TV and Movies·Updated on 7 Oct 202222 Times An Actor Nailed A Character So Completely, It Would Be Offensive To Ever Recast ThemSome things are sacred, people!by Sam ClealBuzzFeed StaffFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink There are some movie characters out there that are just too iconic for words, and it's due in no small part to the people who portrayed them! Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Paramount Pictures Whether it's a character that has gone on to be played by another person or not, I think you'll agree, these particular iterations are ~unparalleled~ in their perfection. 1. Heath Ledger as The Joker – The Dark Knight (2008) Warner Bros. Pictures Many people cite this performance as a masterpiece of acting. In truth, Heath Ledger totally reinvented The Joker character, combining the villain's infamous frenetic energy with much darker psychopathic vibes. He prepared down to the last detail and it really shows in his performance. In 2009, Heath won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for The Dark Knight, which he received posthumously. Here's the iconic "why so serious" scene to remind you why Heath is the one true Joker: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 2. Glenn Close as Cruella DeVille – 101 Dalmatians (1996) Clive Coote/Buena Vista Pictures Distribution Glenn played the first ever live-action version of Cruella in the 1996 movie and its sequel. Apparently, John Hughes pitched the role to Glenn directly after he finished writing the script. She initially wasn't interested, but was convinced to take it on by costume designer Anthony Powell... And thank goodness she did! Glenn was critically-acclaimed as Cruella and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her work! Here's Glenn being iconic as Cruella de Vil for three minutes straight: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 3. Whoopi Goldberg as Sister Mary Clarence – Sister Act (1992) Buena Vista Pictures Distribution Whoopi is one of those people who brings life to every role she takes on. Though this role was written for Bette Midler, you don't get a chance to miss her at all! Whoopi is the perfect lead, combining her golden talent for comedy with her affinity for music. She won and was nominated for several awards for her work on the film, including a Kids' Choice Award, an American Comedy Award, and a Golden Globe. Here's Sister Mary saying a muddled grace in the first movie: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 4. Robin Williams as The Genie – Aladdin (1992) Buena Vista Pictures Surely it's even harder to make an indelible impression as an actor when you only have your voice at your disposal? Well, not if you're Robin Williams! The actor received an honorary Golden Globe in 1993 for his work on Aladdin. There wasn't a category for him to be nominated in, so the Hollywood Foreign Press Association literally created a brand new award just to honour him as The Genie. Now that's what a call a legendary performance!Of his involvement in the film, Aladdin director Ron Clements told Variety, "Robin changed the way animated films were perceived... It was a marvel to watch him do his thing. It’s a very fond memory of watching a true comic genius at work." Here's the iconic "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 5. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark – quite a few MCU movies Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Many fans assert that RDJ was born to play Iron Man/Tony Stark. Tony's unique combination of arrogance and altruism probably wouldn't have worn so well on any other actor; indeed, Robert has received many praises for his nuanced portrayal of the hugely popular tycoon/superhero.It was the first Iron Man film in 2008 that essentially kicked off the entire MCU, one of the biggest film franchises of all time. Reflecting on his casting, Kevin Feige (the president of Marvel Studios) told CinemaBlend, "it was both the biggest risk and the most important thing in the founding of the Marvel Cinematic Universe." Here's Tony Stark going up against the US Senate in one of his best scenes: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 6. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice (1995) BBC One Colin has a HUGE legacy for playing Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in a random BBC miniseries from the '90s. His performance is constantly referenced in movies like St. Trinian's and shows like Bridgerton, for example, AND even the clothing he wore in the series has been exhibited for fans to see in real life. He kind of IS the definitive Darcy, and for his work on the series, Colin was nominated for a BAFTA and a National Television Award. Here is *that* wet shirt scene: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 7. Jamie Lee Curtis as Tess Coleman/Anna Coleman – Freaky Friday (2003) Buena Vista Pictures I used to watch this movie ALL the time as a kid, and truthfully, I watch it fairly regularly as an adult too. Why? Well, one of the main reasons is Jamie Lee's incredible performance as a teenager trapped in an adult's body! Even though Jodie Foster and Annette Bening were in the running for the role at one point, I don't think either of them could've made this role as hilarious and quotable as it is – no shade!Jamie Lee took inspiration from her own kids, and described how the process was very "free" and open to her interpretation of the character. For her work on the film, Jamie Lee was nominated for a Satellite Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Saturn Award. This video is entitled "Jamie Lee Curtis owning Freaky Friday" and honestly, fair: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 8. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Orion Pictures Who else can make your hair stand on end quite like Sir Anthony? The precision of his voice, his piercing stare, and his unshakeable calm as Hannibal are straight-up chilling. Anthony played the cannibal serial killer in a further two films, and some of his dialogue has become the most oft-quoted in film history. For his work on The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony won a Best Actor Oscar and a BAFTA, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a People's Choice award. Here's my favourite scene from The Silence of the Lambs – Hannibal's ~grizzly~ escape! View this video on YouTube youtube.com 9. Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan – Annie (1982) Columbia Pictures Here's another part that Bette Midler nearly nabbed, but let's be honest, comedy icon Carol absolutely nailed the part of the child-hating, alcoholic Miss Hannigan in the 1982 musical film. Her proclivity for vocalisation and physical theatre brought a superb lightness to Miss Hannigan's otherwise dark character, and for her performance she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Here's Miss Hannigan singing "Little Girls": View this video on YouTube youtube.com 10. Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey – The Green Mile (1999) Universal Pictures/Warner Bros. For many, Michael Clarke Duncan's performance as an innocent death-row convict was like he walked straight out of the book (Stephen King's 1996 novel of the same name). It became one of Michael's best known roles, and he earned a Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination at the 2000 Academy Awards. Interestingly, it was Bruce Willis who first flagged to The Green Mile writer/director Frank Darabont that he should cast Michael in his film. Bruce thought Michael was perfect for the role and to be fair, he was right! Here's an amazing scene from The Green Mile – but beware, it does include a depiction of animal abuse. View this video on YouTube youtube.com 11. Richard Roxburgh as The Duke of Monroth – Moulin Rouge! (2001) 20th Century Fox I guess one doesn't always think of The Duke as the standout character of Moulin Rouge!, but he totally makes the film in many ways. Richard's capacity for comedy is huge, and he really nails the neurotic, unhinged nature of the character. Even Baz Luhrmann himself refers to Richard as "one of the great character actors". For his performance, Richard earned an Australian Film Institute Supporting Actor award nomination. Here's the moment when The Duke finally cracks: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 12. And Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler – Moulin Rouge! (2001) 20th Century Fox If we're talking Moulin Rouge!, we should also mention Jim's turn as the extravagant ringleader and impresario of the whole thing, Harold Zidler. Not only is Jim deeply funny and extremely quotable in the movie, he also manages to convey deep emotion when the story takes a darker turn. Jim won Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTAs and the Satellite Awards for his work on the film. Here he is performing "Spectacular Spectacular" with the aforementioned Richard Roxburgh and other members of the cast: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 13. Ian McKellen as Gandalf – The Lord of the Rings movies (2001-2003) New Line Cinema Sir Ian's gravitas and theatrical style make him absolutely perfect for the role of Gandalf. His performance is infinitely quotable and complimented everybody else in the saga so well. Ian has said he would reprise the role, and that he doesn't think he's "too old" to play the 7,000 year old wizard – I wholeheartedly agree! No one could excite such admiration from fans the world over, NO ONE! For this clip, I'll just say – "YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS." View this video on YouTube youtube.com 14. Robin Williams as Daniel Hillard/Euphegenia Doubtfire – Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) 20th Century Fox Yep, Robin Williams is appearing twice on this list because he's just THAT good. I mean, can you seriously imagine anyone else playing this part and doing it as well? Robin's unparalleled skills in improvisation and character comedy made this role what it was. Even though Warren Beatty and Tim Allen were considered, I'm so glad it was Robin who ended up doing it.Robin ended up winning Best Actor at the 51st Golden Globe Awards for the role, and also picked up a Kids' Choice Awards and an MTV Movie Award. I could pick 100 different scenes to showcase Robin's talent, but here is the iconic cake scene: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 15. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly – Chicago (2002) Miramax Films Catherine Zeta-Jones is just 🔥 in Chicago. The voice, the dancing, the look – everything is on point! The New York Times compared Catherine to a "Corvette about to redline, but always knowing exactly when to stop short of throwing a piston." I guess that means she was good – I don't know cars.Indeed, Catherine and her co-stars Renée Zellweger and Queen Latifah were lauded by critics and all nominated for Academy Awards, with Catherine winning for Best Supporting Actress! Here's "All That Jazz" as sung by Catherine: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 16. Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) Paramount Pictures One of the main reasons why this movie goes so hard is undoubtedly Gene Wilder. Despite flopping at the box office and Roald Dahl himself denouncing the film, Willy Wonka has undeniably become a cult hit thanks, in part, to its lead actor. In a 1971 interview with Roger Ebert, Gene revealed that his intention were to keep the audience in suspense as to whether Wonka was 'good' or 'bad'. It's clear that he thought a lot about the character, and it paid off big time, with the actor picking up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in 1972.When Gene died, many news outlets understandably linked him to his role as Willy Wonka above anything else. Interestingly, however, Gene once said he actually wanted to be remembered for his work on Young Frankenstein. Here's Gene being marvellously weird whilst singing "Pure Imagination": View this video on YouTube youtube.com 17. Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly – The Devil Wears Prada (2006) 20th Century Fox I meannnnnn... She just nails it. As you'd expect from someone like Meryl, the Oscar-winner reportedly spent ages getting into character and helped define the Miranda that we all know and love. I adore that she was inspired by actor/director Clint Eastwood when deciding that the editrix would always be calm and never raise her voice, yet she would still inspire fear in everyone around her! Empire Online called Meryl "deliciously nasty", and she even was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for the role. Here's Meryl's iconic cerulean sweater speech: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 18. Jack Black as Dewey Finn – School of Rock (2003) Paramount Pictures It's honestly hard to find people who DON'T love this movie! This early noughties classic is such a brilliant watch, and it probably wouldn't have been as charming or switched-on if it weren't for Jack Black as slovenly substitute teacher, Dewey. Film critic Mark Kermode wrote in his 2003 review that the role was "tailormade" for Jack, and he would go on to be nominated for a Golden Globe for his work. ALSO, lest we forget that it was pretty much down to Jack Black that the movie was allowed to feature "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin. Having previously been rejected for permission to use their music, director Richard Linklater had Jack send a videotaped request to Led Zep. They reportedly found Jack's video funny, and granted permission for "Immigrant Song" to appear in the movie. Here is the one and only "Legend of the Rent": View this video on YouTube youtube.com 19. Halle Berry as Storm – the X-Men films (2000-2014) 20th Century Fox It's tricky to cast a comic book character because often times they're drawn in somewhat unrealistic ways, and attempts to interpret them in a live-action fall flat. However, I think Halle as Storm was a stroke of genius! Halle brought her undeniable star power to the film franchise; in fact, she was so fierce as Storm that fans recently created an online petition demanding Halle reprise her role in the MCU! Here's the scene where Storm electrocutes Toad: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 20. Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull – Matilda (1996) Sony Pictures Releasing Pam was genuinely scary as headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Like, how did those kids finally stand up to her?! Everything Pam does is golden, but she really captures this character – it's animated and engaging yet super grotesque. Thank goodness the 2022 remake is based on a slightly different story and version of the character, because any comparison with this performance would be a fail – even if it is by the great Emma Thompson! Here's *that* scene where Trunchbull throws Amanda Thripp: View this video on YouTube youtube.com 21. Tim Curry as Frank-n-Furter – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) 20th Century Fox You wanna talk about iconic, unmatchable performances? Let's talk about Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. His tight British vowels, his menacing makeup, his wild costumes – everything is just unnervingly perfect! Tim played the part in the original stage show, and reprised his role two years later for the movie. Critic Roger Ebert praised him and his character, saying he's "the best thing in the movie". Here's the moment when we first meet Frank-n-Furter during "Sweet Transvestite": View this video on YouTube youtube.com 22. Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson – Hocus Pocus (1993) Buena Vista Pictures Bette Midler is idolised by so many people, and her performance as a 17th Century witch back from the dead is camp comedy at its absolute best. So many people on this list are here because they gave so much of themselves to the role, and Bette is no exception. She even carried a dictionary of old curse words around on set so she could improvise historically accurate insults!Bette has spoken about how Hocus Pocus is one of her favourite movies, and for her work on the film she was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress. Here's that incredible rendition of "I Put a Spell on You" by Winnie: View this video on YouTube youtube.com Do you agree with this list? Did we miss anyone out? Let us know in the comments!