Being an actor is hard work as it requires one to have many great skills, learn fast and be in sync with other creators. Some might say that it is also an unstable job as you might never know when or what your next role might be or when your next big break is going to happen. Having this in mind, Reddit user @SuperNntendoChlmers asked others online who are some of the actors and actresses who “revived” their careers by getting that one important role that made them well-known. Soon their question was answered by giving names of various famous actors and the roles they played so well that everyone knows them for it. 

The question that received almost 15k upvotes was answered by naming some of the greatest actors such as John Travolta, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Connery, etc., who, despite their success now, were struggling to get their career up and running. 

What are some of the actors that you would add to this list? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments down below!

More Info: Reddit

#1

Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser Well it's not a lock yet but I'm hoping Brendan Fraser's career resurgence continues. I'm going to see The Whale when it hits the theaters, if we go out in force to support him the dumbasses in Hollywood will see that he's still a big box office draw and continue to cast him.

farmergirl301 , David Shankbone Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
4 months ago

I was never a big fan of his movies but he is such a nice guy that I'm a fan now!!

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#2

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. RDJ talkers in here haven't seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That's what saved him. It got him Iron Man.

mathemon , robertdowneyjr Report

Loty
Community Member
4 months ago

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is my favorite RDJ movie too. Watch it if you haven't yet.

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#3

Sean Connery

Sean Connery Sean Connery's career in the early 1980s had just completely fallen off the rails. He was in some bad non A-list films throughout the '70s. Couldn't shake the shadow of James Bond.

Then Brian DePalma cast him in The Untouchables. He got nominated for his amazing role and his career was back on track doing films like Indiana Jones, The Hunt for Red October, and The Rock. Great Hollywood comeback.

starshame2 , Comet Photo AG (Zürich) Report

Coleby G
Community Member
4 months ago

Let’s not forget he supports hitting females

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#4

John Travolta

John Travolta Yeah, John Travolta has a f**king airport at his house because of Pulp Fiction.

Incidentally, I remember listening to an interview after Christoph Waltz had been nominated for a second time for a Quentin movie, and he gracefully expressed his appreciation for Tarantino having found him and gotten him better opportunities, but also said, "He gave me my break, but he didn't give me my craft," and I thought that was a great way of making that point.

kleptophobiac , johntravolta Report

Lori T Wisconsin
Community Member
4 months ago

He's a freak who believes in the Scientology cult that brainwashes its members and then fleeces them by charging outrageous fees for some auditing classes.

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#5

Troy Mcclure

Troy Mcclure Troy McClure

He went from such schlock as ‘The Muppets Go Medieval’ and ‘The President’s Neck Is Missing’ to the latest McBain movie and legitimate theatre like ‘Stop The Planet Of The Apes, I Want To Get Off’

SupermanRR1980 , 20th Television Report

Nikole
Community Member
4 months ago

If only he hadn't blown it all by making The Contrabulous Fabtraption of Professor Horatio Hufnagel...

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#6

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston Bryan Cranston - Walter White. No role could have offered such a perfect platform to show his range and make him employable for the rest of his life.

with Malcolm having ended, it would have been easy for Cranston to slip into obscurity until retirement, which isn’t exactly the end of a career but likely a steady pay decrease going forward. One thing is for sure, without breaking bad we’d be wondering “whatever happened to Hal, he was great”

Jord-UK , bryancranston Report

AxleMunshine001
Community Member
4 months ago

His talent is off the scale

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#7

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds Call me crazy but Ryan Reynolds wasn't looking too good after Green Lantern hit. I was honestly worried about him since I'm a huge fan of the comedic style he has and used on Van Wilder.

I think if he hadn't made Deadpool, he may have been in trouble.

ranting80 , vancityreynolds Report

Devil's Advocate
Community Member
4 months ago

Green lantern isn't actually that bad compared to the rest of the DC films, if it weren't for weird (and utterly unnecessary!!) CGI mask and eyes, it probably wouldn't have received anywhere near the bashing

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#8

Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder Winona Ryder with Stranger Things.

