Top 10 Movie Narrations

Script written by Max Lett. Get ready for an auditory treat; these voices are like chocolate for the ears. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 movie narrations. For this list, we’re only including feature-length films, and we’re excluding documentaries as well as films where the narrator speaks to the audience on camera, because we’re already got you covered there with the Top 10 Fourth Wall Breaks in Film. Special thanks to our users Arimas777, Shakib Ahmed, Cole Pollock, Draco9904, James Gibson, 7AMart1, Floreena Rae Taripe Bersales, Ruben Bylov Andersen, sneakyzebra555, Luqman Khalid, A Ginez, sleepnot, Jenny Blackburn, Jason Heilbronner and Philip Folta for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Max Lett.

Top 10 Movie Narrations


Get ready for an auditory treat; these voices are like chocolate for the ears. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie narrations.

For this list, we’re only including feature-length films, and we’re excluding documentaries as well as films where the narrator speaks to the audience on camera, because we’re already got you covered there with the Top 10 Fourth Wall Breaks in Film.

#10: Ewan McGregor
“Trainspotting” (1996)

This movie, about a group of heroin-addict friends, is narrated by the main character, Mark Renton. And Mark relates the ups and downs of life as a junkie. In his thick Scottish accent, McGregor takes us through the everyday events of someone who’s attempting to turn his plight around, but must shake off the influence of his friends. Because of the honesty and melancholy in his voice, audiences feel compassion for McGregor’s character – and to thank them he injects his commentary with some comedy.

#9: Guy Pearce
“Memento” (2000)

In a film about someone whose memory doesn’t stretch beyond five-minutes, a guiding light is needed to make sense of the events. The narration in “Memento” helps the viewer keep track of the intricate details; but since we’re getting the story from the main character, Leonard Shelby, the facts can’t be fully trusted. As the film progresses, we slowly get the impression that Shelby is not only lying to us, but to himself as well.

#8: Jean Shepherd
“A Christmas Story” (1983)

The real-life author of the book on which this movie is based, Jean Shepherd is also the voice of this holiday film, recounting his biographical anecdotes as an older version of the bespectacled Ralphie. What’s interesting about this narration is we’re getting the story straight from the source, resulting in an authenticity rarely achieved when an actor reads straight from a script. By writing the book and screenplay, as well as offering up the commentary, Shepherd gave us a holiday classic in “A Christmas Story.”

#7: Ray Liotta
“GoodFellas” (1990)

Ripped straight from the pages of Nicholas Pileggi’s biographical book “Wiseguy,” this movie follows notorious real life gangster Henry Hill as he works his way up the mob ladder. Ray Liotta portrays the film’s protagonist, and it’s his voice that gives us a first person glimpse of the loves and life of a successful mobster. Liotta is comes across as genuinely involved in the story he is telling, leading the audience down a rabbit hole of crime and corruption.

#6: Kevin Spacey
“American Beauty” (1999)

Beginning the movie with an interesting twist, the first thing the main character of “American Beauty” tells us is of his impending demise. With his narration, Spacey conveys an ethereal detachment from his situation – and the viewer is invited to share his thoughts and feelings on the last year of his life as he lives it. The sense of doom is lightened somewhat, however, by the calm tone of the narration and Lester’s claim that he’s found happiness.

#5: Richard Dreyfuss
“Stand by Me” (1986)

After the untimely death of his childhood friend, Gordie Lachance reminisces about his youthful experiences and friendships while writing a memoir. As Richard Dreyfuss portrays the adult version of the story’s central character, it’s his words that move the plot along. With a sense of calm, wisdom and nostalgia, Dreyfuss details the final days of his last summer as a carefree kid in this premature coming-of-age story, contrasting the hopeful dreams of his intelligent younger self with the learned insights that only come with age.

#4: Malcolm McDowell
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

Seeing things from the perspective of a psychotic criminal may not be the most settling experience, but since when did Stanley Kubrick want to make his audience comfortable? Alex DeLarge narrates his illicit exploits with a sinister glee as he and his ne’er-do-well droog friends commit horrendous acts of ultra-violence. His voice becomes a creepy earworm that highlights the movie’s slow intensity and eeriness, while also letting us in on the secrets of his inner monologues and musical preferences.

#3: Tom Hanks
“Forrest Gump” (1994)

Spawning some of history’s most repeated movie quotes, Forrest Gump is a simple man trying to navigate a complicated world. Viewed from the eyes of someone who isn’t mentally gifted but who has enough heart for ten men, this narration gives the audience a first-person perspective of just how absurd our lives can be and how seriously we can take them. Forrest tries to make sense of everything, and Tom Hanks’ exaggerated accent and kind voice are the perfect delivery system for the film’s hopeful message.

#2: Edward Norton
“Fight Club” (1999)

A movie with this many twists and turns needs a narrator to guide the viewer through to the end –unreliable as he may be. Having the main character narrate is also a benefit because we get to see inside the protagonist’s mind and really know what he’s thinking. In this case we get the sense of a man who is slowly losing control, and who’ll do just about anything he can to hold on to his last shred of sanity.

Before we narrate our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Billy Bob Thornton “The Thin Red Line” (1998)
- Ellen Page “Juno” (2007)
- Lindsay Lohan “Mean Girls” (2004)
- Various “Sin City” (2005)

#1: Morgan Freeman
“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

With a voice described as buttery caramel for the ears, this cinema legend is considered by most as the king of narration. In this adapted Stephen King story, Freeman is a long-term prisoner of the eponymous penitentiary who befriends the film’s main character. Guiding the viewer to the film’s climax, Freeman lets his voice score the entirety of “Shawshank,” which his matter-of-fact, thoughtful observations on the events that happen around him and the people who cross his path.

Do you agree with our list? What movie has your favorite narration? For more epic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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