8 More Actors Who Got Famous Off Just One Scene

Iconic movie scenes that launched actors' careers - Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt & more!

The Mask
New Line Cinema

Hollywood is a truly fickle place, where dreams can be made in an instant and shattered just as fast.

There's no instant recipe for fame or success in the film industry, nor any guarantee that a juicy role will be marketed correctly and seen by the right people - it is a roll of the dice at the best of times.

But on the flip-side, sometimes an actor will endear themselves to audiences in just a single scene, a scene which quickly becomes iconic in its own right and catapults the actor to overnight stardom.

Whether hilarious, sexy, or just downright shocking - if not all three - these movie scenes were entirely responsible for these actors becoming the undeniable household names they now are.

These scenes put them on everybody's radar and allowed their career to pick up considerable momentum in the years that followed, leading to them to mighty box office success, worthier projects, and perhaps even Oscars.

From the moment audiences saw these scenes, they knew that these actors had what it takes to go far, and to ensure nobody would ever forget their names...

8. Matthew McConaughey - Dazed & Confused

The Mask
Paramount Pictures

Matthew McConaughey came to prominence after playing 20-something stoner David Wooderson in Richard Linklater's classic 1993 coming-of-age Dazed and Confused.

The film opened the door for a multitude of young actors - including Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, and Renee Zellweger - but none more successfully than McConaughey.

It all comes down to a single scene, when David picks up his pals Pink (Jason London) and Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) and utters the instantly iconic one-liner, "All right, all right, all right."

In the years that followed, McConaughey cemented himself as an in-demand talent through his memorable performances in the likes of Lone Star, A Time to Kill, Contact, and Amistad.

But in the near-three-decades since, the Dazed and Confused scene has remained McConaughey's signature, enough that he even recalled the catchphrase when accepting his Best Actor Oscar 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.