans are curious if Idris Elba will reprise his role of Sam Nelson. When asked about the same, the actor expressed his interest in being a part of Hijack Season 2 so we can expect positive news.
|IMDb Rating: 7.6/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%|
Check out the trailer for Hijack:
Luther: The Fallen Sun (2023)
The movie is the continuation of the hit series Luther and the actors reprised their respective roles. John Luther has a hard time in prison and successfully escapes. This time Luther has to use his skills to bring down a gruesome psychopath criminal. But the task is not easy for him as an escaped prisoner himself.
|IMDb Rating: 6.4/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68%|
Watch the trailer for Luther: The Fallen Sun
Pacific Rim (2013)
The 2013 release is a sci-fi alien movie starring Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Diego Klattenhoff. The plot begins when a monstrous sea creature, Kaiju, leads to a war between mankind and sea creatures. To save the world from an apocalypse, an unlikely duo of a former pilot and a trainee are forced to join hands. Will they become the saving force of mankind or is the end near?
|IMDb Rating: 6.9/10||Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 72%|
Enjoy the trailer for Pacific Rim:
It is not often that we see actors like Idris Elba in mainstream films. Idris Elba movies and TV shows blur the line between fiction and reality and all the credit goes to his skills. So let’s raise a toast to this amazing actor while we wait for more of his works in the future.