Movies that had multiple actors who eventually became famous

And a young Shia LaBeouf!

Wait til Otis sees us. He LOVES us!


Donald Sutherland
Eliott Gould
Tom Skerritt
Sally Kellerman
Robert Duvall
Rene Auberjonois
Michael Murphy
John Schuck
Bud Cort

All went on to be quite successful.

Dazed and Confused.
Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Matthew McConaughey, Nicky Katt, Renee Zellweger and Rory Cochrane.

Wet Hot American Summer had early roles for Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poelher and several others

I got the impression that Fast Times At Ridgemont High was one of those with lots of famous actors in it, but when I watched it they barely registered. Pretty much everyone currently famous except Senn Penn (It is debateable is Judge Reinhold is currently famous not having a big role for 25 years) were bit parts, friends of the stoners.

What is striking about this (and other such movies) is how many of the main stars went absolutely nowhere. Brian Backer, Robert Romanus, Phoebe Capes from Fast Times. I suspect there is some revisionism on the likes of imdb as to who were the stars post fame.

I’ve found this of a few pretty successful 80s movies, Porky’s/Porky’s Revenge, which has not stood the test of time, has only the likes of Kim Cattrall halfway down the bill on the first one. All the major players went nowhere.

There’s another I’ve seen recently I can’t recall which was very similar. I’ll maybe post back when I remember.

IIRC Phoebe Cates had a fairly decent film career in the 80’s, then retired from acting to raise her kids after she married Kevin Kline. So I’m not sure it’s fair to say that her career went nowhere - at least compared to the other two you mention.

The Big Chill

  • Tom Berenger
  • Glenn Close
  • Jeff Goldblum
  • William Hurt
  • Kevin Kline
  • Mary Kay Place
  • Meg Tilly
  • JoBeth Williams
  • Kevin Costner (who didn’t make the final cut)

I hadn’t heard of any of them before I saw the movie (which, incidentally, was my first date with my now-husband.) Not to say that they were all unknowns in 1983, but they were unknown to me.

Most of the actors in Citizen Kane were unknowns at the time of release. So much so that they introduced them all at the end. They included

Orson Welles
Joseph Cotten
Agnes Moorhead
Ruth Warrick
Ray Collins (Lt. Tragg in Perry Mason)
Erskine Sandford
Everett Sloan
Paul Stewart
George Coulouris
Philip Van Zant (249 credits on the IMDB)

Most of these are not well known today, but all had long careers in Hollywood and TV, with Kane being their first noticeable role (and in many cases, their first role on screen).

Scott Pilgrim vs the World:
Michael Cera
Kieran Culkin
Anna Kendrick
Alison Pill
Aubrey Plaza
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Jason Schwartzman
Brie Larson
Brandon Routh

Was coming here to post this. Also add a pre-Captain America Chris Evans and a pre-Good Girls Mae Whitman.

Ahhh I forgot Chris Evens! I was thinking of him when I remembered Scott Pilgrim!

LOL Mae Whitman…the “bi-furious” ex hilarious

The 2009 Star Trek reboot had several actors who were already fairly well-known (Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, etc.), but it was the first major role for two actors who became much bigger and better-known afterwards: Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana.

It also was one of the first U.S. roles for Chris Hemsworth (who played Kirk’s father in the film’s first scene).

The 1981 Milos Forman film Ragtime had a very eclectic cast of future stars, including Mandy Patinkin, Elizabeth McGovern, Mary Steenburgen, Fran Drescher, Debbie Allen, John Ratzenberger and in their film debuts, both Jeff Daniels and Samuel L. Jackson.

It also featured the final film performance of James Cagney and an appearance by Norman Mailer in a key role. A very odd movie.

I’m not really sure that Star Wars counts, because Fisher and Hamill are mostly just famous for their work in the Star Wars movies (yes, Hamill has had a successful career in voice work, but it’s not what he’s famous for). Nobody would ever say “Hey, did you know that before they were famous, both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher were in Star Wars together?”. Heck, even Harrison Ford is really only famous for two roles (of which Han Solo was one).

Another British star-heavy entry - 2006’s university-set Starter for Ten had a young cast including James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, James Corden, Rebecca Hall, and Dominic Cooper all of whom would go on to have good-to-astonishing careers.

In the late 60s, the BBC did a series of Shakespeare adaptations with casts of future big names. A Midsummer Night’s Dream had David Warner, Michael Jayston (the Valeyard in Doctor Who), Helen Mirren, Clive Swift, Ian Richardson, Judi Dench, and Ian Holm. Diana Rigg was also in the cast, but she was already well known for The Avenger.

An earlier version from 1959 included Roy Dotrice, Albert Finney, Julian Glover, Robert Hardy, Ian Hom, Vanessa Redgrave, and a pre-Avengers Diana Rigg.

Wow! This must be the worst movie ever! Even the trailer can’t put ninety entertaining seconds together. If that is what they featured the rest must be some kind of awful dreck; a remarkable waste of some very talented people.

And yet it’s spawned a prequel and a sequel series…

Chris Evans.