Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top 100 Performances of All Time

I've reached 400 posts! In honor of that milestone, here's a mildly ambitious list, which would probably look a lot different if I did it again. I tried to balance my picks between male and female performances, and I ended up with 55 male ones and 45 female ones. Also, I did nominate some actors for multiple performances, but I limited it to 3 performances per actor.

100. Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch

99. Bruce Willis, Die Hard

98. Peter Lorre, M

97. Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth

96. Ethan Hawke, Before Sunset

95. Emily Browning, Sleeping Beauty

94. Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson

93. Lara Belmont, The War Zone

92. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed

91. Mia Farrow, Rosemary's Baby

90. Richard Burton, The Night of the Iguana

89. Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot

88. Irene Jacob, The Double Life of Veronique

87. Roy Scheider, All That Jazz

86. James Cagney, Man of a Thousand Faces

85. Juliette Binoche, The Lovers on the Bridge

84. Holly Hunter, The Piano

83. Jude Law, Gattaca

82. Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas

81. Marcello Mastroianni, 8 1/2

80. Nicole Kidman, To Die For

79. Giulietta Masina, Nights of Cabiria

78. Meryl Streep, Sophie's Choice

77. Marlon Brando, A Streetcar Named Desire

76. Montgomery Clift, A Place in the Sun

75. Gloria Swanson, Sunset Blvd.

74. Brenda Blethyn, Secrets & Lies

73. Tony Curtis, Sweet Smell of Success

72. Faye Dunaway, Network

71. Julie Delpy, Before Sunset

70. Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

69. Faye Dunaway, Bonnie and Clyde

68. Ray Milland, Dial M for Murder

67. Bette Davis, All About Eve

66. Anthony Hopkins, The Remains of the Day

65. Audrey Hepburn, Love in the Afternoon

64. Barbara Stanwyck, The Lady Eve

63. Robert De Niro, Raging Bull

62. Gene Hackman, The French Connection

61. Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive

60. Helena Bonham Carter, The Wings of the Dove

59. Ingrid Thulin, Winter Light

58. Denzel Washington, Malcolm X

57. Shelley Winters, A Place in the Sun

56. Natalie Portman, Closer

55. Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

54. Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia

53. Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner

52. Robert Mitchum, The Night of the Hunter

51. Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca

50. Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter

49. Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy

48. Catherine Deneuve, Belle de Jour

47. Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider

46. Rod Steiger, Across the Bridge

45. Max von Sydow, The Seventh Seal

44. James Stewart, Vertigo

43. Vivien Leigh, A Streetcar Named Desire

42. Ralph Fiennes, Schindler's List

41. Orson Welles, The Third Man

40. Bob Hoskins, Mona Lisa

39. Gary Oldman, State of Grace

38. Katharine Hepburn, Bringing Up Baby

37. Gunnar Bjornstrand, The Seventh Seal

36. Kevin Kline, A Fish Called Wanda

35. Kirk Douglas, Ace in the Hole

34. Orson Welles, Citizen Kane

33. James Stewart, It's a Wonderful Life

32. Ingrid Bergman, Notorious

31. Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver

30. Jack Nicholson, Chinatown

29. Gary Oldman, Sid & Nancy

28. Ruth Hussey, The Philadelphia Story

27. Al Pacino, The Godfather Part II

26. Russell Crowe, Romper Stomper

25. Cary Grant, His Girl Friday

24. Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy

23. Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut

22. Charles Chaplin, City Lights

21. Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon

20. Russell Crowe, L.A. Confidential

19. Jack Lemmon, The Apartment

18. Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

17. Robert De Niro, The Deer Hunter

16. Liv Ullmann, Face to Face

15. Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon

14. Irene Jacob, Three Colors: Red

13. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

12. Marlon Brando, On the Waterfront

11. Liv Ullmann, Scenes from a Marriage

10. Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

9. Gena Rowlands, A Woman Under the Influence

8. Denis Lavant, Holy Motors

7. Gunnar Bjornstrand, Winter Light

6. Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves

5. David Thewlis, Naked

4. Harriet Andersson, Through a Glass Darkly

3. Richard Burton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

2. Bibi Andersson, Persona

1. Juliette Binoche, Three Colors: Blue


  1. Great list! I don't know where to begin. I would probably have Daniel Day-Lewis a little higher, but nice to see Gena Rowlands from A Woman Under the Influence and Kirk Douglas from Ace in the Hole on there, amazing performances.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, 89 is kind of low for DDL, but placement was SO hard. :) Glad you love those performances too.

