Top 20 Epic Movie Cameos
Done right, a good cameo can leave a lasting impression. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 20 epic movie cameos.
For this list, we’re taking a look at more big name celebrities who made a mark with brief and unexpected appearances in movies. We’ve excluded actors who were arguably more along the lines of supporting players, such as Will Ferrell in “Wedding Crashers” or Tom Cruise in “Tropic Thunder.” Since some of these cameos tie into big plot twists, a spoiler alert is in order.
#20: Hugh Jackman
“X-Men: First Class” (2011)
An “X-Men” movie apparently cannot be produced without an appearance from Wolverine, no matter how short it may be. Since the launch of the first movie, Hugh Jackman has made nine physical appearances as Logan – ten if you count “Deadpool.” While “X-Men: Apocalypse” went for an extended and violent action sequence, Wolverine’s best cameo lasted less than half a minute and featured no claws whatsoever. During “X-Men: First Class,” Xavier and Magneto are looking for able mutants to join their cause, which leads them to a dingy bar in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, it was a wasted journey.
#19: Ozzy Osbourne
“Little Nicky” (2000)
Deus Ex Machina – Black Sabbath style! As the son of Satan, the kind and sweet Little Nicky is a bitter disappointment. Sandler’s demon is on a quest to prevent his brothers from plunging the world into a never-ending darkness, although he does need a bit of help to get the job done. After smashing a mysterious orb given to him by his angelic mother, the Prince of Darkness shows up to take a bite out of Nicky's brother. Metal fans have known this for decades - but Ozzy is a gift from God.
#18: Danny McBride
“Observe and Report” (2009)
Considering they created comedy gold with “Eastbound & Down,” it is no surprise that Danny McBride appeared in Jody Hill's “Observe and Report.” Seth Rogen’s Ronnie is an arrogant mall cop driven by a desire for justice, who apprehends a prepubescent drug peddler during his free time. Unfortunately, the child’s father shows up with his goons and sticks a gun in Ronnie’s face area. Luckily for the mall cop, this gang has a few screws loose. Sticking to what he is known for, McBride delivers a funny and foul-mouthed performance.
“Muppets Most Wanted” (2014)
From the days of Steve Martin and Richard Pryor, The Muppets have turned celebrity cameos into an art form. Their 2014 outing boasts over 20 famous faces, ensuring that every single viewer will recognize at least a few of them. Picking the best of the bunch is practically impossible, as nearly all of them deliver the goods. Who did not laugh when Christoph Waltz showed up to literally do the Waltz, or Tom Hiddleston hamming it up as the Great Escapo for the prisoner talent show? Honestly, the entire movie is one big cameo.
#16: Christopher Lloyd
“A Million Ways to Die in the West” (2014)
This film showed, if not anything else, that Seth MacFarlane knows how to write cameos. Despite being the director’s worst reviewed movie to date, “A Million Ways To Die in The West” features a few hilarious moments, including an out of the blue cameo by Doc Brown himself. MacFarlane’s Albert Stark randomly discovers Christopher Lloyd in a barn as the scientist tries to kick-start the DeLorean. Considering “Back to the Future Part III” takes place in the West, this cameo actually kind of makes sense.
#15: Johnny Depp
“21 Jump Street” (2012)
This film wasn’t just funny, it also ingeniously brought the franchise full circle. As Schmidt and Jenko find themselves cornered by the bad guys, two other undercover cops reveal themselves. One of the cops is played by Peter DeLuise, who you might know, and the other is played by Johnny Depp, who you definitely know. Reprising their roles from the original TV series, the partners reminisce about their Jump Street days before getting shot. Depp himself requested that his character be killed off and the filmmakers gave him a truly uproarious sendoff.
#14: Hulk Hogan
“Gremlins 2: The New Batch” (1990)
“Gremlins 2” works in so much meta humor that it practically destroys the fourth wall. At one point, the mischievous Gremlins actually take over the projection booth, stalling the film. But don’t worry, folks! Hulk Hogan is in the audience! In true macho fashion, the professional wrestler threatens to get physical if the little miscreants above don’t resume playing “Gremlins 2.” It turns out the Gremlins actually have two weaknesses: sunlight and the Hulkster. Hilarious and surreal, this scene makes us wish every movie theater had Hulk Hogan on standby.
#13: Robert Patrick
“Wayne’s World” (1992)
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” took the world by storm in 1991, prompting Robert Patrick to revive the character for a brief cameo in Mike Myers’ “Wayne’s World.” Dressed up in his now iconic beat cop uniform, the T-1000 pulls over Wayne to ask whether he recently saw John Connor running around. Myers reacts exactly how anyone would in this situation – he screams and hightails it out of there. By the way, the T-1000 was actually meant to be portrayed by Billy Idol before he was ruled out due to an unfortunate motorcycle accident
#12: Michael Jackson
“Men in Black II” (2002)
During the later years of his life, Michael Jackson was the target of numerous gags with everyone making fun of his physical appearance and questionable behavior. If this cameo from “Men in Black II” proved anything, however, it’s that Jackson could laugh at himself. Conversing via videophone, Jackson is revealed to be an ally of Zed and possibly an alien. Jackson wants nothing more than to be an official MIB agent, although Zed isn’t too keen on the idea. Michael sadly never becomes Agent M, but he’ll always be the King of Pop.
