Worst accent in a film...

I always thought the worst english accent, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, could not be ‘bettered’, but a minor role in a film I watched last night, there was the worst scottish accent I’ve ever heard. Being Scottish, I know this…

The film was The Promotion and the actress Lili Taylor. It was like a masterclass in bad accents. It didn’t even sound close to Scottish, more like someone Irish having a heart attack… It made Keanu seem like Di Niro…

Any other suggestions?

Any accent attempted by Sam Worthington.

Also, Kevin Kline’s godawful New Zealand accent in Fierce Creatures.

Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Not trying to nitpick, just trying to help the thread along…

In English, we use the word “accent” to mean two different things: 1. Regional variation in English pronunciation, and 2. Interference in how someone speaks English as a non-native speaker.

The OP, and the first couple of answers, referred to actors doing a poor job of imitating a different regional English accent than their own.

This last answer refers to a native English-speaking actor doing a poor job of imitating interference which occurs when a typical native Chinese speaker is learning Enhlish as a foreign language. But I suspect (correct me if I’m wrong) that the poster did not mean to criticize how Mickey imitated the interference per se, but rather that the whole performance was hopelessly un-PC (starting with the casting of a gwei-lo).

Sean Connery’s Lithuanian accent in The Hunt for Red October?

Also Richard Roxburgh’s South African accent in MI2, i assume it was South African or John Woo was saying “no do an Australian accent mate.”

Josh Hartnett’s “Yorkshire” accent in Blow Dry.

I will give him points for trying, and there are moments when you can just about tell what accent he’s aiming for, but overall it’s as painful to listen to as it is baffling.

I don’t know if this counts, but in the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars the actor who voices the Clone Troopers, Dee Bradley Baker, is trying to emulate the New Zealand accent of Temuera Morrison. He does a terrible job of it.

As a New Zealander myself I am somewhat biased, but as the world is more familiar with New Zealand accents these days (via Lord of the Rings, Flight of the Conchords, etc) there is very little excuse for it.

Adam Sandler’s “Israeli” accent in Don’t Mess with the Zohan. The funny thing is, all of the supporting actors playing Israelis were played by actual Israelis with actual Israeli accents, which made whatever Sandler was attempting stand out even more.

Laura Linney in Mystic River.

90% of BBC stock actors doing American accents.

It is, undoubtedly, whatever the hell Nicolas Cage is doing in Vampire’s Kiss.

Meryl Streep doing the worst Australian accent ever in Evil Angels AKA A Cry in the Dark.


If you want to see the worse possible example of this, watch the Doctor Who Series 3 episodes Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks. You see, there is something more horrible than BBC stock actors doing American accents - it’s BBC stock actors doing stereotypical 1930’s New York accents.

How has nobody mentioned Kevin Costner’s wandering accent in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves yet?

His accent didn’t wander at all - it was solidly American throughout the entire movie.

Rounders is one of my favorite films, and I consider John Malkovich to be one of the finest actors of any era, but his Russian-speaking-English accent as Teddy KGB is atrocious.

Carrie Fisher switched accents a few times in Star Wars.

This falls into the “it’s so bad, it’s good” class. Malkovich hamming it up as a Russian is one of my favorite things about the movie. That bad accent and eating the Oreos… awesome.

There’s also an special honorable mention category for black BBC actors trying to do black American accents. They miss “generic southern-ish” and end up at “deranged minstrel show.”

Even worse: if you can find the old First Doctor episode, “The Chase,” you can hear them attempting a “New York Jewish” accent.

There was another case in the miniseries “Sprockets” where there was supposed to be a Jewish American film producer. His accent on “oy vei” was hilarious.