Top Ten Movie Actors

The art of performance is an art form that’s hard not to find an appreciation for if you love movies. As a result of this appreciation, this is a list that has been in the works for a very long time. To preface this list of the people I consider the greatest actors in existence I’d like to make a few things clear. This is a list of actors that are all around the greatest performers, but it’s also a list of actors whom, on a personal level, I just enjoy watching. Along with the names of my favorite actors I’ve also listed three films in front of each actor. I want to make it apparent that these three films aren’t necessarily the three best films to come out of that actor’s career, it’s a list of that actor’s three best performances. This is a broad list so I’d like to start with a list of Honorable Mention (in no particular order).

Honorables

  • Brad Pitt
  • Edward Norton
  • Jim Carrey
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Joaquin Phoenix
  • Ralph Fiennes
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Liam Neeson
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • George C. Scott
  • Marlon Brando
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Morgan Freeman

And here we go…

10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Most, if not all, will be surprised to find actors like Morgan Freeman, Marlon Brando, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Spacey and Brad Pitt on a list of Honorable Mention while Joseph Gordon-Levitt is right here at number 10. There’s never a need to justify or rationalize one’s opinions when it comes to discussing something as subjective as film. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s aura of charisma any time he’s on screen. He knows how to do what he does and he does it perfectly. I respect him a lot.

3. The Dark Knight Rises

2. Brick

1. Looper

9. Robert De Niro

This list would be incomplete without the great Robert De Niro. He deserves every ounce of praise he gets for any role he plays. There is certainly an intensity to the way he becomes engrossed in his characters and like any brilliant actor, he really does have such a broad range. Whether he’s playing the awkward and psychotic Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or the calm and collected crook in Heat, he always manages to put a very raw touch on any performance. The industry wouldn’t be the same without him.

3. Taxi Driver

2. The Deer Hunter

1. Raging Bull

8. Michael Fassbender

Whether he’s playing a robot or even the main character in an X-Men movie, Michael Fassbender always has such a powerful presence. He first caught my attention when I saw him in Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece, Inglourious Basterds. He didn’t play a huge part in the story, but couldn’t help but command the screen. He has such a naturalism to the way he acts making every single one of his actions feel completely real. If you want to watch truly flawless performing watch Michael Fassbender become his character in Shame.

3. Inglourious Basterds

2. Prometheus

1. Shame

7. Tom Hardy

Its slowly starting to be realized by all with each movie he’s a part of, but Tom Hardy is a truly masterful actor. Its a sight to behold anytime he acts. He makes such lucid choices and stays absolutely consistent. Any character he plays becomes so ridiculously defined due to his flawless work as an emotive performer. At this point I can expect nothing less than greatness anytime he chooses to act in a film. It’s always enjoyable to watch him do what he does regardless of the part, be it a charismatic action hero or a feral and emotionless monster of a man.

3. Warrior

2. Bronson

1. The Dark Knight Rises

6. Al Pacino

I feel as though there’s an unspoken competition when it comes to the legendary actors, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. I would have to go with Al Pacino. Every character he plays is made so intensely human due to a dedication to his work. Realism is what it seems to be about with Pacino. Whether he’s chewing apart the screen in Scent of a Woman or playing a more cool-headed ex-con in Carlito’s Way, with confidence he always manages to bring out the humanity in the men he becomes. Al Pacino is a true master at what he does.

3. Insomnia

2. Dog Day Afternoon

1. The Godfather (Part I + II)

5. Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman is a brilliant character actor who is more than capable of playing the leading man as he sees fit. He has one of the widest ranges of any actor who has ever performed. He can play a ferocious villain in an action movie such as Air Force One and he has the ability to play a more subdued protagonist in a complex drama like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. With maturity and grace, Oldman makes everything he does so completely memorable. Gary Oldman is still working today, but he’s already left such a lasting and magnificent legacy with the fascinating ways he takes on the vibrant characters he plays.

3. The Professional

2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

1. The Dark Knight Legend

4. Jack Nicholson

Ever since I fell in love with the art of film, I’ve always considered Jack Nicholson one of my favorite actors. It’s hard not to love the actor when you look at his track record. He is extraordinary, that’s all there is to it. Due to his work as a magnificent performer he is partly responsible for some of the masterpieces fundamental to the progression of cinema. He’s always having fun just doing exactly what he does best, perform flawlessly. Jack makes you feel it no matter what it is. When he laughs, yells, cries, breathes, it’s not him,  it’s his character. Jack Nicholson is an incredible artist and one of the best there is.

