I was at home throwing out some old magazines earlier this morning, and came across the April 2006 issue of Premiere magazine, which featured their list of “The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.” Their top choice? None other than the man pictured above – Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.
Now, I love Peter O’Toole, and there’s no denying that his portrayal of Lawrence stands as one of the high watermarks of his extremely distinguished and memorable career.
But, the BEST movie performance EVER? Personally, I think not.
This sort of thing is, of course, highly subjective. No one can ever have the definitive word on it. Nevertheless, as a list whore from way back (looooooong before they ever became trendy and popular), I find these types of things endlessly fun to think about.
For instance, my list of The Best Movie Performances of All Time would start with these four from Marlon Brando, in this order:
- Last Tango in Paris
- On the Waterfront
- A Streetcar Named Desire
- The Godfather
Next up would be Orson Welles as the title character in Citizen Kane. After that, it becomes a virtual free-for-all. Here are some other favorites off the top of my head, in no order whatsoever:
- Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie
- James Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life
- James Stewart in Rear Window
- Bette Davis in All About Eve
- Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire
- Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
- Christopher Reeve in Superman
- Harrison Ford in Star Wars
- Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future
- Robert De Niro in Midnight Run
- Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday
- Paul Newman in The Verdict
- Paul Newman in The Color of Money
- Peter Sellers in Being There
- Holly Hunter in Broadcast News
- Gene Hackman in Hoosiers
- Laurence Olivier in Hamlet
- James Dean in East of Eden
- Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs
- Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz
- F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus
- Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers
- Robert Shaw in Jaws
Highly idiosyncratic, as you can see.
What are some of your favorite all-time performances? I’d love to hear what the blogosphere has to say about this. Let ‘er rip, people!