The N.W.A rapper, Ice Cube, isn’t directly known for his time on the silver screen, but he became one of Hollywood’s most unlikely stars in the 1990s. Making his debut in John Singleton’s Boyz in the Hood, the rapper, privately known as O’Shea Jackson Sr, shot to cinematic success after impressing as part of the ensemble cast, which also included Laurence Fishburne, Regina King and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Pursuing a solo career in music in the mid-1990s, the rapper continued to juggle his acting alongside his musical pursuits. Notable releases included Friday in 1995 and a supporting role in David O.Russell’s Three Kings before the turn of the new millennium, whilst in 2012 he stole the show as Captain Dickson in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s 21 Jump Street, a role he would reprise two years later in the celebrated sequel.
Though he has grown to become quite the Hollywood star, one wouldn’t think of Ice Cube as an avid cinephile, yet his list of favourite films would beg to differ. Sitting down with Rotten Tomatoes back in 2010, the rapper revealed his top five favourites, including some iconic names such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Orson Welles.
His first choice goes to the Orson Welles flick Citizen Kane, the 1941 masterpiece following a publishing tycoon and his troubled past. A wealthy illustration of the American Dream in all its glory and shortcomings, the film is led by a flawed lead character fueled by the allure of the national dream, leading to his lonely demise. Often considered to be the best movie ever made, it’s remarkable that Welles’ film still holds so much power.
Speaking of the best films ever made, taking the second spot on the rapper’s list is Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic crime film The Godfather starring Marlon Brando, James Caan and Diane Keaton. The gangster flick tells the story of the Corleone family and the passing of power from Brando’s Vito to Al Pacino’s Michael and would win three Oscars in 1973, including Best Picture.
Taking the third spot is Spielberg’s shark horror flick Jaws, a film that deals with the deep, dark blue of the unknown. Featuring groundbreaking cinematography that places the viewer within the shark’s gaze, just beneath the break of the water’s surface, Jaws creates an unprecedented tension that screams of inevitable bloodshed. Considering the film’s soft PG rating, and relative lack of visceral violence, the terror it has created of the deep dark blue for a whole western culture is staggering.
George Lucas’ Star Wars changed the landscape of cinema when it was released in 1977, introducing audiences to a brand new type of sci-fi filmmaking that merged the western genre with cosmic adventures. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, the film would spark an iconic franchise that would go on to become the most successful and influential series of all time.
Ice Cube’s five favourite movies of all time
- Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
- The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
- Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
- Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope (George Lucas, 1977)
- Trading Places (John Landis, 1983)
The final film on his list is the John Landis Christmas comedy romp Trading Places, starring Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis. The story follows a snobby investor whose life is switched with a street con artist as part of a malicious bet between two millionaires, but Landis is clever with the story, which bobs and weaves out of grasp, keeping you guessing and laughing the entire time.