Related Videos

Top 10 Worst American Accents by Great British Actors

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Robert Palin
Us Brits often revel in mocking awful American attempts at our accent. But let’s see how things are when the shoe’s on the other foot, because not everyoneis quite as good as Hugh Laurie in “House”. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst American Accents by Great British Actors. For this list, we’re critiquing entries based on their general effectiveness, how they compare alongside the accented efforts of other cast members, and their consistency throughout the movie – or lack of it. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript

Top 10 Worst American Accents by Great British Actors


Us Brits often revel in mocking awful American attempts at our accent. But let’s see how things are when the shoe’s on the other foot, because not everyoneis quite as good as Hugh Laurie in “House”. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst American Accents by Great British Actors.

For this list, we’re critiquing entries based on their general effectiveness, how they compare alongside the accented efforts of other cast members, and their consistency throughout the movie – or lack of it.

#10: Simon Pegg
“Big Nothing” (2006)

He fronts the quintessentially British “Cornetto Trilogy”, but Pegg’s American accent falls completely flat in this film. Starring as Gus alongside David Schwimmer as Charlie, he plays an aspiring scam artist who hatches a plan to blackmail a dodgy Reverend. The biggest scam of all, however, is his unconvincing and frankly hard-to-place tone. Pegg’s so well known for playing the Brit that it is especially difficult to believe him as an American – but he doesn’t help himself here.

#9: Alan Rickman
“Judas Kiss” (1998)

The late, great Alan Rickman will forever be remembered for his many momentous film roles.However, something that won’t be up there with his best achievements is his apparently American accent in this late ‘90s thriller, where he plays Detective David Friedman. Alan stars alongside long-time collaborator and friend Emma Thompson, whose Southern drawl is much more convincing… But that only highlights how far off the mark Rickman really is. All in, his character’s voice is less law and order, and more low budget Forrest Gump.

#8: Clive Owen
“Inside Man” (2006)

One of this actor’s most recognisable traits is his gravelly British sound, which has seen him land a lorryload of tough-guy roles. He’s not at all well known for playing the American, and it’s easy to see why. Owen’s US accent is exhibited in all its inconsistent glory for this 2006 flick, in which he plays a bank robber. Whilst he still packs some predictable punch, he just doesn’t convince as a Stateside character, instead sounding more like an American doing an impression of Clive Owen. In parts, is he even bothering to put on any sort of accent at all?

#7: Jason Statham
“The Transporter” (2002)

A British gangster movie regular, Statham’s hard-man CV includes roles in “Snatch”, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Mean Machine”. So, it was surprising when he was cast as what’s generally accepted as an American in 2002’s “The Transporter”. Another who’s known for his unique voice, the stateside snarl just doesn’t suit him and he clearly struggles to maintain it. To make matters worse, it’s a repeat offence after his equally unimpressive effort in the lesser-known 2001 sci-fi film, “The One”. Of course, no one in their right mind is gonna tell him he’s a little off. Not if they want to live to see tomorrow!

#6: Emma Thompson
“Dead Again” (1991)

As we’ve already seen, this actress can nail the American accent at times. Other times, not so much. And Thompson appears to be having an Atlantic identity crisis here, with an accent that routinely reverts back to her default, well-spoken standard. When she does channel the American accent for an extended scene or speech, however, it just doesn’t sound at all specific to anywhere in particular, especially compared to her British co-star, Kenneth Branagh, who makes a much more convincing fist at it!

#5: Liam Neeson
“Darkman” (1990)

He may be best known for hunting down his daughter’s captors in a certain all-action movie franchise, but we were all taken for a ride with this awful accent attempt. Liam Neeson plays scientist-come-superhero Peyton Westlake in the cult classic, “Darkman”. However, what’s not so heroic is the consistently questionable delivery of Westlake’s key lines. At times, Neeson somehow manages to sound even more Irish than he usually does, making it hard to tell that he’s actually supposed to be from America. The film didn’t especially suffer as a result, scoring well at the box office, but that doesn’t make it any better!

#4: Colin Firth
“Main Street” (2010)

An Oscar-winner for “The King’s Speech”, Colin Firth is about as British as they come. His Americanspeech in this 2010 picture, on the other hand, got people talking for all the wrong reasons. Starring as Gus Leroy, a wealthy Texan who attempts to save a small Southern town, his drawl almost comes across as a parody of what it should sound like. Firth’s another who’s hampered by the all-out Englishness of his past roles, but after starring alongside Renée Zellweger who does a pretty decent British accent in “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, you’d think he would have asked her for some tips.

#3: Ewan McGregor
“Down with Love” (2003)

Whilst this Scottish actor’s English accents are usually very good, there have been a couple of occasions when his stateside intonation has fallen a little short. Playing Catcher Block in “Down with Love”, McGregor’s role as a fast-living journalist who falls in love with a feminist advice author may seem like an all-American romance – but the actor doesn’t exactly sound the part! Ewan’s natural, north-of-the-border accent constantly comes through, meaning that this performance just beats his role in “Big Fish” onto today’s list – but only just.

#2: Ray Winstone
“The Departed” (2006)

Another gangster film veteran, Ray Winstone’s Boston accent as part of this Scorsese classic is extremely unconvincing. Although, again, it’d take extreme bravery to say it to his face! For all his efforts, the king of the onscreen hard men ends up sounding more like a mix of English and Australian, with a small hint of American (at the very best). Plus, to further add to the geographical confusion his voice can cause, Winstone’s character is actually called Mr. French. His delivery lacks a certain je ne sais quois, nonetheless.

#1: Michael Caine
“On Deadly Ground” (1994)

Take one of cinema’s most iconic voices, and arguably one of the most impersonated actors in the business, ask him to adopt an American twang and this is what happens. In this mid-90s movie, Michael Caine plays a rather unpleasant CEO who, despite all the hair dye and American attire, just can’t convince us that he’s genuinely from the States. Considering Caine’s other less-than-perfect attempts in movies like “The Cider House Rules” and “The Weather Man”, accents clearly aren’t his forte. He’s just London, through and through.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs