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 hundred and ninety four
Greatest Moment: His eventual death scene is heartbreaking, as is the memory of his devastation at Lily Potters death.
Also See: Hans Gruber (Die Hard), The Sherriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves)
174. Elizabeth Olsen Martha, Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Is it true married people dont fuck? Delivering such inflammatory lines in a shy, deadpan drawl, Olsen leaves the audience questioning whether shes genuinely naive, or is engaging her sister in some sort of psychological warfare. Its a knack that ensures her performance is perennially wrong-footing. Just when your heart goes out to her, she has you recoiling just as quickly.
I think initially, what I really connected to was her paranoia, says Olsen. I had a lot of compassion for her and I wanted to make sure that she could never be diagnosed, or written off. Haunting and tantalisingly unknowable, its a mesmerising performance.
Greatest Moment: The bizarre sequence in which she crawls into bed with her sister and her husband, disturbing them in the middle of an intimate moment.
Also See: Sarah (Silent House)
173. Morgan Freeman - Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding, The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Did Freemans Deep Impact President pave the way for Barack Obama? Perhaps. In Shawshank, he plays murderer as lovely old codger. Turning middle-America onto a black boss then is surely childs play in comparison.
You just feel at ease with old Morgs. Here, well-worn features betray calm remorse. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It is, but Red dont wanna rot and, with Tim Robbins Andy Dufresne, he allows himself to be set free.
Hes done wrong, sure, but by Zihuatanejo time, youre right on his side.
Greatest Moment: Guiltily opening the buried tin by the long rock wall.
Also See: Ned Logan (Unforgiven), Detective Lt William Somerset (Se7en), Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Million Dollar Baby).
172. Christopher Guest - Nigel Tufnel, This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Christopher Guest owns improv comedies. So much so, many believe he--not Rob Reiner--directed Tap.
A forgivable oversight perhaps, given his Nigel Tufnel is the idiot-savant star of the rockumentary, whose most infamous utterance (The numbers all go to 11... its one louder, isnt it?) made it into the OED in 2002.
Born in New York to a British diplomat, Guest nails not only the flat Estuary accent but also the tantrums, demands and skin-tight skeleton t-shirt of a washed-up rock star.
Greatest Moment: On a piano lament: This piece is called Lick My Love Pump.
Also See: Count Tyrone Rugen (The Princess Bride), Harlan Pepper (Best In Show)
171. John Cusack - Martin Q Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
In Cusacks eyes Martin Blank is a metaphor for the moral double think of the Bush White House (How can they do those things and then go back to their families? Its schizophrenic).
And its that dualism which makes the neurotic hitman the actors standout--full of the slick charm and vulnerability on which his early romcom hits were built, but intelligently fused with a darker existential edge.
He even gets to show off his fighting skills in a compact corridor kick-boxing thrashabout, short and sharp. Surprising, sophisticated and deadly cool.
Greatest Moment: Left holding the baby at a High School reunion.
Also See: Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything), Roy Dillon (The Grifters), Craig Schwartz (Being John Malkovich).
170. Charlie Chaplin - A Tramp, City Lights (1931)
I think I like City Lights the best of all my films Just as well, as Charlie Chaplin laboured longer on his comedy romance in pantomime (two years, eight months all told) than anything else in his career.
But the strain doesnt show, least of all in CCs turn as his trademark, toothbrush-tached Little Tramp persona: boldly voiceless even though the talkies were in full swing, his gracefully bumbling body language etching a poetry of slapstick, social commentary and swooning sentiment.
Youd never, ever guess that he and leading lady Virginia Cherrill actually couldnt stand each other
169. Lesley Manville Mary, Another Year (2010)
Mike Leigh invariably writes parts that actors can really get their teeth into, but Lesley Manville takes her dissolute and increasingly disillusioned character and runs with her. Managing to evoke a weight of sadness without resorting to tearful histrionics, its a remarkable portrayal of middle-aged listlessness, and one that anchors the film around her.
Its no mean feat to cling on to a characters warmer side whilst simultaneously showing how them as abrasively self-pitying, but its testament to Manvilles performance that the audience never gives up on Mary, even when she has given up on herself.
Greatest Moment: The heartbreaking final scene, in which the camera comes to rest upon Manvilles character
Also See: Penny Bassett (All Or Nothing)
168. Kirk Douglas - Chuck Tatum, Ace In The Hole (1951)
The gutter press sinks a little lower in Billy Wilders portrait of a city newshound kicking up dust in sleepy New Mexico.
Douglas doesnt do anything to soften the sucker punch of the whipsmart, cynical, utterly ruthless Chuck Tatum, orchestrating a media circus around some poor schnook trapped in a collapsed mine.
Hes pitched at 95 miles an hour plus for the duration, says My Winnipeg director Guy Maddin of Douglas performance. When his fame-drunk newspaperman barks out Pulitzer Prize! the twin Ps are like dumdum bullets from an ack-ack gun.
Greatest Moment: The opening sequence: Chuck rides into town in a broken-door car and fast talks himself into a job on the local rag.
Also See: Doc Holliday (Gunfight At The OK Corral), Colonel Dax (Paths Of Glory), Spartacus (Spartacus), Jack Andrus (Two Weeks In Another Town).
167. Gena Rowlands - Gloria Swenson, Gloria (1980)
Writer / director John Cassavetes wrote Gloria as a gift to his wife, Gena. She excelled as the tough-as-nails gangsters moll who shelters a macho six-year-old when the mob murders his family.
A very New York broad, Gloria strides through the movie in silk Emmanuel Ungari skirts, but when shes riled her top lip curls into an Edward G Robinson snarl: Go ahead, punks
Rowlands was rewarded with a second Oscar nomination. Gloria was an amazing power trip, she said. Taking on the mafia in 4in heels with a child slung over your shoulder. It was a lot of fun.
Greatest Moment: Blowing away four mobsters in the street, just like that.
Also See: Minnie Moore (Minnie And Moskowitz), Mabel Longhetti (A Woman Under The Influence).
166. Ben Kingsley - Don Logan, Sexy Beast (2000)
From refusing to stub his ciggie (You want me to cut your hand off and use it as an ashtray?) to verbally flaying a cringing Ray Winstone (Like a crocodile, fat crocodile, fat bastard), hes an astonishing vision of rage and neurosis.
I was able to bring my grasp of language in Shakespeare to him, says Kingsley, whose sociopathic gangster makes the celluloid strain with tension every time he steps on screen each sentence, each stare, rigid with the promise of appalling violence.
Kingsley claims he based the character on his grandmother
Greatest Moment: No no no no no no no no!
Also See: Mahatma Gandi (Gandi).
165. Chloe Moretz Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass (2010)
Ok you cunts, lets see what you can do now. A provocative line for anyone to deliver, but for an eleven-year-old girl well, needless to say the tabloid media had a field day. Not that Moretz could see what the fuss was all about. I never really thought about the aftermath of it, she said at the time. I knew that everything I was saying, if I ever said anything like it in real life, I would be grounded forever!
Swearing aside, Moretzs gleeful performance is so convincing that youd have no trouble believing she could kick your ass. On top of that, her chemistry with on-screen dad Nicolas Cage made for one of the most pleasingly barmy odd-couples of recent years. I knew about her right away that she was marvellously charismatic, says Cage. I knew she had star presence."
Greatest Moment: The acrobatic corridor sequence in which Hit-Girl lays waste to a whole horde of Frank DAmicos goons.
Also See: Abby (Let Me In), Isabelle (Hugo)
164. Steve McQueen - Capt Virgil Hilts, The Great Escape (1963)
An ensemble cast with one star role: Steve McQueens rebellious Cooler King was added to keep US audiences onside during this tale of Brits behind barbed wire.
Sticking it to the stiff-upper-lipped COs and the evil Nazis, Hilts is a can-do hero whos cooler than the cooler hes repeatedly banged up in. He underplays brilliantly, all laconic shrugs and a single quiver of emotion as buddy Ives gets iced.
He knew, better than anyone, says costar Richard Attenborough, that one telling look is worth any amount of dialogue.
Greatest Moment: The iconic barbed wire motorbike leap. Vroom, vroom.
Also See: Vin (The Magnificent Seven), Bullitt (Bullitt), Junior Bonner (Junior Bonner).
163. Richard Dreyfuss - Roy Neary, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
Few of us are like Bob Redford or Steve McQueen, reckons Spielberg. Most of us are like Richard Dreyfuss. Who better, then, to meet extra-terrestrials?
The climax of Spielbergs alien-hugging epic may welcome the mothership, yet the bulk rests on one mans shoulders. Dreyfuss plays it straight as his middle-class, midwestern Joe Shmoe juggles family and destiny and tries not to crack up as he proves the truth is out there.
Look past the industrial light and magic and youll see hes the movies heart and soul.
Greatest Moment: Obsessively sculpting a plate of mashed potatoes into a mountain.
Also See: Curt Henderson (American Graffiti), Matt Hooper (Jaws), Elliot Garfield (The Goodbye Girl), Bill Babowsky (Tin Men).
162. Rooney Mara Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
By common consent, Rooney Mara was always going to have a hard act to follow. Not only was Noomi Rapaces incarnation of Lisbeth Salander particularly well-received, shed only left the screen a year or so previously. And yet, Mara still succeeded in finding new areas of the character to mine, creating a vulnerable, vicious and troublingly sexy heroine that was every bit as memorable as the original.
Living alone in Sweden for months on end in order to prepare for the role, Mara found plenty in Salander to identify with, making up the shortfall by piercing her nipples, learning to ride a motorbike and bleaching her eyebrows. Shes unlike any character Ive read before, says Mara, and I think theres a reason the whole world has fallen in love with her. Its hard not to.
Greatest Moment: Taking her revenge on her abusive guardian, Salander really puts the boot in so to speak.
Also See: Erica Albright (The Social Network), Taggarty (Youth In Revolt)
161. Andrew Garfield Jack Burridge, Boy A (2007)
Andrew Garfield more than holds his own opposite the brilliant Peter Mullan in this harrowing tale of a teenage boys release from prison, having committed murder as a child. Playing an awkward, socially maladjusted loner, Jack is a world away from the privileged Eduardo Savarin (Garfields celebrated role in The Social Network), but remains eminently watchable, despite the thorny subject material.
Rightly recognized by BAFTA for his efforts, Garfields dialogue-light performance was a real challenge for a naturally demonstrative actor. Trying to hold back from doing too much, he explains, and trying to do as little as possible with showing the most amount of emotion as possible it's terrifying.
Greatest Moment: The regression into misery and self-doubt that follows the leaking of his identity. Hard-hitting stuff.
Also See: Eddie Dunford (Red Riding), Tommy (Never Let Me Go), Eduardo Saverin (The Social Network)
160. Alec Guinness - Everyone, Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Originally asked to play four members of the DAscoyne family in Robert Hamers Ealing classic, the 35-year-old Guinness insisted he play all eight a comic tour de force that left him feeling understandably schizophrenic.
(I had to ask myself from time to time, Which one am I now? he would later recall.) That each emerges as a fully realised creation in their own right is a testament to both his protean ability and his patience--the scene where six DAscoynes appear in the same frame took two days to film.
Greatest Moment: Coming a cropper as Lady Agatha in a hot-air balloon.
Also See: Fagin (Oliver Twist), Colonel Nicholson (The Bridge On The River Kwai), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars).
159. Helen Mirren Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen (2006)
As The Kings Speech proved last year, the Academy loves a royal, and so it was with The Queen, for which Helen Mirren received the Oscar for Best Actress. However, if that implies the recognition was not entirely merited, nothing could be further than the truth.
Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth with affection, but doesnt shy away from her less palatable side. She is shown to be firm, ruthless at times, but never lacking in warmth or humanity. Her mimicry skills have often come in for particular praise, but its the mixture of steel and sincerity that really shines through here.
Greatest Moment: Putting Michael Sheens Tony Blair firmly back in his place when he suggests the Monarchy modernise: Dont get ahead of yourself Prime Minister, she purrs. Remember Im supposed to be the one advising you.
