Best performance in a movie

Please reply with your opinion. I can think of two major characters that were played perfectly among the movies I’ve seen.

-The bandit in Rashomon.
-Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket.

The crazy old man that gets whacked, in Killer Klowns from Outer Space!!!

“Poo-bear, whar’s my poo-bear?!?”


Marge’s husband in Fargo

or if your looking for major characters

Christopher Walken in King of NY
Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa

M in M

Laurence Harvey…William Barrett Travis The Alamo (original)
Steve Mcqueen… Tom Horn Tom Horn

I think great performances are ones where the actor/actress creates a character that is so totally different than how the actor is in real life or other roles that you can’t believe it’s the same person.

Billy Bob Thorton seems to be the same guy when you see him in an interview or in something like Armageddon or Bad Santa.

However, his character of Karl in Swing Blade was amazing. It’s hard to believe it’s really Billy Bob. He created a character that was truley a different person.

I hate it when certain actors play themselves or the same character over and over and get recognition. Are any of Jack Nicolsons characters that different? How about Tom Cruise? Denzel Washington? Tom Hanks (with maybe the exception of Forest Gump)?

In the vein of an actress playing someone so completely disimilar to them, yet doing an absolutely convincing job of it: Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster. Just a stunning performance!

One of the great performances in movie history is Humphry Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs in Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He began his career playing heavies, but after To Have and Have Not, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca, people were primed for him to play the hero. Dobbs is most certainly the central character in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but he’s not the hero. In fact, he’s a pretty nasty character; in the first five minutes of the movie he throws a drink in a little kid’s face. But Bogart plays with the “lovable rouge” people are used to seeing him as, and he remains a sympathetic character right up until the end, when he screws his companions and makes the whole trip for naught. Walter Huston kicks all kind of ass in that movie, too.

  1. Maria Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc
  2. Bette Davis in Little Foxes
  3. Chrissy Rock in Ladybird Ladybird
  4. Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves
  5. Bjork in Dancer in the Dark

Cliff Robertson in Charley.
Steve Martin in All of Me

Both these actors had to play two different people in a movie, and they both did it brillantly. Robertson’s Oscar was well deserved, and Martin should have gotten one. Who else could have played Lily Tomlin so convincingly?

Oh Og, yes! Steve Martin - All of Me!

Exactly!!! IMHO the best ever!

I’ll add…

Martin Landau as Bela Legosi in Ed Wood
Sean Nelson as Fresh in Fresh
Bill Murray as Larry Darrell in The Razor’s Edge
Steve Railsback as Cameron in The Stunt Man
Temuera Morrison as Jake Heke in Once Were Warriors
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as Martha and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (although how much “acting” was going on might be in question).

and 3 killers…
Michael Rooker as Henry in Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer
Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster
Peter Lorre as Franz Beckert in M

Seconded. Simply transcendental.

An idiosyncratic pick: Jurgen Prochnow as the captain of the sub in Das Boot. One of the best understated performances I’ve ever seen.

Maria Falconetti - La Passion d’Jeanne d’Arc
John Gilbert - The Crowd
Jimmy Stewart - After The Thin Man
Rita Hayworth - The Lady From Shanghai
Harold Lloyd - The Kid Brother
Dana Andrews - The Oxbow Incident
Dolores Costello - The Magnificent Ambersons

I’ll go with **Burt Lancaster ** and **Tony Curtis ** in The Sweet Smell of Success, excellent performances as unsympathetic characters, IMHO.

Oh, and Lieutenant Gray in King Rat. James Fox, I think.

For my money, the best performance I have ever seen was Ian Bliss as Bane/Smith in Matrix: Revolutions. The guy captured Hugo Weavings performance and mannerisms perfectly.

It’s the only time in my life I thought an actor deserved an award for their performance.

Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast.

All the more amazing considering he played Gandhi, but even without this knowledge, it’s a breathtaking performance. He shoulda got an Oscar.

Kingsley is fucking brilliant in that movie! I totally agree that he deserved a Best Supporting Actor. He lost to Joaquin Phoenix for Gladiator. Pshaw!

If you want to talk about capturing somebody perfectly, then Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas easily thwomps all other comers…

… Very, very close-seconded by Charlize Theron, of course.

God, but he was great in “Sexy Beast.” The most repulsive human being on the planet.

But I have a couple others:

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Tim Roth as 1900 in The Legend of 1900 (God I love this movie)