200. Tom Hardy Charles Bronson, Bronson (2008)
You shouldnt mess around with boys what are bigger than you. Sound advice from big Charlie Bronson, at one time Britains most notorious prisoner, brought to life by Tom Hardys terrifyingly intense performance.
Refusing to shy away from any of Bronsons more out-there behaviour (he spends a good deal of the film entirely naked), Hardy captures the big mans delusions of grandeur and warped sense of humour to a tee. I thought great, says Hardy on taking the part. I get to perform a larger-than-life character, and I get to hit everyone in the film!
Greatest Moment: Taking his art teacher hostage, before stripping naked, painting himself black and waiting to meet the oncoming guards
Also See: Eames (Inception), Ricki Tarr (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
199. Robert Shaw - Quint, Jaws (1976)
Eleven hundred men went in the water, 316 come out. A salty seadog, half Captain Ahab, half Captain Pugwash, Robert Shaws shark hunter channels the spirit of Gregory Peck in Moby Dick with an added layer of crusty barnacles.
Shaw made the role his own despite hating the movie and Richard Dreyfuss. Hed walk on to set, recalls his co-star, and turn into this vicious guy who tried to cut you down at the knees.
Greatest Moment: The USS Indianapolis monologue, a speech that Shaw wrote himself.
Also See: Henry VIII (A Man For All Seasons), Lord Randolph Churchill (Young Winston), Doyle Lonnegan (The Sting).
188. Nastassja Kinski - Jane Henderson, Paris, Texas (1984)
I didnt have what I knew he needed... So says Jane about the son she surrenders in Wim Wenders shattered-family fable. But Klaus daughter had what her director wanted: the sense of a woman trapped by image.
I felt she was waiting to show the other side of that image, Wenders reckoned. And she did.
Despite not appearing in the film until its close, Kinski intuitively grasped the role of a woman playing a role, her meeting with Travis revealing in guarded increments degrees of vulnerability, strength and recognition.
Greatest Moment: Giving away everything and nothing from behind the mirror in the sex club.
Also See: Tess Durbeyfield (Tess), Leila (One From The Heart), Irena Gallier (Cat People).
197. Keira Knightley Elizabeth Bennet, Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Oh my goodness everyone behave naturally. So says Elizabeth Bennet in this glossy literary adaptation, and indeed, it seemed as though Knightley was the perfectly natural choice to play the Austen heroine. Prim, poised and softly spoken, nobody would have suspected that Knightleys actual voice is far less received
Shes taken her fair share of flack for her acting abilities over the years, but director Joe Wright coaxes a spirited and sweet-natured performance from Knightley that seems to have been forgotten in the wake of Pirates etc. It also helps that her chemistry with leading man Matthew Macfayden is red hot
Greatest Moment: Putting Macfayden in his place with the following verbal volley: From the moment I met you your arrogance and conceit and your selfish disdain for the feelings of other made me realize that you are the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry. Zing!
Also See: Cecilia Tallis (Atonement), Ruth (Never Let Me Go)
196. Matt Damon - Will Hunting, Good Will Hunting (1997)
You shouldnt be too cool to care, for Christs sake. You should be full of vim and vigour and trying to do everything you can to make a change.
So said Damon back in 97 about Good Will Hunting, a film scribbled by him and bezzie mate Ben Affleck to award themselves the kind of roles they craved.
The former plays a maths genius, the latter his caring, brawny mate--and its in Damons meltdowns, cackles, cockiness and all-consuming weakness that the film arises from good to great. Self-destructive, eventually self-assured, totally self-made.
Greatest Moment: In Robin Williams office, unleashing bloodcurdling bawls as the past creeps up.
Also See: Tom Ripley (The Talented Mr Ripley), Jason Bourne (the Bourne trilogy).
194. Christian Bale - Patrick Bateman, American Psycho (2000)
Three months in the gym, Bret Easton Ellis deadpan novel plus a dose of Hitchcock and Polanski films were all it took for Christian Bale to disappear into the role of soulsick Wall Street yuppie turned misogynist killer Patrick Bateman.
But is there something deeper? The actor seems to share a funny, frightening affinity with Batemans fear and loathing. I certainly liked performing him, he admitted.
But it was because he thinks hes so fucking cool and just the shit, but is really such a cheesy dork. A cheesy dork with a big fucking axe.
Greatest Moment: That Hip To Be Square axe murder: Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now!
Also See: Bruce Wayne (The Dark Knight), Trevor Reznik (The Machinist).
194. Michelle Pfeiffer - Susie Diamond, The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
Rejected by Madonna for being too mushy, Steve Kloves tale of two ivorytinkling brothers and the sassy lounge singer who comes between them ended up with Pfeiffer landing a second Oscar nod.