Also See: Quenn Charlotte (The Madness of King George), Mrs Wilson (Gosford Park), Sofya (The Last Station)
158. Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Neil McCormick, Mysterious Skin (2004)
Gregg Arakis child-abuse fable transformed 3rd Rock From The Suns alien kid into, as the director put it, this James Dean, sexy outsider character.
Levitt had auditioned for the more introverted Brian, but Araki gambled on casting him as the cocksure gigolo with a bottomless black hole where his heart should be.
JGL implied that Neils real feelings are actually buried beneath trauma, pinpointing the hurt behind the hustle by febrile intuition and making the leap from child star to proper grown-up actor look natural.
Greatest Moment: The reconciliatory ending: Neil shows tenderness as he comfort-hugs Brian.
Also See: Brendan (Brick).
157. Ellen Page Juno MacGuff, Juno (2007)
This is not a food baby, all right? Ive taken, like, three pregnancy tests and Im for shizz up the spout. Thats the kind of delicate dialogue Ellen Page got to rattle off in this superlative teen comedy, and boy did she rattle it off with aplomb! Balancing out the smartmouth rapport with just the right amount of vulnerability, it was a turn that would bag her an Oscar nomination at the tender age of 20.
And despite the uber-hip dialogue (no teenager we know has quite the same degree of whip-smart intelligence), there was an awkwardness that rang true about Pages performance. I loved that this girl was mature in some ways, and naive in other ways, said the star. She has a lot in common with most of the people I knew in high school.
Greatest Moment: Take your pick from any of the scenes she shares with J.K. Simmons. Its the relationship that grounds the whole movie.
Also See: Hayley Stark (Hard Candy), Ariadne (Inception)
156. Sidney Poitier - Virgil Tibbs, In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
They call me MISTER Tibbs! Sidney Poitier commands respect in Norman Jewisons black-white chafing-cops thriller. Arrested by redneck goons,
Poitiers city-sized homicide dick sets about quietly proving he is better than them.
Poitiers wary watchfulness cleaves to conviction: Klan trouble prompted his refusal to shoot in the South. Buckling under pressure to film in Tennessee, he nursed a gun under his pillow.
His performance didnt instigate overnight progress: Rod Steiger got Oscard, Poitier didnt.
Greatest Moment: The big hit: a racist white suit slaps Tibbs and gets one back, hard and fast.
Also See: Noah Cullen (The Defiant Ones), Homer Smith (Lilies Of The Field), Mark Thackeray (To Sir, With Love), Dr John Wade Prentice (Guess Whos Coming To Dinner?).
155. Christoph Waltz Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds (2009)
From the very first scene of Quentin Tarantinos wartime fairytale, Christoph Waltz stamps his authority on proceedings. His debut appearance in the farmhouse is utterly electric, so much so that the viewer feels a mixture of relief and disappointment when the story eventually moves away from him.
Stealing the show despite the manifold stars present in the cast, Waltz was rightly recognised with a Best Supporting Oscar for his deliciously evil turn. Tarantino had initially wanted Leo Di Caprio for the role, which just goes to show, he doesnt always get his casting right!
Greatest Moment: The opening conversation with the dairy farmer is a study in understated psychological torment.
Also See: Dr. King Schultz (Django Unchained)
154. Naomi Watts - Betty Elms, Mulholland Drive (2001)
Children Of The Corn IV, Tank Girl Watts career was headed down a cul-de-suc before she reached Mulholland Drive; and even then, it wasnt until David Lynch expanded his rejected TV pilot that we got the full measure of how intense she could go.
In the books I read, the paintings I like, its always the darker stuff, admits Watts, who shockingly descends from jitterbugging Holly-wannabe Betty (the dream) to junkie-faced washout Diane (the reality).
Her masturbation moment is almost unwatchably tragic. Beat that.
Greatest Moment: That audition scene.
Also See: Cristina Peck (21 Grams), Ellie Parker (Ellie Parker).
153. Julianne Moore - Carol White, Safe (1995)
Acute synchronicity shapes Julianne Moores hypersensitive Beverly Hills homemaker in Todd Haynes intellectual disease movie.
