50 Hammiest Movie Performances

Any cheese with that?

Roger Moore in Boat Trip (2002)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: A truly shameless bit of hamming, as Roger Moore turns in a performance a panto dame might consider a little too broad…

Why We Love It: In a joyless turd of a movie, Moore’s camp shtick goes a long way to making things watchable.

John Travolta in Swordfish (2001)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Travolta dusts off his wise-cracking villain routine, instantly becoming the most entertaining element of this pedestrian action flick.

Why We Love It: From the minute you see Travolta’s hair / goatee combo, you know you’re onto a winner…

Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns (1992)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Pfeiffer plays Catwoman as a sexually aggressive nutjob, and looks to be having the time of her life while doing it. Miaow.

Why We Love It: Comic-book characters are already larger than life, so to make things even more OTT takes some doing…

Ray Winstone in Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Winstone pops up at periodic intervals throughout the film, sporting a ludicrous moustache and bellowing “JONESY” whenever the opportunity arises.

Why We Love It: It’s a performance so relentlessly brash that it’s hard not to smile.

Nic Cage in Ghost Rider (2007)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Allowing Cage to run wild with a comic-book adaptation was always going to be a risky proposal, and so it proves with one of his most manic turns to date.

Why We Love It: The transformation scene alone is worth the price of admission. There isn’t really anywhere left to go after that…

William Shatner in Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Shatner finally finds the epic storyline to house his overacting, with his famous “Khaaaaaan” scream the cherry on an extremely hammy cake.

Why We Love It: It’s Shatner unchained. Shatner at warp speed, if you will.

Steven Berkoff in Octopussy (1983)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Berkoff takes the traditional Bond villain theatricality, adds in a ludicrous Russian accent and a lot of agitated ranting, and comes up with something close to genius.

Why We Love It:
It takes some doing to create a character who stands out among Bond villains as particularly OTT!

John Malkovich in Con Air (1997)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: John Malkovich lets it all hang out as Nic Cage, confined to a straight role for a change, looks on enviously.

Why We Love It: Malkovich is far too good for this kind of popcorn nonsense but uses the opportunity to employ an array of silly voices and physical tics. “Make a move, and the bunny gets it.”

Don Cheadle in Oceans Eleven (2001)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Don Cheadle channels Dick Van Dyke as Basher Tarr, a cheeky cockney stereotype with a talent for explosions.

Why We Love It: It’s weirdly compelling to watch an accent being performed so badly by one of Hollywood’s finest actors.

Dennis Hopper in Super Mario Bros (1993)

The Scenery-Chewing Performance: Hopper plays the villainous King Koopa with bizarre enthusiasm, exuding menace and self-parody in equal measure.

Why We Love It: We’ve got a soft spot for seeing Frank Booth repeatedly shout the word, “Goomba!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George is GR's resident movie news person, based out of London. He understands that all men must die, but he'd rather not think about it.
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