Asleep_Dot7972 , PM - Il Piccolo Missionario Report

Kristine Condon
Community Member
4 months ago

Don't forget- she has done other movies to include Mr. Deeds with Adam Sandler- for people to keep thinking of a simple shoplifting charge is petty to identify a person with to keep them from liking someone

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#9

Matthew Mcconaughey

Matthew Mcconaughey Matthew McConaughey. He was doing all rom coms and b movies. Then he came out with Dallas Buyers Club, True Detective, and Interstellar.

He had an interview on Stern where he said how he decided to reinvent himself or kill his career trying. So he turned down the easy money rom coms he was getting offered. He didn't get a single movie offer for 14 months before he started getting more "real" roles.

future_shoes , officiallymcconaughey Report

ForgotMyPWSendHelp
Community Member
4 months ago

I love him, but his career was never dead. 14 months is really not much time. It only seems long for him because he's an A-lister.

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#10

Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany Paul Bettany had just walked out of a meeting where he was told he'd never work again in Hollywood. He went outside, sat on a park bench, and got a phone call offering him Jarvis.

Rough_Idle , paulbettany Report

Monika Rhodes
Community Member
4 months ago

It took me longer than I care to admit he is in Legion and I saw that film so many times..

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#11

Jessica Lange

Jessica Lange Jessica Lange, American Horror Story. Definitely brought her back into much relevancy to a new generation.

pattsycake , Jessica Lange Report

Karis Ravenhill
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

Exceptional performances from her throughout the show. I still watch, but AHS isn't the same without her domineering presence.

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#12

Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman Jason Bateman. Before he did Arrested Development he pretty much was relegated to bit parts in movies and TV. Afterwards he was getting leading roles again.

kah43 , Courtney Report

ZombieGirl
Community Member
4 months ago

He is amazing in Ozark

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#13

Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton Michael Keaton had a renaissance after Birdman. Such a good actor, weird that he kind of vanished having been an A-lister in the late '80s, early '90s.

h-c-pilar , Gage Skidmore Report

Karis Ravenhill
Community Member
4 months ago

Still the only Batman for me. Controversial opinion, but i love the nostalgia.

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#14

James Cromwell

James Cromwell James Cromwell career took off after he got the Oscar nod for Babe.(I thought he deserved it btw)

spoon_shaped_spoon , James Cromwell Report

Pat Bond
Community Member
4 months ago

"That'll do pig......That'll do" Love that film, it's so silly it's brilliant.

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#15

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan Pierce Brosnan was Remington Steele and then a whole lot of nothing aside from the guy who got drilled in the head with some fruit in Mrs. Doubtfire. Then he became many peoples favorite Bond.

Taskerst , piercebrosnanofficial Report

Markus Siegemund
Community Member
4 months ago

funy thing is, remington steele kept him from becoming bond much much earlier

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#16

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore Drew Barrymore & Scream. Her teenage years were a little rocky & it wasn't really clear if she'd carry her childhood success into adulthood or not. After Scream, people started to pay more attention to her and good roles started coming in again.

PaulHaman , drewbarrymore Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
4 months ago

It's even more difficult to keep being successful after being a child actor but she is one of the few that managed it

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#17

Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris Neil Patrick Harris. Though I wouldn’t say “Harold and kumar go to White Castle” was a great role. But, it definitely put him back on the Hollywood radar, and landed “how I met your mother”.

ccarpenter9726 , nph Report

Eric C.
Community Member
4 months ago

Starship Troopers!

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#18

Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen Wasn’t it the situation with Leslie Nielsen in Airplane? His serious acting career was basically over but the movie kick started his comedy acting career.

And didn’t Taken revive Liam Neeson’s career as he was “too old” at that point to get leading roles, especially in action movies?

mbcook , Alan Light Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
4 months ago

And don't call me Shirley!!!

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#19

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman Ingrid Bergman in 'Anastasia'

Persona non grata in the US, over her affair with Roberto Rossellini, and even denounced on the US Senate floor in 1950.

Won the Oscar in that movie.

[deleted] , ventu_99 Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
4 months ago

The fact that only she paid for this affair shows in what misogynist world we are living! Rossellini's career was not affected

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#20

Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell Kurt Russell had a couple.