Four months of intensive training enabled her to do justice to the music, while a slinky red gown ensured that her rendition of Makin Whoopee on top of Jeff Bridges piano was iconic for all the right reasons (The dress had to be open enough so I could move in it, but closed enough so I wouldnt be flashing).
Greatest Moment: That scene. That song. That red dress.
Also See: Sukie Ridgemont (The Witches Of Eastwick), Catwoman (Batman Returns), Ellen Olenska (The Age Of Innocence).
193. James Cagney - Arthur Cody Jarrett, White Heat (1949)
For Cody Jarrett, Cagney rolls up every iconic gangster he played in the 30s into one strutting, snarling, raging ball--and tosses into the mix the most explicit Oedipus complex in cinema (critic Colin McArthur).
See Cody sitting on his whitehaired old mothers knee! See him in jail, greeting the news of Moms death with a fit of terrifying intensity--sobbing, staggering, demolishing every guard that comes at him.
Theres not a reliable or healthy relationship in the film, noted film critic David Thompson. Aw, but the boy loved his mother
Greatest Moment: Gotta be the ending: Made it, Ma! Top of the world! Ka-boom!
Also See: Tom Powers (Public Enemy), Eddie Bartlett (The Roaring Twenties), George M Cohan (Yankee Doodle Dandy).
192. Amy Adams Giselle, Enchanted (2007)
Playing a typical Disney Princess transported into modern day New York, Adams cranks up the charm to irresistible levels, her innocent naivety never straying into the arena of the irritating. I think that Ive always been attracted to characters who are positive, mused the actress, and who come from a very innocent place.
It sounds like a perfect fit then, although Adams still deserves credit for ensuring that a storyline that couldve become sickly remains bouncily enjoyable right until the last. As director Kevin Lima says, Her commitment to the character, her ability to escape into the characters being without ever judging the character was overwhelming.
Greatest Moment: The scene in which she loses her rag with Patrick Dempsey gives her an opportunity to show off a bit of range.
Also See: Sister James (Doubt), Charlene Fleming (The Fighter)
191. Kim Basinger - Lynn Bracken, LA Confidential (1997)
Blonde hair cascading over alabaster skin, full lips painted luscious red Basingers high-class tart-with-a-heart is a Veronica Lake-look a like pimped out to rich punters with a fondness for shagging movie stars.
Shes the very personification of femme fatale, oozing hot sex and glacial cool. And, crucially, she holds her own against he-man Russell Crowe.
Are you asking me for a date or an appointment? she asks his clearly flustered copper Bud White when he asks to see her again. I dont know, he replies, near tongue-tied.
Well, if youre asking me for a date, I should know your first name. Basinger deservedly won an Oscar for Lynn, reigniting her spluttering career.
Greatest Moment: I see Bud?
190. Romain Duris - Thomas Seyr, The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005)
Never mind Cool Britannia--Gallic sophistication is where its at. Just check out the oh-so-sexual Seine strut of Romain Duris conflicted wannabe-pianist/has-to be crook Thomas Seyr.
Hes a brooding so-and-so, all dark locks and menaced frown, tip-tapping fingers on bars as he slips through the Parisian night lost in his own world, struggling to stay out of trouble.
Just one bat of his deep, damaged eyes turned this Fingers remake into an international hit.
Greatest Moment: Rushing through the Paris night, The Kills on the stereo.
189. James Dean - Jett Rink, Giant (1956)
Jimmy Dean aged 30 years onscreen before he died young off it, his rancher Jett Rink going from deadbeat kid to greying, oil-rich millionaire in three hours plus.
Dean dyed his hair but the actings no gimmickry: just look at his hard-drinking tycoon, harried by demons and love for Liz Taylor. On-set he couldnt be tamed by George Stevens, yet he electrified the screen.
Hes like a magnet, said the director. You watch him. Even when hes not doing anything, you watch him and not the others.
Greatest Moment: Covered in oil and beating up Rock Hudson.
Also See: Jim Stark (Rebel Without A Cause).
188. Halle Berry - Leticia Musgrove, Monster's Ball (2001)
The shallow ones remember her breasts, very much on display during the pivotal sex scene between her widowed waitress and Billy Bob Thorntons bigoted former death row prison guard who presided over her husbands execution.
After years of slog playing sexy sidekicks, Berry was finally given the chance to prove she could act, delivering a raw, fierce, flinty performance of unbridled honesty.
Intensely moving, she bagged herself an Oscar and a place on the A-list a position she did her best to squander with a one-two sucker punch of Gothika and Catwoman.