3. The Departed

2. The Shining

1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

3. Christian Bale

There is something so miraculous to the way Christian Bale completely throws himself in his roles. Regardless of the character, he makes you believe it. As Batman he’s heroic, as Patrick Bateman he’s psychotic, as Dicky Eklund he’s pathetic, as Alfred Borden he’s enigmatic and I could easily go on. It’s as if he just has some kind of vast knowledge on exactly how to tap into the mind and shoes of the characters he portrays. Christian Bale defines a generation of actors who have learned a lot from a long, long history of film and excels because of that knowledge.

3. The Fighter

2. American Psycho

1. The Dark Knight Legend

2. Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis is a phenomenal artist and the greatest actor working today. He is incredibly deliberate in the choices he makes and I don’t just mean in the ways he chooses to portray a character, but also in the characters he chooses to play. He’s touched on such a broad spectrum of emotions and he does so flawlessly. No one does it the way Daniel Day-Lewis does it. You want to talk about intensity in performance, just watch him tear through the scenery as the violent villain, Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is coming soon and I just can’t wait to see what Day-Lewis does with it.

Daniel Day-Lewis blows me away any time he takes on a performance, but it’s in There Will Be Blood where he really hits his stride and shows just how extraordinary a performance can be. Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is an epic character study about consumption, greed and the American nightmare. At the heart of the film is the complex and depraved oilman, Daniel Plainview. Rarely does the film have a scene without its black-hearted protagonist. It’s one of the juiciest roles in all of film and as always, with precision and dominance, Daniel Day-Lewis plays the character to perfection.

3. Gangs of New York

2. Lincoln

1. There Will Be Blood

1. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger is the greatest artist to have ever acted in film and its a shame to think about what could’ve been. The Australian actor was only 28-years-old when he passed away and all we have of him is an enigmatic and extraordinary career that was tragically cut very short. Even since a very young age, Heath showed great promise when he took on any role. No matter what it was, be it an rollicking adventure movie like A Knight’s Tale or a serious drama like The Patriot, Heath Ledger showed more than potential to be one of the greats.

A turning point that marked the career of a mature and defiant actor was Heath Ledger’s performance of Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain. This was a role that needed a powerful and honest performance and Heath Ledger responded with a portrayal that exceeded those necessities. Heath Ledger is an extraordinary actor who never needed to prove anything, but if he did, he proves it here. You’d be hard-pressed to find other performances that are as touching and real.

Heath Ledger is the kind of actor who just seems to have fun with whatever he’s doing. He loves doing what he does and just happens to be the best at what he does. Never did he have more fun with a role than when he gave not only the greatest performance of his career, but the greatest performance in the history of film. In The Dark Knight, Ledger was universally praised for his realistic portrayal of one of the most iconic villains in the history of stories. In The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger crafted the greatest character in film, which is in part due to a landmark performance that cements Heath Ledger as the greatest actor to have ever performed.

3. The Patriot

2. Brokeback Mountain

1. The Dark Knight

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Top Ten Movie Performances

Sometimes in film there are performances that prove that performance isn’t just an aspect of the art form known as film, but also an art form on its own. This is a list dedicated to that art form. Its a list that perfectly exemplifies the idea of performance as an art form. These are the performances that will be remembered till the end of film itself. These are the performances that, just for a split second, make you forget you’re watching a movie because of how much raw emotion is encapsulated in a single movie character. Each and every one of them deserves endless amounts of praise.

10. Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List)

Ralph Fiennes doesn’t get nearly the praise he deserves. He’s one of the greatest actors and deserves to be held right up there with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Marlon Brando. If you don’t believe me, take an in depth look into the antagonist of the masterpiece, Schindler’s List. Truly look at every choice Fiennes makes and you’ll see that the man became Amon Goeth, Ralph Fiennes take on nazi Amon Goeth is nothing short of the most realistic portrayal of evil and hatred ever put on screen.

9. Robert De Niro (Raging Bull)

Robert De Niro’s work in Raging Bull is the kind of performance you look at and say, “that’s not Robert De Niro, that’s Jake LaMotta”. There are so many moments where you’re watching Raging Bull and you just stop breathing at risk of missing a single line De Niro utters because everything is so real. Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors there ever was and this stands as his greatest performance. He threw every piece of talent he has into it and it shows.

8. Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)

It’s simply common knowledge that Kevin Spacey is a genius when it comes to acting. He’s brilliant in everything he’s in whether its a limping cripple in The Usual Suspects or the voice over of a villainous grass hopper in A Bug’s Life. You’ll find his greatest performance in the fascinating film, American Beauty. American Beauty studies one of the most interesting characters ever put on screen and in order to have an amazing film, which it was, it needed a brilliant performance. Spacey managed to give more than just that.

7. George C. Scott (Patton)

George C. Scott has had a very illustrious career and he’s very well known for the way he gives the middle finger to the award shows, but for some reason always still managed to win them. The reason is because no one, especially the academy, can deny that the man is one of the greatest actors known to film. You’ll find his greatest performance as american rebel and hero. General George S. Patton. Patton was a man who knew war and war alone. Patton extensively looks looks into this brilliant General and Scott plays the character incredibly.

6. F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)

Until the end of the art of performance you’ll see actors playing great artists, whether that be Beethoven, Shakespeare or even Michelangelo. Rarely will we see actors play mediocre artists and never will we see one played as well as F. Murray Abraham played Wolfgang Mozart’s rival, Composer Antonio Salieri. The movie touches on every spectrum of the character and Abraham relentlessly plays it with such spectacle that at times your heart skips a beat. What you’re watching when you watch Abraham in Amadeus is pure art in every way.

5. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

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Whether he’s Johnny Cash or a despicable emperor of Rome, it’s almost disturbing how gloriously Joaquin Phoenix is able to envelop the characters he portrays. Paul Thomas Anderson manages to get the career-best performance out of at least one of his actors and that’s the case with Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as Freddie Quell. Quell is a very confused man, a drifter looking for his way after WWII. He knows drinking, fighting and sex. He’s lacking in purpose and compass and Joaquin Phoenix dives into the character with astounding results.

4. Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

At one point in auditioning for the character Col. Hans Landa, Quentin Tarantino literally thought that he might have written an unplayable character. He told himself that he wasn’t going to make the film if he wasn’t able to get the perfect actor for the part. Luckily he found Christoph Waltz who managed to give cinema one of the greatest performances of all time. What you get in the character Col. Hans Landa are so many intricate layers that its understandable that Tarantino had a hard time finding an actor to not only understand every aspect of the character, but also to perform it to perfection. Waltz did just that and more.

3. Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest)

After many trials, finally in 1975 one of literature’s most treasured books was finally put on screen. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is one of the greatest films ever made and one of the main reasons that is, is because in it you’ll find the greatest performance from one of the greatest actors known to cinema. Everything Nicholson does in the movie is so human and real. That makes the character all the more likable and relatable as he rivals my most hated character in cinema history. Nicholson holds nothing back and throws everything he had into a performance that desperately needed every single bit of talent an amazing actor could give. Jack Nicholson is always brilliant, but him as R. P. McMurphy is perfection in every sense.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

There Will Be Blood is arguably the most extensive character studies into the mind of one the most despicable basterd’s ever depicted on screen. Daniel Day-Lewis is not just one of the greatest actors known to cinema, he is the greatest actor known to cinema and his portrayal as oilman Daniel Plainview proved once and for all precisely what a performance can be. And what a performance can be, I would never be able to put into words, but the best way to put it in one word would be to say masterful.

In watching There Will Be Blood, we’re not watching Daniel Day-Lewis, we’re watching Daniel Plainview. Its almost magical that someone can truly be as fully engrossed in a character as Daniel Day-Lewis is when he acts. We get to learn every aspect of character that is Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood and with Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting he makes almost all performances before it seem like child’s play in comparison. Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor known to cinema and what he achieves in There Will Be Blood is nothing short of one of the greatest performances of all time.

1. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

The true art of performance was never truly as prevalent as it was when Heath Ledger played the villain in the greatest movie of all time. Never, and I mean never, was pure evil encapsulated as well as it was in the character The Joker in The Dark Knight. Every movement, gesture, nervous tic, and  line is calculated and made memorable by a truly brilliant performance. Heath Ledger deserves every bit of praise he gets for his portrayal as The Joker, not because of his unfortunate death, but because Heath Ledger played the greatest character ever put on screen to literal perfection.

