50 Hammiest Movie Performances

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!”