If an actor's entire career had to be reduced to one role...

Can’t think of a good reason! :slight_smile:

Brando lost my worship after Reflections in a Golden Eye. I went on a hiatus from movies for several years after that major letdown. I never could see the importance of Last Tango In Paris. The million dollar cameos and walkons he did late in his career were pathetic and The Missouri Breaks ought to be banned or left to MST3K.

I think the OP is asking for a role that encapsulates what they are as an actor, not necessarily what they will be most remembered for. Hannibal was just Hopkins hamming it up and having fun. The roles that show him as probably the best actor around are either Shadowlands or Remains of the Day. Both roles show him at his best, quietly and speaking volumes with just a look or a gesture.

I’m not saying he didn’t do a slew of self-indulgent crap – I’m just saying he can’t be reduced to a single brilliant role.

You’re right about what I had intended to suggest in the OP. It gets to be hard to isolate the ideal role for actors who were around several decades and who turned in outstanding performances in several roles. It’s also hard for actors to avoid parodying themselves after years in the spotlight. After a while, most of them start phoning it in. Even the greats.

Maybe another fun thread could be to isolate the worst roles for big name stars.

He was also amazing in Nixon. (Plus he and I share a birthday. :smiley: )

And on that score I do agree, which is why I left him off the OP list.

Samuel L. Jackson == Pulp Fiction.

Insomnia, since you asked (I agree on The Godfather, though).

Wait, this thread isn’t about actors who can’t be summed up in one role, but actors who can. Actors that, if you saw them in only that one movie, you’d have a pretty good sample of their entire career distilled down to one role.

So, Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a great example. That’s classic Jack Nicholson, and most of his other roles are variations on that theme. That’s Jack Nicholson distilled down to his essence.

Jim Carrey in “The Mask” is another example. This role gives both the insane wisecracking talking-out-his-butthole side, and the repressed “nice guy” side. See “The Mask” and you’ve got a pretty good synopsis of Jim Carrey.

Adam Sandler. Pick any Adam Sandler movie at random and you’ve got Adam Sandler right there.

Same with John Wayne.

And “Ben Hur” synopsises Charlton Heston better than “The Ten Commandments”.

All you need to watch to “get” George Clooney is “Out of Sight”.

Nicely done on both counts. I have weak memory of another small performance by Pacino, but wasn’t Two Bits somewhat low volume?

Much better put than the OP. Thanks.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is best summed up by ‘Kindergarten Cop’.

Can’t argue, never saw it.

George C. Scott in “Patton.”

**Whoa! ** :smiley:

Harrison Ford as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Some might argue for his Indiana Jones persona, but it’s a pretty similar character, really–a swashbuckler and a bit of a scoundrel (with a heart of gold)–and since Han was earlier, I chose him.

Tor Johnson–Plan 9.

Johnny Depp - Jack Sparrow
Russell Crowe - Maximus
Leonardo DiCaprio - Romeo*
Samuel L. Jackson - Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction)
Natalie Portman - either Mathilda from Leon or Padme from Star Wars

*I realise hes done better films then this.

Anna Paquin? It would have to be The Piano, since I can’t name two other movies she’s been in (I know she was in Fly Away Home but I never saw it).

Anna Paquin played Rogue in the X-Men films. Also a … “Band Aid”? … in “Almost Famous”, albeit a walk-on.

Oh, and more recently something in some horror flik. Don’t watch them, but I saw the commercial.