Behind the masks and make-up of The Dark Knight, it is unquestionably the greatest example of good vs. evil that any story ever written or told has ever offered. Batman is good for the sake of being good and The Joker is evil for the sake of being evil. They need each because one is nothing without the other. Truly look into the stories of Batman and you’ll see that The Joker is just as important to the mythology as Batman is. The are the perfect example of enemies that other films aspire to have, but never will.

The Joker is a part played many times in the past, from Mark Hamill to even Jack Nicholson. He is the most important villain, not just in cinema, but in literature because he encapsulates the very idea of evil itself. Heath Ledger had a lot of work to do. In being asked to play The Joker, you’re being asked to give a truly magnificent performance or else its nothing we  haven’t seen before. Heath managed to give the greatest of all time due to the use of every single ounce of ability he had. Every emotion is the purest of all evil is felt due to a man showing as that performance is an truly an art form. All I can do is thank Heath Ledger and say that I undoubtedly feel that with The Joker, he gave us the greatest performance known to cinema.

Top Ten Movie Villains

!!!THIS LIST WAS REMADE!!!

Here’s the link: —–> https://moviesfilmsmotionpictures.com/2012/07/27/top-ten-movie-villains-2/#comment-1450

I made this same list a couple months ago, but the other day I deleted it and decided to remake it. The list wasn’t perfect and it had to be perfect. Other than a list of my top ten favorite movies of all time, which will be coming soon, this list is the most important post I could possibly create. Villains are the backbone of the industry. Their are almost always the most interesting characters to watch and plots would go absolutely no where with out them. Films need them and I absolutely love ’em.

I’ve decided to remake this list because after re-watching a couple films and even watching a few new ones, I’ve finally decided on what I’ve found to be the perfect order when it comes to film villains. I’ve moved some characters around and I’ve removed a few characters and added a few new ones. The two I removed were Roy Batty from Blade Runner and Jack Torrence from The Shining. Both are incredibly performed characters and are in some aspects more interesting than some of the characters on this list, but they’re evil for different reasons and just don’t match the caliber of villainy that each character on this film is able to reach.

I’ve tried this a couple times now, but I think I’ve finally compiled the perfect list to establish my opinion on this almost impossible conundrum. So with out further review, here’s my top ten favorite cinema villains of all time in order. I hope you enjoy.

10. Alonzo Harris

Denzel Washington received a well deserved oscar for his intense portrayal of the crooked cop, Alonzo Harris. Many films have had officers or detectives on the wrong side of the law, but no actor has ever been able to top the intensity that Washington draws from the character. In my opinion, Alonzo Harris is the most sinister cop ever put on screen.

9. Keyser Soze

When you look at the master scheme of things, Keyser Soze should probably be a bit higher on this list, but I believe with his basically 8 minute screen-time that he’s not able to show the evil the way the others on this list are able to. He’s still a classic villain who pulls the strings behind almost every crime that’s commited. He’s thought of to be legend and he likes it that way. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” -Verbal Kint

8. Little Bill Daggett

Unforgiven is in my opinion by far the greatest western I’ve seen, and one of the main reasons its so fantastic is because of Gene Hackman’s Oscar winning performance of Little Bill Dagget. He’s ruthless, brutal, and you never know what to expect, making each of his scenes very suspenseful, and he’s supposed to be the good guy. Bill Dagget is the sheriff of Big Whiskey, Utah, and its his brutal tactics to bring about justice at any cost, that makes him a villain for the books. He just barely missed my top 5.

7. Bill the Butcher

Daniel Day-Lewis is probably the greatest actor in cinema and it’s only fitting that his portrayal as the malicious Butcher; Bill Cutting, known better as Bill the Butcher. Cutting is the ruthless american born tyrant of New York 1800s in Scorsese’s masterfully made period piece. He’s played to absolute perfection by Day-Lewis, because while he is a terrible and ruthless murderer, at times it seems he even has morals. Very few though, of course.

6. Frank

The western gunslinger known only by the name of Frank is a spectacularly menacing villain, but the thing that makes him most interesting to watch is the actor whose playing him. This was an out of the ordinary choice for Henry Fonda, a man’s whose career is full of do-gooders and family men, but in the mix of all those good guys, you’ll find one black hearted fiend and he plays him to perfection. Its his best performance and that my friends is saying something.

