Top 10 Performances that Defied Expectations

  • Published on Aug 3, 2015
  • There's ordinary and then there are these. Join as we count down our picks for Top 10 Out of the Ordinary Performances. For this list, we’re looking at actors who appear in a role vastly different from their usual performances. If you want to see actors who went on to do similar roles afterwards, check out our list for Top 10 Actors Who Broke Type-Casting.
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Comments • 2 934

  • Marcio Couto
    Marcio Couto Hour ago

    Heath Ledger??????????

  • Stephen Morgan
    Stephen Morgan 8 hours ago

    Sylvester Stallone in Cop Land.

  • siccore
    siccore Day ago


  • Kip Lambert
    Kip Lambert Day ago

    How can ya not like Tom Cruise? Despite all the rumors of his sexuality (which I think are untrue) who cares? I love virtually all of his movies!! I just love the guy's acting!! Possibly my favorite actor of my generation.. Well, except for Denzel, he is the greatest of all time!!

  • JillGr
    JillGr 2 days ago

    Sorry, but Batman Forever will never be a forgotten film.

  • Luna Lovegood
    Luna Lovegood 6 days ago

    I think Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man could be on this list. Marvel did not want him at first because of his past drug problems and run ins with the law. But he pretty much single handedly turned Marvel into a superhero movie powerhouse and kicked off an entire franchise to the degree that all the MCU movies with Iron Man in them (the Iron Man movies, Avengers series, Spider-Man Homecoming, Captain America Civil War) are the highest grossing movies in the Marvel franchise. Seriously nobody else could’ve pulled that off

  • Exo Linx
    Exo Linx 8 days ago +1

    Steve Carell has been in many more dramatic roles since so I wouldn't call it one time.

  • Skipper
    Skipper 8 days ago

    Nicholas Cage in anything for the last 15 years, always defies the expectation that any one is willing to cast him in any thing.

    A whale can be defined as a product that makes huge bank or the potential to do so, dead whales wash up on shore, washed up actors, well now we know the import of that expression.

  • Thomas Rhodes
    Thomas Rhodes 11 days ago

    I must be really old. George C. Scott was brilliantly funny in "Dr. Strangelove."

  • Joshua Reiss
    Joshua Reiss 13 days ago

    Am I the only one who thinks gwenth Paltrow is awful? She is awful in iron man. I thought Val Kilmer was awesome as batman but the movie itself wasn't.

  • Veli Karppinen
    Veli Karppinen 14 days ago

    Tom Cruise's entry should've been role of Vincent in Collateral. It is not as makeup-heavy, but he performs brilliantly as lazily sociopathic assassin. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Terminator should be on list: new and impressive action star as horrifyingly unstoppable killer. Peter Stormare as unconditionally angelic suitor in Dancer in the Dark is also against a type of crazies.

  • Alex Edwards
    Alex Edwards 16 days ago

    Nice job with the Bleeping out F**K you but not CnUT 6:00 AHAHHAAHAHAH

  • Hashim C
    Hashim C 17 days ago

    Eddie Murphy in Dreams girls

  • Michael Wilburn
    Michael Wilburn 25 days ago

    Tom Cruse was great. But we can't ignore a white guy playing a black guy and doing a damn good job

  • Frank Hewitt
    Frank Hewitt Month ago

    6:01. Ha! They bleep out Fuck but not Cunt

  • Brendan Cronin
    Brendan Cronin Month ago

    I've got fat fingers and wanna dance...that's Shakespeare I think

  • C Ionov
    C Ionov Month ago

    And what about Jim Carrey in Eterntal sunhine??

  • Shawn Cypret
    Shawn Cypret Month ago

    Jim Carrey the number 23

  • Nareg
    Nareg Month ago

    Where is The Joker from “The Dark Knight” (2008)

  • Max Knighton
    Max Knighton Month ago

    How comes you bleeped fuck and not cunt

  • Emilio Manuel De Pedro

    I would like this kind of role to actors like Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Jason Statham, Hugh Jackman, David Spade, etc.

  • Toản Nguyễn Văn
    Toản Nguyễn Văn 2 months ago

    Tommy Wiseau in The Room? His performance redefines acting as we know it.

  • R.C. Lutts
    R.C. Lutts 2 months ago

    Did they really fat shame Val Kilmer?

  • Andrew Davis
    Andrew Davis 2 months ago

    The Butterfly Effect was awesome.

  • Jeannette Longworth
    Jeannette Longworth 2 months ago

    Ralph Fiennes shouldn't be on this list as he is not typecast at all.

  • Joe Snelson
    Joe Snelson 2 months ago

    Robert Downey Jr. In less than zero . Will Smith in six degrees of separation.

    • Annalese Zawodny-Benlon
      Annalese Zawodny-Benlon 11 days ago

      Robert Downey Jr. is amazing in nearly everything he is in, but in "Less than Zero" he didn't have to act. He was in the throes of addiction and excess. Some of the scenes actually wound up playing out in real life. I expect him to deliver, and he does.

  • Joe Snelson
    Joe Snelson 2 months ago

    Gwynetth paltrow is Not pretty and has no personality WHY do people think she's so awesome?

  • misshappysunshine1
    misshappysunshine1 2 months ago

    Jim Carey is an amazing actor

  • amy clarke
    amy clarke 2 months ago

    10 as pdl 95 😁9 cow mjf 8 rf g 7 jd noas 6 ak be 5 do tb 4 gp sh 3 vk g 2 bp tm 1 bw tss

  • back number
    back number 2 months ago

    Wtf its really tom cruz??

  • Carolina Dune
    Carolina Dune 2 months ago

    Here is one you missed, Jackie Chan in the karate Kid !!!!! I would have never expect him to have such a serious role. He did great

  • TheCheshireGamer
    TheCheshireGamer 2 months ago

    Should’ve used personal effects instead of butterfly effect for Ashton kutcher, he gives a better performance and the film as a whole is better

  • Michael Hurley
    Michael Hurley 2 months ago

    Only thing good about Requiem for a dream was Jennifer Connolly showing her bush. Rest of it was depressing crap.

  • Tess Acheson
    Tess Acheson 2 months ago

    "And many pounds later" WOW watch mojo that's pretty fucked up. And people wonder why boys have such unrealistic body expectations because even silly little review videos on youtube perpetuate such standards

  • edgalexmtz
    edgalexmtz 2 months ago

    Adam Sandler on Reign over me...spectacular!!!

  • leutian leyva
    leutian leyva 2 months ago

    this is a bigger assault on cinema than last airbender

  • leutian leyva
    leutian leyva 2 months ago

    this is an embarrassment to top ten lists everywhere

  • Giulia Cisa di Gresy
    Giulia Cisa di Gresy 2 months ago

    I loved "The butterfly Effect"

  • Giulia Cisa di Gresy
    Giulia Cisa di Gresy 2 months ago

    You forgot Jim Carrey in the "The number 23".

  • Daniel Meeker
    Daniel Meeker 2 months ago

    Val Kilmer's role of Doc Holliday on "Tombstone" was MUCH better, and should have been mentioned.
    Heath Ledger's Joker on "The Dark Knight" was incredible.
    Dan Akroyd in "Gross Pointe Blank."

  • Benjamin Flanders
    Benjamin Flanders 2 months ago

    I would add Jim Carrey in "23" (or "The Number 23" I don't remember the actual name atm) A surprisingly dark and serious movie for him.

  • Maryscott OConnor
    Maryscott OConnor 2 months ago

    So, what about Kutcher’s Butterfly Effect performance “defied expectations,” exactly? Because you pretty much say here that it was a failure. Noble or not, a failure doesn’t defy expectations.

  • Martin Turner
    Martin Turner 3 months ago +1

    Cruise was awesome in "Tropic Thunder" but you left out one for Kilmer: he was AWESOME as Doc Holiday in "Tombstone"; one of his best we say!

  • Mikaella MS
    Mikaella MS 3 months ago

    Tom Cruise should do more comedies

  • boooty
    boooty 3 months ago

    These are my top ten. (In no particular order)
    10. Michael jay fox like mojo said
    9. Steve carrell fox catcher
    8. Ryan Reynolds deadpool
    7. Elizabeth shue and Nic cage leaving las Vegas
    6. Adam Sandler punch drunk love
    5. Adrien brody the pianist.
    4. Bill murray lost in translation
    3. Mickey Rourke the wrestler
    2. Natalie Portman and mila kunis black swan
    1. Heath ledger brokeback mountain and dark night

  • Music_Is Therapy
    Music_Is Therapy 3 months ago

    I knew Ashton would be on here; I actually liked him in that role.

  • lazerlazer
    lazerlazer 3 months ago

    John Krasinski in 13 hours

  • Mynx Maine
    Mynx Maine 3 months ago

    Fucking Mo’Nique in Precious? C’mon y’all

  • Iyanna McLeod
    Iyanna McLeod 3 months ago

    Did you just call white chocks LESS than spectacular ?!? LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Hylian Legend
    Hylian Legend 3 months ago +1

    Mr J?

