Stuart's top 50 actors - 30 to 11
30 Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi is memorable in pretty much whatever he does. He’s played amazing character roles in such films as Ghost World and The Big Lebowski, but he can totally carry a film too, as he does in In The Soup, or the self-written and directed Trees Lounge
29 Molly Ringwald
Star of The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, 16 Candles. Apparently she was quite a few years younger than the other actors in The Breakfast Club when that was made, but you wouldn’t think it. Breakfast Club was the classic, Pretty In Pink still stands up tho..
28 Gene Hackman
At face value, quite an unusual film star. Not exactly a pin-up. Got his break with Bonnie And Clyde, played a couple of fabulous roles as the old Hollywood system was crumbling, in French Connection and The Conversation. Came back into hip consciousness with The Royal Tenenbaums.
27 Juliet Binoche
One of the faces that seemed to define the art-house 90s, for me anyway, though it started with The Unbearable Likeness Of Being in ’88. A clip from Three Colours Blue.
26 Sean Penn
He’s a kind of ‘actor’s actor’, which might sound boring if he wasn’t so good. He plays classic roles in three of my favourite films Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Sweet And Lowdown, and Milk. He’s so different in each, a sign of one of the greats.
25 Cate Blanchett
Love her in the two Elizabeth films, and she was great in the Dylan movie I’m Not There. And she’s the queen of the fairies in Lord Of The Rings ! I like her most playing Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator though..
24 Jodie Foster
If you’re a certain age, it’s like you grew up with Jodie. You used to think she was cool when you were a kid and she was a kid in Bugsey Malone and Candleshoe, but of course she had serious acting chops too, Silence Of The Lambs and all that. Me and the missus have a soft spot for Contact..
23 Alistair Sim
Not too many Scots on the list, but I like Alistair Sim. His better known roles came late, so he always seemed to play old men, but he played them very well (Hue And Cry, London Belongs To Me, Scrooge) He was also known for playing old women too..
22 Jean-Paul Belmondo
A girl asked me once what I would call my band and I said ‘Belmondo’, and she said, ‘Don’t you think that’s a little pretentious?’. That puzzled me. Not pretentious enough, I thought! He was, after all, my bread and butter at the time..
21 Jack Lemmon
“I am particularly susceptible to the parts I play… If my character was having a nervous breakdown, I started to have one”. That’s pretty much how it seems. I prefer him younger when the nervous breakdowns were more slapstick than sorrowful… see The Odd Couple, Some Like It Hot and The Apartment
20 John Cusack
..is rather tall, and he stood up for us in High Fidelity when Jack Black described us as ‘sad bastard music’. But that’s not why he’s on the list.
plus Bullets Over Broadway, Being John Malkovich, The Grifters, etc
19 Lauren Bacall
Very cool lady, must admit that most of the films I see her in have Humphrey Bogart knocking about somewhere, but I think about them in different ways.
Bacall is beautiful, you could never wish to possess her, she’s just too pretty. And smart.
18 James Stewart
James Stewart is in so many films that have stood the test of time – maybe it’s because he’s in them though. He goes easily from Hitchcock to Westerns, from comedies to.. It’s A Wonderful Life.
Here’s a clip of the filibuster from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
You’d know that voice in your sleep.
And here he is in The Glenn Miller Story
This is just like a B&S rehearsal, when we finally get ‘the sound’! Well, I wish it was..
17 George Clooney
Cool George, always watchable, also a smart cookie. He’s cool, so he can pick good roles, so he’s cool. And he makes pictures too; Confessions of A Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck are both worth checking out.
Favourite starring roles are in
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, Up In The Air, and Burn After Reading.
16 Faye Dunaway
She’s in four of my favourite pictures, so you can’t keep her out of my top 20. Chinatown, Bonnie And Clyde, Network and The Thomas Crowne Affair.
From The Guardian, 2008.
“Most of those movies were made within the studio system, which was innovative and rare. Now those movies have to fight really hard to be made and get seen, and it’s all because of Mr George Lucas and Star Wars. Everything changed, and since then Hollywood has wanted to make blockbusters, which is why we’re into these comic-book movies. I don’t think my films would even get made today. Certainly not within the studio system.”
I like her best in the last one I listed, probably because she’s playing someone who’s very easy to like.
15 Cary Grant
I remember reading that Cary Grant found it difficult being out in public because everyone expected him to be Cary Grant all the time. I suppose when you play all those fantastic roles, anybody’s life would seem a bit dull.
I could only find the trailer for North By Northwest, it’s a great one..
Here’s a nice clip from the start of His Girl Friday
14 Robert De Niro
My favourite De Niro roles are with Scorcese; watch him in Mean Streets, he looks like every guy who wanted to be in a band in Glasgow in the 90s.
He’s a legend, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Godfather Part II, Raging Bull, The Deerhunter. He can do anything; he’s perfect playing the past it hood in Jackie Brown.
13 Robert Redford
My favourite Redford is All The President’s Men. I wish that film was my life. That was kind of a buddy movie, so is Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, of course. And The Sting ! I’m noticing a thread here.
He also directs, winning an Oscar for directing Ordinary People in 1980.
And he founded The Sundance Film Festival into the bargain.
He’s very good looking, many women tell me.
12 Julie Christie
A hip, hip lady. So cool, that it seemed that she had a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude to filmmaking, by the end of the sixties, and that attitude probably guided her career for the better. Didn’t really put a foot wrong, though the one she won the Oscar for isn’t really my favourite: Darling.
She effervesces in Billy Liar, engages in Shampoo, and endures for ever (it is a long film..) in Doctor Zhivago.
(how does he let that girl slip away..)
11 Warren Beatty
You sort of forget that Warren Beatty was actually in something before Bonnie And Clyde. I do anyway. He was a handsome leading man. But he sort of got fed up with the way his career was going.
He was instrumental from the very start of making Bonnie And Clyde, picking the director, the cast, having a say in every detail. That’s pretty much the way he did business from then on.
He scrapped with Robert Altman over McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and with Hal Ashby in Shampoo. But these must have ultimately been worthwhile issues, because these two films are ace. I have a special soft spot for Shampoo, in which Beatty plays a Beverly Hills hairdresser in the late 60s.
I’d also recommend The Parallax View, a conspiracy thriller of the highest order