75 Best Performances by Actors 1980-1989

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1.
Paul Newman
Paul Newman won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in the 1986 film The Color of Money, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy Award, and many honorary awards. Despite being colorblind, he won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing...
“ The Verdict ” - Rigor
 
2.
Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is a talented British born movie actor who played Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Drexl in True Romance, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He starred in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the remake of RoboCop. He is also an English filmmaker, musician and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style...
“ Sid and Nancy ” - Rigor
 
3.
Bruno Ganz
Actor, Downfall
Bruno Ganz debuted at the theatre in 1961 and gained there a good reputation as a solid, young actor. In 1970 he founded with Peter Stein the theatre company "Schaubuehne" of Berlin. His debut at the movies was early and unsuccessful during the decade of 1960. His talent as a reflexive actor with tendencies towards introspection was widely known after Summer Guests.
“ Wings of Desire ” - Rigor
 
4.
Isaach De Bankolé
Isaach De Bankole, C'sar award-winning actor, was born on the Ivory Coast. Isaach was discovered on the streets of Paris while studying to be an airline pilot. He has a degree in Acting from Cours Simon and a Masters in Mathematics from the Universite de Paris.
“ Chocolat ” - Rigor
 
5.
Melvyn Douglas
Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors. In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo laugh in Ernst Lubitsch's classic comedy Ninotchka, but he was much, much more...
“ Tell Me A Riddle ” - Rigor
 
6.
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director...
“ Casualties of War ” - Rigor
 
7.
Gary Farmer
Actor, Dead Man
Gary Dale Farmer is a Canadian character actor with plenty of character. With over 100 Film and TV appearances attached to his resume, and plenty more in the pipeline, Gary has shown he can adapt easily to any genre when necessary. He was born in Ohsweken, Ontario, into the Cayuga nation and Wolf Clan...
“ Powwow Highway ” - Rigor
 
8.
Bob Hoskins
Bob Hoskins was born on October 26, 1942, in Bury St. Edmund's, Suffolk, where his mother was living after being evacuated as a result of the heavy bombings. He is the son of Elsie Lillian (Hopkins), a nursery school teacher and cook, and Robert William Hoskins, Sr., who drove a lorry and worked as a bookkeeper...
“ Mona Lisa ” - Rigor
 
9.
“ A Passage to India ” - Rigor
 
10.
Jeremy Irons
Elegant and handsome British actor Jeremy Irons was born in Cowes, Isle of Wight, a small island just off the south coast of England. He is the son of Barbara Anne Brereton (Sharpe) and Paul Dugan Irons, an accountant. Young Jeremy didn't prove very fond of figures. A typical islander, he used to go to mainland England only once a year...
“ Dead Ringers ” - Rigor
 
11.
Eric Bogosian
Actor, Talk Radio
Originally a theater performer, Eric Bogosian has also made a contribution to film, applying his writing skills to several pictures, including his famous play, "Talk Radio", which was turned into a movie in 1988. Bogosian was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, to Edwina (Jamgochian), a hairdresser, and Henry Bogosian...
“ Talk Radio ” - Rigor
 
12.
Hart Bochner
Actor, Die Hard
Hart Matthew Bochner was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Ruth (Roher), a concert pianist, and Lloyd Bochner, an actor. He is of Russian Jewish and Ukrainian Jewish descent. Hart made his feature film debut portraying George C. Scott's son in Ernest Hemingway's Islands in the Stream and would go on to gain notice for his role in the Academy award-winning...
“ Apartment Zero ” - Rigor
 
13.
Willem Dafoe
Actor, Spider-Man
Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Muriel Isabel (Sprissler), a nurse, and Dr. William Alfred Dafoe, a surgeon. He is of German, French, English, Irish, and Scottish descent. In 1979, Dafoe was given a small role in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate from which he was fired. His first feature role came shortly after in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless...
“ The Last Temptation of Christ ” - Rigor
 
14.
Christian Bale
Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different countries throughout Bale's childhood...
“ Empire of the Sun ” - Rigor
 
15.
John Turturro
Highly talented, lightly built American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles. Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents, Katherine, a jazz singer...
“ Five Corners ” - Rigor
 
16.
Joe Mantegna
Joe Mantegna is an American actor who has made over 200 film and TV appearances. He is also a producer, writer, and director, and is probably best known for his role as Joey Zasa in the Francis Ford Coppola epic The Godfather: Part III, in which he stars alongside Al Pacino and Andy Garcia. Joseph Anthony Mantegna...
“ House of Games ” - Rigor
 
17.
Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK, to Katherine (Brown), a cook, and Bernard Neeson, a school caretaker. Liam worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by attending St...
“ The Good Mother ” - Rigor
 
