What’s Marlon Brando’s Best ’50s Film Performance?

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  • gus

    I voted for On The Waterfront. However, for years Viva Zapata was the best account of his life available in English

    • KenR

      Gus and Bill, I’m sort of with you both. But for me not many others stand out real well.
      Unless Brando had a very Good Director, he was rather ordinary (as the Poll seems to suggest) I did not mind “The Ugly American” at least they tried something different and a little more un-commecial for a change.

  • Bill Dunphy

    I voted for my favorite Brando movie “On the Waterfront”, but I’m torn because i think he was also superb in “The Men” his portrayal of a young active male suddenly thrust into a life as a paraplegic is most realistic ! He goes through the 5 phases of grief in perfect order because in his mind he is dead.
    I also agree with Gus, “Viva Zapata” is an excellant film, I remember when I saw it as a kid, they kept shooting bullets into him although he was obviously dead, which made me think [as a kid] “wow, they really aren’t taking any chances, are they” it had a very powerful impact on me.

  • Brando lover

    This one is so hard. Guys and Dolls is my all time favorite movie, but I think A Street Car and Waterfront were his best performances. So I went with Streetcar. I think it says something about how great of an actor he was that this is truly one of the most difficult polls that has been done.

    • joe1745ny

      mine too and that’s why i voted for sky!

  • Rwidmann

    How about Don Vito Corleone ?, I mean hello lol

  • Rwidmann

    Oops, I didn’t see the 50′s requirment lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.lehman.180 Patricia Lehman

    I liked Guys and Dolls because he played the role without any accent or special characterization. I also liked his role in “The Men”. Brando was a great actor no question about it.

    • joe1745ny

      and he sang the songs. chemistry w/ jean simmons is the celluloid standard as well

  • Cara

    On the Waterfront. One of the ten best performances by any American actor in any film.

    • janina

      who were ur other nine?

      • Cara

        A Streetcar Named Desire, Viva Zapata, The Wild One, Guys and Dolls, Julius Caesar, The Young Lions, Last Tango in Paris, The Freshman, Don Juan Demarco, and because of the excellence of the film, The Godfather.

        • Cara

          Actually that’s ten, so remove The Godfather.

          • Cara

            I know, I had to take in his whole career to come up with ten.

  • janina

    Do u believe I saw On The Waterfront for the very first time a few weeks ago! And I’m a child of the 50′s. How’d I miss that–especially being the daughter of a Philly longshoreman. In fact, my dad, like Brando, used to take care of racing pigeons on the roof of his house at Front and Hancock, right near the docks. I thought Brando’s performance was flawless. I watched him so carefully–I respect his talent so much more now.

  • Carol

    The men and women of that era were “actors & actresses” not the “movie stars” we have today. On the Waterfront is a great movie with all around great acting and the best of Marlon Brando!!

  • Richy

    Hey, wait a minute, what about “Reflections in a Golden Eye”? Marlon as a gay Army officer with a particularly haunting scene toward the end

    • Jim

      I agree that that movie is compellingly strange, and Brando’s performance is equally so. But that movie was made in the 60s, and this poll is about 50s movies.

  • Jim

    I voted for Brando’s still astonishing performance as Stanley Kowalski, but I am a little surprised that so few voted for his performance in another Tennessee Williams part, Valentine Xavier (The Fugitive Kind). This is peculiar territory, over the top, and that puts people off, perhaps. But there is something going on in that movie that needs to be seen, despite the miscasting of Anna Magnani.

  • Bruce Reber

    It was a toss-up between Terry Malloy in “On The Waterfront” and Johnny Strabler in “The Wild One”, but I went with the latter because this was the role that forever defined Brando as a rebel against the Hollywood establishment, the same way that Johnny was a rebel against everything and everyone in “The Wild One”. His reply to the question “what are you rebelling against?” says it all: “whattaya got!”. I know that he won a Best Actor Oscar for “On The Waterfront”, and he’s awsome in that one too, but if I had my pick of these 2 Brando films to take with me to a desert island, I’d go with “The Wild One” (I have them both on DVD).