A single role or film can change an actor's life and career forever. It can either make or break them, and in some cases it can do both. We will always remember the actors on this list for their portrayals of some of the most crazy, loveable, and influential characters in TV and film, for better or for worse.Check out our list of 15 Career-Defining Movie Roles We Will Always Remember
Tyler Perry as MadeaTyler Perry is known for two things: being a one man brand and starring as his greatest character creation Madea. The all-in-one filmmaker has had 15 completed roles in feature films and 8 of them are Madea, the trash talking-wisecracking-gun toting-bible beating walking contradiction of an old lady who has a knack for protecting her own and taking in strays. She's a character the public knows well. So well, in fact, it's hard to separate Madea from Tyler Perry and to take Perry seriously in anything that's not a Tyler Perry movie.
Sylvester Stallone in Rocky
Robert Pattinson in Twilight
Sanaa Lathan in Love and BasketballThe success of Love and Basketball is not necessarily tied to the amount the film grossed at the box office but in the impact the film had on the Black audience. Sanaa Lathan's portrayal of Monica Wright, a female basketball player who loves the game and falls for her best friend Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) was both feminine and tough, thus making her relateable to many women. No film in Sanaa's career thus far has matched the cultural significance of Love and Basketball.
Keanu Reeves in The MatrixBill and Ted's Excellent Adventure put a surfer-talking Keanu Reeves on the map and set him on the path to a successful film career. Reeves was already a big name in movies, but it was his role as Neo, a jaded computer geek searching for his life's purpose in The Matrix (1999) that made him a mega star. Keanu's presence in the complicated film trilogy has overshadowed any work he did before and any work he has done since. To many people, he will always be The One.
Will Smith as The Fresh Prince of Bel AirHe might be a little older, a little more hardcore, and a little more serious but to many, Will Smith will always be the box fade wearing, skirt chasing, underachieving class clown of 90's TV glory. He was the Fresh Prince before The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and he's still the Fresh Prince long after.
Matt Damon in The Bourne Trilogy
Before Matt Damon starred in The Bourne Identity his career had mostly consisted of dramas, so to play butt-kicking action hero Jason Bourne was a refreshing change of pace for the actor. Luckily, the world agreed and The Bourne Identity (a part of the Bourne trilogy book series by Robert Ludlum) was a box office smash, making Damon an unlikely action star and allowing three sequel films to be made.
Neve Campbell in ScreamWhat' your favorite scary movie? To many who grew up in the 90's the answer to that question will be Scream. The 1996 film re-energized the horror genre and forever set Neve Campbell in film history as one of the great scream queens for her role as the vulnerable but never-say-die Sidney Prescott.
Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller
Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
Leonardo DiCaprio in TitanicLeo has an A-list career and an uncanny knack for picking great roles. There's seldom a film he's in that isn't acclaimed or a performance that's not being nominated for an award, but no role has been able to surpass his portrayal of Jack Dawson in James Cameron's Titanic. Young and handsome, Leo was the teenage dream for many young girls while Titanic became the highest grossing film of all time, that is, until James Cameron released Avatar in 2009.
Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green MileThe late Michael Clarke Duncan will always be best known for his role as the gentle giant in 1999's The Green Mile. The film, based on the book by Stephen King, marked Duncan's big break into acting and earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor that Oscar season. Since the actor passed away in 2012 it's an achievement that family, friends, and fans will likely cherish.
Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense
He saw dead people, and it was golden! Audiences were enamored with a 10-year-old Osment's chilling performance as a unwitting ghost boy in The Sixth Sense. His later films Pay It Forward and A.I. Artificial Intelligence garnered the young actor recognition, but he has done no work as memorable and widely received as M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller.