21 of the Best Debut Performances in Movie History
A lot of actors spend decades honing their craft, toiling away in bit parts to the point that your Ian McKellans and Judi Denches don’t land on the global pop-culture radar until they’re well into their golden years. It must be real annoying for them when your Natalie Portmans and Jennifer Lawrences knock it out of the park on their first try. Then again, there are hidden gems known off-Broadway or on Australian soap operas as heavy hitters but don’t make their film debuts later in life, prompting everyone to cry, “Holy shit, where did this guy come from?”
For example, as Redditor Helloimafanoffiction recently pointed out, Richard E. Grant, who was 30 by the time he made his debut in Withnail & I, “brought the perfect amount of arrogance to the role but was still likable so we didn’t hate the character.” They then asked r/Movies, “What’s the best acting debut you’ve ever seen in a movie?” and Reddit reminisced about child prodigies, many future Oscar-winners and one so nice he debuted twice.