20 Famous Actors And Their Movie Debuts You've Never Seen!

> 20 Famous Actors And Their Movie Debuts You've Never Seen!

Every year, more and more young actors and actresses make their mark on Hollywood – but a rising star can always be pushed aside by an established Hollywood legend. Whether Oscar winning, Oscar nominated, or just a fan favorite, every actor needs to get their start somewhere – and even the greatest thespians only get to claim one first role. Some are funny, some are fascinating, but almost all of them are hard to believe.


1. Jamie Lee Curtis - Halloween

Laurie Strode is Jamie Lee Curtis’ debut role. Her reputation of being a scream queen is more than deserved. Halloween was her first acting contract, but definitely not the last with the horror genre. On the other hand, Jamie has proved her competence to play different characters, from cult to auteur cinema. She’s also a writer of children books.

2. Julie Andrews - Mary Poppins

In this magical Walt Disney production that combines musical, live action and animation, Mary Poppins is a nanny who is hired by an Edwardian English banker to look after his kids. Julie Andrews' acting was not just a breakthrough in her movie career, but also a window presenting a new imaginary world for every kid that has ever seen Mary Poppins. The actress won an Oscar as the Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1965.

3. Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit

Hailee Steinfeld was cast for the role of Mattie Ross after competing against 15,000 other applicants. She made a high-toned debut in a Coen Brothers western next to Jeff Bridges. It couldn’t have been better even in her wildest dreams.

4. Alan Rickman - Die Hard

After several appearances on British television films, Hans Gruber is Rickman’s first role in a motion picture. Alan Rickman’s villains are the most memorable of all his roles. Once a villain, always a villain.

5. Matthew McConaughey - Dazed and Confused

It’s Matthew McConaughey’s breakthrough on the big screen. There’s an unforgettable audition tape somewhere on the web for Dazed and Confused. Matthew McConaughey plays the role of an older buddy, David Wooderson, a friend of Randall “Pink” Floyd, who’s still hanging around with younger high school fellas.

6. Jason Schwartzman - Rushmore

Rushmore is the subsequent film of Bottle Rocket. It’s another Wes Anderson independent masterpiece, as visually stunning as all Anderson’s movies. This film is Murray’s big turn into independent cinema and Jason Schwartzman’s debut.

Schwartzman was 17 when Anderson met him at a party via Sofia Coppola. Since no one else could replace Schwartzman in the Max Fischer role, sometimes nepotism is bliss.

7. Anna Karina - Le Petit Soldat

The Little Soldier was the first collaboration between Jean Luc Godard and Anna Karina. It was made in 1960, but not released until 1963. Anna’s first appearance on the big screen was also her first complicity with the director who became her husband later. They became the iconic couple of French New Wave.

8. Kirk Douglas - The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers may not be crowned a masterpiece, but it sure holds an ounce of distinction. Not only did it introduce us to a new star on the horizon, it was the birth of a legend, an icon that would soon transform into one of the worlds most prominent stars who would be known the world over as Kirk Douglas

The film is definitely a must-see, since Hollywood doesn’t produce this kind of masterpiece anymore.

9. Tatum O’Neal - Paper Moon

Tatum O'Neal is enshrined in Oscar history as the youngest-ever winner, taking the best supporting actress in 1974, when she was only 10, for her work in Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon opposite her father, Ryan O'Neal. 

Tatum O’Neal is not just marvelous in her first role, she’s the axe of the film. With a heavy weight on her tiny shoulders, the little girl stays solid in a very high-toned way.

10. Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips

With his remarkable performance in the film based upon the true story of MV Maersk Alabama, the first American ship to be hijacked by pirates in 200 years, Barkhad Abdi was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards in 2014. It was his first major role and his first contact with the motion picture industry. Before acting, he had practiced many different jobs including limousine driver. He has also directed a film called Ciyaalka Xaafada and several music videos.

11. Anna Paquin - The Piano

Playing the daughter of a mute Scottish woman who was sent to New Zealand by the woman’s father in order to marry a rich frontiersman, Anna Paquin was only 11 when she received the Best Supporting Actress in 1994. She was a big surprise.

12. Robert Duvall - To Kill a Mockingbird

Considered as one of the best films of all times, To Kill a Mockingbird tells the drama of a honest man inside an evil habitat through the eyes of his own kids. Robert Duvall’s debut is more than pleasant in the delicate role of the reserved Arthur.

13. Emily Watson - Breaking the Waves

Watson was virtually unknown until Lars von Trier chose her to star in his 1996 controversial film, after Helena Bonham Carter dropped out “at the very last minute.” The film is the first film in Trier’s Golden Heart Trilogy. Thanks to Lars, Emily Watson is an important name in the film industry today.

14. Sidney Poitier - No Way Out

The Afro-American doctor role he played in No Way Out is Sidney Poitier’s breakthrough in motion pictures. Fifteen years later, Sidney became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama

15. Brad Dourif - One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Next to Capra’s It Happened One Night, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the second film that has won all five major Oscars. It’s the second Milos Forman feature produced in the USA, and it was met with overwhelming criticism after its release.

Brad Dourif nailed it as good, shy, crazy Billy Bibbit in the masterpiece directed by a Wastern European genius in the USA.

16. Aleksey Kravchenko - Come and See

From the time it was released, Come and See was so shocking for audiences that ambulances were called in to take away particularly impressionable viewers. The film was selected as the Soviet entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 58th Academy Awards, but was not nominated. It usually happened those days to films produced in communist countries.

Aleksey Kravchenko was 14 when filming started. After perfectly portraying Flyora in 1985, Aleksey made a very long pause. There are some roles that are too much for the actors for their very first time.

17. Emily Blunt - My Summer of Love

Some of you may think that Emily Blunt’s debut was in Boudica, but we’re not including acting debuts on TV films. Emily Blunt’s first breakthrough was in Pawel Pawlikowski’s slow, beautiful, moving, tender, moody, bittersweet film My Summer of Love.

18. Orson Welles - Citizen Kane

Unanimously acclaimed as the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane successfully combines innovative techniques in editing, storytelling and camera movement. The credit is given mainly due to Orson Welles’ young age and his role as both the director and writer.

19. Natalie Portman - Leon: The Professional

Mathilda, the role she played in Leon: The Professional was Portman’s breakthrough in the movie industry. The 12-year-old Natalie was self-aware of her natural talent. That girl has always known how to make an entrance.

20. Edward Norton - Primal Fear

Norton made this motion picture debut in 1996. He was a Yale graduate, a multilingual handsome man, but there were many other important actors fighting for the role back at the time. As we all know now, he beat them all. He made a breathtaking breakout and received an Oscar nominee for Aaron/Roy.

Edward Norton’s performance is one of the most deserved praised debuts ever.