What’s more fun than a well-placed cameo? Those brief appearances by a well-known actor or character that has relations to the title their appearing in can really brighten a movie and excite the fans who aren’t expecting them.
In honor of the cameo, I’ve decided to compile a list of cameos that just flat have entertained me over the years. Keep in mind, these aren’t necessarily the best cameos ever done; I know there’s some crazy good ones like the Stooges in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and so on. No, these are some of the most amusing cameos that brought a little smile to my (and surely many others) face or made people keel over laughing. Some are just classic and some are complete nostalgia, but one thing is for sure… all are a damn good time.
Oh, and I don’t want to hear anything about Neil Patrick Harris from Harold & Kumar. While hilarious, he was playing himself as a full character. You can’t cameo as one of the main parts in TWO movies, even if you are playing yourself.
In some cases there’s a little video included to remind yourself how good these are, so if you enjoy a good cameo like we do, please continue reading to check out 9 of the Most Entertaining Cameos in Movie History!
The Wedding Singer — Billy Idol
An 80’s rock star in your 1998 movie that takes place in the 80’s who’s playing himself? How could that possibly fail? It can’t. The best part about this cameo is that it’s moderately funny when Billy Idol shows up swigging from a bottle on a first class plane ride to Vegas; but when he gets in on the last leg of the movie, it actually becomes a very funny and memorable cameo appearance. I know, this is a really cheesy movie to include, but I happen to like it, so you’ll all just have to bite down. I did place it in the number 9 position. At least I didn’t do like, Adam Sandler‘s cameo in The Hot Chick. Honorable guilty-by-association mention goes to Quentin Tarantino‘s cameo in Little Nicky — a cameo that was supposed to be returned by Sandler in Inglourious Basterds, but that sadly didn’t work out.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze — Vanilla Ice
OK, I know, it’s Vanilla Ice and that’s silly of me to include here. But think back to that time in 1991 when you finally got your second dose of Turtle butt-kicking magic. I was 10 years old and some of the top rapping talents at the time were names like Kris Kross (remember them? They’ll make you jump, jump!) and Mr. Ice, so when he showed up, it was a most entertaining moment. Many years later, I received word that a friend of mine’s buddy was playing in Vanilla Ice’s rock band and they were playing at a bar in Massachusetts. Naturally this was something that could absolutely not be passed up and the night ended with my very own live viewing of “Ninja Rap” being performed. It’s this kind of nostalgia that gives Vanilla Ice the 8-spot.
Scream 3 — Jay & Silent Bob
We all know that Scream 3 was just terrible as a movie, but that doesn’t mean that this cameo isn’t brilliant. As Courteney Cox’s Gail Weathers leaves a movie set, everyone’s favorite stoner pals Jay and Silent Bob walk along while on one of the studio tours. They quickly identify the reporter as Connie Chung and kindly ask how Maury Povich is doing. It’s short, completely random, and incredibly damn funny if you ask me. The only way the movie would have been better is if they ended up being the killers at the end. This cameo was eventually traded for a Wes Craven cameo in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. If you haven’t seen Scream 3, then it’s a little tough because you would have to sit through the whole movie to get to this one little itty-bitty part that just might be the only good thing in there, so I’ve included the clip below.
Tropic Thunder — Tom Cruise
In one of the most talked about cameos in recent memory, Tom Cruise appears in Tropic Thunder as Les Grossman, a 100% completely insane studio executive who’s financing the film being made within the film. If you need any proof as to why this cameo is on the list — it may just be the only cameo nominated for a damn Golden Globe. Along with this one cameo, Tropic Thunder itself deserves to be on the list just for it’s massive amounts of celebrity face-peeks.
Hot Fuzz — Peter Jackson, Cate Blanchett
Easily the smallest cameo on our list. In fact, you may not even be aware of these two having been in Hot Fuzz at all. But it’s the hilarious subtly that wins my heart here. Peter Jackson, the man behind The Lord of the Rings trilogy, shows up in a split-second flashback as a drunken mall Santa who stabs Simon Pegg‘s Nicolas Angel in the hand. Cate Blanchett‘s cameo is a little bit more visible… sorta. She plays Angel’s girlfriend-in-disguise as he tries to find her among the identically dressed forensic people at the scene of a crime. Both appear pretty much right at the start of the movie, but I was oblivious to both until months after I had seen it!
Austin Powers in Goldmember — Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg
At current time, Austin Powers isn’t loved quite like it was at the peak of its popularity. Most of its fan base has grown up and the many one-liners were so incredibly over-used that people developed some disdain for the movies — similar to something like Napoleon Dynamite and how un-funny that movie was after its barrage of fan-quoting. But if you go back to when Austin Powers WAS at the peak of its popularity, it’s very hard to beat the reaction that it received for its star-studded opening sequence of Austin Powers in Goldmember. Unfortunately Britney Spears shows up at the end and ruined the mood a bit, but then her head explodes, so everyone wins, folks! Personally, I’d rather see more Austin Powers movies than something like The Love Guru. Re-quench your memory with the clip below!
