Underrated Actors and Actresses

We’ve had threads for best and worst actors/actresses. I’d like to hear about those that you think should get more work.

I’ll start with Edward Norton. Check him out in “American History X” and “Bounders.” Pretty good range.

Here’s another - Tim Roth. What a great villain in “Rob Roy.”

Not really that underrated, but someone that should get more work is John Leguisamo. He’s never dissapointing in any movie he’s in.

I agree with both the above actors. John Leguziamo has the best body as a man in drag that I’ve ever seen. ( To Wong Foo, thanks for everything…)
here are my selections.

Steve Bucemi - Fargo, Desperado,
Vince Vaughn - Clay Pigeons, Return to Paradise
Anne Heche - Wag the Dog
Joquim Phoenix - Return to Paradise, Clay Pigeons

There are a couple of others, but my mind has gone blank, so I’ll turn off the volume now

Alan Rickman, William B. Davis (X-Files’ “Smoking man”).

I think these people are recognized but not enough for as good as they are:
Kevin Spacey
Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves)
John Cusack
Rachel Griffiths (Hilary and Jackie, Muriel’s Wedding)
Minnie Driver
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman
and I agree with Steve Buscemi

I recently purchased a video of an early 80s movie called “The Chocolate War.” Wallace Langham was perfect in it (but I’m unfamiliar with the rest of his work). I think most everyone was good in that movie even though the movie was rather strange and surreal.

Most of my favorites I wouldn’t classify as “underrated”

I love John Cusack. I also think his sister Joan is an excellent actress. I always want to see a movie that she’s in.
John Ritter–He was amazing in “Sling Blade”
Mike Myers–I think people underrate him as a dramatic actor because he is so good at comedy–but he was very convincing in “54”

“Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you, my friend–
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again…”
-Steely Dan

I have always thought that Steve Martin is an underrated comedic actor. IMO, he should have been nominated for “All of Me” and “Roxanne”.

Oh yeah, Kevin Spacey. The guy can carry a movie. Great in “The Usual Suspects,” “Hollywood Confidential,” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” When his character got killed in “Hollywood Confidential,” the movie seemed to drop a notch.

John Malkovich is another guy that’s not considered a big star but always gets you attention when he’s on the screen.

Patrick Stewart–now that he’s been branded as Capt. Picard, people forget what an excellent actor he is. Check him out years ago in “I, Claudius” as the evil Sejanus.

Speaking of Kevin Spacey, have you ever noticed how his characters always seem to die in movies? “LA Confidential”, “Seven” and “Outbreak” all come to mind. Tom Hanks is also an actor that seems to die on screen frequently…“Philadelphia” and “Private Ryan” are 2 examples.

David Strathairn-- He was the evil father in Dolores Claiborne. He has been in most of John Sayles films, also. He is an excellent character actor, and was extremely sympathetic as the pitcher in 8 Men Out, but when he gets a Hollywood part, he always plays a sleazebag.

Irene Dunne-- She’s one of my very favorites. She was funnier than Katharine Hepburn, and a better dramatic actress than Vivian Leigh or Janet Gaynor. The problem is that more than 2/3 of her films were remade, and the remaking studios always bought the rights to the originals, and withdrew them from circulation, so there was something like a 50 year gap when most of her films couldn’t be seen at all.

Judy Davis

Lynn Redgrave-- Yes, she really is as good as her sister, I don’t care what anyone says.

Kate Nelligan


Theresa Russell

Tracy Camilla Johns

Lucy Lawless-- Yes, I’m serious. I truly believe she has real talent.

Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Oops! Forget one!-- Patty Duke

Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Louis Gosset Jr. He seems like he’d be a good actor, but he always ends up in these really dopey movies like Iron Eagle or Enemy Mine.


Willam DeFoe. Damn, he makes me hot! Besides that though, he is so chamelion-like. I must have seen four or five of his films before I realised it was the same actor.

Christopher Walken

Tim Robbins

“I think it would be a great idea” Mohandas Ghandi’s answer when asked what he thought of Western civilization

J.T. Walsh - probably most well known as the suicidal Lieutenant Colonel in A Few Good Men. He also played the foul-mouthed inmate at the beginning and end of Sling Blade. He was in dozens of movies and always gave great, understated performances. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much recognition until he died last year.

Robert Ryan (“Billy Budd”, “The Wild Bunch”)
Frank Finlay (Iago in Olivier’s “Othello”)
Bonnie Hunt
Clint Eastwood
Charles Bronson
Glenne Headly
Kyle MacLachlan
Ida Lupino
Piper Laurie
Patty Duke
Frank Sinatra

“My hovercraft is full of eels.”

Ann Sothern

Dabney Coleman

Alan Rickman. He made “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves” bearable.

I prefer rogues to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest.
Alexandre Dumas the Younger (1824-1895)

Johnny Depp, he is cool and plays the parts that he wants to play.