My Top-10 Performances All-Time
#1 DUSTIN HOFFMAN (right) #2 JON VOIGHT (left)
My NUMBERS 1 AND 2 FROM SAME FILM
Ironically, my favorite top two performances are from the same film. Here you have Dustin Hoffman as the low-life Rizzo who gets everything out of a person that he can through cheating or stealing. His impersonation of a gimpy-leg street person is utterly amazing.
Jon Voight is the wannabe cowboy experiencing his first trip to New York City and partners with the down-on-his-luck Rizzo. Voight is the vulnerable first timer in the big city that loves life and takes it all in.
They were so good that they were both nominated and washed each other out in the voting for Oscar, giving it to another nominee.
#3 MONTGOMERY CLIFT
SURROUNDED BY POWERFUL PERFORMANCES
In an outstanding film, many great performances are evident, including Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, and 'Fatso', Ernest Borgnine. But, the actor that gave his greatest performance ever was Montgomery Clift in a gutsy performance as a former boxer who did not want to box for the Army. All he wanted to do was play his trumpet.
#4 PAUL NEWMAN
IN ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMS, NEWMAN IS VERY COOL
I consistently hear mention of Paul or Cool Hand Luke in other films when someone asks the question, "What's your favorite film?" He was the coolest of the cool, and the guards could not break him. His looks, his charm, and his powerful performance command the film.
"What we have here is failure to communicate."
#5 ROBERT DE NIRO
MAYBE THE GREATEST SCENE FROM ANY MOVIE
Without doubt, the most captivating single scene in movie history when the Vietcong play Russian Roulette with De Niro and another American G.I... He gives an unsettling performance in an unforgettable scene.
#6 ROBERT DONAT
WON THE OSCAR FOR FILM MADE IN 1939
Robert Donat was a brilliant British actor who aged in this film from his twenties to a white-headed old man while being a professor at a university. His ageing is done brilliantly, and his warmth and inner feelings in the film are beyond reproach.
To give you an idea how good his performance was, he beat out Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind for best actor at the Academy Awards from what is considered the greatest year in films.
#7 LOUIS GOSSETT, JR.
STEALS THE SHOW
Surrounded by terrific performances, Louis Gossett, Jr. shown here as a drill instructor giving lip to Richard Gere has a performance that remains with you forever. "Where you from, boy?" A question he asks that sticks.
#8 STEVE MCQUEEN
MCQUEEN'S FINEST ROLE
In one of my favorite films, Steve McQueen gives an unforgettable performance as a sailor not in the habit of being pushed around. His boyish charm at times when talking to his female co-star along with his devotion to others onboard his tiny ship is paramount when he is threatened with a choice of obeying his commanding officer or saving a friend's life. That friend, Mako, also gives an outstanding performance.
#9 SPENCER TRACY
THE EPITOME OF TRACY'S WORK
Spencer Tracy portrays a real-life attorney in the famous Monkey Trial case in Tennessee. His performance is demanding of your attention with his every breath.
# 10 BURL IVES
TRULY MY FAVORITE
This scene with Paul Newman is probably my favorite performance all-time. However, since he is in a supporting role to stars Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, I'm putting him at number 10. I simply could not leave him out as the powerful patriarch, Big Daddy.