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Foreign Actors Who Totally Bamboozled Us With Perfect American Accents

Updated June 14, 2019 26.8k views15 items

Is the American accent hard to perfect? For most of the people on our list of actors doing American accents, the answer is no. For others, though, it's near impossible.

Hollywood is all about faking it, and that extends to actors faking American accents. Some of the actors doing American accents on our list (like Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street and Christian Bale as Batman) have even better accents than actual Americans. And then... some of them do not (sorry, Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules). 

For a lot of actors and actresses, their fake American accents are perfected with the help of dialect coaches. Yet for some, like Toni Collette, it's all about "a misspent youth watching too much American television," as she told USA Today. Regardless of whether an actor nails the accent or not people, fans will always debate their performance, as was evidenced by the split reviews of Benedict Cumberbatch's Boston accent in Black Mass. We'll let you be the judge of that one. 

So take a look at our list of actors doing American accents and feel free to leave your own critique of whether they nailed it or not. 

 
Photo:
  • Christian Bale
    Photo: Asim Bharwani / Flickr
    According to his IMDB page, Christian Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK, but Bale nails the American accent in movies like American Psycho and The Dark Knight
  • Toni Collette
    Photo: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    Australian actress Toni Collette hasn't just mastered her American accent - she's mastered various ones, including Southern, Midwestern, and New York accents for her show United States of Tara. As reported by USA Today, "Collette [sic] has never worked with a dialect coach on the show. She credits her uncanny — and Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning — ability to inhabit thoroughly Yankee characters so convincingly to 'a misspent youth watching too much American television.'"

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  • According to the Telegraph, audiences were split over Benedict Cumberbatch's Boston accent in Black Mass. As reported, "US film-goers discussing Black Mass on Twitter variously described Cumberbatch’s accent as 'cringeworthy,' 'horrible,' and 'the WORST Boston accent ever.'"

    But others felt he had mastered it. For example, "John McCarthy, a linguistics expert from the University of Massachusetts, said Cumberbatch had mastered the notoriously tricky Boston vowels."

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  • Michael Caine
    Photo: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock
    Michael Caine is known for his voice - not so much for his American accent. As the Guardian reported following Caine's role in The Cider House Rules, "Michael Caine has presence and style, but his American accent sounds like he's doing an impression of Loyd Grossman's Canadian mother-in-law."