17 Times Major Movie Stars Played Characters That Barely Speak

Over 300 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 17 Times Major Movie Stars Played Characters That Barely Speak
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Vote up the performances that make a big impact with hardly any dialogue.

Actors have many tools at their disposal to convey a character’s thoughts and emotions. The power of nonverbal expression opens up the possibility for roles, or even entire movies, with little or no dialogue, where audiences can follow along just as easily as if there were.

Despite how effectively actors can perform without dialogue, it's still surprising when a major movie star takes on a role that gives them very little to say. However, these roles often pay off with acclaim and awards nominations acknowledging how well the actors perform under that restriction. Here are some of the best performances by big stars that don’t involve too much talking.

  • Keanu Reeves In 'John Wick: Chapter 4'
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Keanu Reeves shows his range in a variety of leading roles, from the airhead goofball of the Bill and Ted series to the stoic former assassin in John Wick. In fact, Reeves is so invested in preserving Wick's reserved nature that he cut a lot of his own dialogue from John Wick: Chapter 4. After the rewrites, Reeves was left with only 380 words to say throughout the course of the movie.

    245 votes
  • Kurt Russell is a very charismatic actor and proved himself to be the perfect leading man in action movies like Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China. Fans of those movies were probably surprised when Russell’s leading role in the film Soldier didn’t give him a chance to show off his charming personality. His character, Todd 3465, is chosen as an orphaned child to be trained for combat and nothing else. Russell ends up saying only 104 words in the entire film, though gives a perfect portrayal of an emotionless, hardened fighter.

    231 votes
  • A Quiet Place is true to its name, with only about 25 lines of dialogue spoken throughout the film. Instead, Emily Blunt and her co-stars communicate largely through sign language to avoid being eaten by the sound-tracking monsters of the film. Those familiar with Blunt's performances in musicals like Into the Woods or action movies full of snappy dialogue like Jungle Cruise may worry about missing out on her full talents. However, A Quiet Place offers Blunt, along with the entire cast, a chance to shine without using her voice.

    170 votes
  • It’s hard to even narrow down the roles Tom Hanks has played across his storied Hollywood career, but one of the most distinguished is his role as Chuck Noland in the movie Cast Away. Based on the premise of Noland getting stranded on a deserted island, it makes sense that Cast Away is low on dialogue. Still, the dialogue increases once Noland creates his friend Wilson the Volleyball, and the film creates many memorable quotes

    210 votes
  • When viewers think of Johnny Depp, they probably picture over-the-top, theatrical performances like the perpetually drunk yet somehow still clever Jack Sparrow, or the naively optimistic Ed Wood. However, in Edward Scissorhands, Depp’s performance is far more restrained despite his outrageous appearance. Edward says fewer than 150 words - fewer than Depp had during his brief cameo as the Wolf in Into the Woods. Nevertheless, Depp manages to make Edward sympathetic and memorable with very little speech.

    238 votes
  • Unlike previous incarnations of the character, Mad Max: Fury Road gives audiences a Max who is much more removed from society. Tom Hardy’s take on the character feel almost feral, and he speaks only 52 lines throughout the film. Audiences expecting something like Hardy’s witty remarks from Inception or his bombastic Bane from The Dark Knight Rises may have been surprised to see how understated his performance was in Fury Road. Although Hardy shares the spotlight with Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, he delivers a solid leading performance with few words.

    202 votes