Wednesday, April 13, 2011

30 Greatest Classic Male Performances

Stealing a page from True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film for today's post. Even though she has less choices than me, I chose 30 because, to paraphrase Cool Hand Luke, it's a nice round number. Oh, and the cut-off year for this list is 1966.

Marcello Mastroianni in 8 1/2
Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb in 12 Angry Men
Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole
Jack Lemmon in The Apartment
Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck in Cape Fear
George C. Scott and Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove
James Dean in East of Eden
Cary Grant in His Girl Friday
Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman in The Hustler
Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place
Clark Gable in It Happened One Night
Montgomery Clift in Judgment at Nuremberg
Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate
Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront
James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story
Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun
John Wayne in The Searchers
William Holden in Sunset Boulevard
Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in Sweet Smell of Success
Orson Welles in The Third Man
James Cagney in White Heat
Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Tyrone Power in Witness for the Prosecution
Which performances would be our your list?


  1. yay! robert mithum, sidney poitier (also see in the heat of the night, if you haven't), jkohn lennon (in anything, really).

  2. Great list. I'd add: William Powell in The Thin Man, Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend, Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses, Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind, Jimmy Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life, Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Spencer Tracy in The Old Man and the Sea and I could probably go on forever so I'll stop.

  3. Nice list. As one of my all-time favorites (Top 5 easy), I love the addition of 12 Angry Men. Some great performances in that one. Brando in On the Waterfront was indeed good as well. Peter Sellers in Dr Stangelove as well.

    I agree with the commenter above me, I'd definitely have to put Stewart in there for It's A Wonderful Life. And Mr Smith Goes to Washington, and Harvey and Rear Window...hell, pretty much everything he's done (definitely those first two though).

    I'd also definitely add Perkins for Psycho. Also Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird, Borgnine for Marty and Bogart in The Maltese Falcon...oh and Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath.

    I'm sure I could go on and on lol

  4. Excellent list and I wouldn't disagree with one of them but I do want to ask what prompted you to pick 8 1/2 over La Dolce Vita?

  5. Enjoyed reading your list! I hate that I left off Burton in Woolf--he was utterly magnificent.

  6. Great list! Some iconic names here! I have only seen about half of these films though :-(


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