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Counting Down the Top Ten Movie Cameos of All Time

April 1st, 2015 by Marc Comments

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The only thing better than a killer cast of stars in a big budget movie is an unexpected cameo from someone acting out of their comfort zone. When used correctly, a well-placed cameo can enhance the drama of a scene or provide some much needed comic relief. Either way, it’s always fun to see a famous celebrity pop up in an unexpected role.

Although we could have rattled off dozens of entertaining cameos, we’ve picked out ten of the most recognisable from the last few years. From the funny and the ridiculous to the serious and dramatic, our top ten famous cameos are worth reliving over and over again.

Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder

Despite being stocked to the brim with celebrities throughout, Tropic Thunder’s director, Ben Stiller, decided to augment the cast with a none other than Tom Cruise. Dressed in a fat suit and sporting a bald head, Cruise played the obnoxious but ultimately good-hearted Les Grossman. Why is this cameo so memorable? Because of the dance scene. Had he not already been famous for Mission Impossible (a franchise now on its fifth incarnation), this scene would have made Cruise a star.

Dave Grohl in The Pick of Destiny

A long-time friend of Tenacious D, Jack Black and Kyle Gas, former Nirvana drummer and now Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl appeared as the god of rock himself, Satan, in The Pick of Destiny. Challenging JB and KG to a guitar showdown for their lives, Satan is ultimately defeated and the man in red is sent back to his fiery hole.

Daniel Negreanu in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Despite having limited acting experience on the silver screen, Daniel Negreanu is accustomed to putting up a front at the poker table. As a PokerStars Pro and one of the most successful players in the game’s history, Negreanu was a natural choice for the directors of X-Men when they wanted to create a poker scene. Although fleeting, Negreanu brings an air of credibility as he dishes out cards and cash as Wolverine strolls past with Will I Am.

Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street

Regardless of being undercover for much of the film, Johnny Depp’s surprise appearance at the end of 21 Jump Street certainly added an extra dimension to the film. Surviving a gunshot wound long enough to deliver some of his serious-yet-funny lines, Depp’s cameo was not only entertaining for the audience, but it gave Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum just enough time to reset themselves and take on the bad guys.

Orson Welles in The Muppet Movie

It might be going back a few years, but when a star the size of Orson Welles makes a cameo then it’s hard to ignore. Known as one of the finest actors (think Citizen Kane), writers and directors of his generation, Welles took a break from the norm back in 1979 when he appeared alongside the world’s most famous puppets. Cast as Lew Lord, Welles plays the studio director and producer that ties the Muppets into a “rich and famous” contract.

Charlton Heston in Wayne’s World 2

Another legend of the acting world, Heston appeared as the back-up actor in the sequel to Wayne’s World after Wayne complained that the one chosen wasn’t good enough. Fantastically quirky, the scene sees Heston deliver his lines as if he was in a romantic tragedy rather than a comedy classic. As Wayne admires the speech with a tear rolling down his cheek, he eventually shoots off to go find the love of his life.

Hulk Hogan in Gremlins 2

In the 1990 follow-up to the box office smash, Gremlins, Hulk Hogan appears in his trademark wrestling outfit as an audience member watching Gremlins 2. In a classic scene where the actors break through the fourth wall and address the audience directly, Hogan gives one of his classic wrestling speeches while the pesky critters are running riot in the backroom of the movie theatre. After laying down the law, Hogan tears off his shirt which causes the Gremlins to stop their antics, therefore, allowing the wrestling star to rejoin the audience while the rest of the film plays out.

Mr T in Rocky III

The tough guy who repeatedly told people he pities fools and wouldn’t get on “no” plane in the A Team, Mr. T appeared as one of Rocky’s toughest opponents in the third incarnation of the boxing classic. Although he was originally scheduled to say just a few lines during the film as Clubber Lang, T’s presence on screen prompted Sylvester Stallone to increase his time on screen. Unfortunately for T, Rocky’s heart and determination saw him flattened by the end of the final fight.

Chuck Norris in Dodgeball

The man who can do anything and beat anyone, Chuck Norris, was the man giving out the casting vote in the climax of the film Dodgeball. As Vince Vaughan’s team appealed for a chance to play for the title against Ben Stiller’s team of killers, things were looking bleak until it was put to a vote. With the score tied at one vote apiece (yes or no to a replay), Norris gave the deciding vote that gave Vaughan a chance to win the match.

Martin Sheen in Hot Shots Part Deux

It’s always fun when a father and son combo meet each other on screen and in this classic clip from the Hotshots series, the two sheens, Martin and Charlie, give each other a thumbs up as they pass each other in the middle of a battle. As the younger Sheen starts his soliloquy, the elder Sheen fades in over the top before they pass each other literally like ships in the night (although it is day) and raise a salute with a friendly thumbs up.

Movie cameos have the power to turn a good movie into a fantastic one and we think some of the clips we’ve picked out are the best examples of how these scenes can enhance the quality of a film.

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….