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The Greatest Performance on Film


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I love so many performances, I go with tear jerkers, I also go for classic tear jerkers, but usually the build up, the story, the scene, the camera angles, the looks, more than GREAT acting evokes all the sentiment ( which I don't mind at all... love those movies to DEATH.) However, Sally Fields in Steel Magnolia's is such a completely well portrayed, natural performance- and her emotion at the cemetery, with all her friends surrounding her, following her as she virtually breaks down and says all the things we feel when we lose a child or immediate family member but don't feel it's proper to say. I geuss because my brother died and I saw my mom go through that same turmoil- she just seems exactly like my mom, and that is how natural and believable she is. I am always blown away at how you feel your intruding on someone's private grief when you watch that scene. I basically haven't watched that movie in years bacause that scene is so emotionally draining bringing back floods of memories. Great great performance .

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That's an easy choice for me.


I've always thought that OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND and VIVIEN LEIGH gave two of the greatest of all time:


1. Olivia in THE SNAKE PIT ('48) and THE HEIRESS ('49).




And, of course, over the years both of them gave many other remarkable performances in films too numerous to mention. Never a question to me as to their greatness in the above-mentioned roles.


Among the actors, I have no immediate favorite but Cagney, Stewart,Gable and Olivier gave some mighty impressive performances in a varied list of films.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I don't think I'm qualified to guess the greatest performances ever, but here are some of my favorites.


Vivien Leigh-A Streetcar Named Desire. I was completely floored when I first saw this one. Right away in that opening shot of her coming through the smoke from the train, I just knew this was going to be special. (She's wonderful in anything she's in including Waterloo Bridge, Anna Karenina and GWTW)


Jane Wyamn-The Yearling. I have to admit that before seeing this, I had never considered Ms. Wyman a great actress. But, boy, did she prove me wrong here. This performance is so heartbreaking...it just moves me every time I see it. She never hits a false note and her character's transformation from a cold, bitter woman to a warm and loving mother is done with such subtlety and realism...astonishing.


Greer Garson-The Miniver Story. I know this is a very unconventional choice for Ms. Garson since this isn't one of her best remembered films, but I think it's her finest performance. There's just something about it that is so beautiful thought I can't really explain it. Just a wonderful and touching portrayal that is another addition to her many, MANY terrific performances.


Anne Baxter-The Razor's Edge. Absolutely heartwrenching performance here. I was mightily impressed by Baxter here and this one stayed with me for quite a while. I was so impressed with her big drunk scene. I feel many actresses would have gone overboard here, but her characterization is perfect...not too over the top but still very convincing. Beautiful.


I have many others, but I think I've talked enough:)

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