The Pendragon Society

Premiere’s 100 Greatest Performances of All-Time

A list published in the April 2006 issue of Premiere Magazine. It’s difficult to argue against O’Toole’s performance but perhaps Al Pacino was better in the first two Godfather films than Dog Day Afternoon and I’m not sure Tom Hank’s performance in Big is his greatest acting contribution to cinema, let alone the 15th greatest performance of all time.

1 Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) as T.E. Lawrence
2 Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954) as Terry Malloy
3 Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice (1982) as Sophie Zawistowski
4 Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) as Sonny Wortzik
5 Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950) as Margo Channing
6 James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) as George M. Cohan
7 Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969) as Ratso Rizzo
8 James Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) as George Bailey
9 Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein (1974) as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
10 Robert De Niro in Raging Bull (1980) as Jake La Motta
11 Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989)
12 Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973) as Badass Buddusky
13 Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter (1968) as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine
14 Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies (1983) as Mac Sledge
15 Tom Hanks in Big (1988) as Josh Baskin
16 Cary Grant in Notorious (1946) as T.R. Devlin
17 Denzel Washington in Malcolm X (1992) as Malcolm X
18 Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves (1996) as Bess McNeill
19 Paul Newman in The Verdict (1982) as Frank Galvin
20 Al Pacino in The Godfather: Part II (1974) as Don Michael Corleone
21 Giulietta Masina in Nights of Cabiria (1957) as Maria Cabiria Ceccarelli
22 Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands (1990) as Edward Scissorhands
23 Russell Crowe in The Insider (1999) as Jeffrey Wigand
24 Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) as Fred Dobbs
25 Greta Garbo in Ninotchka (1939) as Ninotchka
26 Maria Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) as Joan of Arc
27 Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (1973) as Paul
28 Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940) as Hildy Johnson
29 Peter Sellers in Being There (1979) as Chance the Gardener
30 James Stewart in Vertigo (1958) as Det. John Scottie Ferguson
31 Jamie Foxx in Ray (2004) as Ray Charles
32 Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) as Holly Golightly
33 Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982) as Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels
34 Buster Keaton in The General (1927) as Johnny Gray
35 Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (2005) as Truman Capote
36 Faye Dunaway in Chinatown (1974) as Evelyn Cross Murray
37 Gene Hackman in The Conversation (1974) as Harry Caul
38 Carole Lombard in To Be or Not to Be (1942) as Maria Tura
39 Laurence Olivier in Richard III (1956) as Richard III
40 Nicole Kidman in To Die For (1995) as Suzanne Stone
41 Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction (1994) as Jules Winnfield
42 Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (1976) as Travis Bickle
43 James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) as Jim Stark
44 Charles Chaplin in City Lights (1931) as the Tramp
45 Reese Witherspoon in Election (1999) as Tracy Flick
46 Tom Hanks in Cast Away (2000) as Chuck Noland
47 Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) as Randle Patrick McMurphy
48 Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (1993) as Phil Connors
49 Liv Ullmann in Persona (1966) as Elisabet Vogler
50 Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon (1941) as Sam Spade

51 Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath (1940) as Tom Joad
52 Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day (1993) as Miss Kenton
53 Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York (2002) as Bill ‘the Butcher’ Cutting
54 Katharine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story (1940) as Tracy Lord
55 Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night (1967) as Det. Virgil Tibbs
56 Jodie Foster as Sarah Tobias in The Accused (1988)
57 Max von Sydow in Pelle the Conqueror (1988) as Lasse Karlsson
58 Sigourney Weaver in Aliens (1986) as Lt. Ellen Ripley
59 Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour (1967) as Severine Serizy
60 Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (1977) as Annie Hall
61 Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List (1993) as Amon Goeth
62 Gary Oldman in Sid & Nancy (1986) as Sid Vicious
63 Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence (1974) as Mabel Longhetti
64 Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961) as ‘Fast’ Eddie Felson
65 Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot (1959) as Jerry/Daphne
66 Holly Hunter in Broadcast News (1987) as Jane Craig
67 Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind (1960) as Henry Drummond
68 Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby (1938) as Dr. David Huxley
69 Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950) as Norma Desmond
70 Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
71 Meryl Streep in Silkwood (1983) as Karen Silkwood
72 Judy Garland in A Star is Born (1954) as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester
73 John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977) as Tony Manero
74 Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles (1974) as Lili Von Shtupp
75 Julie Christie in Darling (1965) as Diana Scott
76 Burt Lancaster in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) as J.J. Hunsecker
77 Morgan Freeman in Street Smart (1987) as Leo Smalls Jr.
78 Toshirô Mifune in Yojimbo (1961) as Sanjuro Kuwabatake
79 Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) as Capt. Jack Sparrow
80 Jeanne Moreau in Jules and Jim (1962) as Catherine
81 Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) as Clementine Kruczynski
82 George C. Scott in Patton (1970) as Gen. George S. Patton Jr.
83 Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry (1999) as Brandon Teena
84 Anjelica Huston in The Grifters (1990) as Lilly Dillon
85 Jessica Lange in Frances (1982) as Frances Farmer
86 Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train (1951) as Bruno Anthony
87 John Wayne in The Searchers (1956) as Ethan Edwards
88 Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter (1978) as Nick Chevotarevich
89 Li Gong in Farewell My Concubine (1993) as Juxian
90 Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski (1998) as Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski
91 Jane Fonda in Klute (1971) as Bree Daniels
92 Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry (1971) as Insp. ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan
93 Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce (1945) as Mildred Pierce
94 Peter Lorre in M (1931) as Hans Beckert
95 Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got to Do With It? (1993) as Tina Turner
96 Judy Holliday as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday (1950)
97 Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast (2001) as Don Logan
98 Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944) as Phyllis Dietrichson
99 Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979) as Navin Johnson
100 Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971) as Alex De Large