Top 10 Russell Crowe Performances



Top 10 Russell Crowe Performances

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
This New-Zealand born australian actor became an international sensation and Academy Award winner for his role as a Roman general in Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' in 2000. Since then, he has showcased his talent by starring as everything from a Tobacco industry whistle blower to detectives, a ship captain, old west outlaw and even Robin Hood! Join as we count down our top 10 favorite Russell Crowe performances.

Top 10 Russell Crowe Performances

He’s the actor from Down Under who ended up on top. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite Russell Crowe performances.

#10 – Robin Longstride: “Robin Hood” (2010)

Kicking off our list is Crowe’s interpretation of a legendary hero. At 45-years-old during filming, Crowe is the oldest actor to have ever played the role. But instead of weighing him down, his extra experience added authenticity to his performance as a disillusioned and war heavy soldier-turned-freedom fighter. Not only that, but his casting also meant that fine acting balanced out the film’s larger-than-life action!

#9 – Captain Jack Aubrey: “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003)

Shot almost entirely on water, this historical naval epic features Crowe as a British captain who’s ordered to destroy or capture a French privateer ship. The star brings charm, confidence and a deep sense of authority to his characterization, and because of this he earned a Golden Globe nomination. Crowe completely submerged himself in the part by visiting nautical museums, and voluntarily learning to play the violin.

#8 – Sid 6.7: “Virtuosity” (1995)

He’s a menacing piece of artificial intelligence and the main foe to Denzel Washington. With this unique and villainous role, Crowe is tasked with portraying a rogue police training simulation that’s programmed with the character traits of countless mass murderers. This fish-out-of-water – or should we say AI in the real world – story challenges him to portray multiple personalities and give the most over-the-top performance of his career.

#7 – Det. Richie Roberts: “American Gangster” (2007)

Crowe goes up against Denzel again, but this time he’s the good guy. He portrays the real-life detective who’s dedicated to bringing down a drug kingpin, which means he’s stubborn, ethical and smart enough to know the score. Crowe’s character clashes with a department full of corrupt cops, but always refuses to give in to temptation. Few actors could make a mere face-to-face conversation so captivating.

#6 – Ben Wade: “3:10 to Yuma” (2007)

Returning for a more subdued and complex bad guy performance, Crowe plays a gang leader who’s taken prisoner. As the West’s most skilled gunman, Crowe is also a refined robber and murderer who draws, reads, philosophizes and is much smarter than those around him. This makes his interactions with Christian Bale’s protagonist bittersweet, as Crowe finds his equal and gets a taste of Stockholm syndrome.

#5 – Jim Braddock: “Cinderella Man” (2005)

This is another role inspired by a real-life story. Crowe earned another Golden Globe nod by playing a poor Irish-American fighter in the 1920s who becomes the unlikely heavyweight boxing champ. Complete with a convincing New Jersey accent and the physicality of an aging athlete with arthritis, Crowe makes us believe the film’s true fairytale premise, as he depicts a man who’s fighting to provide for his family.

#4 – Officer Wendell “Bud” White: “L.A. Confidential” (1997)

It was this neo-noir tale of 1950s police corruption that transformed Crowe from an unknown to a major Hollywood draw. To study for his part as an amoral LAPD cop, Crowe trained with a dialect coach and watched vintage police training films. The result is a beefy policeman who violently punishes woman-beaters, and plants evidence – but that’s what makes this role memorable: his concern for the victims ahead of ethics or due process.

#3 – Jeffrey Wigand: “The Insider” (1999)

This tour-de-force sees Crowe take play the real-life scientist-turned-whistleblower who went up against Big Tobacco – and for his work, he earned an Oscar nomination. Not only does this film again showcase our star’s knack for accents, it also underscores Crowe’s ability to embody a man who sacrifices everything to do the right thing, even if that means getting more than a few grey hairs from stress and paranoia.

#2 – John Nash: “A Beautiful Mind” (2001)

Crowe transforms into a mathematical genius who’s obsessed with his own legacy for this impressive, Oscar-nominated role. He gives a masterful performance in this biographical drama, and captivates us with his increasing loss of sanity, as a man caught in the grip of paranoid schizophrenia that deepens over several decades. Crowe convincingly goes the distance with the part like few else would.

#1 – Maximus Decimus Meridius: “Gladiator” (2000)

Taking the top spot on our list is the picture that won Crowe an Academy Award for Best Actor. In a stark departure from his other roles, he plays a soldier who’s trying to avenge his family, while trapped within the brutality of the Roman arena. The cinematic grandeur of the film is matched only by Crowe’s intense and believable portrayal of a man with nothing left to lose.

Do you agree with our list? Which Russell Crowe performance is your favorite? For more great top 10s, be sure to subscribe to