20 Times An Actor Revived Their Career With A Single Role

List Rules
Vote up the best comeback roles in an actor's career.

Roles can make or break an actor's career and today, we're focusing on the positives. Whether it's Ryan Reynolds resurfacing in Deadpool or Sean Connery celebrating a beastlike resume, here's some acting roles that vamped up an actor's career.

All answers courtesy of this lovely thread on r/movies.


  • 1
    1,924 VOTES

    Bryan Cranston

    From Redditor u/Jord-UK:

    Bryan Cranston—Walter White. No role could have offered such a perfect platform to show his range and make him employable for the rest of his life.

    With Malcolm having ended, it would have been easy for Cranston to slip into obscurity until retirement, which isn’t exactly the end of a career but likely a steady pay decrease going forward. One thing is for sure, without Breaking Bad, we’d be wondering, "Whatever happened to Hal? He was great.”

    1,924 votes
  • 2
    2,671 VOTES

    Robert Downey Jr.

    From Redditor u/mathemon:

    RDJ talkers in here haven't seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That's what saved him. It got him Iron Man.

    2,671 votes
  • 3
    2,703 VOTES

    Brendan Fraser

    From Redditor u/farmergirl301:

    Well it's not a lock yet but I'm hoping Brendan Fraser's career resurgence continues. I'm going to see The Whale when it hits the theaters. If we go out to support him, the dumb***es in Hollywood will see that he's still a big box office draw and continue to cast him.

    2,703 votes
  • 4
    1,966 VOTES

    Ryan Reynolds

    From Redditor u/ranting80:

    Call me crazy but Ryan Reynolds wasn't looking too good after Green Lantern hit. I was honestly worried about him since I'm a huge fan of the comedic style he has and used on Van Wilder.

    I think if he hadn't made Deadpool, he may have been in trouble.

    From Redditor u/jrob801:

    He was kind of dying even before Green Lantern. He had lost steam as the rom-com guy, and despite being great in a couple of action flicks (Amityville and X-Men Origins), they didn't do much to boost his career. But Green Lantern was definitely the death blow. His biggest claim to fame between 2011 and 2016 was starring in a couple of Dreamworks animated films.

    He was DONE.

    1,966 votes
  • 5
    1,552 VOTES

    Josh Brolin

    From Redditor u/rhrowaway020882:

    Only Goonies fans knew who Josh Brolin was until he made a comeback 20 years later.

    From Redditor u/Redjeezy:

    And then he did No Country for Old Men. What a f***ing home run that was!

    1,552 votes
  • 6
    1,123 VOTES

    John Travolta And Christoph Waltz

    From Redditor u/kleptophobiac:

    Yeah, John Travolta has a f***ing airport at his house because of Pulp Fiction.

    Incidentally, I remember listening to an interview after Christoph Waltz had been nominated for a second time for a Quentin movie, and he gracefully expressed his appreciation for Tarantino finding him and giving him better opportunities, but also said, "He gave me my break, but he didn't give me my craft," and I thought that was a great way of making that point.

    1,123 votes