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Actors’ And Actresses’ Signature On-Screen Moves

Updated July 29, 2019 4.1k votes 722 voters 44.7k views16 items

List RulesVote up the moves you always expect from the stars.

Becoming a movie star is a strange, mysterious process, achieved through equal parts talent, luck, and hard work. So, when an actor discovers success in their careers, it's not too surprising that they often do whatever they can to replicate that success. Sometimes, that means integrating particular quirks into their performances, and other times, that means adding entire scenes that allow them to showcase their particular talents.

Whether it's Tom Cruise running through New York City, and then Dubai, and then Moscow, and then Rome, and then every other city in every movie for the rest of his career, or it's Brad Pitt stuffing his face with ice cream and French fries and sandwiches to give his character a vulnerable relatability film after film, it's surprising how many stars have recurring quirks and habits that pop up so frequently they become their trademark. Here's a look at some actors' signature moves that they seem to repeat in a truly surprising number of movies.

  • While many actors have weird little quirks or types of characters they like to play, Tom Hanks's recurring signature move is truly baffling because it involves him urinating in movies over and over again, in a way that is almost always integral to the plot of the film. Hanks's taking the world's longest pee is how he's introduced in A League of Their Own, and it's how he ends a meeting with John F. Kennedy in Forrest Gump. In Apollo 11, an entire segment of the film explains the process of how Hanks will be able to pee in space.

    Hanks's urinary habits played a role in The Money Pit, The Burbs, Castaway, and Road To Perdition, and it begs the question as to whether or not he's searching for movies that involve him peeing or if the scenes are getting added in to movies after he's signed on. Just look at The Green Mile - not only is his central character obstacle a prostate problem but after he gets his condition magically alleviated, there's a very long and uncomfortable close-up on his face as he urinates without pain for the first time in forever. It's a central premise to the film's plot.

    • Age: 65
    • Birthplace: Concord, CA
    Is this their go-to move?
  • If you're looking for a comic actor who uses goofy, adorable shimmy-dancing to convey her own lovable, dorky relatability, look no further than Cameron Diaz. If her movies are any indication, Diaz loves to dance, and often she loves to do so when she is by herself, listening to music and singing along when she thinks no one's watching. And she's also often in her underwear.

    Just look at how her character Natalie is essentially introduced in Charlie's Angels, dancing around her apartment in beige slacks to "U Can't Touch This," or later in the same film, when she's dancing in what looks like children's underoos to "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel." She dances, shimmies, and sings by herself in an empty house in Holiday, and she's got multiple goofy dance scenes in The Sweetest Thing. That's not even mentioning the various (more traditional) dance scenes in The Mask, What To Expect When You're Expecting, Charlie's Angels II: Full Throttle, and even Gangs of New York.

    • Age: 49
    • Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America
    Is this their go-to move?
  • No one's laugh can chill you to the bone quite like the inimitable, erudite British chuckle of Tim Curry. Typically, the polite laugh is a precursor to some nefarious deed or thinly veiled threat, but he delivers it with the posh, mannered charm of a high society monster. Whether he's playing a mobster, a pirate, or the Devil himself, the acclaimed actor's unsettling laugh will always make your skin crawl.

    Curry's laugh is used to particularly great effect as Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, Roger Corwin in Charlie's Angels, and even Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It and Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show get in some creepy chuckles.

    • Age: 75
    • Birthplace: Grappenhall, United Kingdom
    Is this their go-to move?
  • A forceful, authoritative finger point can command anyone's attention, and no one knows this better than Harrison Ford. Looking back over his career, Ford has repeatedly used the power of his accusatorial index finger to wither his scene partners by aggressively pointing in their direction to make sure they know he means business.

    Indiana Jones points at his father, Henry (Sean Connery), while lecturing him in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Han Solo points threateningly at Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Dr. Richard Kimble angrily points at his interrogators after getting detained in The Fugitive. Truly, his finger seems to pop up in nearly every movie. The gesture even earned its own nickname among Ford's fans: the "Finger of Doom!"

    • Age: 79
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    Is this their go-to move?