Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spotlight On: Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was one of the greatest actors of all time. I have only seen a handful of his movies, but I don't need to see them all to know that he is fantastic in everything that he was in. He has this effortless acting talent, and is just really great to watch. Here are some of my favorite Marlon Brando roles/ movies.

The Men (1950)

Marlon Brando stars in this movie as a paraplegic war veteran. He starts out angry and feeling sorry for himself, but soon sets out to get out of bed and into a wheelchair so that he can marry his fiance. Not bad for his first film role. Brando does a great job in this movie with making us feel for everything that he is going through. One of the most heartbreaking scenes is after he first gets married and he realizes that his wife feels that she made a mistake. The two of them do get together at the end though, but how could you know when the guy is Marlon Brando? Back in the 1950s he was beauuuuuutiful! I couldn't find a video that I could embed, but you can watch a clip of the movie HERE

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

The role that first started getting Marlon Brando some notice was Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. It is one of his most well-known roles, and certainly his sexiest. What's interesting about him in this movie is that he plays such an aweful character, but for some reason you just can't hate him. He is a bully and a complete jerk, and actually turns out to be a rapist, but he still he makes you swoon. Instead of sympathizing with Blanche and hating Stanley, you end up getting annoyed with Blanche and falling for Stanley.

Now nothing against Vivien Leigh, but as you can see, as soon as Marlon Brando steps on screen you forget about Blanche and it's all about Stanley...

The Wild One (1953)

Nothing says 1950's badassery like a dude on a motorcycle. Marlon Brando is great as Johnny, the leader of the biker gang Black Rebels Motorcycle club. Everytime my interest in this movie started to wane even a little, it perked back up as soon as Brando was on the screen. Plus, that close-up at the end when he is looking at the girl and grins just gave me butterflies...

On The Waterfront (1954)

This is the role that won Marlon Brando his first Oscar, which he absolutely deserved for his portrayal of Terry Malloy, a former boxer who falls in love with the sister of a man he helped get killed. He is stricken with guilt and shame and wants to tell the truth, but can't because he doesn't want to rat on his brother or the people his brother works for.

This is also the movie where he delivers one of his most famous speeches.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Whouda thunk that Marlon Brando would be in a musical? He's not the best singer in the world, but he is great as Sky Masterson, a gambler who falls for a mission worker. This movie is proof, though, that Brando could be in any kind of movie....

The Godfather (1972)

Now we fast-forward twenty years to when he played mob boss Vito Corleone in The Godfather. This is probably the role that most people identify him with, and it also won him his second Oscar. There are two reasons that the first Godfather movie is my favorite and they are that 1. I love James Caan as Sonny and 2. I love love love Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.

Superman (1978)

Even though he has a very small role in this movie as Superman's father Jor-El, he still delivers a memorable performance. They even used the footage from this movie and put it in the most recent Superman movie.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

In Apocalypse Now, Brando delivers what is probably his creepiest performance as Col. Kurtz. Martin Sheen's character is sent to kill him, and he lives with all of these people who worship him like a god. Even though a majority of the movie discusses him, you don't actually see him until the last half hour of the movie, and when he is on screen he speaks very softly and is covered by shadows.

So there you have it, photos and clips showcasing some of the greatest performances from one of the greatest actors of all time. Although I have no desire to have lived in the 50s, it would have been great to have been alive when Marlon Brando was young and good-looking. Not only was he a very gifted and versatile actor, but he was incredibly handsome and sexy!


  1. I love Marlon Brando and I believe your showcase and commentary did him great justice. I enjoyed it , thanks!

  2. i love brando...hats off to the veteran actor..the immortal GODFATHER..

  3. i have watched all of his movies
    i love him, and as his fan you gotta watch young lions,

  4. Forgot only two more worth mentioning but their exclusion does this list great detriment. Last Tango in Paris (his greatest, deepest rooted and most disturbing performances) and Caesar... if for nothing else to showcase his ability to successfully pull off Shakespeare. Even today many people in theatre and film circles believe Shakespeare should be left to the Brits. Especially back then when you've got Laurence Olivier pretty much solely holding down the fort. The fact that Brando took on Marc Antony and really nails it is of the utmost performance. Also you might want to consider The Score (even though it wasn't very good) because it was his last film. Aside from those films, its a nice little spotlight.