Top 10 Kevin Bacon Performances

Script written by Jordan Ruimy. Forget the six degrees shtick; here's a career full of rich, nuanced performances. Kevin Bacon's career began in 1978 when he took a role in "National Lampoon's Animal House," but it was a few more years before he really made a splash. After appearing in the iconic slasher flick "Friday the 13th," Bacon eventually took the lead in 1984's dance-heavy movie "Footloose," and the rest is history. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for Kevin Bacon's top 10 performances. Special thanks to our users roxy, Henners250, Rob Welch, Stennershannon@gmail, MCRmy Killijoy, Mark Chapman and matthew.r.barratt@go for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Jordan Ruimy.

Top 10 Kevin Bacon Performances


Forget the six degrees shtick; here’s a career full of rich, nuanced performances. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for Kevin Bacon’s top 10 performances.

#10: Ryan Hardy
“The Following” (2013-)

Like seemingly every other serious actor this decade, Bacon saw the potential of the small screen. On the FOX series “The Following,” his Ryan Hardy is an ex-FBI agent called back to assist in the search for wanted fugitive serial killer Joe Carroll. What drew him to the role were the life-or-death choices his character is forced to make. And the result is a performance as layered as it is rich in small details. Bacon has never invested himself more in a role than he does here.

#9: Wade
“The River Wild” (1994)

Under director Curtis Hanson’s responsible hands, Bacon delivers a performance full of evil and mischief. His Wade is a calculating criminal on a mission to take a family hostage and have them bring him down the dangerous river where he’s meeting his other accomplices. But without Bacon’s trademark charm, the family would never have been in the situation in the first place. The portrayal justifiably gave him his first ever Golden Globe nomination and made us all even more paranoid about trusting anyone we encounter while rafting.

#8: Valentine “Val” McKee
“Tremors” (1990)

Bacon may have considered himself at an all-time low, but this is a well-cast film, with Bacon as an excellent comedic lead. A small town gradually becomes aware of a larger-than-life creature that’s killing off people one-by-one. Enter Bacon’s McKee who sets out to save the day and kill these ugly monsters. Bringing a real sense of joy to his performance, Bacon has rarely been this playful with a role. This cult classic is pure B-movie horror bliss and our actor’s performance is exceptionally perfect for the genre.

#7: Tom Witzky
“Stir of Echoes” (1999)

Released a month after M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense,” this film and its similarly supernatural subject matter was overshadowed by Shyamalan’s pop culture phenomenon. And it’s a shame, because as Witzky – a working-class guy haunted by visions – Bacon is phenomenal. Playing a tough, strong, blue-collar kinda guy, he proves he deserves leading man status in any Hollywood film. He could’ve easily overacted this part, but he keeps it restrained and creepy, authentic and affecting as he tries to solve the case of a missing local teen.

#6: Sebastian Shaw
“X-Men: First Class” (2011)

Playing a scientist who once worked for the Nazis and who now leads a clandestine group known as the Hellfire Club, Bacon was chosen for the role of Shaw because – even as a villain – he still has that glimmer of charm that draws others to him. With the ability to soak in and transmit energy, Shaw is this comic-book movie’s big baddie; but Bacon’s performance is so layered you sometimes question his antagonist status. He brings dimension to a character that could have easily dissolved into caricature.

#5: Sean Nokes
“Sleepers” (1996)

Here’s another powerfully menacing performance provided by Bacon. When a group of teen boys are sent to juvy for a prank gone horribly wrong, Bacon steps in as the cruel and callous security guard who makes their lives a living hell. And Bacon’s Nokes becomes the dirty core of this mesmerizing film when the kids, all grown up, decide to take revenge on him and hit him with consequences nobody sees coming. Every scene with Bacon is hard to watch but this is powerful acting at its finest.

#4: Capt. Jack Ross
“A Few Good Men” (1992)

As the prosecuting attorney tasked with putting away two Marines accused of killing one of their own, Bacon fights the good guys every step of the way. Yet, despite that, you can’t help but like him and respect the job’s he’s doing. Though he brings his trademark magnetism to the role, Bacon isn’t at his showiest here; but he proves he can play with the big boys in a cast that includes Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore, and direction by Rob Reiner.

#3: Jack Swigert
“Apollo 13” (1995)

Ron Howard’s Oscar-winning movie had an all-star cast that included Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris and Bill Paxton – and there is no one performance that stands out because everyone is that good. And Bacon holds his own against this all-star cast as Jack Swigert, the real-life last-minute replacement pilot of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. After undergoing extensive training with his fellow actors and some of the real-life astronauts they played, Bacon was able to provide credible and vital supporting work that complements the rest of the cast.

#2: Sean Devine
“Mystic River” (2003)

Director Clint Eastwood couldn’t have picked a better actor to play Sean Devine, a detective assigned to a case involving his childhood friend’s murdered daughter. With such an incredible ensemble cast –including Sean Penn in an Oscar-winning role – Bacon’s contributions could’ve gone unnoticed; but focus on his incredibly detailed and nuanced performance and you’ll see a sad, forlorn man who’s trying desperately to keep his personal feelings out of his case and who’s going through the motions of daily life.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- David Labraccio “Flatliners” (1990)
- Sgt. Ray Duquette “Wild Things” (1998)
- Henri Young “Murder In The First” (1995)
- Timothy Fenwick Jr. “Diner” (1982)

#1: Ren McCormack
“Footloose” (1984)

A young Chicago teen moves to a small town where rock music and dancing are banned – and, naturally, he shakes things up as he comes up against the stodgy preacher. Any list of Kevin Bacon performances would be incomplete without the role that started it all, and it this iconic ‘80s flick that launched his career and started a dance revolution. Bacon’s performance is filled with passion as he tries to fit in, overcome the bullies and win the girl. And, of course, his dance moves are electric.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is Kevin Bacon’s best performance? For more movie Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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