Greatest Acting Performances of All Time

The Top Ten

1 Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump

Life is like a box of chocolates
You never know what you're gonna get.

Run Forrest run

2 Jack Nicholson - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

For some reason, I knew he was going to be on this list.

Probably because he's had so many great and memorable roles, done so well... - Billyv

3 Robert Deniro - Taxi Driver
4 Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
5 Eli Wallach - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Eli Wallach - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Product Image

Lots of people agree that Wallach was snubbed for a Best Leading Actor Academy Award for his performance, and they're right. His performance was rich and multilayered. As Tuco, he is devious, yet vulnerable; strong, yet sympathetic; grotesque, yet glowing. There is as much menace to him as there is a warm and welcoming presence. One of the greatest movie performances ever.
People generally consider this film to be a Clint Eastwood film. It's an Eli Wallach film, through and through.

6 James Gandolfini - The Sopranos

While he arguably had a certain advantage over actors in movies in that he had approx 86 hours in 86 installments to develop and portray the character, it could alsot be considered an extraordinaiy feat in sustaining and building the depth over years and that amount of time on camera.
Anyway it's viewed, the performance should be considered as one of, if not the greatest performance. A magnificent and unique achievement.

7 Stefán Karl Stefánsson - Polite People
8 Marlon Brando - The Godfather Marlon Brando - The Godfather Product Image
9 Toshiro Mifune - Seven Samurai Toshiro Mifune - Seven Samurai Product Image
10 Jack Nicholson - The Shining

It wasn't scary but it was the funniest thing. And when I'm typing, cha ching, cha ching!

I really think he should have won the oscar for this. I really don't see why he didn't.

The Contenders

11 Seth Rogen - Take This Waltz Seth Rogen - Take This Waltz Product Image
12 Minoru Chiaki - The Lower Depths
13 Song Kang-ho - Gwoemul

Song gives a surprising amount of depth to Gang-du, a lovable idiot who is stronger than he first appears, a man who is a lousy father but an all-round loving father at the same time. He's like a lost little child, yet he carries responsibility on his shoulders. And as always, the weight of Song's screen presence is tremendous.

14 Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
15 Barbra Streisand - The Guilt Trip
16 Leonardo DiCaprio - What's Eating Gilbert Grape
17 Sigourney Weaver - Aliens Sigourney Weaver - Aliens Product Image
18 Robert Deniro - Raging Bull
19 Edward Norton - Fight Club Edward Norton - Fight Club Product Image
20 Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia Peter O'Toole - Lawrence of Arabia Product Image
21 Al Pacino - Dog Day Afternoon Al Pacino - Dog Day Afternoon Product Image
22 Dustin Hoffman - The Graduate Dustin Hoffman - The Graduate Product Image
23 Anthony Hopkins - The Silence of the Lambs Anthony Hopkins - The Silence of the Lambs Product Image
24 Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
25 Michelle Williams - Take This Waltz Michelle Williams - Take This Waltz Product Image
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