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19 Actors Who Made A Massive Impact With Less Than 10 Minutes Of Screentime

You give Cher seven minutes, and she'll give you the world.

1. Viola Davis as Mrs. Miller in Doubt (2008)

Viola Davis in Doubt
Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Onscreen for just shy of eight minutes, Davis appears in a single scene as Mrs. Miller, the mother of a Catholic school's first Black student, Donald Miller.

Mrs. Miller tells the principal that her son is not responsible for his nature
Miramax / youtube.com

In her scene, Mrs. Miller meets with the school's principal, Sister Aloysius Beauvier, who suspects that Donald is being abused by the new priest in the parish. Sister Beauvier is played by Meryl Streep.

Mrs Miller explains that the priest is the only man who is good to her son
Miramax / youtube.com

Viola Davis was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Doubt.

Mrs. Miller in formal coat and hat
Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's the full scene:

View this video on YouTube

Miramax / Via youtube.com

2. Zendaya as Chani in Dune (2021)

Zendaya in a still suit
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Fans were shocked when they discovered that Zendaya, who has been heavily promoted as a main character in Dune, was only onscreen for seven minutes, "or 4.5% of the film."

Zendaya as Chani in Dune
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

However, Chani, a Fremen, or native to the desert planet Arrakis, is an essential character; she just so happens to be introduced more than halfway into the source material. Zendaya will be way more prominent in Dune's (recently confirmed) sequel, which will cover the latter half of the novel of the same name.

Zendaya as Chani in Dune
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's the trailer for Dune:

View this video on YouTube

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

3. Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Judi Dench in full court dress as Queen Elizabeth I
Miramax / Courtesy Everett Collection

Judi Dench's royal performance clocks in at around eight minutes, and she doesn't waste a single second of it.

Miramax / youtube.com

When Dench accepted the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance, she joked in her acceptance speech, "I feel for eight minutes on the screen, I should only get a little bit of him."

Queen Elizabeth says, "The Queen of England does not attend exhibitions of public lewdness, so something is out of joint."
Miramax / youtube.com

Nevertheless, they let her bring home the whole statue.

Judi Dench holding her Oscar
Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's one of Dench's scenes as Queen Elizabeth:

View this video on YouTube

Miramax / Via youtube.com

4. Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Freddy Krueger screaming
New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Englund and director Wes Craven were downright efficient when it came to making Freddy Krueger one of the most recognizable horror movie villains ever.

Krueger attacks a victim
New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Krueger is only onscreen for roughly seven minutes, but with every second he proves that you just don't need all that much time to give nightmares to an entire generation.

Freddy Krueger attacks a victim in her bed
New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's the trailer for A Nightmare on Elm Street:

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New Line Cinema / Via youtube.com

5. Jonathan Groff as King George III in Hamilton (Disney+ recording, 2020)

Groff as King George III
Disney+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

With only three brief musical numbers that take up less than eight minutes, Groff establishes King George III as a manchild who doesn't let his buffoonery get in the way of his desire to crush any resistance to his rule.

King George III sings about his anger over the colonies leaving
Disney+

His fondness for threats of violence doesn't make him any less fun to watch, and once America wins the Revolutionary War, he settles into the role of jilted ex perfectly. Naturally, Jonathan Groff was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in the recorded Disney+ version.

King George sings about his dedication to his subjects, and tells them he'll send an army after them to remind them of his life
Disney+

Here's one of Groff's musical numbers as King George III:

View this video on YouTube

Disney+ / Via youtube.com

6. Beatrice Straight as Louise Schumacher in Network (1976)

Beatrice Straight in a scene
United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection

Straight's performance as a woman who is cheated on by her husband took only three days to film, and resulted in three scenes that lasted a touch under six minutes.

Louise says Then say it! Don't keep telling me that you're obsessed, that you're infatuated. Say that you're in love with her
United Artists

Straight won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Network, and as of now, she holds the "record for the shortest-ever Oscar-winning performance."

Beatrice Straight holds her Oscar up high
Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's one of Straight's scenes in Network:

View this video on YouTube

United Artists / Via youtube.com

7. Kimberly Adair Clark as Honey in The Incredibles (2004)

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney

Honey is famously unseen in both The Incredibles and its sequel, so here's a red carpet photo of the character's voice actor, Kimberly Adair Clark, instead. 

With a handful of exceptionally memeable lines, Honey easily secures her place in Pixar (and cinematic) history.

Honey refuses to tell Lucius the location of his supersuit, because it will ruin their date
Pixar

Honey is the real hero in this movie.

Honey tells her husband that she is his wife and therefore the greatest good he's ever going to get
Pixar

Here's the full scene:

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Pixar / Via youtube.com

8. Alec Baldwin as Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

Baldwin only appears in a single scene, during which he repeats, over and over again, the line "Always be closing." The scene lasts a little over eight minutes.

Blake points to the always be closing
New Line Cinema / youtube.com

Apparently, David Mamet added Baldwin's scene to the movie, which was an adaptation of his play, because the producers at New Line Cinema wanted an "explosion" with which to start the story.

New Line Cinema

Here's the full scene:

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New Line Cinema / Via youtube.com

9. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane as Miracle Max and Valerie in The Princess Bride (1987)

Miracle Max and Valerie
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

This dynamic duo only get around five minutes of screentime, but Crystal was apparently so funny during his three days on set that he kept making cast and crew members burst out in laughter.

