Top 10 Daniel Day-Lewis Performances
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Top 10 Daniel Day-Lewis Performances

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Richard Bush.

This guy can make you sympathetic, intrigued and downright terrified with a mere glance. In this video, http:www.WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 Daniel Day-Lewis performances. For this list, we're taking a look at those performances that show off this actor at his finest and/or most memorable.

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Transcript
Script written by Richard Bush.

Top 10 Daniel Day-Lewis


This guy can make you sympathetic, intrigued and downright terrified with a mere glance. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Daniel Day-Lewis performances.

For this list, we’re taking a look at those performances that show off this actor at his finest and/or most memorable.

#10: Tomas
“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988)

In this erotic drama, Daniel Day-Lewis plays the ultimate lady-killer, bouncing from one woman to the next with lust, not love, on his mind. But when he marries Tereza, a woman who wants monogamy, Tomas must decide where his values lie. Day-Lewis conveys this Casanova-like character with cheeky swagger and at times, manipulative language. His ability to charm also works brilliantly here. And, just like his indecision, we are constantly wondering – do we actually like this guy?

#9: Johnny Burfoot
“My Beautiful Laundrette” (1985)

It’s the Thatcher years, and promises of riches in Britain are plentiful. A hopeful foreigner named Omar comes to British shores hoping for a better life, but ultimately ends up carrying-out negligible jobs – until he meets Johnny. Johnny is an old friend of Omar’s, and soon an intimate relationship is rekindled. Day-Lewis does two things with his character in “My Beautiful Laundrette:” on one hand, he delivers a rebel that confronts thugs and punks; on the other, he’s a sensitive bloke that will do anything to be with who he cares for.

#8: Newland Archer
“The Age of Innocence” (1993)

“The Age of Innocence” plays out like a complicated love triangle; with one Newland Archer falling in love with the Countess Ellen, who also happens to be the rebel cousin of his fiancée, May Welland. Sneaking and snooping around are what follows, with Day-Lewis perfectly portraying the struggle of a man who is confused over what the heart wants. As the film goes on, we start to see his once traditional attitude change, which allows the actor to let his raw passion shine through.

#7: Cecil Vyse
“A Room with a View” (1985)

This romantic drama tells the story of a young woman who takes a trip to Italy and ends up edging away from convention and her arranged marriage. Day-Lewis plays Cecil, whom Lucy is supposed to be marrying. The only problem is he epitomizes everything that young Lucy wants to get away from. This includes a pretentious attitude, well-read demeanor and outlook that everything must be prim and proper. His upturned nose and subtle cigarette grasping mannerisms make you just want to punch him – which means Day-Lewis pulled it off perfectly.

#6: Gerry Conlon
“In the Name of the Father” (1993)

Taking us through the true story of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings, “In the Name of the Father” is about a man and his son fighting to prove their innocence. The crux of Day-Lewis’ character, Gerry Conlon, is that he is just a normal guy who is just as susceptible to emotions as any other human being. And, we ride the roller coaster with him, through fear, anger and despair. We also connect with him through the compelling love he shows for his father.

#5: Hawkeye / Nathaniel Poe
“The Last of the Mohicans” (1992)

Gotta love that hair. With just a few left in the Mohicans tribe, fighting for what they believe in is what keeps them going – so, when Hawkeye and company save a British Colonel’s daughters, they make it a mission to keep them safe. Hawkeye is particularly fond of one of them, and while he shows his softer side to said lady, Day-Lewis is also able to flick a switch and become a musket-wielding, tomahawk-throwing soldier when required. He does this by giving us a fearless and wise character that is constantly stretching himself as a human being.

#4: Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting
“Gangs of New York” (2002)

Bill is a notorious gang leader who controls the Five Points neighborhood of New York. But Amsterdam Vallon, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, wants to kill him so he can avenge his father’s death. So, why is Day-Lewis so good in “Gangs of New York”? Well, number one, his eerie physicality. Two, his refined accent and butchery skills. And three, his terrifyingly convincing ability to go totally ape shit in a split second. Fun fact, Day-Lewis actually became an apprentice butcher to research this role.

#3: President Abraham Lincoln
“Lincoln” (2012)

Who better to play one of the most important figures in American history than this guy? In this historical drama, Day-Lewis plays U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during one of the most integral times of the country’s history: it’s the Civil War and the abolition of slavery is on the horizon. Not only does he invent his own vocal delivery for the president, he pulls off his stern, no-nonsense leadership traits with aplomb. Also, his ability to convey Lincoln’s decisive manner, even when challenged by his own peers, is truly spine chilling – and earned him an Oscar nod for Best Actor.

#2: Daniel Plainview
“There Will Be Blood” (2007)

Oil, glorious oil. “There Will Be Blood” sees Day-Lewis play cash-hungry, Machiavellian prospector Daniel Plainview, who molds his own business in the profitable oil trade. With all-too-real issues and responsibilities creeping in, such as his deaf son and radical religious associates, we get a character that is cutthroat and always ready to do business, but also a man who is a father. Meanwhile, Day-Lewis’s helter skelter personality throughout the epic drama keeps us on edge at all times.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- John Proctor
“The Crucible” (1996)
- Danny Flynn
“The Boxer” (1997)
- Sailing Master John Fryer
“The Bounty” (1984)

#1: Christy Brown
“My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown” (1989)

This role brought new meaning to the word ‘acting.’ Day-Lewis plays real-life cerebral palsy sufferer Christy Brown, and we follow him as tries to fit in and ultimately learn to paint and write with his one controllable appendage – his left foot. As well as being completely convincing as a sufferer of cerebral palsy, Day-Lewis has Christy Brown’s snappy attitude to a tee, be it back chatting or foul mouthing. Truth be told, his role in “My Left Foot” is arguably one of the most deserved Academy Awards for Best Actor ever.

Do you agree with our list? Which Daniel Day-Lewis performance had you bowing down to the screen? For more dramatic Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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Bill %u201CThe Butcher%u201D Cutter (or is it Cutting??) is four places lower than it should be, IMO!! I%u2019d put that role, that character could make the top 10 Antagonists of all time!! D.D. Lewis%u2019s acting, is like Frdric Chopin on piano, or Rembrandt painting.
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You guys got it right with the number one it Is definitley his best though I do love his romantic heroes like Newland(the age of innocence), hawyke(the last of the Mohicans) and Tomas(the Unberable lightness of being )