Skip Nav
Game of Thrones
It's 100% Normal to Hum the Game of Thrones Theme While Looking at the Season 7 Pictures
Stars on the Set
Riverdale: Veronica Is in a Wedding Dress, Archie's in a Kilt, and We're Very Confused
Corinne Olympios
Bachelor in Paradise: Everything That Happened After Season 4 Was Suspended

Another List to Ponder: The Onion's 19 Best One-Scene Wonders

Another List to Ponder: The Onion's 19 Best One-Scene Wonders

We all know that a movie role doesn't have to require tons of screen time in order to make a big impression. Just look at some past Oscar nominations, like Ruby Dee's nod for her role in American Gangster, which was brief but powerful. Or even some Oscar wins, like Judi Dench's score for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. Well, in this, the Age of the Top-Whatever Lists, The Onion has compiled a list of "19 stellar one-scene wonders" (why not an even 20? I don't know).

I'd forgotten about many of the listed "wonders," though once my memory was refreshed, I got chills from some of them. For example, Charles Fleischer's short performance in Zodiac as one of the men suspected of being the Zodiac killer gave me the shivers as I recalled Jake Gyllenhaal being led down to Fleischer's character's creepy basement. And I never considered how little screen time Vanessa Redgrave actually has in Atonement because obviously her performance has a tremendous impact.

And there are the funny ones, too, like David Bowie's appearance in Zoolander and Janeane Garofalo's turn as the "serving wench Melinda" during the Medieval Times scene in The Cable Guy.

Are there other small (or smallish) roles that still left you reeling, or gasping for breath? To check out The Onion's list,


  1. Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
  2. Ray Charles, The Blues Brothers
  3. Pamela Anderson, Borat
  4. Dean Stockwell, Blue Velvet
  5. Janeane Garofalo, The Cable Guy
  6. David Letterman, Cabin Boy
  7. Billy Ray Cyrus, Mulholland Dr.
  8. Ned Beatty, Network
  9. Chris Rock, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
  10. Topher Grace, Ocean's Eleven
  11. David Spade, Reality Bites
  12. Sammy Davis Jr., Sweet Charity
  13. Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement
  14. Charlie Sheen, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  15. David Bowie, Zoolander
  16. John Carroll Lynch, Zodiac
  17. Charles Fleischer, Zodiac
  18. Samuel L. Jackson, Kill Bill Volume 2
  19. William Hurt, A History Of Violence

Source, source and source

Join The Conversation
magalaya magalaya 9 years
Vanessa Regrave was excellent in Atonement...EXCELLENT! And I loved Topher Grace in Ocean's 11 :)
northofantastic northofantastic 9 years
I STILL love Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller's Day Off!
elanakat elanakat 9 years
the "walk-off" scene with bowie in zoolander was AMAZING!
billyweeds billyweeds 9 years
"Boogie Nights" had not one but two great one-scene performances--Joanna Gleason as Wahlberg's monstrous mother and Alfred Molina as the loony druggie at the end.
DecemberBaby DecemberBaby 9 years
This list isn't so good. I must agree though with Vanessa in Antonement.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Where is Sean Connery at the end of Robin Hood? I FREAKED when i saw him?
Jinx Jinx 9 years
Pamela Anderson should not be on this list. Good Grief!
stephley stephley 9 years
They left out George Clooney's scene in the first Spy Kids movie - moms in the theater went nuts. It's the only reason I let my daughter drag me back a second time.
cynthiasolc cynthiasolc 9 years
I loved reality bites, I can't believe I forgot David Spade was in that movie. He was hilarious! And I quote, "Have a 'tude, weiner dude!"
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
dean stockwell in blue velvet FTW. when he sings into that utility light i have nightmares for a week.
bsobos1123 bsobos1123 9 years
I've seen Realty Bites a million times. Where was David Spade? Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller's Day Off was awesome.
cookingsomebacon cookingsomebacon 9 years
I never understood why everyone praised John Hurt's performance in "A History of Violence". I didn't think that movie was entirely interesting or spectacular. But I do have to agree with the consensus here, Charlie Sheen in Ferris was awesome!
siren6 siren6 9 years
Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller's Day Off? His best work ever.
divinedebris divinedebris 9 years
Oh, I love when Bowie showed up in Zoolander, I about jumped out of my chair giggling. He's just the coolest.
jspeed jspeed 9 years
David Spade was in Reality Bites?!
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I love the David Bowie scene in Zoolander! The Charlie Sheen cameo in Ferris Bueller was pretty good too...
fashion4ward fashion4ward 9 years
2 for Zodiac, hmmm...
Why Jon Hamm Hasn’t Become a Movie Star (Yet)
Noel Cruz's Doll-Repainting Instagram Account
How Harry Potter Saved Young Adult Fiction
The Greatest Showman Details
From Our Partners
Latest Entertainment
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds