18 Timeless Movie Roles That Would Be Sacrilege to Recast

Excellent movies rely heavily on solid performances. Hollywood might constantly be churning out remakes of original films, but some roles could simply never be replaced. Here are 18 famous roles that we’ve taken under our wings, and we won’t take well to any recasting.

Bruce Willis, Die Hard

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Anyone who tried to play the washed-up, disheveled cop John McClane would likely be criticized. From his famous smirk to witty comebacks, we’ll always remain loyal to original action hero Bruce Willis.

Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Distribution Company, Inc.

With her quick-witted one-liners and catchy songs, Julie Andrews was perfect for the role of a nanny. Emily Blunt’s efforts were commendable, but she didn’t come close to the real star.

Hugh Jackman, X-Men

Photo Credit: 20 Century Studios.

You don’t reprise a role for two sequels, three prequels, and three spinoffs without good reason. Hugh Jackman, tipped as unveiling the best superhero performance of all time, has embodied the role of Wolverine and made the X-Men more watchable.

James Earl Jones, The Lion King

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Twenty-five years after his powerful vocal portrayal of Mufasa in The Lion King, Disney recast him for the remake. No surprises there. With that powerful booming voice, he was rendered irreplaceable.

Robert DeNiro, Taxi Driver

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Few actors possess the ability to evolve their characters within the timespan of a movie. Still, De Niro’s Travis Fickle took us to the edge of insanity without souring the role. His vacant gaze is engaging despite the brutality of the movie.

Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde

Photo Credit: MGM Distribution Co.

A world of young girls needed Elle Woods’ representation of a strong feminist icon, and that was thanks to Reece Witherspoon’s heartfelt performance. She might have been ditsy, but she paved the way for powerful women and fearlessly owned the role.

Tom Hanks, Big

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

His puppy-dog eyes, childlike gait, and onscreen charisma made Tom Hanks the perfect actor for his role in Big. It took a leading man to bring a ridiculous storyline to life, and he did it flawlessly.

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Whether you like the movie or not, Ryan Reynolds’ insatiable delivery as Deadpool is unique. Few can continually crack jokes without becoming tiresome, but Reynolds has the knack.

Michael J. Fox, Back To The Future

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

It’s been labeled The Greatest Blockbuster Of All Time and has retained its purity with a bunch of sequels. There is only one Marty McFly. He can never be replaced.

Johnny Depp, Captain Jack Sparrow

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

We rarely get to see self-deprecating performances from handsome actors, but that’s precisely why we love Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. With his devastatingly handsome face, mockney accent, and many quirks and foibles, he’s the only pirate for us.

Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

When Hollywood hinted at a Beetlejuice sequel, time stood still for fans of the 90s original. It’s been a long time coming, but only with Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. That’s the law. Thankfully, he’s reprising his role so we can all breathe out.

Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

From her wide smile to her witty retorts, Julia Roberts could have made us fall in love with a TV prostitute to such extremes. Many of the one-liners were also Roberts’ work.

Brad Pitt, Snatch

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

The casting of an Irish gypsy had him in a state of fear over the dialect. The unintelligible accent was Pitt’s accidental offering, but would the film be whole without it? Absolutely not. They didn’t even attempt to reprise his role in Guy Ritchie’s new series, The Gentleman.

Robin Williams, Mrs Doubtfire

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Whatever he put his hand to, it turned to gold; few actors have the talents of the late Robin Williams. Comedic timing, vulnerability, and kindness are a rare trio, and that’s why no other actor could ever reprise the wonderful Mrs Doubtfire.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator

Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures.

His impossible biceps, superhuman strength, and wooden acting made Arnie an action favorite. Take away the accent and the stilted lines; it wouldn’t be the same. Who needs acting, anyway?

Jim Carrey, The Mask

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

While he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, Jim Carrey is an undeniable comedic genius. His performance as The Mask was Carrey’s creation, and that spontaneity made the role so unique.

Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios.

In a far-from-accidental casting choice, filmmaker Jon Favreau handpicked Robert Downey Junior for his life experience. He and his character, Tony Stark, fell from grace and clawed their way back to the top. He brings humanity to a superhero.

Al Pacino, Scarface

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fans of the original movie have lashed out against a remake without Al Pacino. A remake may well yield a great movie with terrific acting, but it’ll never be on par with Pacino’s original.

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