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23 Movie Roles So Well Performed, They Made People Realize An Actor Was Better Than They Originally Thought

Y'all already know Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems is on here.

A while back, we took a look at a viral Reddit thread that asked, "What film made you notice an actor was better/had more range than you originally thought?" and their incredibly accurate answers inspired even more great responses from our very own BuzzFeed Community! So here are a few MORE of the film roles that made people reevaluate the way they felt about certain actors:

Also, WARNING: There are some spoilers ahead for several of these movies!

1. Harry Styles as Alex in Dunkirk (2017)

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Warner Bros. Pictures

"What a pleasant surprise this was! I didn’t know he had acting chops to begin with, but he was simply brilliant in that movie."


2. Jennifer Lopez as Ramona Vega in Hustlers (2019)

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STX Films

"I’m genuinely shocked no one mentioned her on the first list. She was fantastic!"


3. Robin Williams as Randolph Smiley in Death to Smoochy (2002)

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Warner Bros. Pictures

"I will never forget the first time I saw this movie. I'd seen Williams in Jack and Mrs. Doubtfire and Flubber, but this movie changed my view of him completely and, as I saw more of his movies, I was even MORE amazed!"

—Stephany Elm, Facebook

4. Marlon Wayans as Tyrone C. Love in Requiem for a Dream (2000)

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Artisan Entertainment

"I had only known him from Scary Movie and White Chicks before I saw this, so imagine my surprise!"


5. Julia Roberts as Jessica Cobb in The Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

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"We all know that she's a great actor and has done tons of serious movies as well as rom-coms, but her acting in this movie specifically — just wow."


6. Jake Gyllenhaal as Officer Brian Taylor in End of Watch (2012)

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Open Road Films

"I know, I know — I was sleeping on his talent, but this was the first movie I saw with him where I actually went, 'WOAH.'"


7. Brad Pitt as Micky O'Neil in Snatch (2001)

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Sony Pictures Releasing

"How he managed to nail that positively OUT THERE accent was beyond impressive!"


8. Shailene Woodley as Alex King in The Descendants (2011)

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Fox Searchlight Pictures

"I remember hearing rumblings before this movie came out about how good she was in it, but I couldn't believe it. I thought she was so terrible in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but then I saw this and she blew me away. I came to conclusion that she was NEVER awful — it was the writing on that show that was awful!"


9. Chris Evans as Ransom Drysdale in Knives Out (2019)

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"I, like so many others, was so used to seeing him play the 'good guy' that seeing him play this cocky trust-fund kid who was actually the bad guy in a twist ending was fantastic!"


10. Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie in Django Unchained (2012)

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The Weinstein Company

"Every role before that (good or otherwise) was kind of a just a 'Leonardo DiCaprio' version of whatever character he was playing. In my opinion, this was when he really started to show some true range."


11. Denzel Washington as Detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day (2001)

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Warner Bros. Pictures

"He was always a great actor, but at that point in his career he'd done so many 'self-righteous' characters that he was starting to get typecast. This movie really let him stretch out into a different direction and it was refreshing!"


12. Steve Carrell as Frank Ginsberg in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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Fox Searchlight Pictures

"If you only know him as Michael Scott from The Office, watch this — especially if you like awesome indie flicks!"

—Holly Cherie Hicks, Facebook

13. Marilyn Monroe as Nell Forbes in Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

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20th Century Fox

"She played a lot of ditzy blondes and the odd femme fatale here and there, but this movie will throw you for a loop — if not scare the hell out of you. It's such a shame she didn't get to play more roles like this!"


14. Bill Hader as Richie Tozier in It Chapter Two (2019)

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Warner Bros.

"The scene towards the end when he's crying because he lost his friend (who he was also secretly in love with) absolutely broke me. I did not expect to come out of watching that movie sobbing because of Bill Hader."


15. Nicholas Cage as Ben Sanderson in Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

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"I grew up on 'corny' Nic Cage movies until I saw this movie in my 20s. What an incredible performance!"

—Tyler Dean, Facebook

16. John Krasinski as Lee Abbott in A Quiet Place (2018)

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Paramount Pictures

"He blew me away in this, both as an actor AND as a director. I loved him as Jim on The Office — but in this more serious, horror movie role, he killed it!"

—Katty Figueroa Aranzaes, Facebook

17. Tom Holland as Arvin Russell in The Devil All The Time (2020)

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"I always associated him with Peter Parker. This role was way more serious, and he was so good at getting into the dark and twisted parts while still having the emotional range to make you care about the character. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it!"


18. Ryan Reynolds as Jerry Hickfang in The Voices (2015)

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"I was so surprised by how good of an actor he'd blossomed into!"

—Jessica Kennedy, Facebook

19. Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Misérables (2012)

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Universal Pictures

"She wrecked me completely, and it was like nothing she'd done before."


20. Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz in Foxcatcher (2014)

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Sony Pictures Classics

"I never knew he was so talented. Respect!"

—Kara Binderup, Facebook

21. Zac Efron as Ted Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

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"A sociopathic serial killer was 100% different from anything he'd ever done before, and he nailed it."


22. Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems (2019)

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"It’s just...holy shit. While I was watching it, I completely forgot I was watching the same man from Happy Gilmore. He was amazing!"

—Caitlyn Cieslak, Facebook

23. And finally — Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008)

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Warner Bros.

"The whole world judged SO HARD at the time when this casting was announced, and he surprised absolutely all of us."


Now it's your turn! What film role made you reevaluate your feelings toward an actor's abilities? Share your pick(s) in the comments below! OH, but first — if you enjoyed this list — be sure to check out the initial list to see if your pick is on there!

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

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