He was a Disney kid actor whose career was finished until he did the 1-2 punch of Used Cars and Escape From New York. Though it could also be kickstarted by his Emmy winning performance in “Elvis”

He then became an action and comedy star for the next 25 years until Death Proof, then he went radio silent until Furious 7 brought him back into the limelight. Then he did Bone Tomahawk, Hateful Eight, Guardians vol 2, and so on

grandmofftalkin , Gage Skidmore Report

Karis Ravenhill
Community Member
4 months ago

Did anyone else squeel with delight at the end of Christmas Chronicles when Goldie turns up to play Mrs. Claus? The two of them together on screen, magic!

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#21

Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland Kiefer Sutherland in 24.

Lil-CBD , kiefersutherland Report

Sasy
Community Member
4 months ago

Touch and Designated Survivor both wonderful shows

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#22

Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler Henry Winkler had trouble getting work because he was the Fonz after happy days. Finally won an Emmy for his role in Barry.

Also Ed O’Neill in the 10 or so years between Married with Children and Modern Family. People didn’t take him seriously in the failed cop dramas he was in because he was Al Bundy

Lolzzergrush , Super Festivals Report

Kristine Condon
Community Member
4 months ago

Why Put Ed O'Neill in the same post as Henry Winkler? Also, Henry Winker had many more famous movies and cameos after being the Fonz

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#23

Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin Only Goonies fans knew who Josh Brolin was until he made a comeback 20 years later.

Dennis Quaid had a similar, but less extreme, arc.

throwaway020882 , joshbrolin Report

Vanta Black
Community Member
4 months ago

"You guys wanna see Li'l Thanos?"

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#24

Pam Grier

Pam Grier Pam Grier AND Robert Forrester got a significant bump in their asking price after Jackie Brown, and they goddamn deserved it.

lingh0e , American International Pictures Report

Hannah Edwards
Community Member
4 months ago

She’s mesmerising in Jackie Brown

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#25

Christian Slater

Christian Slater I want to say Christian Slater with Mr. Robot, but I may be misinformed. Kind of made him be taken seriously again as oppposed to an late 80's-90's star brought in for a cameo joke and showed he could pull of the same blend of charm and menace even as a relatively older guy

AllTheReservations , realchristianslater Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
4 months ago

I love how his occasional character on the animated series "Archer", is called Slater.

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#26

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves Keannu reeves with John wick. He hadn’t done anything worthwhile since matrix ended in 2003. John wick def gave him second wind

puglife5055 , Governo do Estado de São Paulo Report

Karis Ravenhill
Community Member
4 months ago

Wrong. Something's Gotta Give, A Scanner Darkly, Man Of Tai Chi, Constantine, 47 Ronin, all received well by fans and critics during the years between The Matrix and John Wick. Don't pretend he's only a relevant actor when he's waving a gun around. We have Steven Seagal for that.

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#27

Don Ameche

Don Ameche Don Ameche. Active from 1935 until 1971. Basically forgotten about until he was in Trading Places (1983). Goes onto win an Oscar for Cocoon (1985).

eej71 , delius98 Report

Hannah Edwards
Community Member
4 months ago

I might rewatch cocoon, I never understood it as a kid.

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#28

Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson I kind of feel like Robert Pattinson is a good fit here. After the twilight saga ended I really thought it was going to be the end of his acting career. But he really did his thing with roles to follow!

jayyout1 , Maximilian Bühn Report

King Joffrey
Community Member
4 months ago

I think it's because he's picky with his roles. And rightly so! That lighthouse film with Daniel Defoe and him blew my mind.

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#29

Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke Mickey Rourke, Sin City and then all that followed

BiZarrOisGreat , mickey_rourke_ Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
4 months ago

I would say "the wrestler" as his big comeback

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#30

Jackie Earle Haley

Jackie Earle Haley Jackie Earle Haley is my favorite comeback story. I remember having the biggest crush on him in Bad News Bears. He was fantastic in Little Children and has gotten such cool, juicy roles like in Watchmen.

DeadSharkEyes , BrokenSphere Report

Pappy West
Community Member
4 months ago

In the 2012 film "Lincoln", he played CSA Vice-president Alexander Stephens. In the scene where he was across the table from Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Mr. Haley delivered an excellent performance. Tough subject matter and 1 meter away from a renown actor who was about to win his third Oscar...no pressure.

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Note: this post originally had 37 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.