The Greatest Celebrity Cameos in Film History
They say that to make it in Hollywood, it's all about who you know. This is made most apparent through the art of the movie cameo — a brief, often uncredited appearance from a famous person not already included in the main cast. From friends of the stars to culturally relevant (or irrelevant) celebrities to the movie directors themselves, a truly great cameo can stand out as one of the best scenes in an entire film.
Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein
Mel Brooks' seminal spooky satirical comedy, Young Frankenstein, follows the trials-and-errors of a young neurosurgeon who happens to be the grandson of the infamous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. Starring Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, the film is considered by many to be one of the greatest comedies to come out of the 20th century.
Alice Cooper and Chris Farley in Wayne's World
One of the earliest movies to come from a Saturday Night Live sketch, Wayne's World stars Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as the titular Wayne and his sidekick Garth respectively. The two play slackers who host a public access TV show in rural Illinois who suddenly make it big (to hilarious results, of course).
Hugh Jackman in X-Men: First Class
When the minds in charge of the X-Men series (pre-Disney's 20th Century Fox acquisition) announced they'd be making a series of prequels to the then-current trilogy of X-Men films, many were worried about the absence of the character that made the films worth watching more than any other: Hugh Jackman's Wolverine.
The News Anchor Street Fight in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy put actor Will Ferrel, film director Adam McKay, and the comedy's co-stars Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner on the map. Ron Burgundy is undoubtedly Will Ferrell's most notable role of the 21st century.
Bill Murray in the Zombieland Movies
With ten years between them, Zombieland and Zombieland: Double Tap provide a couple of glimpses at a world overrun by the undead and the cunning survivors who find ways to avoid succumbing to the deadly outbreak themselves. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, the movies are both zom-com hits.
Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, and Cate Blanchett in Hot Fuzz
The second installment in the Cornetto Trilogy, 2007's Hot Fuzz is one of several collaborations between Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. In this send-up of buddy cop comedies, Frost and Pegg play a pair of British cops who quickly uncover a vast and confounding conspiracy.
Emma Watson and The Backstreet Boys in This Is the End
Back in 2013, This Is the End seemed to be the comedy event of the century. What could be funnier than reuniting all of filmmaker and producer Judd Apatow's most famous actors to play themselves in a satirical apocalyptic thriller? As it turns out, the answer lies in the cameos.
The Show's Original Stars in 21 Jump Street
When Phil Lord and Chris Miller announced they'd be tackling the feature film adaptation of 80s TV series 21 Jump Street, reactions were mixed. However, once the film was released, it became clear that their take was much different than what fans had expected.
John Hurt in Spaceballs
Released several years after the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy, Mel Brooks' Spaceballs is a loving spoof of the trilogy of space operas that remains just as popular over forty years since its inception. The main cast is hilarious enough in their own right, but leave it to Brooks to bring in a great cameo.
Orson Welles in The Muppet Movie
Originally conceived as a series of comedic shorts for adults, Jim Henson's Muppets projects eventually became more suited for children instead of grown-ups. Still, the series prides itself on cameos for the adults in the audience. This is especially clear in The Muppet Movie.
Keanu Reeves in Always Be My Maybe
We're in the middle of a Keanu-ssance. A Reeves resurgence, if you will. After starring in a series of smash hits in the late 20th century and early 21st, Keanu Reeves has recently come back into the forefront of many minds, thanks in part to the John Wick films.
David Bowie and Billy Zane in Zoolander
One of arthouse filmmaker Terrence Malick's favorite movies ever, 2001's Ben Stiller vehicle Zoolander revels in the sheer number of cameos it manages to cram into its 90-minute runtime. A satire of the world of male modeling, Stiller stars alongside Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell in one of the goofiest movies to come from the decade.
Tom Cruise in Austin Powers in Goldmember
The third of three (perhaps eventually four) Austin Powers features, Goldmember is the height of this spy satire franchise's ridiculousness. Recycled jokes, exaggerated performances and witty wordplay are all things that fans expect from the Mike Myers' Austin Powers films, and they were all on full display in this movie.
Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction
Before Quentin Tarantino was praised as one of the best directors of the 2010s, he was hailed as one of the most promising up-and-comers of the 1990s. His earliest masterpiece, the singular crime-comedy-drama Pulp Fiction, helped secure that title.
Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
In his own words, Kevin Smith is a huge nerd. He prides himself on loving comic books, superheroes and science fiction. Smith is especially vocal about being an enormous Star Wars fan. Just look at the title of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, a clear reference to Episode V.
Buster Keaton in Sunset Boulevard
Considered one of the most prominent and exceptional filmmakers of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Billy Wilder is responsible for countless 20th-century classics, including Sunset Boulevard in 1950. Following a silent movie star and a struggling screenwriter who find their paths intertwined, the film is an all-time great movie.
The X-Men in Deadpool 2
Before 20th Century Fox handed over their Marvel properties to Disney in 2019's massive sale, the studio was making a pretty penny on R-rated X-Men movies like Deadpool and Logan. Deadpool 2, released in 2018, might be the first and only R-rated superhero movie the X-Men ever make an appearance in.
Matt Damon in Thor: Ragnarok
Before Taika Waititi came around, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's depiction of Thor in Thor and Thor: The Dark World was dry and unflinchingly serious. Thanks to the New Zealand filmmaker's third entry, Thor: Ragnarok, the Norse god is now seen as one more provider of comedic relief in an increasingly large spread of sarcastic superheroes.
J.K. Simmons in Spider-Man: Far from Home
For whatever reason, audiences have been treated to four separate iterations of Spider-Man throughout the first two decades the 2000s — Sam Raimi's, Marc Webb's, Jon Watt's and now Phil Lord & Rodney Rothman's. The first and the third — the Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland franchises respectively — have one unifying theme apart from their titular hero.
Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder
It's almost impossible to imagine how Ben Stiller's Hollywood satire Tropic Thunder would go over if released today, but one thing's for sure: It was incredibly well-received upon its release in 2008. One of many reasons for this was what Stiller convinced Tom Cruise to do.
Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore
While the conversation surrounding Saturday Night Live alumni goes through as many highs and lows as a roller coaster, there's no denying that comedies in the 1990s belonged to a select few. Adam Sandler was one of them, with a whole plethora of hits over the decade.
Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
After making it big from a series of highly-praised stage plays, scriptwriter David Mamet transitioned from theater to film with a whole slew of dramas that were just as highly regarded as his work in theater. One such film is 1992's Glengarry Glen Ross.
Martin Sheen in Hot Shots! Part Deux
The Sheens (and the Estevezes) are one of the most famous actor families in Hollywood history. Martin and Charlie, the two most notable Sheens, have followed very different career paths, but that doesn't mean that the two haven't been able to work together.
Neil Patrick Harris in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
Regarded as one of the finest stoner comedies in film history, 2004's Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle seems straight out of a different era — it's hard to comprehend that the film is only 15 years old.
Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers
Considering that Will Ferrell's Anchorman had a cameo from one of the Wilson brothers and Vince Vaughn, it only seems fair that Ferrell would appear in a movie fronted by another Wilson brother — Luke — and again Vince Vaughn. This is exactly the case with 2005's classic Wedding Crashers.
Alfred Hitchcock in Almost All His Films
Dubbed the Master of Suspense by critics and audiences alike, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock practically invented the thriller genre in the early 20th century. He spent the rest of his life perfecting it across films like Psycho, Vertigo and Rear Window, among many others.
Huey Lewis in Back to the Future
When Marty McFly practically conjures up an entirely new musical genre out of the blue in the first Back to the Future movie, reactions are decidedly mixed. Some hate the music he plays up on that stage, while others pick up the phone to gush over the "new sound."
Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese's 1976 film Taxi Driver is important for many, many reasons. For starters, it helped to further develop the budding genre of gritty, psychological dramas. Additionally, the film provided the template for countless dark and profound performances from leading actors and actresses for decades to come.
Pamela Anderson in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
What makes certain cameos so memorable is the willingness and commitment from the actor making their short appearance. It can make or break a performance, and when the talent shows up and is down for whatever they're told to do, it can end up being some of their very best stuff.
Mike Tyson in The Hangover
When Todd Phillips put out The Hangover at the end of the 2000s, no one could have anticipated the far-reaching impact the raunchy comedy would have on the pop culture pantheon. While nothing about the movie screams "restraint," the movie itself didn't posit itself as a hit — it was just your average comedy.