18.
Antonio Banderas
Actor, Desperado
Antonio Banderas, one of Spain's most famous faces, was a soccer player until breaking his foot at the age of fourteen; he is now an international film star known for playing Zorro in the eponymous film series. He was born José Antonio Domínguez Banderas on August 10, 1960, in Málaga, Andalusia, Spain...
“ Law of Desire ” - Rigor
 
19.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business. Downey was born April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York, the son of writer, director and filmographer Robert Downey Sr. and actress Elsie Downey (née Elsie Ann Ford)...
“ Less Then Zero ” - Rigor
 
20.
John Lone
Born Leung Kwok Ng in Hong Kong October 13, 1952, John Lone was spartanly raised by a single mother until the age of 7 when he was sent off to be schooled with the Peking Opera. He never again saw his mother. The Peking Opera could be a brutal and grueling life for a child but he was a diligent and...
“ The Last Emperor ” - Rigor
 
21.
Donald Sutherland
The towering presence of Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is often noticed, as are his legendary contributions to cinema. He has appeared in almost 200 different shows and films. He is also the father of renowned actor Kiefer Sutherland, among others. Donald McNichol Sutherland was born in Saint John...
“ A Dry White Season ” - Rigor
 
22.
Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is a talented British born movie actor who played Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Drexl in True Romance, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He starred in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the remake of RoboCop. He is also an English filmmaker, musician and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style...
“ Prick Up Your Ears ” - Rigor
 
23.
Brian Dennehy
Imposing, barrel-chested and now silver-haired Brian Dennehy is a prolific US actor, well respected on both screen and stage for the best part of 25 years. He was born in July 1938 in Bridgeport, CT, and attended Columbia University in New York City on a football scholarship. He majored in history, before moving on to Yale to study dramatic arts...
“ The Belly of the Architect ” - Rigor
 
24.
Jean-Hugues Anglade
Actor, Betty Blue
Sensual, ambiguous, ultra sensitive French performer Jean-Hugues Anglade always had a reputation of intense and passionate actor. Any role, any language, Anglade seems to be able to do anything. From appearing integrally naked alongside Beatrice Dalle in "37.2 degrees in the morning", to playing an homosexual role in "The wounded man"...
“ Betty Blue ” - Rigor
 
25.
Christopher Walken
Nervous-looking lead and supporting actor of the American stage and films, with sandy colored hair, pale complexion and a somewhat nervous disposition. He won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Deer Hunter, and has been seen in mostly supporting roles, often portraying psychologically unstable characters...
“ At Close Range ” - Rigor
 
26.
Dennis Hopper
Actor, Speed
With an amazing cinematic career of more than five decades, Dennis Hopper was a multi-talented and unconventional actor/director, regarded by many as one of the true "enfants terribles" of Hollywood. Hopper was born on May 17, 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas, to Marjorie Mae (Davis) and James Millard Hopper...
“ Blue Velvet ” - Rigor
 
27.
“ The Fourth Man ” - Rigor
 
28.
Denzel Washington
Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis (Lowe), from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at Fordham University...
“ Glory ” - Rigor
 
29.
Paul Newman
Paul Newman won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in the 1986 film The Color of Money, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy Award, and many honorary awards. Despite being colorblind, he won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing...
“ The Color of Money ” - Rigor
 
30.
Harry Dean Stanton
Actor, Alien
Prolific character actor Harry Dean Stanton's drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent have been his ticket to appearing in over 100 films, and 50 TV episodes. Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a barber and tobacco farmer...
“ Paris, Texas ” - Rigor
 
31.
Philip Baker Hall
Philip Baker Hall was born in Toledo, Ohio, to Berdene (McDonald) and William Alexander Hall, a factory worker who was originally from Montgomery, Alabama. He did not start acting until he was 30 years old, and shot to cult fame when he turned in an electrifying performance as Sydney, the veteran gambler...
“ Secret Honor ” - Rigor
 
32.
Jeff Bridges
Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without billing...
“ Starman ” - Rigor
 
33.
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director...
“ Bad Boys ” - Rigor
 
34.
Erland Josephson
Erland Josephson, the distinguished Swedish actor best known for his appearance in Ingmar Bergman's films, was born in Stockholm, Sweden on June 15, 1923. Josephson's relationship with Bergman, a long-time friend, began in the late 1930s when they first worked together in the theater. Although he was in several motion pictures in the late 1940s and early '50s...
“ The Sacrifice ” - Rigor
 
35.
David Bowie
Actor, Labyrinth
David Bowie is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of pop music. Born David Jones, he changed his name to Bowie in the 1960s, to avoid confusion with the then well-known Davy Jones (lead singer of The Monkees). The 1960s were not a happy period for Bowie, who remained a struggling artist...
“ Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence ” - Rigor
 