While we saw rather more of Moore in Short Cuts, here we eyeball ever-decreasing degrees of a woman whose allergies to her environment seem to shrink her.
Moore even lost weight for Haynes, not so much embodying Carol as disembodying her. I wanted her to be, like, invisible, she said. This is performance as high-risk anti-performance, selflessly surrendering to the roles demands.
Greatest Moment: Carol faces what little is left of herself in the mirror.
Also See: Marian Wyman (Short Cuts), Amber Waves (Boogie Nights), Cathy Whitaker (Far From Heaven).
152. Martin Sheen - Kit Carruthers, Badlands (1973)
Suppose I shot you, howd that be? The future President nailed the part of a casual psychopath in Terrence Malicks lovers-on-the-lam classic.
Martin Sheens Kit is both a keenly characterised study in damaged self-detachment and a folksy James Dean fantasy filtered through his young lover Hollys magazine-fuelled mindset.
Malick told Sheen to think of the gun in your hand as a magic wand, a direction his lead channeled into Kits carefree killin.
Hes character as sustained enigma, a mass murderer without sense of consequence and a lost girls deadly dream.
Greatest Moment: Cocksure to the close, Kit acts like a star among fans when finally captured.
Also See: Captain Benjamin L Willard (Apocalypse Now), Greg Stillson (The Dead Zone), Carl Fox (Wall Street), President Josiah Jed Bartlet (The West Wing).
151. Michael Shannon Curtis, Take Shelter (2011)
Theres a risk that after Revolutionary Road and Take Shelter, Michael Shannon could be typecast as Hollywoods go-to guy for starey, mentally unstable types. However, if the material is this well drawn, he probably wont mind a bit.
Shannon is excellent as the blue collar paranoiac who fears hes either losing his mind, or the apocalypse is on its way. Managing to keep his teeth firmly off the scenery, its a credible portrayal of somebody losing their grip as opposed to going full-on crazy at the flip of a switch. That said, he does have his moments
Greatest Moment: The gloves are finally off at a community meeting in which Shannon batters his friends and neighbours with a volley of four-letter fury.
Also See: Peter Evans (Bug), John Givings (Revolutionary Road)
150. Isabelle Huppert - Erika Kohut, The Piano Teacher (2001)
Michael Haneke said, I dont know if you will accept it, its much worse than Funny Games, which he had offered me and I refused because I found it too horrible, says Huppert. But?
I immediately saw the opportunity for an extraordinary role. Staring through the bars of a psychotic cage of sexual repression and emotional violence, her tortured former piano prodigy grips the screen for the movies entire 140 minutes.
Were at the outer limits here: one of the most subtle, complex, masterfully controlled performances youll ever see.
Greatest Moment: The audition, where the camera stays locked, spellbound, on Hupperts face.
Also See: Nelly (Loulou), Lena (Coup De Foudre), Anne (La Sparation).
149. John Malkovich - The Vicomte Sebastian De Valmont, Dangerous Liaisons (1986)
Im not sure anyone saw John as sexy before this particular film. Director Stephen Frears had a point, but Malkovichs lithe, cruel, cat-like performance convinced us otherwise.
Costume drama had never been so vicious, or quite so well, naughty. The cultivated arrogance, the narrowed eyes, the languorous voice--not only did Valmont arouse the hidden desires of virtuous Madam de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer) but every woman in the audience, too.
and intoxicating, his raw sexuality eclipses the pretty boy looks of co-star Keanu Reeves and future, lesser Valmonts Ryan Phillipe and Colin Firth.
Greatest Moment: Breaking his lovers heart--and his own--with four tired words: Its beyond my control.
Also See: Mitch Leary (In The Line Of Fire), John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich).
148. Jean Dujardin George Valentin, The Artist (2011)
If The Artist is a celebration of silent cinema, then its Jean Dujardins irrepressible performance that gives it its joie de vivre. Shamelessly mugging for the camera throughout the films early sequences, Dujardin is a matinee idol with a glint in his eye, flogging his characters roguish charm for all its worth so as to make the ensuing downturn all the more effective.
A popular winner at this years Oscars (although whether he deserved to trump George Clooney remains up for debate), he deserves credit for taking to the silent genre like a duck to water. I discovered that silent film is almost an advantage, he remarked after making the film. You just have to think of the feeling for it to show. No lines pollute it.
Greatest Moment: His shameless milking of the crowds applause in one of the films early scenes. It sums up the character in a nutshell.
Also See: OSS 117 (OOS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies & OSS 117: Lost In Rio)
147. Spencer Tracy - John J Macreedy, Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)
This guys like a carrier of smallpox, warns Robert Ryan. Since hes arrived this town has a fever--an infection.
With his suit and tie underlining his alienation from the local cowboys, Tracys a hard, compact nugget of soft-spoken determination who aptly for a man avenging a murdered Japanese-American has taken on something of the dangerous quietness of a samurai warrior.
His dialogue, notes critic Rob Lineberger, crackles with energy and suppressed emotion.
Greatest Momnet: Beating the crap out of Ernest Borgnine with a series of one-armed karate chops.
Also See: Joe Wilson (Fury), Sam Craig (Woman Of The Year), Stanley T Banks (Father Of The Bride).
146. Zach Galifianakis Alan, The Hangover (2009)
A relative unknown outside of US comedy, Zach Galifianakis took a lot of people by surprise when he stole the show in 2009 sleeper-hit The Hangover. Combining childish playfulness with a keen eye for an irreverent one-liner, he made off with most of that films funniest moments without breaking a sweat.
Forget the fact that the sequel wasnt up to much Galifianakis turn in The Hangover was strong enough for him to displace Will Ferrell as the king of screwball comedy. For a while, anyway
Greatest Moment: The slick, Vegas player makeover that seals his crowning moment at the end of the movie. Hes one of the wolfpack for real, now
Also See: Ethan Tremblay (Due Date)
145. Jeanne Moreau - Catherine, Jules Et Jim (1961)
Intriguing, capricious, destructive, Moreaus Catherine epitomises Truffauts fascinated and wary view of women.
Eternally seductive, eternally dissatisfied, Catherine wants what she hasnt got. When she has Jim, she wants Jules; she has Jules, she wants Jim.
If she has them both, she wants someone else. With her dark eyes and sensual, sulky mouth, shes the catalyst, the troublemaker, the source of despair as well as the source of joy, wrote Pauline Kael.
The role consecrated Moreau as iconic goddess of the nouvelle vague.
Greatest Moment: Jumping fully clothed into the Seine in protest at Jules sexist quotes.
Also See: Jeanne Tournier (Les Amants), Clestine (Journal Dune Femme De Chambre), Maria II (Viva Maria!)
144. Ellen Burstyn - Sara Goldfarb, Reqiuem For A Dream (2000)
I wore a 40lb fat suit and then a 20lb one, recalls Ellen Burstyn of her role as a diet obsessed mother in Darren Aronofskys devastating addiction drama.
When I got out of that, I took off 10lbs of my own with my famous cabbage-soup diet.
Burstyn initially rejected the script, but her Oscar-nommed performance--a trembling descent from pillpopping OCD to electro-shock victim--was so heartbreaking that cinematographer Matthew Libatique began sobbing silently while filming the then-68-year-old in one scene, only just keeping the camera on her face as his tears fogged up the lens.
Greatest Moment: Her impassioned monologue about how it feels to be old.
Also See: Alice Hyatt (Alice Doesnt Live Here Anymore), Chris MacNeil (The Exorcist).
143. Robert Downey Jr. Tony Stark, Iron Man (2007)
Hes the one that when he comes on set, you really feel like, Man, this guys a movie star! Thats how Chris Evans describes his Avengers co-star, and indeed, Robert Downey Junior plays Tony Stark with that same aura of star-power. The character is a born exhibitionist and in Downey, Marvel found the perfect match.
