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Top 10 Worst British Accents by Americans

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by Owen Maxwell Gol, blimey govna! Are y’havin a laugh? Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Fake British Accents in Movies. For this list, we’re dissecting those British accents by American and Canadian actors that were as hilariously noticeable as they were offensively bad. We’re basing our picks on stereotypical dialects, slips out of accent and lacks of effort to sound genuine. D’ya know wot I mean? Special thanks to our users Drew Boxall, Alice Kingsley, Kelly Wilson, Tristan Hartup, Dan Paradis, CrazyJoshCravy and Alan Sunter for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Worst British Accents by Americans


Gol, blimey govna! Are y’havin a laugh? Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Fake British Accents in Movies.

For this list, we’re dissecting those British accents by American and Canadian actors that were as hilariously noticeable as they were offensively bad. We’re basing our picks on stereotypical dialects, slips out of accent and lacks of effort to sound genuine. D’ya know wot I mean?

#10: James Franco
“Your Highness” (2011)

Just because your film is based in fantasy, doesn’t mean your accents should be. In this magical comedy Fabious and Thadeous are on a quest to save Fabious’s wife from an evil wizard, with a lot more adult humor than you’d expected from the genre. But James Franco’s accent is about as unexpected as it gets. While Danny McBride gives an on-and-off performance for his voice, it’s Franco’s limey and barely present accent that really steals the show – and not in the good way. Even during impassioned speeches Franco slips between caricature and his natural speaking voice, resulting in an accent only suitable for a comedy.

#9: Lindsay Lohan
“The Parent Trap” (1998)

It’s hard to get too upset by mess-ups from child actors, but there are definitely exceptions. Playing her own twin in this childhood comedy, a young Lindsay Lohan actually does a surprisingly good job at separating her roles even when acting opposite herself, but even the best acting needs to sound real. Giving her best posh accent a go, Lohan sounds like a Dickensian stereotype in both her cartoonish tone and even cornier dialogue about having class. Despite warbling some O’s, she manages to poke fun at herself as well, imitating her British twin in the same broken voice.

#8: Natalie Portman
“V for Vendetta” (2005)

Even an accent suited for the stage doesn’t always translate to film. Bringing Alan Moore’s political graphic novel to life, Natalie Portman delivers a heartbreaking performance in her role as the unintentional hero Evey, who’s dealing with the consequences of fighting oppressive power. Although the pain and joy she’s able to evoke are palpable enough to explain Portman’s stardom, her prim accent is so put on that it wouldn’t even take a Brit to notice it. Feeling all too classical Shakespearean, Portman’s accent pulls viewers right out the film’s intense moments and feels confusing among her otherwise mostly British cast mates.

#7: Dick Van Dyke
“Mary Poppins” (1964)

A convincing accent can pull audiences in, while a bad imitation can have them laughing. One of the few Americans in this children’s classic, Dick Van Dyke’s star power was a huge draw to audiences on both sides of the pond, a draw he probably wishes he could’ve avoided. Playing the multi-talented Bert, Van Dyke manages the many jobs of his role well but slips on the most important job of his own: sounding believable. Attempting full-Cockney, he sounds like a parody of his co-stars, but things sound weirder in song and even more so when Van Dyke’s natural tongue cuts through the voice.

#6: Anne Hathaway
“One Day” (2011)

When playing opposite actual Brits, it helps to at least keep your accent consistent. Over the course of this decade-spanning romantic drama, Emma and Dexter can’t help falling in and out of love with each other, just about as frequently as Anne Hathaway falls in and out of her own accent. From their first time on screen together, Hathaway’s natural and very recognizable speaking voice cuts through her accent so hard it can be difficult to tell at times that she’s even supposed to be British, especially next to the very real and very distinct accent of Jim Sturgess. It’s a great performance otherwise, but some accents just aren’t for everyone.

#5: Shia LaBeouf
“NYMPH()MANIAC” (2013)

Racy sex scenes and mature content aren’t the only reasons for the controversy surrounding this Lars Von Trier epic. Playing the hot and cold Jerome throughout multiple years of his encounters with the insatiable Joe, LaBeouf went so thick with his bass and rasp-heavy accent that it’s hard not to take some of his scenes as comedic. Making French co-star Stacy Martin’s accent look strong by comparison, LaBeouf feels like he’s mocking the British as much as he mocks his coworkers. Completely losing his accent in some of his more heated scenes, Shia rarely carries the tone the material needs.

#4: Josh Hartnett
“Blow Dry” (2001)

In a film about attention to detail, you’d think this flub wouldn’t have been missed. Brightening up the world of competitive hairstyling, Minnesota-born Josh Hartnett seems a strange choice to play a Brit in this hairy comedy, a choice made all the stranger by his attempt to sound like one. Besides the fact that Hartnett looks about as American as they come, any chance at believing his English heritage is easily dashed any time he opens his mouth. Sounding like an American imitating a Northerner as a joke, Hartnett even drops the accent every so often for good measure.

#3: Heather Graham
“From Hell” (2001)

While it’s bad form to judge a book by its cover, sometimes a title becomes more than just a clever allusion. Going significantly overboard in her portrayal of the cockney prostitute Mary Kelly, Graham nails the words but not the delivery in her attempt at a 19th century accent. Saying any cliché phrase or slang she can muster to try and sound more convincing, Graham might have aced the voice if she hadn’t laid the inflection on so thick, breaking any spell she may have had over the audience.

#2: Don Cheadle
“Ocean’s” franchise (2001-07)

Every so often there’s an accent that slides under the radar until the moment you remember the actor is actually American. Taking the piss as demolitions expert Basher across three movies, Cheadle plays as shady a Brit as he knows how, sounding more a like an Oliver Twist extra than a real person, as he rhymes and drops slang through conversations. Just when it seems like he can’t go any further with his accent, Cheadle whispers in his own voice throughout the series without anyone batting an eye. Alternatively, his time as American icon Fender Roads isn’t that much of a step up.

#1: Keanu Reeves
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)

There’s a particular combination of great talents that make such horrors of acting more unbelievable than the fictional horror of their story. Bringing this tale of ancient evil to life, legendary director Francis Ford Coppola brought British powerhouses like Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins on board to do the story justice, but somehow let Keanu’s horrendous attempt at an accent past the audition phase. On top of some questionable acting, his rasp-laden tone always feels like a bad impression rather than anyone’s actual voice, making for one accent so hilariously sloppy that it makes the movie worth watching ... for a completely different reason.
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