36.
Gérard Depardieu
Actor, Life of Pi
Gérard Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, Indre, France, to Anne Jeanne Josèphe (Marillier) and René Maxime Lionel Depardieu, who was a metal worker and fireman. Young delinquent and wanderer in the past, Depardieu started his acting career at the small traveling theatre "Cafe de la Gare", along with Patrick Dewaere and Miou-Miou...
“ Loulou ” - Rigor
 
37.
Warren Beatty
One of the most fascinating characters in Hollywood history, Warren Beatty was born Henry Warren Beaty in Richmond, Virginia on March 30, 1937. His mother, Kathlyn Corinne (MacLean), was a drama teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada, and his father, Ira Owens Beaty, a PhD. of educational psychology, public school administrator...
“ Ishtar ” - Rigor
 
38.
Christopher Walken
Nervous-looking lead and supporting actor of the American stage and films, with sandy colored hair, pale complexion and a somewhat nervous disposition. He won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Deer Hunter, and has been seen in mostly supporting roles, often portraying psychologically unstable characters...
“ The Dead Zone ” - Rigor
 
39.
Ben Kingsley
Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Bhanji in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born medical doctor, of Gujarati Indian descent, and his mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was an English actress. Ben began to act in stage plays during the 1960s. He soon became a successful stage actor...
“ Ghandhi ” - Rigor
 
40.
Frederic Forrest
Frederic Forrest, the Oscar-nominated character actor, was born two days before Christmas Day 1936 in Waxahachie, Texas, the same home town as director Robert Benton. Forrest had long wanted to be an actor, but he was so nervous that he ran out of auditions for school plays. Later, at Texas Christian University...
“ One From The Heart ” - Rigor
 
41.
James Woods
James Woods is a leanly built, strangely handsome actor-producer-director with intense eyes and a sometimes untrustworthy grin, who has been impressing audiences for over three decades with his compelling performances. James Howard Woods was born on April 18th, 1947 in Vernal, Utah, the son of Martha A...
“ Videodrome ” - Rigor
 
42.
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
Robert De Niro, thought of as one of the greatest actors of all time, was born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, German, Dutch, English, and French. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop...
“ The King of Comedy ” - Rigor
 
43.
Jeff Bridges
Jeffrey Leon Bridges was born on December 4, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, the son of well-known film and TV star Lloyd Bridges and his long-time wife Dorothy Dean Bridges (née Simpson). He grew up amid the happening Hollywood scene with big brother Beau Bridges. Both boys popped up, without billing...
“ Cutter's Way ” - Rigor
 
44.
Ben Gazzara
Ben Gazzara's screen career began with two critically acclaimed roles as heavies in the late 1950s. He turned to television in the 1960s but made a big screen comeback with roles in three John Cassavetes films in the 1970s. The 1980s and 1990s saw Gazzara work more frequently than ever before in character parts...
“ Tales of Ordinary Madness ” - Rigor
 
45.
William Hurt
William McChord Hurt was born in Washington, D.C., to Claire Isabel (McGill) and Alfred McChord Hurt, who worked at the State Department. He was trained at Tufts University and The Juilliard School and has been nominated for four Academy Awards, including the most recent nomination for his supporting role in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence...
“ Altered States ” - Rigor
 
46.
Burt Lancaster
Burt Lancaster, one of five children, was born in Manhattan, to Elizabeth (Roberts) and James Henry Lancaster, a postal worker. All of his grandparents were immigrants from Northern Ireland. He was a tough street kid who took an early interest in gymnastics. He joined the circus as an acrobat and worked there until he was injured...
“ Atlantic City ” - Rigor
 
47.
Nick Nolte
Nick Nolte was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Helen (King) and Franklin Arthur Nolte, who worked in irrigation pump sales. He has German and British Isles ancestry. Nolte began his career on stage at the Pasadena (California) Playhouse and in regional theatre productions. His breakthrough role was in the TV mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man...
“ Heart Beat ” - Rigor
 
48.
“ It's My Turn ” - Rigor
 
49.
Al Pacino
One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies. Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an Italian-American family. His parents...
“ Cruising ” - Rigor
 
50.
“ The Home and the World ” - Rigor
 
51.
Donald Sutherland
The towering presence of Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is often noticed, as are his legendary contributions to cinema. He has appeared in almost 200 different shows and films. He is also the father of renowned actor Kiefer Sutherland, among others. Donald McNichol Sutherland was born in Saint John...
“ Ordinary People ” - Rigor
 
