10 Actors Who Stole Movies In A Single Scene

These actors owned the whole damn movie in a matter of minutes.

Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin
New Line Cinema

Generally speaking, the most acclaimed and beloved movie performances have benefited from ample presence throughout the film, giving the actor involved time to win the audience over before the end credits roll.

Yet every so often, an actor will make such meteoric impact in just a single scene that there's really nothing else they need to say.

And that's certainly the case with these 10 actors, who in one delineated sequence didn't just impress audiences - they stole the whole damn movie from everybody else around them.

No matter that these films largely tout some stacked ensemble casts, they were never better than when these performers turned up out of nowhere, did their mesmerising thing, and then slunk out without much fuss.

Despite appearing on screen for as little as a minute, these actors all made the absolute most of their scant screen time, ensuring most everyone who watched these movies came away remembering their work above everything else.

From A-listers to relative unknowns, these actors all gave everything they had to knocking these scenes out of the park - and that they certainly did...

10. Philip Seymour Hoffman - Hard Eight

Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin

In the case of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Hard Eight, he stole the movie so damn hard it effectively changed the entire trajectory of his tragically short career.

The crime film was Paul Thomas Anderson's directorial debut, and saw Hoffman make a brief cameo appearance as an obnoxious craps player who taunts protagonist Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) from across the table while playing.

He goads Sydney into placing a high bet alongside him, and when they both lose, the man desperately attempts to mask his crushing disappointment at losing his money.

In a span of just three minutes, Hoffman does a mesmerising job depicting a gambling addict's rollercoaster of emotions, lurching from overconfident exhilaration to scarcely suppressed heartbreak.

Hard Eight's a terrific movie any way you slice it, but Hoffman's performance feels more richly lived-in than any other in the film.

And it evidently impressed Anderson enough to kickstart a wider working relationship, with the duo collaborating on four subsequent features prior to Hoffman's untimely death in 2014.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.