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50 Greatest Ensemble Casts

United 93 (2006)

The Cast: J.J. Johnson, Gary Commock, Polly Adams, Opal Alladin, Trish Gates, Nancy McDoniel, David Alan Basche, Ray Charleson, Christian Clemenson, Lorna Dallas, Denny Dillon, Trieste Dunn, Kate Jennings Grant, Peter Hermann, Cheyenne Jackson, Joe Jamrog, Corey Johnson, Libby Morris, Tom O'Rourke, Simon Poland, David Rasche, John Rothman, Daniel Sauli, Rebecca Schull, Olivia Thirlby, Khalid Abdalla, Lewis Alsamari, Omar Berdouni, Jamie Harding, Ben Sliney, Tobin Miller, Rich Sullivan, James Fox, Shawna Fox, Karen Kirkpatrick.

Pause The Screen When: The final showdown on the plane, where a good number of the key characters are shown behaving in a very heroic light.

Stand-Out Star:
An ensemble cast in the truest sense of the phrase, very few of these actors were even half-recognisable, and all share their time on screen in a fairly egalitarian manner. They're uniformly excellent to boot.

Thank You For Smoking (2005)

The Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Katie Holmes, Maria Bello, William H. Macy, Robert Duvall, Rob Lowe, J.K. Simmons, Adam Brody, David Koechner,

Pause The Screen When: Aaron Eckhart takes on William H. Macy in court, with Maria Bello, Cameron Bright and David Koechner watching on.

Stand-Out Star:
Rob Lowe threatens to walk off with the movie thanks to his turn as a scurrilous Hollywood agent.

State Of Play (2009)

The Cast: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Jeff Daniels, Viola Davis, Robin Wright, Jason Bateman.

Pause The Screen When:
Any of the scenes shared in the newsroom by Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams and Russell Crowe. Note: real writers are nowhere near this glamourous!

Stand-Out Star:
Crowe broods his way through this one with gusto, although McAdams more than holds her own as his enthusiastic sidekick.

Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

The Cast: Woody Allen, Goldie Hawn, Julia Roberts, Alan Alda, Drew Barrymore, Tim Roth, Edward Norton, Gaby Hoffmann, Natalie Portman, Liv Tyler.

Pause The Screen When: It's two-hander central in this one, so take your pick. We particularly like Ed Norton serenading Drew Barrymore, but that's just us…

Stand-Out Star: A young Norton is incredibly impressive, but naturally, Woody helps himself to a good proportion of the film's best lines.

The Towering Inferno (1974)

The Cast: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Jennifer Jones, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaughn, O.J. Simpson, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Sheila Matthews, Jack Collins, Norman Burton, John Crawford, Scott Newman, Sheila Matthews, Maureen McGovern.

Pause The Screen When: The dedication ceremony sees all the film's stars crammed into the one room. Unfortunately for their characters, it's all downhill from there.

Stand-Out Star: McQueen absolutely bosses proceedings as inscrutable Fire Department Chief, Michael O'Hallorhan.

Mars Attacks! (1996)

The Cast: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Paul Winfield, Jim Brown, Pam Grier, Tom Jones, Jack Black, Natalie Portman, Christina Applegate.

Pause The Screen When: Any of the scenes in the White House, where Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close and Natalie Portman can be seen playing the first family.

Stand-Out Star: Nicholson is excellent in his dual role as President Of The United States and sleazy casino owner, Art Land.

Mars Attacks! (1996)

The Cast: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Paul Winfield, Jim Brown, Pam Grier, Tom Jones, Jack Black, Natalie Portman, Christina Applegate.

Pause The Screen When: Any of the scenes in the White House, where Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close and Natalie Portman can be seen playing the first family.

Stand-Out Star: Nicholson is excellent in his dual role as President Of The United States and sleazy casino owner, Art Land.

A Time To Kill (1996)

The Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, Ashley Judd, Donald Sutherland, Oliver Platt, Kiefer Sutherland, Charles S. Dutton, Chris Cooper, Patrick McGoohan, M. Emmet Walsh.

Pause The Screen When:
The courtroom finale gathers together all the primaries in one tension-filled room. The stage is duly set for McConaughey's big moment, as he delivers his searing summation.

Stand-Out Star: The bit-part roles are all excellently played, but McConaughey is really excellent in the lead, playing a man caught between his principles and his family's safety.

Anchorman (2004)

The Cast: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koeschner, Fred Willard, Seth Rogen, Jack Black.

Pause The Screen When:
During the epic battle of the news teams, where you can spot a host of big-name cameos from the likes of Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Tim Robbins.

Stand-Out Star: It has to be Ferrell really, doesn't it? Although Steve Carell does his level best to steal as many scenes as he possibly can.

Anchorman (2004)

The Cast: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, David Koeschner, Fred Willard, Seth Rogen, Jack Black.

Pause The Screen When:
During the epic battle of the news teams, where you can spot a host of big-name cameos from the likes of Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Tim Robbins.

Stand-Out Star: It has to be Ferrell really, doesn't it? Although Steve Carell does his level best to steal as many scenes as he possibly can.