Miracle Max tells Inigo Montoya that if Wesley is all dead, they should check his pockets for loose change
20th Century Fox

In Cary Elwes' memoir As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride, he wrote, "For three days straight and ten hours a day, Billy improvised thirteenth-century period jokes, never saying the same thing or the same line twice."

Valerie calls Max a liar, and he calls her a witch
20th Century Fox

Here's Crystal and Kane's scene together:

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20th Century Fox / Via youtube.com

10. Estelle Reiner as Unnamed Diner Patron in When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

Estelle Reiner in the diner
Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

With only a few words, Estelle Reiner (the mother of director Rob Reiner) established her place in film history.

Reiner says, in response to a woman faking an orgasm, "I'll have what she's having"
Columbia Pictures / youtube.com

"I'll have what she's having" is ranked at #33 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes ranking.

Estelle Reiner in When Harry Met Sally
Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's the full scene:

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Columbia Pictures / Via youtube.com

11. Bill Murray as Bill Murray in Zombieland (2009)

Bill Murray disguised as a zombie after having been shot
Sony Pictures / youtube.com

In a brief cameo appearance, Bill Murray plays critically acclaimed and beloved actor Bill Murray, who disguises himself as a zombie during the apocalypse in order to live his life unbothered by the undead.

Woody Harrelson tells Billy Murray he's a big fan
Sony Pictures / youtube.com

Which works just fine, until Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) accidentally shoots him.

Bill Murray dying of a gunshot wound
Sony Pictures / youtube.com

Here's the full scene:

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Sony Pictures / Via youtube.com

12. Ruby Dee as Mama Lucas in American Gangster (2007)

Ruby Dee with Denzel Washington
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

Dee was onscreen for "less than ten minutes" as the mother of Denzel Washington's character, Frank Lucas. Her performance ends with a "climactic slap across her son's face."

Mama Lucas yelling at her son
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

For this role, Dee was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and she won a Screen Actors Guild Award in the same category.

Ruby Dee holding her SAG award
Vince Bucci / Getty Images

Here's one of Dee's scenes as Mama Lucas:

View this video on YouTube

Universal / Via youtube.com

13. Meat Loaf as Eddie in Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Eddie emerges out of deep freeze with his guitar
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

He only lasts for a single musical number ("Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul") before being killed off by a jealous Dr. Frank-N-Furter, but as soon as he is gone, he is dearly missed.

Eddie driving his motorcycle around
20th Century Fox / youtube.com

And then, just like that, he's dinner.

Eddie, turned into a ham
20th Century Fox

Here's the musical number:

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20th Century Fox / Via youtube.com

14. Kenneth Tigar as the German Old Man in The Avengers (2012)

The German Old Man stands up in the kneeling crowd
Marvel

This old German guy has the distinction of being one of the few non-superheroes to tell Loki to go directly to hell, and for that, we honor him.

the old german guy tells Loki that he will not kneel to a man like him, and when loki says there are no men like him, the man responds, there are always men like you
Marvel

In fact, I like to think that this man is hidden somewhere in this picture.

All of the Avengers in Endgame go after Thanos
Marvel / Courtest Everett Collection

Here's the full scene:

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Marvel / Via youtube.com

15. Gwyneth Paltrow as Beth Emhoff in Contagion (2011)

Emhoff on the phone
Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Paltrow's character, Patient Zero of a deadly pandemic (because hey, in 2011, that was all just fun thriller fodder), dies in the first 10 minutes of Contagion.

Emhoff looking very sick
Warner Bros. / youtube.com

Here's one of Paltrow's scenes as Emhoff:

View this video on YouTube

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

16. Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker in Scream (1996)

Drew Barrymore in Scream, screaming
Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

Casey lasts only a few seconds over 10 minutes before she is brutally murdered at the beginning of the movie.

the guy on the phone asks if she likes scary movies, she says yes, then he asks what her favorite one is
Dimension Films

Barrymore spent five days on set to film the scene.

Drew Barrymore screams when she sees the masked killer through the glass
Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's the opening scene:

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Dimension Films / Via youtube.com

17. Cher as Ruby Sheridan in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

Cher pulls down her glasses to look at her granddaughter
Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Cher is onscreen for "seven and a half minutes" as Ruby, who is the mother of Donna (Meryl Streep) and the grandmother of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried).

Cher as Ruby with her granddaughter
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

Fun fact: In real life, Cher is only three years older than Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep jumping on the bed and doing a midair split in the first Mamma Mia movie
Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

Here's one of Cher's numbers as Ruby:

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Universal Pictures / Via youtube.com

18. David Reale as Glen Coco in Mean Girls (2004)

The back of Glen Coco's head
Paramount

I think Glen Coco technically gets no time onscreen, but he lives eternally online (and in our hearts) for this moment:

a student in a santa costume says, Glen Coco? Four for you, Glen Coco! You go, Glen Coco
Paramount

Here's the full scene:

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Paramount / Via youtube.com

19. And finally: James Sie as the Cabbage Merchant from Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–8)

The cabbage merchant raving about his lost cabbages
Nickelodeon

Only appearing in a handful of episodes for a few seconds at a time, the Cabbage Merchant is the unluckiest vegetable seller in the extended Avatar universe.

the cabbage merchant realizes a giant bunny is eating all his cabbages
Nickelodeon

This is the only entry from a TV show, not a movie, but the Cabbage Merchant has become one of the most iconic memes from a show overflowing with them, and he can't go unmentioned.

Nickelodeon / giphy.com

Here's a compilation of the Cabbage Merchant's slow descent into madness:

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Nickelodeon / Via youtube.com