An A-Z of classic movie cameos

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As American audiences go wild for Tom Cruise's 'surprise' appearance in the new comedy 'Tropic Thunder', Time Out presents our rundown of classic scene-stealing cameo appearances

A

Archibald ‘Harry’ Tuttle (Robert De Niro) from ‘Brazil’

De Niro shakes things up with the miniscule but pivotal role of madballs deus-ex-machina plumber Tuttle in Terry Gilliam’s absurdist dystopian fever-dream. 'Remember, kid – we’re all in this together!'

B – The Baseball Furies from ‘The Warriors’

In a film crammed with iconic late ’70s gang-fashions, the Baseball Furies stand out from the mob with their deeply unsettling little league meets demonic face paint combo.

C – Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise) from ‘The Cannonball Run’

Up against such scenery-chewing talent as Sammy Davis Jr (as a Catholic Priest) and Ricardo Montalban, sideman DeLuise resorts to dirty pool, doubling his screen-time with the introduction of loud, crass, entirely superfluous superhero alter-ego Captain Chaos.

D – Don the Horse (voiced by John Candy) from ‘Hot to Trot’

You might think you’d be home and hosed in this category if you were a talking Buddhist horse with an innate understanding of the Stock Exchange, but when you’re starring opposite Bobcat Goldthwait – the squawking headcase from the ‘Police Academy’ movies – you’ve still got to bring your ‘A’ game. Don doesn’t disappoint.

E – Edna from ‘The Incredibles’

This Anna Wintour/Tasmanian Devil hybrid resolves the thorny issue that’s bedeviled metrosexual fanboys for years – just who came up with that costume? Seizes her moment in the pixel limelight and makes it... fabulous.

F – Freak Storm (Nick Cave) from ‘Johnny Suede’

Madder ’n a snake and blonder ’n Monroe, right down to the eyebrows, Cave’s crooner makes a striking impression in pink boots and silver silk.

G – Gaff (Edward James Olmos) from ‘Blade Runner’

A bit of a hindrance all round, but he dresses like a dayglo Hoxton joy-boy, walks with a cane and crafts thuddingly portentous origami figures in a wholly successful bid to pull the rug from under his co-star’s feet. Top scene-stealing, sir!

H – Hope (Jennifer Salt) from ‘Brewster McCloud’

A fleeting performance of breathless lunacy raises the orgasmic and motormouthed Salt out of the mire of crackpot ciphers, zany overacting and ‘dreamlike’ plotting that so engulfs Robert Altman’s unhinged hippy satire.

I – The Id Monster from ‘Forbidden Planet

A manifestation of Morbius’s frankly unhealthy fixation on keeping his daughter pure (finding a planet made for two was the start), the Id rules as an invisible storm of destruction, less so when appearing as an incandescent Peugeot badge.

J – Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) from ‘The Maltese Falcon’

Balancing partner Kaspar Gutman’s faux bonhomie with genuine lavender-scented menace, it’s Cairo’s climactic hissy-fit that endures: 'You bloated idiot! You stupid fathead!'

K – The Kraken from ‘Clash of the Titans’

Sweding ‘Titans’ in the playground, none of the movie’s audience of 12-year-old boys would bagsy airbrushed beefcake Perseus while multi-armed watery emissary of Poseidon, The Kraken, was up for grabs.

L – Lebanese (Pierfrancesco Favino) from ‘Romanzo Criminale’

With the face of an Easter Island reject, the voice of a Calabrian gravel pit and the eternally crestfallen demeanour of a boo-ed off ventriloquist, Lebano lopes through the first stages of his Italian crime drama like a titan.

M – Mr X (Allen Joseph) from ‘Eraserhead’

Beat down by his wage-slave existence, the last thing Mr X needs is to come home to a pregnant daughter, her tower-coiffed fiancé and a dinner of squawking, bleeding, man-made mini-chickens.

N – Nico (Christina Fulton) from ‘The Doors’

Feminists look away! The show-stopping moment of Oliver Stone’s Jim Morrison biopic arrives when a set of lift doors open to reveal atonal Krautrock doyenne Nico giving the Crawling King Snake’s rattler a serious dressing down.

O – Sgt Oddball (Donald Sutherland) from ‘Kelly’s Heroes’

Bringing Vietnam-era craziness to WW2, blissed-out killer for peace Oddball leads his Hell’s Angels In Tanks on a pretty-patterned crusade against ‘negative waves’.

P – Porkins (William Hootkins) from ‘Star Wars’

‘I’m hit!’ A master of scene thievery, much-missed rotund acting powerhouse Hootkins first made his mark as the offensively named chubby X-Wing pilot who takes one for the team.

Q – Q from ‘Q, The Winged Serpent’

There’s a reason his name’s in the title: reincarnated Inca God Quetzlcoatl tears up New York City with his screechin’, swoopin’, decapitatin’ antics.

R – Rupert ‘Rip’ Reed (Jason Bateman) from ‘Smokin’ Aces’

Bateman steals the thunder in this most sonorous of assassination waltzes as a wild-eyed, frightened man-child holed up in a hotel room surrounded by jumbo porn and outsize bunny costumes.

S – Spider (Michael Imperioli) from ‘Goodfellas’

‘Sopranos’ mainstay Christopher Moltisanti steals the show as increasingly bold drinks waiter ‘Spider’. He is, as you will no doubt remember, riddled with bullets for his impertinence.

T – Master Tremond (Jonathan Leppell) from ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me’

There are few more disturbing moments in modern cinema than when this black-suited, ginger-headed hopping freak-from-another-place inexplicably transforms into a masked monkey.

U – Uncle Jimbo from ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut’

‘Let’s go kill us some Australians!’ As America launches into that long anticipated war with Canada, it’s Stan’s cretinous redneck Uncle Jimbo, deer rifle in hand, who proudly leads the first charge.

V – The Vultures from ‘The Jungle Book’

Although stuffed full of memorable characters, this Disney classic is picked clean by our favourite quartet of lovable fetid scavengers. Reportedly based on The Beatles, Hollywood nevertheless decreed that they were to sound Cockney, one of them should be blonde and their entire repertoire must be limited to cloying barber-shop harmonies.

W – Whitey/Casper (Michael Bowman) from ‘Me, Myself

Nobody beats Jim Carrey in his own back yard. Nobody that is apart from a bearded albino with telescope-lensed spectacles and a casually recalled backstory about murdering his entire family.

X – Xenia Zirgavna Onatopp (Famke Janssen) from ‘Goldeneye’

A thoroughly irresponsible driver and remorseless lust murderer given to hanging around casinos getting drunk – although, unlike 007, she has the good grace not to do so at the taxpayers’ expense.

Y – Yuriko Oyama (Kelly Hu) from ‘X2’

If Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine walked away with the first film, then his twirling Japanese female equivalent made her mark over an even richer selection of warring mutant supheroes in the second. Go, Weapon X!

Z – Zed (Peter Greene) from ‘Pulp Fiction’

Biker, sex criminal and occasional security guard, Peter Greene’s Zed has every base of LA’s seamy underbelly covered. But even this mad dog bites off more than he can chew when he attempts to rape Bruce Willis in the basement of his mate’s junk shop. Suffice it to say that Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.

 Any more great cameos we've missed? Please add your suggestions below...

Author: Adam Lee Davies, Paul Fairclough and Tom Huddleston



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