Quality acting is a reflection of the human condition at its most sincere. There are some scenes that are just so perfectly acted you can’t get them out of your head. Sometimes they marinate in your mind and stand out so much that they actually make the movie. There isn’t an exact formula to generate perfectly acted scenes, but it does have a lot to do with the right talented actor in the right role, starring in the right movie. The stars must align, so to speak. Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of fine acting with five scenes from some amazing actors.
1. Goodfellas – Jimmy Conway smokes a cigarette and makes murderous contemplations.
Wait, a guy smokes a cigarette and that’s supposed to be good acting? Yes, if it’s done the right way, and Robert DeNiro does it the right way. In fact, he does it perfectly. There’s “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream playing in the background, and we have Jimmy the Gent having a smoke and a drink at the bar. He doesn’t say a word, but you know exactly what he’s thinking. His facial expressions and mannerisms speak volumes. A slight raise of the eyebrow, a squint of an eye while he inhales the cigarette, and you already know who’s getting whacked. DeNiro makes subtlety intimidating. If you’ve seen this scene in the film, it stays with you forever. We all have someone we want to whack right? Check it out:
2. A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints – Robert Downey Jr. has Daddy issues.
When an actor is in the zone, you can feel it through every word they say and every single thing they do. In this particular scene, Robert Downey Jr. plays a man that’s not exactly on good terms with his father. Downey attempts to take him to the hospital and the rest you just have to watch. Mr. Iron Man is really good at playing the sarcastic, witty characters that are smooth and heroic, but he shines the brightest in dramas. Here, we see him completely taken over by the scene, as if he knows the pain of the character rather well. In a way, it seems like he’s opening an old wound and bleeding for the film. It’s so genuine that it’s difficult not to connect with him.
3. Gangs of New York – Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill the Butcher wrapped in an American flag.
Mr. Daniel Day-Lewis is a gentlemen and a saint, but if there’s one thing he does well it’s taking on villainous roles and acting the hell out of them. Gangs of New York falls a little toward the bottom of Martin Scorsese’s filmography, but Day-Lewis keeps it afloat with his phenomenal acting. There is one scene in particular where he is simply menacing, enlightening, and admirable all at the same time. That layered accent, piercing stare, and perfectly delivered dialogue just makes for an exceptionally acted scene. Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t stand a chance. This is a perfect example of when a finely written scene meets a more than capable actor. Ladies and gentlemen, Bill the Butcher:
4. The Grifters – Anjelica Huston turns the seduction on.
Despite being disturbing, this scene is perfectly acted and can’t be forgotten. Anjelica Huston plays a con-artist that knows the score and knows how to take it. Sounds cliché right? Well, there’s nothing cliché about this scene. Huston turns the heat on, and things get weird, but then it transitions into something else altogether. Huston seamlessly goes from one mindset to another, and does it without fault. She will disgust you and break your heart all in two minutes. If you haven’t’ seen this film, you might want to skip this scene, as it does contain some hefty spoilers. If you have, then click away:
5. True Romance – Gary Oldman plays a pimp.
Gary Oldman is the man. He is probably one of the most underrated actors of all time, but he brings his best in every scene. In True Romance, he plays a white pimp named Drexl that thinks he’s black. Sounds silly, but he pulls it off and becomes the most memorable character in the film. His accent is amazing, and he projects this sinister swagger about him that oozes crazy. Once you’re done watching the film, you kind of want to know more about Drexl. Where did the scars come from? How did he get into the pimp game? Many want to explore the character deeper based on this one amazingly acted scene:
There is no rhyme or reason about the order; these are just a few scenes that are unforgettable because of the acting. What are some perfectly acted scenes that you love?