Great Movie Performances: The Very Best Moments in Cinema History, Part 2

Yale University

Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He is a playwright, screenwriter and an award-winning film producer. In addition to Yale, Marc has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins–where he won Outstanding Teaching awards–and has lectured on British and American Theatre and playwriting. Lapadula has given highly acclaimed classic film lectures on a wide range of cinema topics across the country at notable venues, such as: The National Press Club, The Smithsonian Institution, The Commonwealth Club, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and The New York Historical Society.


It’s certainly not easy to create a limited compelling list of powerful and memorable acting performances in cinema history (and it would be quite impossible to include them all). Nevertheless, Yale Film Professor, Marc Lapadula, has undertaken that daunting task. According to New York Film Critic Richard Brody, just last year “The best cinematic performances don’t share some standard of craft or technique; what they have in common is a feeling of invention and discovery, of emotional depth and power, and a sense of self-consciousness regarding the idea and the art of performance itself. They also reflect broader transformations in the art of cinema during their times.”

The classic and contemporary movies we will examine (listed below) will showcase the talents of: Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, Peter Sellers, Clint Eastwood, Dustin Hoffman, Cloris Leachman, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Day Lewis, Jodie Foster, Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Sally Field, Javier Bardem, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and others.

PART 2: The King of Comedy, The Shining, Blade Runner, Sophie’s Choice, The Accused, A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, The Devil Wears Prada, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Winters Bone, Get On Up, Lady Bird, My Cousin Vinny, and more.




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Great Movie Performances: The Very Best Moments in Cinema History, Part 2

Enjoyed a look back at these great performances.

1 year ago
Joyce Dudash

Great Performances in Movies

You showed some of my favorite scenes. It was so great seeing them again, one after the other. Thanks for an enjoyable 2 hours.

1 year ago
Andrew Varga


Excellent background, insight, and analysis on exceptional films and film performances.

1 year ago
Dawn Ansty

Great movie performances

A terrific professor, telling us a lot about what some of the greatest actors have performed in ways that we might not otherwise be aware of. I wish there were a lot more of these.

1 year ago
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