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10 Best Movie Performances Of All Time

Best movie performance

Jamie Foxx’s performance as Ray Charles in Ray (2004)

So who knew Foxx was in it? With only a few leading roles under his belt, the actor broke into the Taylor Hackford biopic with a performance that eluded impersonation and allowed an independent personality to emerge. Jamie Foxx as Ray was definitely one of the best movie performances of all time. Actors rarely get a chance to prove they can do it all.

Best movie performance

Jack Nicholson as Randall Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

After years of underground artwork, Nicholson broke into the mainstream at the beginning of the decade and secured his status as the face of a generation with this anti-establishment masterpiece from the post-Watergate years. McMurphy isn't exactly a hero, Which was the point. This is Jack Nickholson's best movie performance to date.

Best movie performance

Tony Leung’s performance in ‘The Mood for Love’ (2000)

Wong Kar-Wai's timeless love story in In The Mood For Love is one of the director's strongest and most moving works to date, but it's Tony Leung who steals the show as a man tormented by his emotions originating from the world around him. Tony Leung takes a spot in the best movie performances of all time list through his amazing acting performance in 'The Mood for love'

best movie performance

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash (2014)

Although it is only a supporting role, most audiences can agree that J.K. Simmons' turn as Terrence Fletcher is undoubtedly one of the film's strongest aspects, which is a real compliment considering how complex and visually stunning Whiplash is.

best movie performance

Daniel Day-Lewis portraying  Daniel Plainview in ‘There Will Be Blood’ (2007)

Lewis is capable of working in miniature, but in Paul Thomas Anderson's study of unbridled megalomania, he opts for the kind of bold—but not broad—brushstrokes that characterized the performances of Jimmy Cagney and Klaus Kinski. It is difficult to think of any other actor capable of controlling such energy reserves.

best movie performance

Robert De Niro playing Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980)

It is difficult to separate the performance from the instruments surrounding it. De Niro put on all that weight. The actor trained with Jake LaMotta himself. Onlookers were amazed by the physical appearance and interpretation of the character and line delivery. None of this detracts from De Niro's talent for crafting a fully developed character. Clearly, the character of LaMotta played by Robert di Nero is one of his best movie performances of all time. 

best movie performance

Gregory Peck’s performance in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most famous films and novels of all time, but Gregory Peck's work on the film adaptation is often overlooked when discussing some of the medium's greatest performances. He brings Atticus Finch to life in a way that no other actor can achieve, with natural charisma and emotional transparency.

best movie performance

Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice (1982)

Many Meryl Streep characters could be cited as her best, but Sophie's choice seems to be the one that most people consider to be her best performance yet. It is one of the first roles that catapulted her to Hollywood stardom and remains one of the most emotional and moving performances ever put on screen.

Sophie's Choice is a deeply devastating drama that owes much of its emotional impact to Streep, who gives the film such pure humanity that it's impossible not to connect with her character.

best movie performance

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight has become almost synonymous with Ledger's portrayal of the Joker, even though the actor only got 33 minutes of screen time. He steals every scene he's in, making the Joker one of the best cinematic villains of all time with his pure chaos, and marks the performance as one of the best movie performances of all time. 

best movie performance

Al Pacino in The Godfather (1972)

Playing a complex and problematic character like Michael Corleone was never easy, but Al Pacino somehow made it look easy with his breakout performance in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather trilogy. His performance is precise and detailed throughout, making Corleone compelling despite his many flaws.

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