Great actors progress through stages. Early in their careers, fans catch a glimpse of the talent and, each time they see the actor in a new role, realize that the talent is no fluke. Once the actor has built up a long enough resume, the great ones enter must-see-at-all-costs territory. These actors and actresses have achieved near cult-leader status, and boy, have they earned it.
1. Christian Bale
You have ten minutes to name one Christian Bale unequivocally bad movie. There are a couple (Amsterdam and Thor: Love and Thunder come to mind), but the list is short.
Take an hour to list all the subpar Christian Bale movies. Then, take 60 seconds to name Christian Bale movies that were undeniably a good use of your two hours. You can call far more of the latter in 60 seconds than the former in an hour, and that’s why people will watch a movie simply because Christian Bale is in it.
American Hustle. The Machinist. Empire of the Sun. The Dark Knight. The Prestige. The Big Short. Ford v. Ferrari. American Psycho. The Fighter. Bale is still in his prime, yet this list could go on and on and on.
2. Anthony Hopkins
Sir Anthony Hopkins’ film credits started in 1960, so it’s inevitable that there are some stinkers within his massive resume. However, Hopkins’ show-stealing performances in films like Silence of the Lambs (fava beans and chianti, anyone?), Amistad, The Elephant Man, and The Remains of the Day converted many viewers into ride-or-dies.
Reviews and box-office performance be darned. If Hopkins is in it, the Hop-heads are showing up.
3. Toni Collette
Toni Collette will never grace the air of superstardom occupied by Angelina Jolie or Margot Robbie, but it’s not for lack of talent, dedication, or tangible accomplishment. Collette is a serious actor, plain and simple.
Those who have seen About a Boy know that Collette can play an emotional wreck. Fans of Little Miss Sunshine and The Way, Way Back know Toni can do funny. Those who caught Collette in The Sixth Sense and The Hours witnessed her throw her dramatic weight around, holding her own amongst peers with more prominent names.
Serious cinema fans know the name Toni Collette, respect the name Toni Collette and hit play or buy a ticket when they see the name Toni Collette on the billing, without exception.
4. Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy goes by many names. Tommy friggin’ Shelby. Scarecrow. That stalker dude wouldn’t leave Rachel McAdams alone in Red Eye. Robert Oppenheimer. By appearing sparingly in films and television, remaining picky in his roles, and appearing utterly convincing in the roles he does accept, the Irish actor has earned a considerable fan base.
5. Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett is another actress who does not have bombshell looks by Hollywood standards but whose talent and dedication are utterly undeniable. The two-time Oscar winner (as of 2023) played Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, convinced the world that elves were real in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, donned armor in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and has proven time and time again that she’s not messing around once the camera starts rolling.
Movies like Blue Jasmine prove that Blanchett has comedic chops that are absent in her more serious roles, which have earned Blanchett the most acclaim across a long, decorated career.
6. Jesse Plemons
If you’re like me, you developed a reluctant fondness for Jesse Plemons as Landry Clark in Friday Night Lights. Anything but the traditional leading man, Plemons’ ability to play a Bostonian mobster (Black Mass), a midwestern yokel forced to deal with his wives’ homicidal mistake (Fargo), and a creepy neighbor aggrieved by his non-invite to game night (Game Night) proves his range.
Plemons’ casting has become one of the surest signs that a movie will be good. Fans have taken note.
7. Jake Gyllenhaal
Fans have noted that they’re especially convinced and captivated by Jake G, the unhinged lunatic. Whether it’s his turn as a Machiavellian disaster cameraman in Nightcrawler, his portrayal of an (understandably) unstable Marine serving in the Gulf War in Jarhead, or a disturbed teen in Donnie Darko, Gyllenhaal is eerily good at playing unstable characters. A little too good, some fans say.
No matter the script, theme, genre, or costars, fans always know that Jake Gyllenhaal will bring his A-game.
8. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy has many traits that made similar predecessors like Marlon Brando’s can’t-miss stars. A raw, authentic machismo makes Hardy a hit with ladies and is an aspirational model for male viewers. A dedication to the acting craft ensures that viewers will never have to suffer through Hardy mailing it in.