5. Amon Goeth

Ralph Fiennes has a long list of fantastic villains and an even longer list of fantastic roles. His greatest role just so happens to be my fifth favorite villain. Amon Goeth is the face of evil behind the classic WWII epic Schindler’s List. He dictates the labor camp where most of the film takes place and Fiennes plays it so disturbingly well. His morning routine consists of getting up, taking a piss and shooting randon jews in the camp with a sniper. He’s sick and degenrate, and if you step out of line it becomes quite evident early on what will happen to you.

4. Hannibal Lecter

It was quite hard to put Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter so high on this list. Most would say he deserves the top spot, and when I do see him there on other lists, I’m never disappointed, he does deserve it, I just think there’s a few qualities (for lack of a better word) that I enjoy more in my top 3. Anyways though, Lecter is probably in my opinion “the” classic movie villain. He’s sinister, intelligent and at times even courteous. He hardly ever blinks and never once does he doubt his eventual victory. It’s one of the greatest performances ever put on the silver screen and by far Anthony Hopkins’ best work.

3. Col. Hans Landa

Almost all would agree that Colonel Hans Landa of the SS is an amazing villain. Most wouldn’t agree with his high placement on this list so soon after the release of the movie. Well, I’ve seen the movie seven times and I can honestly say that there is only two other villains that I enjoy more than Hans Landa. I want to point out that numbers 3 and 2 are very equally matched on this list. Landa is not your cliche nazi. He’s an intelligent and charming detective whose able to work his way through the threads of past, present and coming events so that he can assure his own gain. Nothing else matters, not even the fuhrer. He always has a plan and focus and doesn’t care who he has to step on to achieve his goals. Christoph Waltz is absolutely breathtaking in every single one of his scenes. He is one of the most evil villains ever put on screen, but its so entertaining to watch every single thing he does, whether that be drinking a glass of milk or strangling a person to death.

2. Anton Chigurh

Silent, creative, intelligent, confident, determined, arrogant (but for good reason), and above all else, evil. These are just a few of the words that can define the ruthless killer that is Anton Chigurh. His weapons of choice include a cattle gun, hand cuffs, and even a sawed off shot gun with a foot long silencer. Chigurh always has an innovative way to get what he wants and he will never stop. At one point, he decides the fate of man’s life by the flip of a coin. He’s not insane as some might call him though, he’s just nothing else, but his own gain. Killing doesn’t phase him at all. He views everyone he meets as a worthless victim. Anton Chigurh is basically the definition of a villain.

1. The Joker

Heath Ledger’s Joker is by far the greatest villain ever put on the silver screen. Not only that though, I believe the Joker is the most entertaining and interesting character ever and the greatest performance by any actor I’ve ever seen. The Joker is bent on creating chaos in a world he believes desperately needs it. He doesn’t want anything else, especially not money. He just wants to watch the world burn and he wants to be the cause. All he really wants is to have a blast. He’s always one step ahead and even if something goes wrong in his plan, he just laughs it off, it just adds to the thrill. There are many times when he has the chance to kill his nemesis Batman, but he doesn’t take them because he’s one of the few villains who release that they need each other, without Batman, the world would just seem dull. Batman won’t kill him either though because it’s wrong and he knows it’s exactly what he wants. When faced with the Batman’s speeding Bat-pod The Joker insists on him to hit him and when The Joker is thrown off a building he laughs hysterically the entire way down. He’s willing to die to show the worlds true colors. The Joker is the epitome of evil.

#19 Escape Scene (The Silence of the Lambs)

Every scene with this incredibly iconic villain was fantastic, but this is by far my favorite.

Best Character: Hannibal Lecter

Best Quote: “People will say we’re in love.”

Scene:

#4 Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs)

He is one of the smartest villains ever. With a PhD in psychiatry and murder. He is a serial killer who kills and eats his victims, he’s a cannibal. You only know as much as he wants you to know and will bring you to the darkest corners of your own mind without a moments hesitation. He’s only as calm or mad as he wants himself to be. He’ll eat the skin off your face without racing a heartbeat. He is Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

  • Actor: Anthony Hopkins
  • Quote: “People will say we’re in love”
  • Action: Beats a cop, while blood is all over his mouth, as if he’s painting a picture.
  • Clip(s):

#28 Ted Crawford (Fracture)

The irish genius who plans the perfect crime.

  • Actor: Anthony Hopkins
  • Quote: “If you look closely enough, you’ll see that everything has a spot where it can break”
  • Action: Shoots his wife and admits to it.
  • Clip(s):