What’s Your Favorite Peter O’Toole Film Performance?

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  • Jeffry Heise

    No CALIGULA? I’m shocked, as he was the only worthy performance in that sorry mess.

    • mike j

      I think it was no included cause it was a porn movie. not for kids, and surely not for broadcast television.

  • Frederick Burdsall

    Went to see My Favorite Year three times at the movies just based on his brilliant performance. Easily my favorite movie of his.

  • Banxy

    I can vote for only one? How can I choose among “El-Aurens,” Henry II (twice), Swannee, Simon Dermott (>> Cary Grant, if you ask me), Eli Cross, Jack Arnold Alexander Tancred Gurney, Maurice, and one that you left off — Anton Ego?

  • haballi

    They forgot Murphy’s war

  • Denise Leitzel

    What, no “The Ruling Class’?

  • Gary Cahall

    The Ruling Class is indeed there, Denise, but we did classify Murphy’s War and Ratatouille as “other” movies (sorry). And to you Caligula supporters, it also fell into “other” because, while O’Toole’s performance may have been noteworthy, let’s face it…it’s a bad movie.

  • FalmouthBill

    I chose My Favorite Year over his more dramatic movies because I think he was a great comedian, dry, kinda Noel Cowardish ! And in this particular movie he had the best lines to deliver, and deliver he did ! [ i.e., "so is this Marm, but, every now and then I have to pass a little water through it" ]or [ "I'm not an actor, .. I'm a movie star" ]

    • Bruce Reber

      I second that. I absolutely loved O’Toole in MFY. His Oscar-nominated performance as boozing and womanizing has-been matinee idol Alan Swann was IMO his greatest. It perfectly blended comedy and poignancy. O’Toole should have won the Best Actor Oscar in ’82. Another great Swann line – to Benjy Stone “Women become unwell, men merely vomit!”

      • Andy Geisel

        Me too Bruce and Bill! Blisteringly good performance, still a very funny movie. When O’Toole passed, I watched Lawrence of Arabia, yes, but the next one I chose was My Favorite Year!

  • Bruce Reber

    O’Toole was also excellent in “Night Of The Generals” as Tanz. He was also set to play the lead in “Doctor Zhivago”, but he declined and so incensed director David Lean that it created a permanent rift in their friendship. That paved the way for Omar Sharif, his “Lawrence Of Arabia” co-star, to play Yuri Zhivago.

  • Cara

    I had to vote for Lawrence because of the scope of the entire movies and because O’Toole’s interactions with the other characters–a veritable A list of great actors–was spot on. But, oh, I think so many of his acting performances were magnificent. He really could do it all. Comedy, physical and verbal, My Favorite Year and How to Steal a Million. Cary Grant couldn’t have wooed Audrey any better. Drama? My god, when I think of O’Toole and Hepburn in The Lion in Winter and O’Toole and Burton in Becket, my heart stumbles over the incredible vitality and intensity on screen. Melodrama? Night of the Generals chills me even thinking about O’Toole’s icy stare. Insanity? I give you The Ruling Class. This tour de force performance provided a seminar in paranoid schizophrenia. The film was also one of the best black comedies ever made. And I haven’t even mentioned The Stunt Man because it would have to be in a genre all its own. Ah, you ask, but can O’Toole do ‘quiet.’ Could he do the Spenserian thing of less is more. I wasn’t sure. His acting is so edgy, so unpredictable, so intense, that merely waiting to see what he’ll do next rivets me to my chair. But recently, I watched Goodbye Mr. Chips. I’d chosen not to watch his two musicals because he was right when he said he couldn’t sing a note. I also happened to think that the original Goodbye Mr. Chips didn’t need remaking. It’s a great movie, and usually, it’s disastrous to tinker with greatness. But O’Toole’s Mr. Chips was every bit as good as Robert Donat’s. For all O’Toole’s edginess, he had control, and that control and quiet pathos shows in Chips.

    I cried when I heard he had died. He wasn’t the greatest actor of all time. I don’t go in for best or top ten, and that sort of nonsense. But when the short list of great actors is named, his will be among them. When Peter was at his best, no actor was better.

  • Cara

    A sad footnote. When I went to buy My Favorite Year from Movies Unlimited, there was no Favorite Year to be had. I was very disappointed in Movies Unlimited.

    • Gary Cahall

      Cara, we at Movies Unlimited are indeed sorry,, but the 1982 Peter O’Toole movie My Favorite Year was discontinued by the manufacturer a couple of years ago. It was an MGM release, and the rights probably still lie with Warner Home Video. If so, there’s a chance they’ll put it out again as part of their on-demand series, but we’ve had no word on it at the present. You can always go to the M.U. website to see if it’s been re-listed, or check out the new release announcements here at MovieFanFare.

  • N

    I got to see Peter O’Toole at the TCM film festival a few years ago, and he shook my hand. It was the coolest thing to ever happen to me. He didn’t have to stop for me, but he did and that meant a lot to me. They showed Becket that day and during his interview he said it was his favorite film to be in. I totally agree! I’ve seen almost every one of his movies, even the obscure ones, and I have to say that there was never a bad performance. He gave what was needed in all of his performances, but to see Becket again, this time on the big screen was mesmerizing. To watch a performance that was at times funny and sarcastic, to arrogant and selfish, and then poignant and heartfelt shows the depth of his acting ability.

  • Quiggy

    The Stunt Man was a gem. Saw it on Showtime back in the early 80′s when it first made it to cable. And to give you an idea of how impressive it was to me, that was the only time I ever saw it. But I still remember it. I keep looking for it in the stores, hope I run across it someday on DVD.