Young and aspiring or old and having fun, these 10 great acting scenes for men are great for thespians. You can cut your teeth on them, reinvent classic characters, have fun spewing juicy and sweetly profane dialogue, or practice your coming timing.
- “Who’s on first?” is a classic Abbott and Costello routine and great acting scene. The rapid-fire dialogue, staggering word count and overwhelming wealth of information packed into this seven-minute scene will test your memory as an actor and help you perfect comic timing and repartee. They don’t make scenes like this anymore.
- “Are you talkin’ ta me?” is straight-up classic. It’s not a great scene for men plural, but any man studying acting should study this scene. It’s filled with a great monologue and perfect direction from Martin Scorsese, but more than both of these things, it’s Deniro’s complete immersion that makes this such a stunning piece.
- “Rallying the troops” is our requisite Shakespeare for today. Though old sir William has countless scenes that are great for men, none of them have been more dynamically modernized than this rousing speech from “Henry V,” which Kenneth Brannagh turned into a classic piece of cinema with his 1989 adaptation of the play.
- “That’s Cosmo. He’s Chinese.” “Boogie Nights” culminating moment requires dedicated performances from at least three actors and is a great scene for an ensemble of men. Though the music helps sets the mood in the film, the dialogue and movement of the piece make it work in theatrical settings as well.
- “There was a time when I could’ve shot you,” mutters an indignant old white man after meeting the back of Virgil Tibbs’ hand in “In The Heat of the Night.” This interrogation scene takes place in a greenhouse and requires dignity, indignity, poise and eloquence from both Tibbs and the suspect. It’s a great acting scene that mixes the conventions of crime films with uniquely American racial tensions.
- “Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?” might not seem like a line from a great acting scene, but many lessons can be learned from this classic "Chappelle Show" skit. Most importantly, a scene like this teaches actors that sometimes the best way to get laughs is to act very, very seriously. Scenes like this will help you learn how to keep a straight face in a ridiculous situation.
- “Training Day” is filled with a number of scenes that make for great male acting. In particular, the scenes of Alonzo and Jake riding in the car together, going back and forth on issues of ethics, justice and morality. Only the perfect balance between those characters can make those scenes work the way the do, which is a testament both to Denzel’s power and Hawke’s ability to play a man who shrinks in the face of power.
- “Check out the big brain on Brett,” intones Jules Winfield in this classic scene from “Pulp Fiction.” What makes this such a great acting scene for men is the various characters each character assumes: Jules is the conversational peer to Vincent Vega, but the domineering hitman to Brett. Vega switches from nonchalant conversationalist to stoic badass.
- “I am not left handed” is a great piece of work from “The Princess Bride.” The scene is physical and intellectual, challenging an actor’s presence and intelligence. Furthermore, it’s got some great accents going on. This Monty Python-esque scene is the perfect balance of absurdity and witticism.
- “The Warehouse” makes up the bulk of Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.” The scene takes place in an enclosed space, making it perfect for a group of male actors to rehearse anywhere. Characters come and go, allowing actors to play more than one, and the juicy dialogue drives the scene—you won’t need any outside action.
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