Greatest Moment: Grief-stricken at the hospital, having just lost her son.
187.Eric Bana Mark Chopper Read, Chopper (2000)
When youre playing a notorious career criminal, theres bound to be a bit of anxiety that the person youre portraying wont be too pleased with your performance. Happily for Eric Bana, Mark Chopper Read specifically requested he take the role after seeing him in TV sketch show Full Frontal.
Bana spent two days living with Read to help him prepare for the role, and the results are extraordinary. Playing Read as a terrifying force of nature, Bana has rarely been so intense or so raw in any role since.
Greatest Moment: The ear-chopping scene is probably about as full-on as it gets, although the reflective final scene is also particularly strong.
Also See: Avner (Munich), Nero (Star Trek)
186. James Spader - James Ballard, Crash (1996)
According to David Cronenberg, Spader was desperate to know who had been cast before he started filming. After all, he said, I do fuck everybody in the movie.
But theres much more to his car-crazed character than fucking--hes a tightly-wound adventurer who seeks thrills from spills. Spaders face is magnificently unreadable, allowing his actions to speak so much louder than words.
Greatest Moment: Trying to keep his eyes on the road while fetishist Vaughan has sex on the back seat.
Also See: Graham Dalton (sex, lies and videotape), Mr Grey (Secretary).
185. Montgomery Clift - Matthew Garth, Red River (1948)
Mutiny On The Bounty on the Chisholm Trail, with Clift as Fletcher Christian to John Waynes Captain Bligh. Sensitively good-looking, Clift (in his debut) is a big contrast to the chunky, down-to-earth Wayne.
Hawks made him play up to it, getting him to underplay his scenes with a pensive cool (Variety critic Todd McCarthy). Clift is visibly learning on the job and making Wayne up his game, too.
Greatest Moment: Facing down Wayne when the boss wants to hang two deserters from the drive.
Also See: Robert E Lee Prewitt (From Here To Eternity), Dr John Cukrowicz (Suddenly, Last Summer).
184. Jackie Earle Haley Rorschach, Watchmen (2009)
The city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. Its right to be afraid, as of all of the Watchmen, its Rorschach whos the most nightmarish proposition. Character actor Jackie Earle Haley captures the characters bitterness in a turn that balances action heroics with outright sadism.
It says much of Haleys performance that the scenes without the iconic mask are arguably the strongest, with the prison sequence particularly goosebump-inducing. Walter Kovacs is long gone, explains Haley of his characters alter-ego. I think hes Rorschach with or without that mask.
Greatest Moment: None of you seem to understand, he snarls at the prison cafeteria, having just upended a vat of hot oil over a fellow inmate. Im not locked in here with you youre locked in here with me!
Also See: Ronny McGorvey (Little Children)
183. Forest Whitaker - Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker, Bird (1988)
Forest Whitaker is a big guy. But as Charlie Parker his strength is channelled into his rhapsodic saxplaying--or inwards, in drug-fuelled self-destruction. Only once does he turn violent, when he sees acolyte Red Rodney following him down the junkie road.
You want to play like Bird, you gotta shoot up like Bird, he growls, pinning Red against the wall. The rest of the time, notes Washington Post critic Hal Hinson, theres tremendous delicacy and quiet--a sweetness--in what he does.
Whitaker gives us a gentle, sad, brilliant man, glorious onstage, slope-shouldered and defeated off it.
Greatest Moment: Drunk, high and weeping, spewing off telegrams to his wife after their daughters death.
Also See: Jody (The Crying Game), Ghost Dog (Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai), Idi Amin (The Last King Of Scotland).
182. Kristen Stewart Em Lewin, Adventureland (2009)
We can almost hear the booing from here, but despite the antipathy generated by her work on the Twilight series, Kristen Stewart is actually an extremely accomplished actress when given less wishy-washy material to work with.
Adventureland is the perfect example, with her take on the awkward teenager avoiding the twin perils of quirk and perk. Some would play troubled in a blaze of hysterics, but Stewarts quiet sadness yields a far more effective result.
Greatest Moment: Her puzzlement at her parents marital problems. My mom loses her hair in chemo and my dad starts fucking a bald woman, she muses. It's just weird.
Also See: Marylou (On The Road)
181. Lauren Bacall - Vivian Rutledge, The Big Sleep (1942)
According to the actress formerly known as Betty Joan Perske, her sizzling chemistry with Bogie in Howard Hawks noir was down to nerves: I used to tremble so badly that the only way I could hold my head steady was to lower my chin practically to my chest, she revealed.
Bacalls haughty heiress is the ultimate femme fatale--indeed, her scenes with Bogart were considered so spectacular Jack Warner had them reshot with saucier dialogue.