  • luxor1001
    luxor1001 3 months ago

    Again, you bozos show you have little cultural memory. Nobody expected Humphrey Bogart's performance in The African Queen, or Olivia de Haviland's in The Snake Pit, Greta Garbo's in Ninotchka, Jackie Gleason's in The Hustler, and many others.

  • Nick Trybull
    Nick Trybull 3 months ago

    The foxcatcher was a terrible movie though and did a horrible job of portraying what really happened to those kids

  • comatoo
    comatoo 3 months ago

    Personally I LIKED Val Kilmer's Batman....

  • Emilio Manuel De Pedro
    Emilio Manuel De Pedro 4 months ago

    ¿You know what performance defied my expectations? Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther. I didn't knew anything about Black Panther and his world. Matter of fact, it was only when Captain America: Civil War was premiering that i knew Black Panther's real name was T'Challa. When i knew about the film and it's bad guy, i didn't expected so much. I mean, ¿a guy who wants to take the throne for himself? That seemed some cliched to me. Actually, before the film was premiered, i didn't even knew his name. I only knew that he was going to be portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. But when i saw the film, i couldn't believe how deep Killmonger was. I mean, he has a good reason to take the throne: he wants to help alll the opressed african-americans in the world.

  • Roy G Biv
    Roy G Biv 4 months ago

    More like 10 why fucking bother with most of these?

  • Jeff Watkins
    Jeff Watkins 4 months ago

    IMO Daniel Craig's Perry Smith in the surprisingly underappreciated yet amazing Infamous is a pretty expectation defying performance.

  • Brampiescampie
    Brampiescampie 4 months ago

    will ferrel is not funny, he's more annoying than he is funny. he's movie's are weak and his jokes weaker, thou i do like him in serious roles. but no, he's not funny

  • moviemaster8510
    moviemaster8510 4 months ago

    Nothing for Robin Williams for "One Hour Photo?"

  • Shubham Srivastav
    Shubham Srivastav 4 months ago

    Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society?

  • Adrian B
    Adrian B 4 months ago

    Andy Griffith in 'A Face in the Crowd'

  • Deborah Nolan Gregory
    Deborah Nolan Gregory 4 months ago

    Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction. Superb.

  • Barcafan zeko123
    Barcafan zeko123 4 months ago

    al pacino in godfather it was his third movie he wasnt famous like he is now or daniel day lewis in my left foot

  • Joseph Morris
    Joseph Morris 4 months ago

    Seeing Matthew Mcconaughey at the end of this reminded me that he played a crazed dragon slayer in Reign of Fire, that definitely surprised me, although the film wasn't great to be fair.

  • JoshVoorhees
    JoshVoorhees 4 months ago

    Fuck Gweneth Paltrow.

  • Blake DeLaCruz
    Blake DeLaCruz 4 months ago

    I actually thought Ashton Kutcher did pretty well in Butterfly Effect but I guess that's just me. Reign Over Me is Adam Sandlers best work imo

  • Viraj Kamat
    Viraj Kamat 4 months ago

    The top 5 could be filled with Christian Bales outrageous performances.

  • L Wasson
    L Wasson 4 months ago

    Thank you WatchMojo, for including Hugh Grant in Cloud Atlas! I''ve always felt he was underrated.

  • Emilio Manuel De Pedro
    Emilio Manuel De Pedro 4 months ago

    I think Ashton Kutcher should work in an action film directed by Christopher Nolan.

  • Marco N
    Marco N 4 months ago

    its not all positive

  • Dederina
    Dederina 4 months ago

    The Vietnamese Girl as rape and murder victim performance was brilliant

  • Julz XD
    Julz XD 5 months ago

    Jared Leto was phenomenal in Reqium for a dream. Im partial to him in anything but yes he was realistic and dark, the entire cast was brilliant but Leto was extra good. Val kilmer has always gone extra for his films. The Doors as Jim Morrison, he was iconic in that Role, so good in fact the remaining members of the band felt he brought Jim back to life. There are alot of films where hes good, not all but some. Yes, Ashton showed off his acting chops in the Butterfly effect big time. The Butterfly Effect is one of my favourite thriller time travel films.

  • em alberto
    em alberto 5 months ago

    Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
    Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love
    Andrew Garfield in Under the Silver Lake

  • Mellissa Cross
    Mellissa Cross 5 months ago

    I am a big Wes Anderson, Aronofsky, and PT Anderson fan. I consider that an illustration as someone with could taste in great films. Yet for the life of me, I don't understand why so many people pan Butterfly Effect. I think it is a fresh idea, well acted, edited in a non-chronological manner which at the time was reserved for people like Tarantino and Shyamalan. I really enjoy that film.

  • Eric Garcia
    Eric Garcia 5 months ago

    How can you not have Robin Williams playing a killer at #1...not even an honorable mention?

  • Tristin Wombacher
    Tristin Wombacher 5 months ago

    Umm...also Brian Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad...hello?? Lol

  • vincent fave
    vincent fave 5 months ago

    Kercher also suck as Steve Jobs

  • blackiesun
    blackiesun 5 months ago

    Ralph Fiennes was also in a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez - that movie you showed isn't his only light-hearted one! The leading role in a romantic comedy with J Lo isn't exactly the role you'd imagine for him - more so than the one you showed. I'd say it was vastly more different than his usual roles.

  • Terence Hikawai
    Terence Hikawai 5 months ago

    umm.. Henry Fonder?

  • BabaYaga
    BabaYaga 5 months ago +1

    I didn't know Voldemort was a Nazi... then again that doesn't surprise me

  • Delphi 221B
    Delphi 221B 5 months ago

    It's really true!!! I really shocked when Tom Cruise's name appeared in the closing scene of Tropic Thunder.

  • Barbara Vela
    Barbara Vela 5 months ago

    In my opinion, Michael B. Jordan as N'Jadaka/Erik Stevens/Killmonger in Black Panther defied my expectations. I didn't even knew about the character and i though that he would come and go away. But his performance was very good, and there are even moments where you agree with his ideals.

  • j.p. lembach
    j.p. lembach 5 months ago

    And what about ben kingsley in ghandi ????????????????

  • sportshistorybuff
    sportshistorybuff 5 months ago

    Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption and that horror movie where he was seeing scary things, got buried in a coffin with a spider.

  • Luz Vargas
    Luz Vargas 5 months ago

    No, You área not the only one ...l liked the movie and was surprised the dude was really acting...

  • Chill Dude
    Chill Dude 5 months ago +1

    Steve carell's performance in Foxcatcher was mind blowing !!

  • Joe Rice
    Joe Rice 6 months ago

    The detox scene... way too close to home

  • Evan Peltier
    Evan Peltier 6 months ago

    Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. 🍔💉💼

  • Sam Scott
    Sam Scott 6 months ago

    Adam sandler in reign over me

  • Arnor Johannesspn
    Arnor Johannesspn 6 months ago

    Heath ledger should be one this list and should by number 1

  • shakesisdead ya-cunts
    shakesisdead ya-cunts 6 months ago

    bleeping "fuck" but not "cunt", I like it

  • Xavier B
    Xavier B 6 months ago

    yo butterfly effect was a great movie
    edit: it got 33 % of rotten tomatoes holy shit lol but that shit sure was good when me and my buddies watched it high

  • Tere Rañada
    Tere Rañada 6 months ago

    For sylvester stallone in comedy, i prefer "Oscar."

  • Si Regan
    Si Regan 6 months ago

    How about this...Ryan Reynolds in Buried? Until then I'd always thought of him as a passable comedic actor but he delivered a powerhouse performance in that

  • Dillon Messick
    Dillon Messick 6 months ago

    What about steve Carrel l in little Mrs sunshine.

  • Michael Gomez
    Michael Gomez 6 months ago

    I think Adam Sandler played a better serious role in Reign Over Me...why doesn't anyone talk about that movie???

    • Quadry Johnson
      Quadry Johnson 6 months ago

      That movie is so sad. One of his best movies ever.

  • CMerritts90
    CMerritts90 6 months ago

    Michael Keaton for Batman!! Heath Ledger as the Joker in the Dark Knight.

  • Scott F.
    Scott F. 6 months ago

    When you say Steve Carell's Dramatic debut was Foxfire in 2014, Is that your secret code for "Steve Carell made his drama debut as Frank Ginsberg in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine"? Or are you blanking that one, as well as "Dan in Real Life", which was released in 2007?

  • Tony Maxwell
    Tony Maxwell 6 months ago

    Big oversight w/ Val Kilmer - he was hilarious in 'Top Secret' long before his role in 'MacGruber''

  • Urban Hawk
    Urban Hawk 6 months ago

    One of the greatest movie quotes ever
    "Take a big step back and FUCK YOUR OWN FACE!!!!!" 😂😂😂

  • Jacob Staten
    Jacob Staten 6 months ago

    Foxcatcher could have been really good if they edited it for pacing.