Plus, Hardy has picked his roles wisely. While there have been a few busts (Venom, This Means War), there have been far more home runs (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Locke, Inception, The Drop, The Dark Knight Rises, and Dunkirk, just for starters). There’s no role that Tom Hardy won’t take on, and he surely knows that the Hardies will follow him faithfully.
9. Joaquin Phoenix
A guy could make a solid career in entertainment based solely on the name Joaquin Phoenix. Yet, Phoenix has decided to strive for legendary status by dominating every film he appears in. Especially adept at playing brooding, tortured characters with landmine-like volatility, some of Phoenix’s standout roles came in Joker, The Master, Walk the Line, Gladiator, and You Were Never Really Here.
Cinema buffs are keen on Joaquin, whose upbringing in the Children of God cult might help explain his innate ability to play broken souls.
10. Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen captured many viewers with his role as Hannibal Lecter in the TV show Hannibal. He has also played a Bond villain (Casino Royale), a teacher falsely accused of a heinous crime (The Hunt), and a one-eyed pagan warrior (Valhalla Rising).
With a relatively short-acting resume, Mikkelsen has quickly developed a faithful following.
11. Ed Norton
Few actors can do it all, like Ed Norton, ranging from comedies to thrillers as supporting or leading roles. Norton is at his best when he portrays imperfect characters we can identify with or want to understand their complexities. His performance as neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard in American History X was a chilling example of his craft.
12. Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren has been around for a long time, a respected actress of the theater as a Shakespearean actress as early as the 1960s, television, and film, capturing many accolades for her talent. She has played royalty (The Queen; The Madness of King George), politicians (State of Play), a sadistic teacher (Teaching Mrs. Tingle), and has had roles in action films. Her breakout role was The Long Good Friday as the girlfriend of Bob Hoskins’s insecure mobster character, which was an early classic for Mirren.
13. Morgan Freeman
Like Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman has a long history in film, but he gained significant notice in the 1980s and remains a very watchable actor in relevant roles. Freeman’s gifted voice commands attention to whatever role he is cast in, ranging from Driving Miss Daisy to Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven.
10 Movies That Were Deemed Horrible When They Released, But People Love Now
Image Credit: Universal Studios
Movies can surprise us, sometimes in ways we least expect. Some films initially dismissed as terrible or received lukewarm responses upon their release have gone on to win the hearts of audiences worldwide. These movies have managed to transcend their early setbacks and gain a dedicated following over time.
10 Harrowing Movies People Love Despite the Disturbingness
Image Credit: Universal Studios
The magic of cinema has the incredible power to captivate, entertain, and transport us to different worlds. While many films offer uplifting stories or thrilling adventures, a subset of movies delve into the darker recesses of the human psyche, presenting narratives that challenge societal norms and push the boundaries of our comfort zones. People love these “messed up or harrowing movies”—films that disturb, unsettle, and provoke intense emotions.
10 Movies That Had a 3/10 Concept But a 10/10 Execution
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment
Movies can surprise and captivate us, sometimes even when their initial concepts may not seem promising. It’s fascinating how certain films can take a seemingly average idea and transform it into a masterpiece through exceptional execution. These movies prove that the true magic of cinema lies in the hands of talented filmmakers who can elevate simple concepts into extraordinary storytelling experiences.
10 Movies That Will Blow Your Mind No Matter How Many Times You Watch Them
Image Credit: Warner Bros.
Some movies are so captivating and thought-provoking that they leave a lasting impression, no matter how often you watch them. These cinematic gems take you on unforgettable journeys, challenging your perceptions and immersing you in their intricately crafted worlds. From mind-bending sci-fi thrillers to psychological mysteries, these films offer a feast for the senses, inviting you to delve deeper into their narratives with each viewing.
10 Celebrities That Have Suspiciously Clean Reputations
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Celebrities often find themselves amid scandals and controversies that capture public attention. However, a select few stars seem to have remarkably pristine reputations, leaving many wondering if there might be more than meets the eye. These individuals have managed to maintain a squeaky-clean image despite the constant scrutiny of the public eye.
This article was produced and syndicated by The Cents of Money.