52.
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
Robert De Niro, thought of as one of the greatest actors of all time, was born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, German, Dutch, English, and French. He was trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory and the American Workshop...
“ Raging Bull ” - Rigor
 
53.
“ Angry Harvest ” - Rigor
 
54.
Gene Hackman
Actor, Unforgiven
Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After several moves...
“ Twice in a Lifetime ” - Rigor
 
55.
Lambert Wilson
Lambert Wilson was born in Paris and studied acting at the Drama Centre in London. A fluent English speaker, he made his feature film debut at the age of twenty-two in Fred Zinnemann's Five Days One Summer (1981) starring opposite Sean Connery. He went on to work with many of France's most prestigious auteur directors...
“ Rendez-Vous ” - Rigor
 
56.
“ Cal ” - Rigor
 
57.
“ The Home and the World ” - Rigor
 
58.
“ Love Streams ” - Rigor
 
59.
“ Withnail and I ” - Rigor
 
60.
Leslie Cheung
Leslie Cheung was the youngest of 10 children. His father was tailor to the late William Holden. Leslie's parents divorced when he was young, and he claims this is one reason for his disinterest in marriage. Following graduation from secondary school, he studied at Leeds University in Great Britain...
“ A Better Tomorrow ” - Rigor
 
61.
Ed Harris
By transforming into his characters and pulling the audience in, Ed Harris has earned the reputation as one of the most talented actors of our time. Ed Harris was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, to Margaret (Sholl), a travel agent, and Robert Lee Harris, a bookstore worker who also sang professionally...
“ Sweet Dreams ” - Rigor
 
62.
Sean Penn
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director...
“ The Falcon and the Snowman ” - Rigor
 
63.
Richard Gere
Humanitarian and actor Richard Gere was born on August 31, 1949, in Philadelphia, the second of five children of Doris Ann (Tiffany), a homemaker, and Homer George Gere, an insurance salesman, both Mayflower descendants. Richard started early as a musician, playing a number of instruments in high school and writing music for high school productions...
“ American Gigolo ” - Rigor
 
64.
Warren Beatty
One of the most fascinating characters in Hollywood history, Warren Beatty was born Henry Warren Beaty in Richmond, Virginia on March 30, 1937. His mother, Kathlyn Corinne (MacLean), was a drama teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada, and his father, Ira Owens Beaty, a PhD. of educational psychology, public school administrator...
“ Ishtar ” - Rigor
 
65.
Giancarlo Esposito
Music Department, The Electric Company
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to an Italian carpenter/stagehand father from Naples and an opera-singing African-American mother from Alabama. His parents, working in Europe at the time of his birth, settled in Manhattan by the time he was six, and that's where he grew up...
“ School Daze ” - Rigor
 
66.
Gene Hackman
Actor, Unforgiven
Eugene Allen Hackman was born in San Bernardino, California, the son of Anna Lyda Elizabeth (Gray) and Eugene Ezra Hackman, who operated a newspaper printing press. He is of Pennsylvania Dutch (German), English, and Scottish ancestry, partly by way of Canada, where his mother was born. After several moves...
“ Twice in a Lifetime ” - Rigor
 
67.
Raul Julia
Raul Julia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Olga Arcelay, a mezzo-soprano singer, and Raúl Juliá, an electrical engineer. He graduated from Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola High School in San Juan. Here he studied the rigorous classical curriculum of the Jesuits and was always active in student dramatics...
“ One From the Heart ” - Rigor
 
68.
Paul Winfield
Signifying intelligence, eloquence, versatility and quiet intensity, one of the more important, critically acclaimed black actors to gain a Hollywood foothold in the 1970s was Paul Winfield. Born in 1939 in Los Angeles, he lived there in his early years before moving with his family to Los Angeles' Watts district...
“ White Dog ” - Rigor
 
69.
“ Tempest ” - Rigor
 
70.
Jacques Dutronc
Soundtrack, Moonrise Kingdom
Regardless of being called 'a dilettante of music', Jacques Dutronc became a very popular French singer and composer since the mid-60s. In the early 70s he began his screen career collaborating with such directors as Jean-Luc Godard, Andrzej Zulawski, Claude Lelouch and Maurice Pialat. For his unusual portrayal of Vincent van Gogh in Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh he was awarded Cesar in 1992...
“ Every Man For Himself ” - Rigor
 
71.
“ The Eyes, The Mouth ” - Rigor
 
72.
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, NJ...
“ Blow Out ” - Rigor
 
73.
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis (born March 16, 1926) is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis. In addition to the duo's popular nightclub work...
“ The King of Comedy ” - Rigor
 
74.
Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Burgess LaRue (Noel) and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers Country Day School...
“ Missing ” - Rigor
 
75.
“ Do The Right Thing ” - Rigor