Sometimes the star of a movie takes a backseat to one of their co-stars who steal a scene, or even an entire movie.

Viola Davis – Doubt

It feels almost blasphemous to say that anyone could outshine a movie which features Meryl Streep in a powerful lead role, but walking out of the theater all I could remember about what I had just watched was Ms. Davis taking the wind from my chest and leaving me emotionally spent. She stood there on camera with Ms. Streep and sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride. When the singular scene they shared ended I remember thinking, oh yeah, Meryl Streep was in that scene, too.

Angelina Jolie – Girl Interrupted

Without googling, can you remember the lead actress in this? I didn’t think so. Or you likely said Angelina. While that is understandable, it is incorrect. This was the moment Angelina went from being a force of nature to being a bonafide movie star.

Anne Ramsey – Throw Mama from the Train

Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal were in this, too. Nobody cared because Anne Ramsey (not to be confused with Anne Ramsay) was that good. The Oscar nod was deserved and a strong argument could be made that Olympia Dukakis should have handed it to Anne.

Jack Nicholson – A Few Good Men

In a movie full of stars, Jack was an entire galaxy. Col. Jessup is burned into the American movie going psyche. Even if you have never seen the movie, you have likely quoted Nicholson as Jessup at some point. He is such a good bad guy. Hell, I am still not 100% sure he is bad. Or, at least not 100% bad. But he is damn unforgettable.

Sean Connery – The Untouchables

This is my favorite on this list. Sean Connery as Jim Malone is the reason I return to The Untouchables again and again. If this movie is on, I stop and watch. Until he dies, anyway. Oh, spoiler alert! Anyway, Jim Malone on the floor, bleeding out, but fighting with his last breath to kick Elliot Ness in the ass, what are you prepared to do!? Oh my god, that scene, makes me want to grab a gun and go take out every bad guy in the history of ever.

Who are some of your favorite co-stars or secondary characters that steal a movie away from the stars?

Rudy Martinez

The classic, if not cliche, trifecta of writer, former stand-up comedian, and licensed boat captain, Rudy spends most days in a library.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Scott Williams

    Great list! If I may add my two cents…
    – Heath Ledger—The Dark Knight—didn’t just steal the movie, he stole the entire trilogy.
    – Christoph Waltz—Inglorious Basterds—perfectly cast, perfect villain.
    – Alec Baldwin—Glengarry Glen Ross—no one used fewer words to steal an entire movie than this guy.
    – Denzel Washington/Morgan Freeman—Glory—an early glimpse at future masters of their craft.
    – Edward Norton—Primal Fear—that final scene in the jail between him and Richard Gere, whoa!


    1. Rudy Martinez

      I feel we were not only remiss, but just flat out wrong to not have Heath Ledger on our list. You are 100% right – he stole the entire trilogy.

      Was going to include Baldwin, but we have him on another list for the same role 😉

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