For aspiring actors, watching great films can be a powerful tool for improving your craft. Whether you are studying the performances of legendary actors like Marlon Brando or Meryl Streep, or analysing the work of up-and-coming stars like Timothée Chalamet or Florence Pugh, watching and studying films can help you develop your own skills as an actor and deepen your understanding of the craft.
With that in mind, here are 10 must-watch films for aspiring actors, along with some analysis of what makes each film valuable from an acting perspective.
- “On the Waterfront” (1954): This classic film starring Marlon Brando is a masterclass in naturalistic acting, with Brando delivering a groundbreaking performance that still resonates today.
- “The Godfather” (1972): Another Brando classic, “The Godfather” is a must-watch for any actor interested in exploring complex characters and relationships. The film also features standout performances from Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall.
- “Taxi Driver” (1976): Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, “Taxi Driver” is a gritty and intense character study that offers a powerful showcase for De Niro’s acting skills.
- “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991): This iconic thriller features a standout performance from Anthony Hopkins as the chilling and manipulative Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Hopkins’ nuanced and unsettling portrayal is a masterclass in character acting.
- “Moonlight” (2016): This critically acclaimed film offers a powerful exploration of identity and masculinity, and features standout performances from Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Trevante Rhodes.
- “Lady Bird” (2017): This coming-of-age story features a standout performance from Saoirse Ronan, who captures the awkwardness, uncertainty, and yearning of adolescence with remarkable sensitivity and nuance.
- “Call Me By Your Name” (2017): This romantic drama offers a powerful showcase for Timothée Chalamet’s acting skills, as he portrays a young man grappling with his sexuality and the complexities of first love.
- “Parasite” (2019): This Korean-language film offers a biting satire of class and capitalism, and features standout performances from the entire cast, including Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, and Cho Yeo-jeong.
- “Little Women” (2019): This adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel features a standout performance from Florence Pugh, who captures the fiery spirit and emotional depth of the character Amy March.
- “Judas and the Black Messiah” (2021): This biographical drama offers a powerful showcase for Daniel Kaluuya’s acting skills, as he portrays the charismatic and controversial Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.
So, how can you effectively study and learn from these films? One technique is to engage in scene analysis, breaking down each scene into its component parts and analyzing the characters’ objectives, obstacles, and emotions. You can also study the actors’ body language, vocal inflections, and facial expressions, looking for the subtle details that bring their performances to life.
In conclusion, watching and studying great films can be an invaluable tool for aspiring actors. By expanding your understanding of the craft through exposure to different types of performances and storytelling, you can develop your own skills as an actor and deepen your appreciation for the art of filmmaking. So, grab some popcorn and settle in for a movie marathon – your next great performance may be just a film away.