50 Greatest Ensemble Casts

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

The Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Bud Cort, Seu Jorge.

Pause The Screen When: The moment when Steve finally encounters the Jaguar Shark sees practically the entire cast sandwiched into Zissou's submarine.

Stand-Out Star: Willem Dafoe is on top scene-stealing form as pint-sized sailor, Klaus.

The Expendables (2010)

The Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Pause The Screen When: There are scenes shared by more of the cast, but its all about the big reunion between Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger. Expect more of that in the forthcoming sequel…

Stand-Out Star: We've got to give this one to Lundgren, who punches, kicks and snarls his way through proceedings as if he'd never been away.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

The Cast: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Salma Hayek, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Tom Savini, Ernest Liu, Fred Williamson, Michael Parks, John Hawkes.

Pause The Screen: Just as Salma Hayek begins her striptease. You'll be able to see nearly all of the above watching on, open-mouthed.

Stand-Out Star:
This was the point at which Clooney showed he could do more than smile charmingly, and melt the hearts of the ladies in the audience. He can be a badass too.

Jurassic Park (1993)

The Cast: Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello, Martin Ferrero, Bob Peck, Samuel L. Jackson, Wayne Knight.

Pause The Screen When: The dinosaurs might have stolen the headlines, but it's easy to forget how good the ensemble cast is in Jurassic Park . The early dinner scene is your best chance of seeing them all together, before people start getting munched.

Stand-Out Star:
Jeff Goldblum is marvellous as the twitchy Ian Malcolm, although Bob Peck's scenery-chewing antics are also worth a mention. Clever girl.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

The Cast: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, Pamela Sue Martin, Arthur O'Connell, Eric Shea, Leslie Nielsen, Fred Sadoff, Sheila Allen, John Crawford.

Pause The Screen When:
The scene at the Captain's table, in which Leslie Nielsen plays host to some of the more high-profile cast-members.

Stand-Out Star: Sturdy Gene Hackman is the man of God attempting to leads the passengers to safety, largely by having them climb a massive Christmas tree.

Any Given Sunday (1999)

The Cast: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Aaron Eckhart, James Woods, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, Lauren Holly, LL Cool J, John C. McGinley, Bill Bellamy, Lela Rochon, Elizabeth Berkley, Marty Wright, Clifton Davis.

Pause The Screen When:
Al's "inches" speech takes place when most of the players and staff are crammed into the Sharks' changing room. And pretty spine-tingling it is, too.

Stand-Out Star:
James Woods has a ball as the slippery team doctor whose only too happy to send injured players into war, should the occasion demand it.

The Player (1992)

The Cast: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Brion James, Cynthia Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Richard E Grant, Sydney Pollack, Lyle Lovett, Karen Black, Gary Busey, Cher, James Coburn, John Cusack, Peter Falk, Jeff Goldblum, Elliott Gould, Nick Nolte, Jack Lemmon, Lily Tomlin, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Patrick Swayze.

Pause The Screen When: Robbins and co. watch a cut of film within a film, Habeas Corpus , crammed full of star talent cameoing as themselves.

Stand-Out Star: Despite competing with a galaxy of stars, Tim Robbins is still the best thing in the film, as oily Hollywood mogul, Griffin Mill.

The Ice Storm (1997)

The Cast: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Katie Holmes, Jamey Sheridan, Henry Czerny, Allison Janney, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood.

Pause The Screen When: The key-swapping party brings things to a head, as Kline, Weaver, Sheridan and Allen bristle with sexual awkwardness.

Stand-Out Star: Joan Allen puts the "ice" into "ice storm" with a performance of glacial cool.

X-Men 2 (2003)

The Cast: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Brian Cox, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Alan Cumming, Bruce Davison, Kelly Hu, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford.

Pause the Screen When: The X-Men pay a little visit to the President, surrounding him in the Oval office as he prepares to address the nation.

Stand-Out Star: Hugh Jackman is ace as always, but Famke Janssen revels in the beefed-up nature of her role as Jean Grey.

Almost Famous (2000)

The Cast: Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand, Jason Lee, Billy Crudup, Anna Paquin, Noah Taylor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Fairuza Balk, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Angarano, Jay Baruchel.

Pause The Screen When: They get the Elton John singalong going on the tour bus. All together now, "hold me closer, tiny dancer!"

Stand-Out Star: Kate Hudson is utterly bewitching here, which makes you wonder why she's been so singularly irritating in everything since. Honourable mention to Frances McDormand as the ultimate protective parent.