Greatest Moment: Her husky rendition of And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine.
Also See: Marie Browning (To Have And Have Not), Ma Ginger (Dogville).
180. Eddie Murphy - Kit / Jiff Ramsey, Bowfinger (1999)
Murphy had done multiple roles in a movie before and Lord knows hes done them since. But behind the fat suits, the wigs and the over-the-top caricaturing still lurks a rarely equalled talent/charisma combo:
I started out as an impressionist and thats all about observing. In Bowfinger, his observations hold true. As the alien-fearing, dick-exposing, Klan-obsessed action hero Kit Ramsey, Murphy is bold, outrageous and deliciously satirical, skewering both Hollywood excess and his own public profile.
Meanwhile, his endearingly clueless Jiff (Im really hoping to get a career running errands) reminds you just how damn likeable Murphy can play.
Greatest Moment: Jiff risks his life crossing a busy highway full of stunt drivers.
Also See: Reggie Hammond (48 Hours), Billy Ray Valentine (Trading Places), Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop).
179. Judy Garland - Vicki Lester, A Star Is Born (1954)
The woman who nearly got away returned in this musical remake of William Wellmans 1937 melodrama. Garlands off-screen troubles cost her four years of screentime.
Here, she executed a comeback as keen as Katharine Hepburns in The Philadelphia Story, one that seems fittingly cut through by the emotional scars incurred by drug problems and suicide attempts.
Pouring wounded body and soul into Lester, she made melodrama look meaty--proving herself, in David Thomsons words, as the actress with the surest intuition of the drama in musicals.
Greatest Moment: Suddenly youre older... Belting out The Man That Got Away like she means it.
Also See: Dorothy (The Wizard Of Oz), Esther Smith (Meet Me In St Louis).
178. Emma Stone Olive Penderghast, Easy A (2010)
Emma Stone was hardly a newcomer by the time Easy A came along, having already stolen more than her fair share of scenes in both Superbad and Zombieland. However, her winning turn as wise-talking would-be bike Olive Penderghast is whats generally known as a star-making performance.
Coming off as sexy, witty and best of all, hopelessly likeable, Stones is the kind of performance that elevates a sharp script into sleeper hit territory. You feel like you struck gold or something when you read a well-written comedy part for a female, says Stone, modestly. Its a great part, granted, but the charm is all hers
Greatest Moment: Perhaps you should embroider a red A on your wardrobe, you abominable tramp, snipes a Bible-bashing classmate. Perhaps you should get a wardrobe, you abominable twat, comes the whip-smart reply.
Also See: Wichita (Zombieland), Hannah (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Skeeter Phelan (The Help)
177. Ralph Fiennes Charles Van Doren, Quiz Show (1994)
Ive flown too high on borrowed wings everything came too easy. Self-awareness is a key characteristic of Charles Van Doren, and yet it still doesnt stop him from making the Faustian pact that grants him fame and fortune. Thing is, Ralph Fiennes makes him charming enough that we cant help but root for him over John Turturros peevish whistleblower.
His slick, unflappable demeanour provides the perfect foil to Turturro in what must surely go down as one of Robert Redfords finest directorial achievements. Looking back, its astounding to think that this was Fiennes first leading role
Greatest Moment: The excellent scene with his father (Paul Schofield) in which hes forced to confess his deception to the disbelieving old man.
Also See: Amon Goethe (Schindlers List), Count Laszlo de Almasy (The English Patient), Harry (In Bruges)
176. Carey Mulligan Jenny Mellor, An Education (2012)
I feel old but not very wise. Such is Carey Mulligans character in a nutshell. At some moments preternaturally self-composed, and at others, all at sea in a world she has yet to fully comprehend. Its undoubtedly an eye-catching part, and one thats played note-perfectly by then-newcomer Mulligan.
Not that she was daunted by her first starring role. It's actually easier to play a leading role than it is to play a supporting role, she says. I had a whole film, so I could be crap in a percentage of it and get away with it! I felt I could work my way into the character.
Greatest Moment: Her puzzlement and disappointment at the reality of sex: All this poetry and all these songs about something that lasts no time at all.
Also See: Kathy (Never Let Me Go), Sissy Sullivan (Shame)
175. Alan Rickman Severus Snape, Harry Potter (2001-2011)
Unfashionable as it might be to recognise the leading players in fantasy franchises, we really do feel that Alan Rickman might have got a Best Supporting nod for his sterling work as the villain-cum-hero of the Potter series.
For eight films he perfectly captured the subtleties of the character: hissable in the early going, inscrutable in later installments, pitiable towards the close and then heroic at the last. Altogether now, turn to page three hundr