20 Greatest Movie Cameos and Small Roles

Movie CameoLists by Joey Paur

I love it when I'm watching a movie and all of a sudden, out of nowhere there's a surprise appearance by a big, well-known actor. Sometimes the roles are funny, sometimes actors parody themselves, and then there are times when we get an incredible dramatic performance. There are a ton of great movie cameos out there, but I thought I'd put together a list of 20 cameos and small movie roles that I have enjoyed over the years.

There are some famous cameos such as Stan Lee's Marvel movie cameos and the Anchorman cameos that I purposely left off the list because they seem to be obvious choices.

Look over my list and let me know what your favorite movie cameos are in the comment section! 

Bill Murray - Little Shop of Horrors

This is by far my favorite movie cameo of all time. Murray is absolutely hilarious in every way. He plays a guy that basically gets off on pain, and it's pure comedy genius.

Christopher Walken - Pulp Fiction

This is one of the most weirdly intense scenes ever put on film. Walken is one of the greatest character actors of all time, and this is one of the best roles he has ever had. I've never forgotten this little story he told. It has been embedded in my mind since I first saw it.

Tom Cruise - Tropic Thunder

The cameo role of Len Wiseman reinvigorated Cruise's career after it was tarnished by his jumping around on Oprah's couch. I believe they tried to keep his involvement with the film a secret. He was so funny in this movie.

Tom Cruise, Gweneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny Devito, and Steven Spielberg - Austin Powers in Goldmember

The opening scene of this movie was absolutely amazing! I remember watching this and being floored by all the A-list actors they got. It was a fun surprise watching them make a big-budget movie within a movie.

The Three Stooges - It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Yeah! The Three Stooges actually had a little cameo in this movie. I don't know why, because they didn't even do anything. 

Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts - The Player

This is one of my favorite films about the entertainment industry, and when you're making a big-budget movie within a movie, you've got to have A-list stars. 

Gene Hackman - Young Frankenstein 

For years I didn't even know this was Hackman until a friend pointed it out to me in high school. The scene he's in is absolutely hilarious. Young Frankenstein is one of my favorite comedies of all time.

Charlton Heston - Wayne's World 2

The part where they bring in Heston to replace another actor in the middle of shooting a scene was freakin' brilliant! This was one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Hulk Hogan - Gremlins 2: The New Batch

This was such a ridiculously random scene. I was a huge fan of Hulk Hogan back in the day, so I thought it was the best thing ever when he showed up in the film.

Sean Connery - Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Connery is such a badass. Of course he would show up as the king in this. It's not only a nod to his 1976 film Robin and Marian, but it's also a reunion with his Untouchables co-star Kevin Costner.

Michael Cera - This Is the End

Even though this was just a cameo and he was killed off very early on in the film, playing a parody of himself is the funniest damn thing he's ever done.

Johnny Depp - 21 Jump Street 

A lot of us knew that Depp would make an appearance in the film, but we didn't when, where, or how he would show up. When the reveal finally came it was a fantastic payoff. 

Patrick Stewart - Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Stewart's parody of Connery's King Richard was fantastic. I'm so happy he found the humor in doing something like this because he seemed like such a serious actor at the time. I just never saw him doing anything like this. 

Orson Welles - Transformers: The Movie

This was the last movie that Welles was part of before he passed away. He provided the voice of the giant devouring transforming planet Unicron. A voice can be a cameo too! 

Bill Murray - Zombieland

His cameo was a complete surprise in this movie, and I absolutely loved it. As much as I loved the movie, his cameo was the best part. I never thought I would laugh so hard during a death scene.

Alec Baldwin - Glengary Glen Ross

He only had one scene in this movie, and he owned it. Baldwin stole the whole movie with his incredible performance. Damn, he was good. 

Bob Barker - Happy Gilmore

It was such a perfect moment when Adam Sandler got his ass kicked by Bob freakin' Barker. This is definitely one of the most entertaining cameos ever.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon - Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

I was amused by the fact that they were able to make fun of themselves here shooting Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season. 

Cate Blanchett - Hott Fuzz

How awesome is it that she didn't even have to show her face!?

Martin Sheen - Hot Shots! Part Deux

This was a great little nod to the Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now. They then took it to a whole other level of funny when Charlie and Martin looked at each other as they passed by and said, "I loved you in Wall Street!"  

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