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Casting is one of the most important factors to get right when making a film; good actors saying bad lines can save a script (see Sir Ian McKellen in X-Men: The Last Stand); whereas bad actors working with a good script can come close to ruining a film completely (I refer you to Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral).

It’s a joy for the audience to watch when a film manages to gather the perfect cast of actors for the roles.

Here then are ten of the most perfectly cast films.

10) Stand By Me

Stand By Me1 585x366 Top Ten Perfectly Cast Films

Child casting is notoriously difficult to get right. Often lauded as the greatest decade to grow up in when it came to films; the 80s saw a huge number of popular children’s films. Naturally The Goonies comes to mind immediately; an everlasting favourite for everyone now in their thirties, its nostalgic charm is completely unrivalled. However, it’s Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me which is completely unsurpassed when it comes to casting a group of youngsters.

Following the tragic death of River Phoenix it is often heralded as the example to demonstrate just what a raw talent he was. Reiner once said that when he turned the camera on, Phoenix “just told the truth”; it’s hard to argue with as it is undoubtedly one of the finest child performances of all time. He shines in a group where all four of the lead boys play it to perfection.

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  • C.

    My love for The Apartment is inexplicable.

  • bob

    Red state

  • Philippa Chapman


  • Kenji Lloyd

    Couldn’t agree with you more!!

  • Dennis Arthur

    Ithiink you forgot Jamie Foxx as Ray. It was uncanny.

  • wiran

    how about Magnolia..? then there’s The Dark Knight (Batman Begins got the same problem as 4 Weddings and a Funeral with Katie Holmes being MIS-cast as Rachel Dawes..she’s just too LITE-WEIGHT). Pulp Fiction also comes to mind, if we’re talkin’ bout PERFECT CASTING.

    Others… GoodFellas, Alien, The Godfather (1 & 2, of course), The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Bourne trilogy, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Untouchables, marvel’s The Avengers, Scarface (83), Heat, The Women (the original one), Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz…and many more.

  • Laura Probst

    Thank you for acknowledging the perfection that was Christopher Reeve as Superman. No other actor can come close to embodying the All-American nature he exuded as the superhero as well as the bumbling, genuine sweetness he exhibited as his alter ego, Clark Kent.

  • Ian

    Where. Is. JAWS!!!!!

  • andreas

    gangs of new york, the warrior, 6th sense, fight club,

  • jemjean

    When I saw the top 10 films of the 1980s, I knew the person reviewing these films doesn’t have a clue. Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom? Really? Anyone who’d seen the first four could have told you it was a piece of trash. Wow. I need to start my own page.

  • Kevin

    The Lord of the Rings was definitely cast perfectly.

  • BD

    To say the child casing of “Stand By Me” is “unsurpassed” is to never have watched “The Rabbit-Proof Fence.”

  • abepaul

    Back to the Future cast & my all time favorite, John Carpenter’s The Thing (1985). Out of shape, bearded men, elderly and perfectly cast for their roles.

  • Joe

    Christopher Reeve was terrific as Superman, but when it comes to perfectly-cast superheroes, it’s pretty hard to top the casting of Patrick Stewart as Professor X in the X-Men films.

  • Jaunte

    Yes it is. Its a great film!

  • Sandra

    Rory Culkin et al in Mean Creek – excellent ensemble of kids.

  • Jamie

    Goes without saying to be honest but pulp fiction.

  • kingbeans22

    gangs of new york!!!!

  • kingbeans22

    and hackman as lex luther!!!

  • neophile

    The Matrix!!!!

  • ali-EN

    What about the casting of “The Usual Suspects” or “Reservoir Dogs”?

  • carolinagirl

    Glengarry Glenn Ross! Talk about perfect casting for a large group! Nice mention of LA Confidential. Platoon. One more; The Seven Year Itch.

  • Smooth just like…

    Jamie Foxx in Ray. By the end of the film you forget you’re actually watching an actor instead of Ray Charles himself.

  • Wesjet

    Usual Suspects is my number 1, stephen baldwin was incredible

  • bobfrombc

    “The Right Stuff” had great casting (esp Ed Harris).

  • rowan

    Except they gelled immediately for the series, too.

  • fxaxrx

    How many were there? Temple of Doom was still better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Probably by a mile but ToD is still way down on the list of good movies.

  • fxaxrx

    the thing was ’82, nonetheless, a very great cast.

  • mattcurr

    dont forget Gilbert Gottfried in Alladin as the parrot!!!

  • dale

    You’re killin’ me Smalls! Sandlot should be on this list!

  • Ixus

    Snatch, The Thing, Inglorious Basterds, The Ninth Gate…. I could really do this all day.

  • Supersonic

    Don’t forget “Casino” (brilliant casting… plus top notch soundtrack). Or “Always” (Holly Hunter, Goodman, Dreyfus). Or Predator (the first one).

  • Supersonic

    Agreed. Good casting.

  • Supersonic

    Good pickup! What about “Seven”??

  • Supersonic

    Gladiator, Casino, Seven, Heat, Manhunter, Always, Sin City… Perfect casting. Even “Avengers” does a pretty good job at putting a good cast together.

  • epic

    Rdj on ironman

  • Amaurik

    Where is the godfather!!?

  • Bob Wilson

    Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone

  • Sin

    Would like to mention Clancy Brown for his role as The Kurgan in Highlander. As much as the chemistry between Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery was sublime to watch, I think it’s Clancy Brown’s role that made the whole thing come to life. I would like to see any actor even come close to the absolute perfection he brought to that role, and I’m dreading seeing if the character is included in the remake. For me, it’s one of the few perfect characters that should never be attempted by any other human being. But then, I also feel that was about Christopher Reeve’s Superman. A mention also for Brandon Lee’s Crow; that’s another that I don’t think will ever be improved upon.

