John Wayne

10 Actors Whose Final Film Was a Fitting End to Their Career, According to Reddit

They went out with a bang.

Redditors recently got together on r/movies, the largest film subreddit, to discuss which movies were a great swan song for an actor. These were excellent movies that gave the actor a solid role that lived up to their talents and served as an appropriate conclusion to their career.

The Redditors came up with some solid picks, including movies whose themes resonated with the actor’s filmography as a whole. These are touching performances that are sure to stir the viewer.

10Vincent Price – ‘Edward Scissorhands’ (1990)

Vincent Price - Edward Scissorhands

One of Tim Burton‘s very best movies, Edward Scissorhands stars Johnny Depp as a gentle and misunderstood artificial man living in isolation in a gothic mansion until he is found by a mom Peg (Dianne Wiest), and welcomed into her suburban home. Vincent Price delivers a wonderful performance as the eccentric inventor who created Edward.

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Price had a storied career built on horror roles, so his character in Edward Scissorhands played cleverly on his screen persona. “Vincent Price’s last movie was Edward Scissorhands and that just fit him perfectly. Or to quote his Batman villain persona, it was ‘eggs-cellent’,” said user xwhy.

9Oliver Reed – ‘Gladiator’ (2000)

oliver reed gladiator0

Gladiator was the final role for Oliver Reed, the veteran actor who appeared in classics like Oliver!The Three Musketeers and Tommy. He plays Proximo, a seasoned gladiator trainer who becomes a mentor and ally to Maximus (Russell Crowe).

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Reed turns in a terrific performance, bringing complexity to what could have been a stock character. “The moment when he reveals that he too once was a gladiator must be my favorite scene ever. That trembling voice and eyes. What an actor,” said Redditor Remote-Lie5470.

8Paul Newman – ‘Road to Perdition’ (2002)

paul newman road to perdition0

Paul Newman was a legend of ’60s and ’70s cinema, with iconic roles in Cool Hand LukeButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Sting, to list just a few. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 83, with his final film performance being Sam Mendes‘s crime drama Road to Perdition. Newman plays John Rooney, an Irish mob boss and surrogate father figure to Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks).

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Newman brings a commanding presence to the role, portraying Rooney as a man torn between love and loyalty, and haunted by the consequences of his choices “Paul Newman in Road To Perdition is brilliant,” said user bondbat007. “The rain scene in that movie still sticks with me years later,” added Redditor witch-finder.

7Burt Lancaster – ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989)

burt lancaster field of dreams0

Burt Lancaster was a star of the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, appearing in critical and commercial successes like The KillersGunfight at the O.K. CorralElmer Gantry, and Judgment at Nuremberg. His final film was the whimsical sports drama Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.

Lancaster is captivating as Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham, a former baseball player who gave up his dreams to become a doctor. He serves as a wise mentor to Costner. “He was wonderful. The role was poetic,” said user GreatCaesarGhost.

6Harry Dean Stanton – ‘Lucky’ (2017)

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Harry Dean Stanton‘s career spanned six decades, with memorable appearances in Kelly’s HeroesThe Godfather Part IIAlienThe Green Mile, and many more. He kept working right up til the age of 91, passing away in 2017 shortly after completing his final film Lucky.

He plays the title character, a 90-year-old loner living in a small desert town. Through chance encounters and meaningful conversations with the townsfolk, Lucky embarks on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance. “Really strong last movie to a very long career,” said Redditor Street_Struggle_598.

5Edward G. Robinson – ‘Soylent Green’ (1973)

edward g. robinson soylent green0

Edward G. Robinson worked in Hollywood for over 50 years, appearing in more than 100 movies between the 1920s and 1970s. His final project was Soylent Green, a dystopian sci-fi starring Charlton Heston as Detective Thorn. Robinson plays Sol Roth, Thorn’s elderly friend and moral compass.

He and Heston have one especially memorable, heartfelt scene together toward the end of the movie. “The real emotion that comes out of that scene chokes me up,” said Redditor Tatooine16. “That scene has impacted my whole life! The beauty and sadness of it is astonishing,” replied user smarmageddon.

4Desmond Llewelyn – ‘The World is Not Enough’ (1999)

desmond llewelyn the world is not enough0

Welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn was a veteran of British cinema, known for quirky roles in movies like Cleopatra and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He was most famous for playing Q, a purveyor of high-tech gadgets, in a full 17 Bond films between 1963 and 1999, appearing in the series more often than any other actor.

His final Bond outing was The World Is Not Enough, opposite Pierce Brosnan. In the movie, he suggests to Bond that he will be retiring soon, before announcing ‘Always have an escape plan’ and disappearing through the floor. “That scene makes me sad because it was just so perfect for a final scene,” said user StimmingMantis. “Fitting end to a long career,” replied Redditor Ozzel.

3Diana Rigg – ‘Last Night in Soho’ (2021)

diana rigg last night in soho0

Diana Rigg first gained attention in the 1960s for her role as Emma Peel in the TV show The Avengers. She went on to appear in several Shakespeare adaptations, a Bond film, a Muppet movie, and many TV series, including playing Lady Olenna on Game of Thrones. She passed away in 2020, shortly after wrapping filming on Edgar Wright‘s Last Night in Soho. In the film she plays Eloise’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) landlady in the 1960s.

It was an appropriate final role for Rigg, especially given the fact that Wright was such a fan of her work. “She absolutely murdered in that role,” said user fil42skidoo. “There’s something awfully chilling about her sitting in that burning house alone as her last scene ever,” added Redditor Heavy_Signature_5619.

2Peter Postlethwaite – ‘The Town’ (2010)

peter postlethwaite the town0

Legendary English actor Peter Postlethwaite nailed several iconic roles, including characters in Alien 3In The Name of the Father, and The Usual Suspects. Not for nothing, Steven Spielberg once called him “the best actor in the world”. His last movie was Ben Affleck‘s The Town, in which he plays Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm, a powerful Irish mobster who controls the criminal underworld in Charlestown, Boston.

Menacing and shrewd, Fergie is a clear highlight of the movie. “I love Pete’s acting. He actually fascinates me. His face and voice are so unique to him. One of my favorite actors of all time. One-of-a-kind material, that man,” said user PioneerStandard.

1John Wayne – ‘The Shootist’ (1976)

Ron Howard looking down and standing next to John Wayne in The Shootist
Paramount Pictures

There’s no bigger figure in the Western genre than John Wayne. A veritable American icon, he towered over cinema for decades, appearing in some of the most critically and commercially successful movies ever made. His last movie was The Shootist, an introspective Western about an aging gunslinger diagnosed with terminal cancer. He moves to a small town and takes up residence in a boarding house run by a widow named Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her son Gillom (Ron Howard).

The film plays on Wayne’s image built over the dozens of Westerns he had done before, and he delivers a fine, believable performance. “The Shootist was a very fitting capstone to his career,” said Redditor Corrosive-Knights. “[It] was a fantastic and a fitting final bow for him,” agreed user Much-Conference1110.

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