There are so many elements that go into making a movie– and therefore so many things that can go wrong– it can sometimes seem impossible any of them ever end up being great.

Even movies that have a talented cast, a terrific director, a well-written screenplay, and a compelling and timeless story can fail to find the right formula to produce an amazing cinematic experience.

This is why it’s even more impressive when a fantastic movie manages to achieve greatness despite a total dud of a performance. Because even incredible movies sometimes have to overcome an actor who failed to live up to the rest of the film, in a role that often stands out as weak even more because everything surrounding it is excellent.

On the other end of the spectrum though are performers who manage to excel in otherwise bad– if not downright awful– movies. They somehow manage to prevent their movies, which are critically panned and rejected by audiences, from otherwise being completely unwatchable. They transcend their cinematic flops and elevate themselves to a place where they are still worthy of praise.

So to celebrate the movies that were successful even if not everyone involved in them was pulling their weight, as well as the actors who managed to make something out of nothing, here are the 8 Worst Performances That Hurt Amazing Movies (And 8 That Saved Them).


Batman Begins, the first movie in director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, saw Christian Bale portray the Caped Crusader at the start of his crime fighting career, in a much grittier, more realistic Gotham.

The smash hit introduced the world to this new iteration of Bruce Wayne, who walked away from his life of luxury to learn what it was really like to be a criminal. He then trained with Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows before returning home to clean up his city.

That’s when things went wrong in this otherwise stellar movie, because waiting for him there was his childhood friend Rachel Dawes, played by Katie Holmes.

Her underwhelming, emotionally flat performance stood out even more in a movie that also starred Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Neeson. That’s why it was no surprise when Nolan recast Rachel with Maggie Gyllenhaal in the next installment.


The Star Wars prequels brought the galaxy far, far away back to fans across the globe. The three movies explored how young Anakin Skywalker became the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

However, they didn’t just renew interest in the franchise and introduce a whole new generation to the Jedi and the Empire, they also made George Lucas a whole lot of money– and they did that despite not being very good.

Because while the movies were a box office smash, they were critical duds. The movies issues were many– Jar Jar Binks, racist Trade Federation characters, Hayden Christensen and his hatred of sand– but not among them were Ewan McGregor as young Obi-Wan Kenobi.

He managed to elevate the movie’s otherwise dull, awkward dialogue into a tremendous performance worthy of Sir Alec Guinness.


These days it would only be a surprise if Marvel released a superhero movie and it wasn’t a huge hit, but when it first came to theaters, there was skepticism over how much moviegoers would turn out for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Could a movie based on a lesser known Marvel comic book with relatively anonymous characters turn out fans the way Captain America and Iron Man did?

Those worries were quickly forgotten when fans got to meet Peter Quill and the rest of his rag tag group of unlikely heroes, which also included a rude racoon and giant walking tree capable of speaking only three words.

However, despite being the most unexpected hit in the MCU, the otherwise flawless movie suffered from the same normal MCU problem: an underwhelming villain.

Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser wasn’t nearly as developed as the rest of Guardians‘ characters, and Ronan ended up being the movie’s weak spot, even if it might not have been his fault.


Biopic The Iron Lady told the story of one of the late 20th century’s most influential politicians, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She was the first woman to ever ascend to the position, one she held for a whopping 21 years from 1979 to 1990.

That’s why when filmmakers needed an actress who could handle the daunting task of bringing her to life, they turned to arguably the greatest one of all-time: Meryl Streep, and she did not disappoint.

Her performance netted her (at the time) the 17th Oscar nomination of her career, which garnered her a third Academy Award.

Unfortunately, the movie itself did disappoint, with many critics and viewers finding it underwhelming, unfocused, and unworthy of its subject matter. As one critic put it, “The Iron Lady is a performance in search of a film.” That’s high praise for Meryl Streep, but not for the movie.


Oscar-winner Jared Leto earned mix reviews for his portrayal of The Joker in Suicide Squad. However, no matter what fans thought of his turn as the Crown Prince of Crime, he wasn’t in the movie enough to greatly influence what people thought of it one way or another.

It’s too bad that wasn’t also true of the otherwise wonderful Blade Runner 2049, where he played Niander Wallace, the blind CEO of the replicant producing Wallace Corporation.

