Halle Berry is one of the greatest Black actresses to appear on screens large and small. Halle Berry movies and TV shows have earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress– making her the first (and so far only) Black Actress to win this award.
Since the 1980s, this talented powerhouse has appeared in many Black movies and Black TV shows. Today’s media landscape wouldn’t be the same without Ms. Berry, so let’s dive in and look at the top ten performances that have made her a household name.
1. Leticia Musgrove, “Monster’s Ball”
“Monster’s Ball”, released in 2001, is the story of a prison guard and the widow of an executed prisoner and the relationship that develops between them after the death of her husband.
Halle Berry’s character has to deal with the destruction of her family bonds and what it means to be a person whose identity is challenged by desperate circumstances. Her raw, emotional performance in “Monster’s Ball” is an unflinching study of grief, love, attraction, and vulnerability.
2. Storm, “X-Men” Series
Halle Berry played Storm in the four-movie X-men series: 2000’s “X-Men,” 2003’s “X2: X-Men United”, 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” and 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” For decades, Storm has been a heroic Black woman on the big screen, stepping up as leader of the X-Men in the 2006 movie “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
While Berry plays a major role in each of these blockbusters, 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” gave her the most screen time and plenty of awesome action. Berry’s natural charisma and acting talent bring incredible energy to the character, and she’s extremely fun to watch– especially when her eyes start glowing, and lightning crackles out of her fingertips.
3. Dorothy Dandridge, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”
While many Halle Berry movies are blockbusters, this made-for-tv biopic about legendary Black actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge is truly a hidden gem.
Halle Berry plays Dorothy Dandridge, the first Black woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Berry’s performance deftly captured Dandridge’s beauty, talent, and struggles with racism and sexism in Hollywood, creating a nuanced and compelling portrayal of the trailblazing entertainer.
4. Jinx, “Die Another Day”
“Die Another Day” features Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond facing off against a North Korean operative and a mole in British intelligence… and Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson, an NSA agent played by Halle Berry.
While the James Bond movies have long featured “Bond Girls,” Halle Berry’s character was modern, stylish, sexy, and capable. Neither a femme fatale nor a damsel in distress, Jinx held her own against Bond, complete with plenty of spy action and witty one-liners. Her entertaining performance made her an instant fan favorite.
5. Ginger Knowles, “Swordfish”
“Swordfish” is a cyber-thriller about a hacker who is recruited by a rogue government agent to help steal funds from a secret DEA account. Halle Berry plays Ginger Knowles, an enigmatic character who is part of the heist team.
Berry’s performance as the intelligent, seductive Knowles adds intrigue to the film’s already tense, high-stakes plot. She was praised for her ability to command the screen while delivering a nuanced, complex portrayal of a mysterious character.
6. Janie Crawford, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” follows the life of Janie Crawford, a young African American woman. Halle Berry plays the lead character, an independent woman who defies social norms to pursue her dreams.
Janie Crawford’s character is complex, and Berry brought both vulnerability and strength to her portrayal. She conveyed Crawford’s struggles with identity and racism with care and depth, contributing to her reputation as a highly talented actress with a stunning emotional range.
7. Catwoman, “Catwoman”
We’ll be honest: “Catwoman,” a movie about an artist who becomes an anti-hero after being killed for knowing too much (and subsequently resurrected by an Egyptian cat goddess), is not a good film. But watching Halle Berry play this kind of role is super fun.
The role of Catwoman was a great vehicle for Halle Berry to show off her athleticism and action skills. She received training in capoeira to do many of her own action scenes, and her performance was considered by critics to be the only good thing about the film.
8. Jordan Turner, “The Call”
“The Call” is a heart-pounding thriller about a 911 operator’s attempt to save a girl from abduction.
Halle Berry plays Jordan Turner, a 911 call operator who becomes deeply involved in a case, leading to a tense and dramatic showdown with the kidnapper. The movie works due to Berry’s ability to carry a film on her own, and her performance showcased her versatility and ability to create a truly compelling protagonist.
9. Millie Dunbar, “Kings”
“Kings” is a dramatic, historical crime film set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. It deals with a number of powerful social issues, and in the middle of all of it is Millie Dunbar, a determined, single mom played by Halle Berry.
As the riots escalate, Berry’s character becomes increasingly determined to keep her family safe, leading to the powerful climax. The film shows off the powerful emotions she can invoke and her commitment to tackling complex social issues through her work.
10. Molly Woods, “Extant”
“Extant”s two seasons follow the intriguing story of Molly Woods, an astronaut who returns from a 13-month stint in space and finds that she is mysteriously pregnant.
Berry plays the lead role, and the show follows her as she tries to understand the mysterious circumstances of her pregnancy. Berry’s performance was praised for her range and depth and demonstrated her ability to anchor a tv series and deliver a compelling serial performance.
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