  2. LOVE THIS! Even contemplating trying to put a list like this together stresses me out. Doing my top ten in each category gave me nightmares. LOL. I love that I've seen all but two of these.

    1. Thanks man! You should totally do one! :) Which two haven't you seen?

  3. Happy 400! Fantastic list (and that Brad Pitt gif is priceless) I'm glad you included Emily Browning on this list. Even though Sleeping Beauty was flawed, she still gave one hell of a performance. I always look forward to seeing her in films.

    1. Thanks! Glad to see you're a fan of Browning's performance too. She blew me away in that film.

  4. Oooo nice. I don't think I will be able to make this list but kudos to you! Lots of my favourites in here, including your number 1. Favourite inclusion- Oldman in Sid and Nancy :)

    1. Thanks! It was a daunting task, but it was fun. Yay! More love for Binoche and Oldman. :)

  5. Soooo many good performances! And I probably haven't seen half of them.
    Congrats as well! :D

    1. Thanks! :) I recommend any of them that you haven't seen. ;)

  6. Nice choices. I particularly love that you have Pacino's Dog Day Afternoon performance so high.

  7. Woah! That is a massive - and excellent - list! So glad to see Emily Browning here, that is such an underrated and misunderstood performance and movie.

    1. Thanks so much! Dig the Browning appreciation on here. Thought I was alone on her performance. Also, the film is in my top 15 of 2011, so I'm a fan of it as well.

  8. Wow, what an impressive undertaking here. Seriously, great work. Love your top pick, and also love that most all of my personal favorites are here. Great stuff!

    1. Thanks man! Glad you found stuff to love on here. My picks and rankings are all over the place. :)

  9. Hey congrats on your milestone! Lot of great choices here though I still have lots of catching up to do. But no Cate Blanchett?? If I were to make my list she's probably going to be listed at least twice :D

    P.S. This is a GREAT idea btw, I just might steal it again like I did w/ your Five Movies Five Words series :D

    1. Thanks Ruth! Cate Blanchett's performance in Elizabeth was one of the last contenders I cut. It was *this* close. :)

      Thanks again! Hope you steal it! ;)

  10. Congrats on 400.... where would you put Brad Pitt's performance as Chad? I think it's his greatest performance ever.

    1. Thanks man. His performance is great, but he didn't even make my top 5 supporting picks in 2008. I'd rank his performances in The Tree of Life and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford as his best, so his performance as Chad would definitely be outside of my top 200. Probably outside of my top 300 as well, but I'm not sure.

  11. Wow! What a fabulous post. There are so many great choices here -- too many to comment on. In your top 10, I really like #1 and #6 (I haven't seen the others). Congratulations on reaching 400 posts.

    1. Thanks so much! :) Ooh, I think there are some you'd love in my top 10, especially Gena Rowlands.

    2. A Woman Under the Influence? I'll check it out.

  12. Great post! Happy to see a lot of Classic Hollywood performances on here - they're forgotten a lot sadly. I'm inspired to check out a lot of films on here that I haven't seen yet. :D

    1. Thanks! Yeah, classic Hollywood performances are often left out, but I love 'em. Hope you discover a few films/performances that you like. :)

  13. Epic list! I love that you have David Thewliss ranked so high. I watched Naked for the first time last month, and he blew me away. Amazing performance.

    1. Thanks man! Same here. I've seen Naked a few times, and Thewlis has blown me away on each viewing. So glad that you dig that performance as well.