Sometimes the most memorable characters in movies aren’t always the lead roles but just a small side character or cameo can steal the show!
Just think about Boba Fett in the Star Wars saga, Bill Murray in Zombieland, or how about the three-breasted woman from Total Recall?
Some of these characters only have to be on screen for less than 30 seconds, but they leave a lasting effect!
Arthur Denton (Bill Murray) – Little Shop of Horrors
It’s always good to see Bill Murray no matter how small the role. In this cameo, Murray plays a patient that gets off on pain, which is just as well because Steve Martin’s dentist is pure evil!
Bixby “I’d Buy That For a Dollar” Snyder – Robocop
If you love 80s sci-fi then I’m sure you’ll remember Robocop’s own version of Benny Hill – Bixby Snyder. Bixby was the host of “It’s Not My Problem”. It’s a running joke throughout the film and features along with the many satirical tv clips, ads, and newscasts. His memorable and meme-worthy catchphrase was “I’d buy that for a dollar!” usually caressing his sexy female co-hosts because the #MeToo movement hadn’t happened in this dystopian vision of the future.
“Good Actor” (Charlton Heston) – Wayne’s World 2
In one of the final scenes, Wayne stops off for directions to Gordon Street at a gas station but is unimpressed by the characters acting abilities. So they bring in Charlton Heston who brilliantly gives directions with a beautiful moving story too!
Hulk Hogan – Gremlins 2: The New Batch
If you loved WWE (WWF in them days) way back in the 80s then Hulk Hogan was the face of wrestling.
This is a totally random scene in an already crazy movie. The Gremlins kind of break the fourth wall and mess with the film and Hulk Hogan who is also watching the film with us in the theatre gets up and demands the gremlins put the film back on.
The Cairo Swordsman (Terry Richards) – Raiders of the Lost Ark
One of the shortest roles ever but again so memorable. The Cairo (or Arab) Swordsman in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” tries to intimidate Indy with his fancy sword skills, only for Indy to gun him down in an instant.
Unicron (Orson Welles) – Transformers: The Movie (The decent one)
This sadly was Orson Welles final part before he passed away. He provided the voice of the evil gargantuan planet-eating transformer – Unicron. A voice can be a cameo too, just ask Sigourney Weaver!
Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) – Tropic Thunder
This cameo role of Les Grossman shined a new light on Tom Cruise’s career after many years of being dogged for the cringy appearance on Oprah where he declared his love for Katie Holmes and we all know how that worked out! Such a great role and played so well. Tom only took the part if he could have huge hands and forearms!
The Sax Player (Tim Capello) – The Lost Boys
It’ crazy to think that such a tiny role would have so much impact. Tim Capello was a sax player for Tina Turner for over 14 years but is more remembered for this 30-second appearance in the 1987 vampire classic ‘The Lost Boys.’ Regularly attends conventions and has even got his own appreciation society.
Tom Cruise, Gweneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny Devito, John Travolta, and Steven Spielberg – Austin Powers in Goldmember
Tom Cruise once again proves he’s not afraid to spoof things up this time in the third installment of Austin Powers. Tom Cruise and a whole host of actors and a director gloriously portray the characters from the movie in a movie inside a movie!
Chuck Norris – Dodgeball
The legend that is Chuck Norris appears as a judge in the final event of Dodgeball. He doesn’t have a speaking role but the thumbs-up he gives the team says it all!
Captain Koons (Christopher Walken) – Pulp Fiction
Christopher Walken appears at the start of the boxer story and gives a great monologue to a young Bruce Willis about the story of his dad’s watch and the lengths he went to all to keep it safe. This included hiding it up his own ass so his son could have it if he was killed in action in Vietnam. The story has a great impact on the boy and plays a big role in this part of the movie.
The Three-Breasted Lady (Lycia Naff) – Total Recall
Now if you were a teenage boy in the 1990s then one scene, in particular, will stand out in Total Recall and that is the brief glimpse of the three-breasts of the prostitute on Mars.
The Hare Krishna Zombie (Mike Christopher) – Dawn of the Dead
Obviously not a speaking role but a stand out zombie in a stellar zombie movie.
Speaking of zombies, we are back with Bill Murray…
Bill Murray – Zombieland
Was anyone expecting Bill Murray to make a cameo playing himself pretending to a zombie in a zombie film? No, but once again its an excellent part and probably the best part of the movie. It’s just a shame he gets killed as I would have actually had him join the team.
Blake (Alec Baldwin) – Glengarry Glen Ross
Alec Baldwin proves how good an actor he really is in the small part. It’s only one scene but it stole the whole movie. Always be closing!
David Bowie – Zoolander
Another Ben Stiller film featuring a special judge. This time it’s the Thin White Dukes turn where he appears judging the ‘walk-off’ between rival models Derek and Hansel (Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson).
I would also choose David Bowie playing Nikola Tesla in The Prestige as well.
Taxi Passenger (Martin Scorsese) – Taxi Driver
A rather dark part for director Martin Scorsese where he plays one of Travis Bickles (Robert De Niro) taxi passengers whos out for revenge on his cheating wife.
Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) – Scream
We weren’t expecting the most famous person in this mid 90’s slasher to be killed off in the first scene. Barrymore played Casey Becker who was the first victim of the movie which included the famous “What’s your favorite movie” line. Apparently Barrymore was originally cast as the lead role but had to turn it down as her busy schedule at the time couldn’t allow it!
Taxi Guy (Kevin Bacon) – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Kevin Bacon plays the guy who is racing Neal Page (Steve Martin) for the next available taxi. Page ultimately fails when he trips over Del Griffiths (John Candy) huge trunk case!
Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) – Coming to America
This is where Trading Places and Coming to America have a weird crossover where Randolph and Mortimer Duke who were left bankrupt and homeless after their evil ways in Trading Places. They appear here as two homeless men that Eddie Murphy gives a huge wad of cash too and Randolph says “Mortimer we’re back!”
The Robot – Rocky IV
Yes, you did read that right… A robot in Rocky IV, a film about boxing! The robot is a present for Rocky’s brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young). Having a robot in the movie seemed crazy, but the real heartwarming reason the robot even appears in the movie was that Sylvester Stallone was using the robot to work with his son Seargeoh who was autistic. At the time Stallone was going through a divorce so to keep his kids close he wrote Sage Stallone in to play the part of Rocky’s son and Seargeoh could also be on set with the robot.
Thunder Master (Carter Wong) who blows up in rage – Big Trouble in Little China
The Chinese warrior who kills himself when he gets so furious he ends up blowing himself up and exploding.
TJ “King” Kong (Slim Pickens) – Dr. Strangelove
This is such a great scene that has been parodied quite a lot including in the Simpsons. It’s the ultimate death scene where Slim Pickens can’t get the bomb to release so jumps on it to free it and then ultimately rides the nuclear bomb like a bucking bronco right into the apocalypse. It’s such an iconic scene!
The Director (Sigourney Weaver )- The Cabin in the Woods
Sigourney appears in the final scene to appeal to Dana to kill Marty and complete the ritual and spare humanity.
Boba Fett – Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi
This is the character that made me write this article. Boba Fett is my all-time favorite character from the Star Wars saga (Although Baby Yoda is a close second!)
He’s only on screen for a few minutes but he became such a stand out character not just for me but for lots of people. It’s just a shame we thought he’d died so pathetically.