Wry without being glib, fun without being frivolous, RDJ turned one of Marvels less glitzy superheroes (at least in comparison to big hitters like Spider-Man and the X-Men) into a box-office sensation. How did he bag the role? Simple: I prepared for the screen test so feverishly that I literally made it impossible for anybody to do a better job. Why didnt we think of that?
Greatest Moment: Testing out the suits flying capabilities with amusing and then exhilarating results.
Also See: Charlie Chaplin (Chaplin), Dan Dark (The Singing Detective), Harry Lockhart (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
142. Henry Fonda - Frank, Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)
As ruthless child-killer Frank, Henry Fonda traded in a career of blue-eyed heroism (Wyatt Earp, Abe Lincoln) to earn Leones super-stylised spaghetti westerns a savage and ironic cultural weight.
The hardness that lay behind the appealing blue eyes, the toughness that had always been belied by the open smile, were cunningly exploited, writes Leone expert Christopher Frayling, nailing Fondas shock transformation from frontier figurehead to soulless mercenary.
Greatest Moment: The camera twisting from a terrified child to reveal Fondas blank, murderous face.
Also See: Abraham Lincoln (Young Mr Lincoln), Tom Joad (The Grapes Of Wrath), Wyatt Earp (My Darling Clementine), Juror #8 (12 Angry Men).
141. Winona Ryder - Veronica Sawyer, Heathers (1989)
Theres a new sheriff in town and its a girl. Shes a fast-talking teen, a neo-noir femme fatale, a rebel with a cause, an angel in a blue dress and, according to The Washington Post, Hollywoods most impressive ingnue.
Just 16 when Heathers was shot, this is the role that defined Ryder as the embodiment of female outsider cool.
Smart, funny, independent even the 80s couldnt stop her from looking great. Co-star Christian Slater admitted last year that hes still in love with Ryder, having fallen hard on the set of Heathers. Us too. Winona Forever, indeed.
Greatest Moment: Walking charred and bleeding from the blown-up school, a cigarette hanging from her lips.
Also See: Lydia Deetz (Beetle Juice).
140. Octavia Spencer Minny Jackson, The Help (2011)
If Octavia Spencer appeared to know her role in The Help inside out, its because she ought to. Not only did she voice the part of Minny on the audiobook of the original novel, shes also a longtime friend of author Kathryn Stockett, who based elements of the character upon her.
Her very being, her mannerisms, the ways she handles things all went into creating Minny, says Stockett. It should come as no surprise then that Spencer utterly inhabits the role, appearing entirely natural as the outspoken maid whilst showing off some enviable comic timing. No wonder the Academy were so enamoured with her
Greatest Moment: The special pie baked by Minny for the villainous Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard). Well pass, thanks.
Also See: Constance Grady (Ugly Betty), Kate (Seven Pounds)
139. Jeremy Irons - Elliot And Beverly Mantle, Dead Ringers (1988)
Irons likes roles that explore the edges of acceptable human behaviour--and you dont get much edgier than the twisted twin gynaecologists Elliot and Beverley Mantle in Cronenbergs clinically disturbing nightmare.
Aided by groundbreaking photography that allowed Irons to convincingly appear on screen twice, his nuanced performance(s) presents two distinct, plausible and recognisable individuals and then blurs the lines between the two in their increasing codependence.
Masculinity and femininity, the public and the private, love and sex, nature and nurture, humanity and insanity--its all here.
Greatest Moment: Descending into addiction hell to save his brother.
Also See: Claus von Blow (Reversal Of Fortune).
138. Simon Pegg - Shaun, Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead has an excellent script, an excellent premise and an excellent director, but if it werent for Simon Pegg no, alright, itd still probably quite good, but instant classic? Not on your nelly.
Pegg plays the straight-man to Nick Frosts gag-hogger with real generosity, allowing his off-screen mate the bulk of the belly laughs. More importantly, he ensures we care what happens to the pair of them, embodying a fundamental decency that belies his shoddy performance as a boyfriend. Oh, and he swings a mean cricket bat too
Greatest Moment: The takedown of the zombified pub landlord, accompanied by the rousing strains of Queen.
Also See: Nicholas Angel (Hot Fuzz), Scotty (Star Trek)