There’s something magical about a movie cameo. Whether it’s for a few seconds or a few minutes, seeing a big name Hollywood actor/actress do something that is totally out of their typecast character personality, is an experience that hits us square in the cortex.
Here’s a look at 18 such surprise appearances.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Terminator Salvation
Say what you like about Terminator Salvation, a film that is devoid of any fun and is a dull, soulless experience, but at least director McG got one thing right, and that was giving audiences a glimpse at the original T-800 himself.
A combination of movie and black magic that was so convincing, it made the Batman himself pause. Throw in that iconic theme from the franchise, and you had a moment that rocked the socks off of longtime fans.
Bill Murray – Little Shop of Horrors
The ghostbuster is no stranger to film cameos, with audiences loving his wacky turn in Zombieland. But playing the perfect masochistic foil to a sadistic dentist that thrives on inflicting pain on his patients? Pure genius.
Alfred Hitchcock – Various films directed by him
The man may have been a short-tempered genius who made life a living hell for his female actresses, but he sure did know how to make a surprise entrance in his films. Going from subtle to obvious, by the end of his career, he just couldn’t wait to pop in front of a camera.
Martin Sheen – Hot Shots Part Deux
It starts out so innocently, as Charlie Sheen starts an internal dialogue that echoes the one his father made in the classic Apocalypse Now film. But then, that stream of thought is invaded, when daddy dearest actually shows up once more, with the two of them acknowledging each other with that classic line;
“I loved you in Wall Street!”
Bruce Willis – Loaded Weapon
I love parody films, and a Lethal Weapon knock-off starring Emilio Estevez and the BAMF himself, Samuel L Jackson, was a perfect slice of satirical cake.
But Bruce Willis waving a flag after his beach house had been blowing apart accidentally with more bullets than the siege of Stalingrad? Priceless.
Danny Glover – Maverick
This western holds a special place in my heart. It’s Mel Gibson in one of his finest roles, and seeing as how it was directed by Richard “Lethal Weapon” Donner, it just had to have an appearance from Danny Glover, the long suffering partner to Gibson in that quadrilogy.
And it’s all there. That familiar feeling, that wonderful and subtle pull of the guitar strings, capped off by glover quoting that memorable line of his;
“I’m too old for this shit!”
Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder
One of the things that I loved about Tropic Thunder, was how I had managed to avoid any press about it. So when confronted by a horny, swearing, fat tyrant of a Hollywood producer, portrayed by Tom Cruise with absolute abandon, my mind went full retard with glee.
See for yourself in this NSFW clip. WE. ARE. FLAMING DRAGON!
Hugh Jackman – X-Men First Class
A short cameo, but one laced with an adamantium skeleton of impact, reminding us just why Hugh Jackman is the ultimate Wolverine actor.
Sean Connery – Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
The irony of a Scotsman portraying the King of England is not lost on us.
(Apologies for the German dub, was the only one that I could find.)
Keith Richards – Pirates of the Caribbean
Seeing as how actor Johnny Depp had based several mannerisms of his popular character on the Rolling Stones legend, it was only fitting that he would show up as the father for Jack Sparrow.
Mystical, strange and soft-spoken, but at least he carried a big flintlock pistol.
Matt Damon – Eurotrip
Yes, that is indeed Matt “Jason Bourne” Damon singing about his filthy sexual hook-ups with Superman’s girlfriend, complete with extra tattoos and a shaven rock star head.
Not that Scotty knew.
John Hurt – Spaceballs
You’ve got to hand it to the veteran thespian, as he reprised a role that still gives us the creeps to this day, performing with all cyclinders burning, capping it off with that priceless quote, “Oh no, not again!”.
Change my order to the soup please.
(We couldn’t get an embeddable version, so here’s the actual link to the video)
Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller and Tim Robbins – Anchorman
Anchorman has so many cameos hidden within it, but it’s this legendary street fight where things truly took a turn for the weird. Ben Stiller chewing the scenery as a Mexican newsman, Luke Wilson spitting pure venom and Tim Robbins ditching his noble persona for one of a public access journalist who happens to be quite handy with a machete.
David Hasslehoff – Dodgeball
True story: While the Hoff may not have experienced any success in the USA with his singing career, the Germans embraced the Knight Rocker, resulting in the former lifeguard learning the language and performing to sell out crowds there.
And while most of you will ask about Chuck Norris and his brief appearance, it’s David Hasslehoff berating a German team of dodgeball players that really steals the show.
Neil Patrick Harris – Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
While everyone may love NPH for his run on How I met your mother, this was the brief role that put him back on the entertainment map. Ditching his goody two shoes persona for a coked up sex addict, Doogie Howser made the quest for White Castle Burgers that much more difficult.
Bruce Campbell – Spider-Man trilogy
Director Sam Raimi found a gem of an actor when he made his original Evil Dead films, so casting Campbell in the Spider-Man trilogy was indeed a no-brainer.
And over those three films, the quick performances were indeed fantastic. First Campbell helped create the Spider-Man, then he defeated him the second movie, before teaming up for a titanic third outing.
It was like taking a cameo boomstick to the skull.
Stan Lee – Various Marvel films
The co-creator behind various comic books has popped up in almost every single film based on the popular comics, from X-men through to the Fantastic Four.
One of the highlights for any comic book fan, seeing Stan “The Man” Lee helps give a Marvel comics film that extra touch of care.
Bill Murray – Zombieland
We couldn’t leave Murray with only one entry in this list. Zombieland was a great film, but seeing Murray pop up as a social zombie who finally got to enjoy life with some anonymity, made the move brilliant.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012