Nicholson tops movie performance poll

Jack Nicholson’s role in classic movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been named the greatest movie performance of all time.

Screen experts from Total Film magazine ranked his role as charismatic mental patient RP McMurphy in the adaptation of Ken Kesey’s book as the top portrayal.

Two Irish actors make the top 10 — Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood and Liam Neeson for Schindler’s List. Robert De Niro’s role in Raging Bull was runner-up.

Nicholson won an Oscar for his appearance as McMurphy in the 1975 film, in which he leads the other patients in a rebellion.

Total Film deputy editor Jamie Graham said: “Few actors are as magnetic as Jack Nicholson, and RP McMurphy is his definitive performance.

“Perfectly capturing the anti-hero, anti-establishment spirit of the time, he combines danger, charisma, courage, anguish and humour, while the wild-haired, wild-eyed lunacy that would consume some of his later performances is here deployed sparingly and strategically.”

Day-Lewis ranks as the highest Irish actor on the list. His 2007 role as oil baron Daniel Plainview is the most recent portrayal to make the top 10 list.

The highest-placed actress is Emily Watson, in fifth for her role as Bess in Breaking The Waves.


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