People Are Talking About "Small Role" Actors Who Stole The Scene Or Entire Movie, And It's a GREAT List

·7 min read

A lot of times the best performance in a movie only lasts a few minutes. In fact, sometimes the actors are SO good in these small roles they actually win Oscars — for example, Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love, whose on-screen time was only 8 minutes or Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables, whose on-screen time was about 15 minutes. (Both won for Best Supporting Actress, for the record.)


So, when Reddit user u/CherryDamzel posed the question, "What small role actors stole the scene or entire movie?" to the r/Movies community, they were quick to respond with some really great examples of stars who had a big impact on a particular scene or movie, despite having a relatively small role in the overall film. Here are some of the most popular and top-voted responses:

1.Ana de Armas as Paloma in No Time To Die

Ana de Armas in Bong, wearing a long black silk dress and jewelry

"She was absolutely stunning and kicked ass. Best part of the film."


"The fact she was in the film for such a short time is a shame. She was easily the best part of that dull film."


Nicola Dove / MGM / Danjaq / Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Alfred Molina as Rahad Jackson in Boogie Nights

Alfred molina wearing a silk robe on drugs

"Apparently PTA gave Molina an earplug and an earpiece, so all he could hear was the dialogue during the scene. That's how he was able to act unfazed through all those firecracker sounds."


New Line Cinema

3.Lil Rel Howery as Rod Williams in Get Out

Lil Rel Howery as a TSA agent talking on the phont

"I remember my entire theater gasping and whispering, 'NOOOOOOO!' when the flashing lights pull up at the end of Get Out. Then when the TSA friend got out of the car, the entire theater CHEERED."


Justin Lubin / Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection, Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Jonah Hill as an eBay customer in The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Jonah Hill holding a pair of knee high sparkly boots with goldfish in the soles

"I have money... I just want to purchase these so I can... wear them."


Universal Pictures

5.Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Beatrice in Men in Black

Beatrice in a house dress looking dumbfounded

"I quote many of her lines from this movie to this day lol. She absolutely nailed her small part."


Sony Pictures Releasing

6.Mathieu Kassovitz as the mugger in The Fifth Element

A man holding a futuristic gun to Bruce Willis and wearing a disguise on his head

"'GIMME THE CASH!!!' You can see Bruce Willis doing his very best not to burst out laughing. 'That's a very nice hat...' 'YOU LIKE IT??!!'"


"His little dance at the end is great."


Buena Vista International

7.Chris Tucker as Ruby Rod in The Fifth Element

Ruby Rod in a leopard print onesie that's off the shoulders, and blonde hair with long tube-like bangs walking down a hallway

"I mean, clearly the movie was about him."


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Kathy Lamkin as the Desert Aire Manager in No Country for Old Men

the manager of an RV park sitting behind a desk in an old, junky office

"She took zero shit and even Anton respected it. The Coens are good at unforgettable small roles."


"I also don’t think he respects anyone, I think he hated that woman as he was leaving, but he accepted she 'won' the confrontation, which is just very unusual to him. He couldn’t intimidate her, and he couldn’t kill her in that moment. To him, the situation is probably infuriating."


Miramax Films

9.Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder

Tom Cruise in a bald cap and prosthetic, shirt unbuttoned and dancing

"The character becomes 10x funnier when you realize it’s Tom Cruise in makeup and prosthetics, except for at the end where he’s dancing and it’s literally only funny because it’s Tom Cruise."


DreamWorks Pictures

10.Evan Peters as Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Quicksilver wearing goggles, racing through a room fighting bad guys

"The kitchen scene was so good at creatively using his speed without relying on an ounce of 'superhero strength.' He pokes a cheek here, redirects a bullet there, but there are no big punches or massive lifts. He’s just doing things anybody could do if they had the time, with all the confidence of someone who ALWAYS has time."


20th Century Fox

11.Harish Patel as Karun Patel in Eternals

Karun under Druig's spell

"He was 100% my favorite part of that movie! Adorable!"


"The MCU sidekicks are amazing overall, but he is definitely in my top 3. Along with Luis from Ant-Man and Katie from Shang Chi."


