Five Of The Best (And Five Of The Worst) Accents In Film And TV

Now I’m no Meryl Streep, but my guess is that as an actor you have to undergo some sort of transformation to get into a certain role, and sometimes that involves changing your accent. For some actors, accents come to them naturally: they get it spot on and it’s really easy to believe that they are that character. But sadly there are others who decide to save money on lessons and just go for it – but the results are shocking.

Here are five of my favourite Film and TV accents…

Sean Astin, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

When I first found out that the hobbit from Dorset Samwise Gamgee was voiced by an American, I was amazed. His accent was pretty much perfect throughout, and to this day I have no idea how he did it. In fact pretty much all of the Non-English actors who put on brilliant English accents. I know I keep saying that the LOTR Trilogy are my fave films, but I think you can see why, right?

Here’s Sam Gamgee’s ‘There’s good in this world’ speech. Gives me chills every time:

Ryan Kwanten, True Blood

I honestly thought that everyone in this show was from The South until I found out he was in Home and Away and I heard his voice in the animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. His Louisiana accent is so far removed from his normal (and hot) Aussie tones that I almost couldn’t believe it; seriously, I had to go on Google to be doubly sure.

I chose the clip below (NSFW, by the way) because the line ‘white suit motherfucker’ is just brilliant:

Mel Gibson, Braveheart

Braveheart is a gutsy, brilliant film, that needed a gutsy and brilliant actor as the protagonist William Wallace, and nobody fit the bill better than Mel Gibson (y’know, before he became a racist idiot). I thought Crazy Ol’ Gibson’s Scottish growl was realistic enough without going overboard and becoming stereotypical – unlike some I could mention (please see: Don Cheadle), and I don’t think anyone could shout “FREEEEEEEDOOOOOOMMMMMMM!” as good as he does.

Gary Oldman, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

This man is an acting legend and he’s a straight up G, so naturally he owns every film he’s in, and his accent in each one is scarily accurate, be it cut glass English in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, or a Virginian drawl in Lawless. But I think that his accent is flawless in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy in particular, which makes him one of my favourite characters in the franchise – the man even looked like an American cop with that broom moustache. Isn’t he awesome?

Tom Hardy, Lawless

I said before that Gary Oldman’s accent was pretty good in Lawless, but there’s one other Brit in that film who managed to get the accent down pat – Mr. Tom ‘Beefcake’ Hardy. The entire cast pulled the accent off (well, almost the entire cast), but Mr. Hardy’s in particular (coupled with his intense ‘I’ma punch yew in yo’ neck raht thurr boi’ stare and well-built physique) made him a memorable (and menacing) character. I’ve put the Lawless trailer below: the bit where he says “I’m a Bondurant. We don’t lay down for nobody’ is so scary it makes me want to run for the hills, but so sexy it makes me want to run back and jump into his arms.

…and here are five of my absolute worst. Brace yourselves, ’cause it ain’t pretty. My apologies go to Michael Caine in advance.

Scarlett Johansson, The Prestige

I just couldn’t deal with Scarlett Johansson in this film. The Prestige is amazing, but she single-handedly tarnished the whole with her excruciatingly bad British accent. See for yourself (if you can stand it):

Don Cheadle, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen

Apparently Don Cheadle personally asked to make his character a Cockney in the film. Whoever it was he asked should’ve said no. The fact that his accent was supposed to be British was bad enough, but he just HAD to take it further by making him a cockerney geeza. Donnie, mate, you’re having a bubble.

He speaks at around the 1:00 mark but, thankfully, only for a few seconds:

Clara Bryant, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It’s been about ten years or so since Buffy ended, and of all of the memories I have of the show, unfortunately this girl (Molly) is one of them. I vaguely remember a scene where Buffy and all the ‘potentials’ were (I think) at a basketball game. I’m not sure what happened before, but Molly says ‘Strong drink?’ in the most ridiculous British accent. She also made her ‘Britishness’ even more glaringly stereotypical by using words such as ‘peckish’. Cringe!

(NB. It seems like I’m only picking on Americans who can’t do British accents, which is completely unintentional, but don’t worry, the script gets flipped later on…)

I tried to find a clip of jolly old Molly, but all I came up with was one of her getting murked by Nathan Fillion. Maybe he hated her accent too. Enjoy:

Michael Caine, On Deadly Ground

To be honest, it was really difficult for me to decide what was worse: Michael Caine’s American accent, or the fact that Michael Caine was in a Steven Seagal film.

Seagal films are my ultimate guilty pleasure, they’re so bad that they’re good, but Michael Caine’s accent was so bad it was awful. I do have a lot of respect for Sir Caine, but I had to call him out for this one. But I’m sure he knows how ridiculous it was, right?

Ewan McGregor, Down With Love

Ah, Ewan McGregor. A fantastic actor (and absolutely gorgeous) but his sort of Southern accent in Down With Love was not so hot. It was Southern mixed with English and then doused heavily with Scottish, which isn’t his fault, but perhaps a few lessons wouldn’t have gone amiss, eh?

Here’s the ridiculously cute trailer:



4 thoughts on “Five Of The Best (And Five Of The Worst) Accents In Film And TV

  1. Nice post, my favorite is Kristen Scott Thomas in Tell No One, where she speaks flawless French with no hint of her English Accent, while the worst is Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. As a Massachusetts resident, I own the Boston accent sounds terrible, and gets significantly worse when done badly.

    • Hi there, thanks for your comment!

      I haven’t seen Tell No One, but Kristen Scott Thomas is a great actress so I expected nothing less than flawless!

      I have seen Good Will Hunting though and I agree with you! I’m not an expert on the different American accents but his does sound a little sketchy!


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