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Top 10 Jeff Bridges Performances

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Billy Keeley. Both a box-office fave and a critical darling, he’s a cinema legend: Jeff Bridges is just one of those actors who’s in everything, and he always looks and sounds different. He goes from playing a programmer stuck inside a computer to an alien to a cowboy to a stoner with ease, and stuns us every single time. In honor of his birthday on December 4th, 1969, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for Jeff Bridges’ top 10 performances. Special thanks to our users Joseph Kabak, Jack Morris, Alex Lefebvre and dch3nier for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Billy Keeley.

Top 10 Jeff Bridges Performances


Both a box-office fave and a critical darling, he’s a cinema legend. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Jeff Bridges’ top 10 performances.

#10: Obadiah Stane
“Iron Man” (2008)

In a rare villain role, Bridges gives “Iron Man” what every superhero needs: a kick-ass bad-guy. Obadiah Stane is Tony Stark’s long-time business partner, driven to madness when Stark attempts to cut out profitable weapons sales. With Bridges in the role, Stane’s cutthroat intensity and personal vendetta lead to an effects-filled battle with more emotion than your typical superhero finale of fireworks and one-liners.

#9: Kevin Flynn
“Tron” (1982)

Bolstered by the rise of Atari videogames, Bridges makes computer programmers cool with his lead role in “Tron.” Portraying ENCOM designer Kevin Flynn, Bridges is physically taken inside the computer system, a virtual world of visual effects and videogame battles. By valiantly fighting off threats from corrupt programmers, Bridges brings a fiery quality to the wunderkind part, which he reprised in a revolutionary sequel decades later.

#8: Starman/Scott Hayden
“Starman” (1984)

As the title character, Bridges is an alien who arrives on Earth, taking the form of Jenny Hayden’s recently-deceased husband. They fall in love, but must race to get the Starman back into space before he dies. Bridges’ rigid physical acting and toneless speech infuse the alien with a childlike wonder and mysticism. His simple expressions feel a hundred percent sincere, and draw the audience into the enriching love story.

#7: Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn
“True Grit” (2010)

Reuniting with the Coen Brothers, Bridges adds his own unique flavor to John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn in this spirited remake. A marshal on a mission to help a young girl avenge her father’s death, Cogburn is a lovable loser. Bridges’ gruff delivery and excellent comedic timing disguise a deadly intensity that reawakens when justice needs to be served; deep within this tired shell of a man lies a warrior.

#6: President Jackson Evans
“The Contender” (2000)

The polar opposite of many film presidents, Bridges’ Jackson Evans is a personable leader filled with character and conviction. Though not a main role, Evans is essential to the plot, as he’s fighting for the appointment of the first female Vice President. Bridges maintains a genial delivery in dealing with associates, but turns up the volume when his nominee faces undue prejudice, adding a spark to an already passionate film.

#5: Jack Lucas
“The Fisher King” (1991)

In this Terry Gilliam classic, Bridges plays former shock-jock Jack Lucas, who’s guilt-stricken when his harsh words lead to a violent shooting. On the brink of suicide, an offbeat victim of the shooting saves him. As Lucas befriends this eccentric man, played by an electric Robin Williams, Bridges gives the ultimate character transformation. A brash, egotistical showman slowly becomes a loving, charitable confidante in this tale of human redemption.

#4: Lightfoot
“Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974)

This film pairs Jeff Bridges with legendary action hero Clint Eastwood as a duo intent on robbing a small-town bank. Playing the laid-back, affable Lightfoot to Eastwood’s stone-cold Thunderbolt, Bridges sets the blueprint for comic foil in decades of buddy comedy movies to come. Despite the life-or-death stakes, Bridges’ Lightfoot consistently leaves Thunderbolt hilariously baffled, and adds a heavy dose of character to a very unique road movie.

#3: Duane Jackson
“The Last Picture Show” (1971)

With this Oscar-nominated effort, Jeff Bridges was introduced to the world. As rural high-school teen Duane Jackson, Bridges is a standout in a small-town ensemble of quirky, tragic residents. Brimming with youthful testosterone and naiveté, Jackson is the quintessential lost teen, losing his faithless girlfriend and battling his supposed best friend. Sure, it’s a character type we already know, but Bridges injects it with so much life it doesn’t matter.

#2: Otis “Bad” Blake
“Crazy Heart” (2009)

A stunning character study, Bridges’ poignant take on burnt-out country singer “Bad” Blake netted him an Oscar. A music legend whose best days are behind him, Blake reinvents himself with a musical partnership and new family – but things slowly fall apart. Bridges’ helpless, pitiful emotions as he struggles with alcoholism and failure are some of the most soul shredding acting ever seen on screen.

#1: Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski
“The Big Lebowski” (1998)

“Lebowski” hosts Jeff Bridges’ ultimate performance, a role that stands tall among many. As Jeff Lebowski… Sorry, as The Dude, Bridges just wants to chill and bowl, only he’s caught in the middle of a never-ending kidnapping. But thanks to his happy-go-lucky nature and endless quotes, he escapes one jam after another. Naturally nailing his role, Bridges abides to each unusual situation, creating a timeless cult classic.

Do you agree with our list? What are some of your favorite Jeff Bridges performances? For more top 10s about your favorite films published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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