  • Alan Franzman

    Have to disagree here; Hackman and most of the others were poor choices. Christopher Reeve saved the film(s).

  • Pup Ruff

    They did. Even on the series they were family with each other.

  • Brian Schwatka

    Bridge Too Far best War Flick cast.

  • Philippa

    Serenity – perfectly cast movie and not a wasted word of dialogue.

  • aeryn

    All About Eve? Bette Davis, Celeste Holm, Anne Baxter, Thelma Ritter, George Sanders and a very young Marilyn Monroe, among the cast. Hello, it surely is better than Lost in Translation–what a snooze.

  • illusion

    exactly, couldn’t think anyone else besides reeves,fishburne or moss doing their parts.

  • taxpayingunit

    I know this is reaching back a ways, and there don’t seem to be any films of the genre mentioned, but The Green Berets seemed to me an example of casting people in roles they seemed to be made for, or vice versa. I believe it would qualify to be billed as an all star cast, since most of the principals were, but they all were stars for a reason.

  • Chief Brody


  • David Sanders

    “Not only is it the greatest example of physical dedication to a film” talking about the cAsting for raging bull, but I diasagree Christian bale in the machinist is the greatest example of phyical dedication to a film he got himself down to under 100 lbs he literally emancipated himself for the role

  • Tommy James

    superman so far has been the worst super hero franchise made. All corny as well

  • Beeyex174

    All the villains in the batman movies and Michael Keaton as batman

  • Karl36

    You left off “From Here to Eternity.”
    Beside all the awards won, Montgomery Clift was robbed from being recognized.

  • Karl36

    I would also include “Picnic.” Great casting.
    Arthur O’Connell was superb

  • DRG

    Pulp Fictiooooooooooon!

  • DRG

    He emancipated himself for the role? Literally huh? Was he a minor? Or under some sort of political yoke before this was filmed? I don’t think you’re old enough to participate in intelligent discussion.

  • Drew Humphrey

    the GOONIES

  • Joe Boyko

    No Grumpy old Men? I was a little surprised to not see it on this list. Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Burgess Meredith were all perfectly cast and complimented each other very well. Oh well. Top ten lists are pretty subjective by design. Still a good overall list though.

  • big d

    UHHH…..the best cast movie ever was “The Wizard of OZ” Perfect cast, perfect script, perfect costumes, perfect music…….etc!!

  • sunswod

    Inconceivable! How in the world could they leave out The Princess Bride?!?

  • Bob

    lion king had vocal acting a thousand times better and more memorable than Aladdin the lion king was perfectly cast from Mathew brodrick to nathan lane and who can for get mr bean as zazu the singing and even plain speaking were absolutely amazing.

  • Jim

    Black hawk down!

  • Mark Harding

    George C. Scott as Gen. George S. Patton, magnificent.

  • Ed Lawrence

    What? Goodfellas and The Godfather?

  • Alex Exley

    put it on one page. i’m done clicking.

  • Mr. Q


    Pulp FIction??? Samuel L. Jackson, Travolta, Willis, Tim Roth, Uma Turman, Havey Keitel, Christopher Walken?

    Reservoir Dogs? Steve Buscemi, Havey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Chris Penn?

    Inglorious Bastards? Christopher Waltz!! Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth?

    True Romance? Slater, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore?

    Django Unchained? Samuel L. Jackson, Leo DiCaprio, Christopher Waltz?

  • Anders

    Lord of the rings is the definition of a perfectly cast film. And the grown up parts in Harry potter is also great.

  • Trish Mcfadden

    Come on man, where’s The Departed, Django Unchained, Monster’s Inc., True Grit, Inception…

  • Arush Mehra

    How can you not include Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark??
    And also cast of The Hangover??

  • Michael

    No ‘Cool Hand Luke’ = fail

  • 21melpomene

    The Green Mile–there was not one weak link in that chain. NOT ONE.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Good list.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Back to the Future and The Thing would be worthy additions to this list.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    I’m surprised Breakfast Club isn’t on here. Did I skip over it or something? Seems like the epitome of cast/character matching. Most of Hughes’ films are expertly cast.

  • Brent Snyder

    Where is The Goonies?

  • yup

    pirates of the Caribbean?

  • Oldskool2814

    The fact that Jaws is not on this list invalidates it.

  • Momus

    Some of those characters were so iconic they far exceed the fame of the movie itself.

    Jack Lemon’s down on his luck salesman was turned into a regular on The Simpsons for years and most people probably never even realized where the character came from.

    The speech from Alec Baldwin has been parodied and “homaged” dozens of times.

  • Aaron Watson

    Who could? Who, sweet Jesus, could?

  • jayman419

    “Aladdin” wasn’t perfectly cast.. Aladdin himself, Jasmine, Jafar… they could have been anybody. It was a serviceable cast with one stand-out. Robin Williams was very good in it. But the credit for “give him the mike and wait for the magic” doesn’t go to Disney… it would be the people who did “Ferngully” and cast him as Batty Koda.

    And if you look at the rest of that cast, “Ferngully” should easily have taken that spot. Tim Curry as the bad guy, Christian Slater, Tone Loc, Cheech and Chong… yet some how never letting it seem like stunt casting. And Samantha Mathis (who has had a good career) and Jonathan Ward (the kid in the wheelchair from “MAC & Me”) did a better job as the leads, too.