The movie, which saw Harrison Ford return to play Rick Deckard opposite Ryan Gosling’s replicant K, was visually stunning, and managed to find new ways to explore the questions of what it means to be alive and human that were raised by the original.

However, Leto’s stoic, soft-spoken evil genius determined to crack the code of replicant sexual reproduction, felt like he was in a different movie. In a movie about genetically created human clones, he was the least authentic character.


While Katie Holmes might have been the worst part of a great Batman movie, another big screen adaptation of the Dark Knight had the opposite problem.

Because even though director Zack Snyder’s critically panned Batman v Superman finally brought the two most famous superhero characters in history together ont the big screen together, it was a huge disappoint.

However, despite that, Ben Affleck still earned accolades for his great performance as an old, bitter, cynical Bruce Wayne.

When Affleck was first cast in the role many fans were irate, complaining that he was the wrong choice to take on the iconic character. However, when the movie was released to overwhelmingly bad reviews, most of them noted that Affleck managed to overcome the film’s confusing plot and often illogical script to turn in a powerful performance.

It’s still unclear what shocked people more: a movie with Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman somehow managed to be boring, or that the “Batfleck” was the best part.


Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 masterpiece Pulp Fiction, a modern day crime noir which had a sprawling story that is told out of chronological order, has an almost perfect cast.

It revived the career of John Travolta, who earned an Oscar nomination for playing mob enforcer Vincent Vega.

It featured one of the best, most memorable performances ever from Samuel L. Jackson as his philosophical partner in crimes Jules, as well as amazing turns from Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis, and Tim Roth.

However, there’s a reason why the cast was almost perfect– Tarantino also put himself in the movie. He played Jimmie, who Keitel’s iconic “The Wolf” turns to for help in cleaning up the dead body in Jules and Vincent’s car.

Tarantino is awkward in the role, and his presence is jarring, taking viewers out of one of the otherwise best moments in the movie. Pulp Fiction would have been perfect if Tarantino stayed behind the camera.


Warner Bros.’ next entry in the DCEU after the disappointing, lifeless Batman v Superman was Suicide Squad.

The movie’s action-packed trailers set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which also included plenty of humor, had fans optimistic the studio had learned from the mistakes of Zack Snyder’s dark, depressing vision of the universe and its beloved characters.

Unfortunately, even though the movie did have plenty of comedy and non-stop action, it was a total mess. It was confusing, illogical, and the characters frequently acted in ways that made no sense.

However, none of that applied to Margot Robbie, who brought the popular Harley Quinn to the big screen. Robbie managed to perfectly capture the character’s deranged-yet-charming insanity, and made an otherwise unwatchable movie something that fans of DC could still appreciate.


Director Rob Reiner’s 1992 military legal drama A Few Good Men, the first movie written by Aaron Sorkin, was an instant classic.

The movie had a gripping script and a stellar cast headlined by two of the most successful actors of all time, Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson.

Each gave powerful performances that have endured, with their tense final courtroom showdown making it impossible for anyone to ever again say they want the truth without immediately turning it into a bad impression.

Unfortunately, the movie’s leading lady also turned in something bad: her performance. As Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway Moore was stiff, barely spoke above a whisper, and couldn’t match the emotional level or range of her cast mates.

That’s why to this day viewers still strenuously object to her being in the movie.


If someone made a compelling, coherent, well-told Robin Hood movie full of amazing action sequences and complex characters, it probably still wouldn’t be very good if the title character inexplicably went back and forth from a bad English accent to an American one.

That’s exactly what Kevin Costner did in 1991’s derided Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. However, his terrible, inconsistent manner of speaking was just one of many, many problems in the unfocused, depressing, unintentionally hilarious retelling of the famed folk hero.

However, one thing that the movie did get perfect was it’s Sheriff of Nottingham, who was played by the late, great Alan Rickman– even in a movie most notable remembered for being really bad his performance earned raves.

That’s why this might be the only Robin Hood movie where viewers were rooting for the bad guy to win.


X-Men: First Class was the first prequel movie in the franchise, and it was a huge success with both critics and moviegoers. Still considered one of the best big screen installments of the iconic superheroes, it introduced audiences to a young Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr when the two first became friends– and then foes.