Marvel Studios / Disney

12.Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker in Scream

Drew Barrymore in a blonde bob wig, holding an old house telephone screaming

"I honestly have forgotten the rest of the movie but I can’t forget the opening with Drew Barrymore."


"One of the 3 best opening scenes of all time, for me."—Kodst3rGames

Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Harold Perrineau as Mercutio in Romeo + Juliet

Harold as Mercutio looking at Romeo

"That man stole the show, beyond a shadow of a doubt. My favorite character. Hands down. Brings Mercutio to life for me."


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection, 20th Century Fox

14.Sam Rockwell as Guy Fleegman in Galaxy Quest

Sam Rockwell in a space suit looking serious and sweaty

"God I love Rockwell. He stole Hitchhiker’s Guide too, although it wasn’t really a bit part. Within about a minute he’d turned my least favorite character into my new favorite character."


DreamWorks Pictures

15.Peter Stormare as Lucifer in Constantine

Stormare in a full white suit, tattoos on his neck, scarred face

"The white suit, dripping oil/acid from his feet, the paleness of him, fuck that scene is so good. When tumblr was a thing I remember saving a bunch of gifs from that scene because it was so metal."


Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection

16.Jennifer Coolidge as Paulette in Legally Blonde

Paulette with curly hair tied half up and wearing a jean jacket, looking surprised

"Truly a treasure."


MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

17.John Turturro as Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski:

Jesus licking a bowling ball

"The Jesus in The Big Lebowski stole his scenes so hard that they gave him his own (ill advised) movie."


"John Turturro always stands out to me in movies. Lebowski, Mr. Deeds, Transformers. Just really good at playing the (generally) good kind of unhinged characters prone to making you want to do a spit-take."


Gramercy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

18.Billy Crystal and Carol Kane as Miracle Max and Valerie in The Princess Bride

Miracle Max and Valerie with old wrinkly skin, long white hair, arms around each other

"Have fun storming the castle!"


"Carol Kane stole the scene from Billy Crystal — who stole the scene from EVERYONE ELSE."


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Bill Murray as himself in Zombieland

Bill Murray as himself in Zombieland wearing fake zombie makeup and golf clothes

"I saw that movie without even knowing he was in it and it blew me away...don't know if that could ever happen with all the moviemaking transparency these days."


Sony Pictures Releasing

20.J.K. Simmons as the CIA superior in Burn After Reading

JK Simmons in a suit sitting in a large leather office chair in an offie looking serious

"Honestly my favorite performance of his."


"His ending scene is so freaking good — 'So what did we learn…?'"


Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

21.Bronson Pinchot as Serge in Beverly Hills Cop

Serge looking around the floor talking to Axel

"Tell Ms. Summers that Mr. Achmed Foley is here—"

"No, no, 'Axel'."

"Achmel? Achwel?"


(pause) "Foley's here to see her."


Paramount Pictures

22.Christopher Walken as Captain Koons in Pulp Fiction

Walken in a military suit, holding a watch talking to a kid

"Nothing like telling a story about 'wearing' a watch up your ass."


Miramax Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

23.Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle in Hail, Caesar!

Alden in a tuxedo acting badly filming a movie

"Alden Ehrenreich had a relatively small role in Hail, Caesar!, but he stole the show from some pretty big name actors including: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum."—The-Mandalorian

Universal Pictures

24.Brad Pitt as Floyd in True Romance

Brad Pitt as a stoner, lying on a sofa eating Fritos

"I don’t think there is a better 'stoner' performance anywhere."

“Don’t forget the cleaning products.” :)


Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

25.Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles in The Talented Mister Ripley

Hoffman as Freddie, wearing a suit walking through Rome

"He might have been in the movie for too many scenes to qualify, but he stole every scene in a film that included a murderers row of good young actors."—sockpuppetwithcheese

Paramount Pictures

26.And finally, Paul Brooke as the Rancor keeper in Return of the Jedi

A Rancor keeper with no shirt, and a headdress, crying because his Rancor is dead

"This detail was one of Roger Ebert's favorite parts of the movie."


"This was legit the first time I realized that 'the bad guys' are people with feelings too."


20th Century Fox

Who else would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.