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy — Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Tim Robbins
When it comes to the Judd Apatow universe, it’s hard to choose cameos because all of those guys just hang out together on the set of whoever is making a movie at that particular time. Sometimes you wonder if they’re even supposed to be in these movies or if they just showed up and stepped in during a take. But one cameo in particular was just too good to leave off the list. During Anchorman, a massive battle among rival news teams breaks out behind a building. While the various news teams run to join the fight which already includes Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn‘s respective teams, we see the likes of Luke Wilson and Tim Robbins show up, as well as Ben Stiller as the head of the Spanish news team. Robbins and Wilson show up again a little later in the movie, but I still consider it a cameo and a high one on my list! Honorable mention to a burrito-hating, dog-punting Jack Black.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back — Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Gus Van Sant
Some people just can’t stand Kevin Smith movies, and I feel sad for those people. Also, I know that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck has their start as part of Smith’s gang, so their showing up in one of his movies is no big deal. But seriously, I have to look beyond all of that and see this simply as one of the most genius cameos of all time. Affleck and Damon appear on one of the many sets that Jay & Silent Bob are running around, and they’re filming their brand new movie Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season. For them to take the highly-praised drama from director Gus Van Sant (who’s sitting nearby in this scene, counting money) and turn it into a parody of itself and Hollywood’s over-need for sequels, it was just too perfect. Not to mention the fact that they even went and got the random extra dude from the original movie to use in the cameo spoof!
The Princess Bride — Billy Crystal, Carol Kane
My number one favorite cameo goes without any question. It’s simple, it’s old school, and it’s undeniably good. The movie is The Princess Bride and it’s one of my favorites of all time; the scene is after our hero Westley (Cary Elwes) is killed. In a last ditch effort to bring him back to life, Fezzik (Andre the Giant) and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) bring him to the retired Miracle Max for a miracle remedy. The scene is but a few minutes long, but Crystal is in prime form as the miracle worker who looks like he’s about 254 years old. The banter between him and his taunting wife (Carol Kane) is perfect and many quotes came from this one scene, including one of the great quotes, “Bye, bye, boys!” – “Have fun storming the castle!”
Good list! Here’s a few more that I enjoyed:
Charlton Heston and Robert Patrick – Wayne’s World
Bruce Campbell – Spider-man 1, 2, 3
And…Stan Lee’s cameos in just about all of the Marvel movies!
Comment by Jonathan — February 19, 2009 @ 4:38 pm
My name is Inigo Montoya.
You killed my father, prepare to die.
I agree with all of these, but feel I must point out Peter Fernandez’s appearance in Speed Racer as the older announcer man during the first race (if Rex Racer is up there watching, you can bet your ass he’s damn proud of his little brother).
I liked Speed Racer, shush.
Comment by Guy — February 19, 2009 @ 4:46 pm
I also want to add Stan Lee’s appearance in Iron Man, or heck, his appearance in any Marvel film
Comment by Schutzenegger — February 19, 2009 @ 5:48 pm
Totally left out the best cameo in any movie which was Brad Pitt as the stoner roomate in True Romance!
Comment by Kevin — February 19, 2009 @ 8:18 pm
Anything with Princess Bride will immediately get a thumbs up in my book!
Comment by Kristopher — February 19, 2009 @ 10:00 pm
Tom Cruise was BRUTAL in Tropic Thunder. Almost ruined the movie for me. So you get awards for blankly reading the lines and hopping up and down? Sign me up for crazy-eyes classes then.
Comment by Joey Diggs — February 20, 2009 @ 1:46 am
WOW, great list, guys! The FIRST one that lept to mind was Billy Idol.
I had NO IDEA Jackson was in Hot Fuzz and I own that movie. <3
Though it may not count here since many played themselves, I have to give props to Zoolander. I mean, who wasn’t in that? David Duchovny as the hyperberic hand model, David Bowie as the walk-off referee, Billy Zane, Lance Bass, Tyson…that sort of stuff just cracks me up.
Hey, wait a minute, Billy Idol was playing himself…ZOOLANDER COUNTS!
And Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder…I think it’s the first time I’ve enjoyed a Tom Cruise performance in 10 years. Especially the end credits dance.
Comment by Rabscuttle — February 20, 2009 @ 10:13 am
Bruce Campbell, most defiantly!
Comment by Sierra Houk — February 20, 2009 @ 11:03 am
I regret to inform Kevin that he is mistaken: the best cameo in any movie is John Cusack as Caspar in Roadside Prophets.
Comment by 1-900-HEY-NICK — February 20, 2009 @ 11:09 am
Totally left out the best cameo in any movie which was Brad Pitt as the stoner roomate in True Romance!