Finding actors who could take over for legendary performers like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan was no easy task.

Fortunately, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were up to the challenge, and their incredible portrayals of the men who became Professor Xavier and Magneto were a big reason why the movie is so highly regarded.

That’s not something anyone has said about January Jones’ turn as Emma Frost. Viewers found her lifeless, uninterested performance to be a little too icy even for someone named “Frost.” It’s no surprise that she wasn’t brought back or even mentioned in any other X-Men movies since.


The proverbial batting average of movies based on video games is so low that they wouldn’t even qualify for a tee-ball team, and that includes the 1994 flop Street Fighter.

Based on the beloved best-selling game, the movie stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile, and just about everyone who saw it hated it. It’s critics score of 18% on Rotten Tomatoes somehow makes it sound better than it really is.

That would be disappointing enough, but what makes it even worse is that the movie is dedicated to the late Raul Julia, who played the main villain M. Bison in his last big screen performance.

While the rest of the movie is an empty collection of fight sequences, action scenes, and terrible acting, he’s the only one who seems to be having any fun.

His performance is over-the-top at times, but he is playing a famous video game character so it works. He’s the only reason worth hitting replay on Street Fighter.


The 1992 adaptation Bram Stoker’s Dracula had a lot going for it. In addition to being based on iconic source material it was directed by legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, and starred legendary actors Sir Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman, the latter who captivated audience as the famed bloodsucker.

Winona Ryder was also a perfect casting choice for the goth horror movie. The beautifully shot tale of evil managed to have fun with a classic vampire story while also being gripping and scary.

That’s why it’s such a shame that the scariest part of the movie was Keanu Reeve’s performance. Universally mocked for the movie, Reeves was overshadowed by his talented cast mates, and stood out like a wooden spike in a vampire’s chest.

Reeves has proven he can excel as an actor in the right role, which is why it’s unfortunate it has become almost impossible to talk about this movie without mentioning he was woefully miscast.


There was a huge outcry from some James Bond fans when the blond-haired, muscular Daniel Craig was chosen to replace Pierce Brosnan as the iconic British spy known as 007.

However, any worries that they had were quickly wiped away after seeing him don the agent’s famous tuxedo for the first time in 2006’s Casino Royale. The movie earned rave reviews, as did Craig’s performance which many thought humanized the character in a way few actors had managed to before.

The franchise followed that up two years later with 2008’s Quantum of Solace, which was decidedly less well-received.

The movie was easily the most violent entry in the franchise, replacing grandeur with grit, which left many viewers feeling like it didn’t understand what made the character appealing in the first place.

However the blame for the movie’s failings didn’t fall on Craig, who once again proved he was a great choice to play Bond.


Some movies haven’t aged well as society has progressed and become more tolerant, rendering their portrayals of minorities far more offensive than they might have seemed when they were originally released.

That is not true of the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which stars Audrey Hepburn in the iconic role of Holly Golightly.

It also features Mickey Rooney playing an over-the-top caricature of a buck-toothed Japanese man, but the only reason it’s not considered offensive now is that it was also wildly racist at the time the movie was made.

It’s impossible to watch Rooney in “yellow-face,” speaking broken English in stereotypical cartoon portrayal of the landlord Mr. Yunioshi, and not wonder how someone working on the movie or at the studio didn’t throw their body in front of it.

It is embarrassing that an otherwise beautiful movie is marred by a performance that was incredibly inappropriate the day it was shot.


Moviegoers will likely debate forever whether or not the 1981 movie Mommie Dearest, an over-the-top biopic about the supposed motherly misdeeds of famed Hollywood actress Joan Crawford, is a genuinely good movie or “so-bad-it’s-good.”

However, that’s a testament to the performance of its lead actress Faye Dunaway, who turned in a captivating– and at times completely mad– performance as the legendary Oscar-winner.

Based on the controversial 1978 memoir by Crawford’s daughter Christina, the movie’s lasting legacy might be that it forever changed the way anyone talks about wire coat hangers, after one famous scene made them the focus on Crawford’s maniacal scorn.

That’s why it doesn’t matter if someone thinks the movie is truly great or a great train wreck, they watch it over and over again to see Dunaway. Now that’s a performance.

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