#11: Emma Watson
“This Is the End” (2011)
“This is the End” is yet another comedy that packs in countless cameos. Although it was pretty awesome to see the Backstreet Boys reunited, it was even more jarring seeing Hermione Granger make an appearance. Surviving the apocalypse, Emma Watson finds refuge at James Franco’s house. But as the guys start sending the wrong kind of vibes, Watson decides that she’s probably safer outside. Before leaving, though, the Hogwarts alumnus bashes in Seth Rogen’s face and steals their supplies. Whether she’s wielding a wand or an axe, Watson is one celebrity we’d want on our side when all hell breaks loose.
#10: Eminem & Ray Romano
“Funny People” (2009)
“Funny People” centers on Adam Sandler as a struggling comedian who suddenly contracts a fatal disease and has to revalue his entire life. As with most of Judd Apatow’s work, “Funny People” blends hilarious hijinks with many heartfelt moments, including the awesome scene featuring Eminem and Ray Romano. After the rapper gives Sandler a pep-talk about the celebrity lifestyle, Eminem loses it after realizing that the “Everybody Loves Raymond” comedian is staring at him. Apparently, everybody does not include Eminem.
#9: Mike Tyson
“The Hangover” (2009)
When a wild night becomes a day of retracing drunken steps, one nagging mystery in particular remains a head-scratcher: where’d the tiger come from? Reality’s stranger than any theory you can dream up, cause the boys stole it from a sleeping Mike Tyson. Gotta say, though, Mike seems pretty friendly – especially when he wants to sing with the gang – but turns out it’s all part of his interrogation technique.
#8: Martin Sheen
“Hot Shots! Part Deux” (1993)
The “Hot Shots!” sequel parodies many serious war movies. So obviously they had to include a reference to Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 epic. A badass retired Navy soldier who found inner peace after discovering Buddhism, Charlie Sheen's Topper Harley is pulled back in for one final mission. While Ramboing his way through Iraq, he comes across Martin Sheen's character from “Apocalypse Now” - who might have taken a wrong turn on his way to Vietnam. As the father and son cross paths, they share a few words of encouragement.
#7: Neil Patrick Harris
“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” (2004)
This legendary cameo comes from an actor who first got famous for his role as TV’s kid-doctor Doogie. In a slightly less than wholesome role however, NPH turns up during the titular duo’s journey to this burger haven. The complete opposite of what anyone expected, this washed-up, and creepy celeb-turned-hitchhiker punctuates the title stoners’ quest for burgers in ways they couldn’t possibly imagine.
“The Interview” (2014)
Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, has made multiple epic cameos in Seth Rogen comedies. We’ve seen that he’s not a very big fan of Ray Romano. Then in “The Interview,” Eminem revealed that he’s been playing gay peekaboo. In the past, Eminem has faced some controversy for his allegedly homophobic lyrics. It’s nothing short of hysterical watching the hardcore rapper maintain a straight face as he pokes fun at himself. Just as funny is everyone’s shocked reactions as they try to fathom the bombshell Eminem just casually dropped.
""This Is the End"" (2013)
“This Is the End” asks how celebrities would react to an end of days scenario. While the main actors mostly play it straight, Cera is allowed to run wild for his brief cameo. The “Arrested Development” actor drops his typical goody-two-shoes persona, as he indulges in some party favors, engages in a threesome, and harasses Rihanna. Also, “This is the End” shows Channing Tatum in a gimp suit. You have to see it to believe it.
#4: David Bowie
“Zoolander” has celebrity cameos left and right with the most memorable of the bunch being the late great David Bowie. Making a triumphant entrance complete with a title card, Bowie declares himself the judge of Derek and Hansel’s walk off. As Bowie keeps score on his hand, Hansel takes the lead by miraculously removing his underwear while somehow keeping his pants on. Even Jareth the Goblin King couldn’t perform such dark magic! Derek tries to top his rival, but he isn’t quite as successful. Thus, Bowie disqualifies him like a boss!
#3: Bill Murray
In a flick about the end of mankind, the last person anyone expects to see is zombified Bill Murray. But fear not: he’s just playing dress-up to keep up with the Joneses. Once Murray drops the ruse, Woody Harrelson gives the appropriate, and some would say mandatory, fan-level freak-out. Too bad Bill takes his pranks too far, trying to get a laugh from a scared kid with a shotgun.
#2: Luke Wilson, Tim Robbins & Ben Stiller
“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004)
In a completely random and hilarious opportunity for cameos, the Channel 4 News team is caught off-guard by all of their rivals while taking a shortcut through town. No, we don’t just mean Vince Vaughn and his aggressive evening news team: we’re talking about Luke Wilson’s Channel 2 team, Tim Robbins’ Public News team, and Ben Stiller’s Spanish Language News team and their epic, and frankly bizarre, cameo-laden brawl. Of course, the stakes were raised in the Anchorman Sequel, when Sacha Baron Cohen, Tina Fey, Jim Carrey, John C. Reilly and a bunch of others show up to duke it out for journalistic dominance.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“The Wedding Singer” (1998)
“The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” (2004)
Tom Cruise and Co.
“Austin Powers In Goldmember” (2002)
“Hot Fuzz” (2007)
#1: Stan Lee
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)
This influential legend captured the imaginations of comic book readers everywhere for decades, and he had a habit of popping up on the big screen as well. His cameos were in fact so numerous that he has his own Watchmojo list devoted to the topic. He’s showed up as a tuned-out librarian, a romance expert, and as replacements for Hugh Hefner and Larry King, to name a few. Unsurprisingly, most of his screen time was in MCU movies, but blink and you might miss some of them. After all these cameo appearances, you’d think Stan wouldn’t have had any trouble getting on the guest list."