Sadly, that can’t qualify as a cameo because it 93. The dude barely had a career. It’s just a little piece of knowledge for the fanboys.
After the fact.
Comment by Handgun Jesus — February 20, 2009 @ 12:26 pm
fun list, but i have to disagree with Tm Cruise’s role in Tropic Thunder as even qualifying. as much as i enjoyed it, his role was too big to be considered a cameo. it was more of a supportive role.
Comment by Dax — February 20, 2009 @ 12:53 pm
nice list, but lets not forget Doogie Howser in Harold & Kumar!!!
Comment by Siah — February 20, 2009 @ 1:43 pm
I liked Weird Al in The Naked Gun. I don’t think of cameo roles as having a lot more to say than one or two lines. Billy Crystal was good in the Princess Bride, but had a larger role than I would expect in a cameo.
Comment by Fred Pomeroy — February 20, 2009 @ 7:01 pm
How bout the Broken Lizard guys that show up as Campus Police in the Dukes of Hazzard? They pulled the same “Do you know how fast you were going?” bit from the opening scene of Super Troopers. Classic.
Comment by joe — February 20, 2009 @ 7:38 pm
My personal favorite is the Jack Black musical appearance in ‘Run Ronnie Run’
On an obscure note; Mick Jones (of The Clash) sings the Clash song “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” in Tokyo karaoke bar. Pretty funny.
Comment by El Diablo — February 21, 2009 @ 4:45 pm
dustin diamond (screech) playing himself in Made, prob one of the best cameos ever
Comment by mehul — February 21, 2009 @ 9:30 pm
[…] house. And: The Coraline book cover, re-imagined in a stunning retro style. And from Geeks of Doom, 9 Of The Most Entertaining Cameos In Movie History. This was written by Sharyn. Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at 6:52 pm. Filed under […]
Pingback by weapons of massdistraction › A Constellation of Moments — February 22, 2009 @ 7:52 pm
My favorite is Lucy Lawless as the blue-haired chick in the first Spiderman, and Ted Raimi as Jonah Jameson’s assisstant in all the Spiderman movies.
My second favorite is Joel Tobeck as the guy in flannel at the jail in Ghost Rider
(Yes, I am a Xena fangirl. Why do you ask?)
Comment by Leah — February 23, 2009 @ 3:04 am
One of the best cameo’s ever was a pierced out Mel Gibson at the tatoo parlor in that Billy Crystal Robin Williams movie. Came out of nowhere.
Comment by Pawel — February 26, 2009 @ 10:13 pm
Come on you guys! Christopher Walken in True Love, that’s THE cameo that rules them all.
Comment by flakeyfoont — March 6, 2009 @ 8:04 am
Ok, Brad Pitt in True Romance may not be considered a cameo cuz he was barely famous, but Mel Gibson’s Cameo in Father’s Day CANNOT be over looked lol. The dude had a million piercings. it was EPIC!
Comment by Kevin — April 22, 2009 @ 10:02 am
Not to nitpick, but Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder is not a cameo… Cameos are generally one scene and not listed in main title credits. Cruise is in at least 30% of the film!
Shockingly, where are all the great cameos from The Muppet Movies! (Orson Welles as the studio head, anyone?)
Christopher Walken’s cameos in both True Romance and Pulp Fiction are scene stealing and the absolute definition of “most entertaining cameos”. (as well as the Anchorman and Zoolander cameos! Each one a classic.)
Finally, totally out of left field but a great moment: David Bowie as Pontious Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s “Last Temptation of Christ”
Comment by Helder — April 26, 2009 @ 1:10 am
if you think about it NPH did not play himself…sense he is gay and all in real life and in the movie he loves the ladys of the night.
Comment by thedann — August 16, 2009 @ 9:43 am
The Tom Cruise role is far too big a part to be considered a cameo.
Some of the classics you left out include:
Charlton Heston as “the better actor” in Wayne’s World 2.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as himself in Airplane.
Both David Hasselhoff and Lance Armstrong in Dodgeball.
Comment by David — March 26, 2010 @ 10:48 am
Best cameo ever was Sean Connery as King Richard the Lionheart in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood movie. It was completely unexpected, considering that Connery himself had played Robin Hood in the great Robin and Marion.
Comment by John — January 19, 2011 @ 10:08 pm
what, no stan lee in marvel movies? No rob schnieder in adam sandler movies?
Comment by Dphoffman — May 15, 2011 @ 8:47 pm
Matt Damon in eurotrip? Scotty doesn’t know is played at clubs now lol
Comment by Msym2008 — December 24, 2011 @ 1:36 am
Bill Murray in Zombieland. Bill is a zombie and the only clue to his identity is he is standing on the street and the gates behind him have BM on it.
Comment by Gary Horaczek — July 8, 2012 @ 6:14 pm