No scenery is left intact with these guys!
Note: Merely quoting a line in ALL CAPS and/or in bold does not constitute proof of hamminess. Descriptions of the performance, character, and scene are, as are links to clips of the performance.
Carrey: Jezeb—! (collapses in laughter as the entire "courtroom" bursts out)
Kurtz: He [indicating the director?] put me up to it! It wasn't my idea! He told me to do it!
Carrey: (mugging for the camera even though it's clearly not getting into the movie) ...oh no! They're onto me!
Count Olaf from the movie version of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was a Master of Disguise, but also a Large Ham - not just because Carrey played him that way, but because within the story itself Olaf is supposed to be a Large Ham. There's also this outtake: "But enough of recent history, let's go back in a TIME machine! [high voice]TIIIME machine, TIIIME machine..."
Actually if you read the books, Count Olaf doesn't actually become a proper ham until the books that came out after the film. Beforehand, his evil was more withheld.
The Grinch. And given Jim's wearing tons of make-up, yellow contact lenses and dentures, it's simply a feat that his overacting surpasses any physical pain!
As Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber: "We've got no food! We've got no jobs! Our pets' HEADS ARE FALLIN' OFF!!!!"
His speech in his own adaptation of Henry V is especially good as he is supposed to be a Large Ham. The audience can see that Branagh is loving it - as Henry does in the play. It is incredibly powerful.
Though in the 1996 film adaptation of Othello, he's actually very subtle and restrained as Iago. Knowing how hammy he usually gets when he does Shakespeare, this makes his performance incredibly effective.
No so much Ham, but some TRIFLES!
Branagh was even hammier as Dr. Loveless in Wild Wild West. "Don't yew just haaaate thay-ut song?" complete with 720 degrees of eye-rolling.
His crowning moment of ham might very well be Death Machine, in which he plays the very, veryLaughably Evil villain. "Oprah? John, we are talking QUALITY HERE! WE ARE TALKING GERALDO!!! (and many more gems.)
Gary Oldman certainly showed potential in Sid and Nancy, but he wouldn't come into his own as a real ham until Bram Stoker's Dracula, where he served up an intense, hissing slice of Romanian pork product. (It is not laughing MATTAAAAA!) We got a second course in True Romance, with Drexl the dreadlocked pimp ("It ain't white boy day is it?"). But his peak was undeniably The Professional:
Things calmed down for a couple of years, until The Fifth Element, where weapons dealer Zorg somehow became a used car salesman channeling Ross Perot. He then hit another high point in Air Force One, where castmates appear to be genuinely afraid. Whether this was just good acting or fear that he was about to go into cardiac arrest is unknown. He even managed to ham it up in two episodes of Friends, though this appears to have been the end of the ham ... for now.
"I'll paint Paradise Square with his blood. TWO COATS! I'll festoon my bedchamber with his guts. And if you ever show yourself in the Five Points again, Mr. Tammany-fucking-hall, you will be dispatched by mine own hand. Help yourself to some decent meat on your way out."
Enjoying himself, even under the tons of brilliant make-up and prosthetics, as the quite literal Evil incarnate in Legend: "Oh, Mother Night! Fold your dark arms about me. Protect me in your black embrace. I sit alone, an impotent exile, whilst this form, this presence, returns to torment me!" And what's more, he also manages to remain genuinely imposing and scary all through the whole hamned thing, to boot! "Every wolf suffers fleas. 'Tis easy enough to scratch!"
As Cardinal Richelieu (what's up with Cardinals being such awesome characters?) in The Three Musketeers (1993), is what Tim Curry's all about:
Queen: I would rather die!
Richelieu: THAT CAN BE ARRANGED!!
Richelieu: One for all ... and more for meeee!
Cardinals are awesome and usually evil characters for the same reason that viziers are (as Terry Pratchett points out in Pyramids!). Aside from some specific qualification tests during the initial interview, Narrativium radiation ensures that they are usually the power behind the throne, who wish to make sure that the throne is occupied by someone with all the ambition of a freshly-purchased gym sock.
In a little-known but oddly enjoyable little film called Pass the Ammo, Curry shinesglitters as a crooked evangelist. Let me repeat that: Tim. Curry. as...an evangelist.
Think about this: it's very likely that Curry was such a large ham, he was too hammy to be the voice of The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. According to Bruce Timm, it was more about Curry getting throat problems from doing the voice. In other words, he was so hammy it physically hurt him.
Caligula (1979): I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night! Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a Ham!
On Billy Sherwood's all-star tribute to Pink Floyd's The Wall, Malcolm sings ALL of "The Trial." And it is as awesome as it sounds.
SamHAMuel L. Jackson in Snakes on a Plane. The film would only be half as enjoyable if he played his role "straight". But if he did, we wouldn't have the classic line, "I'VE HAD IT WITH OF THESE MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!" Adding the word "motherfucking" to a sentence has just about become Jackson's catchphrase, to the point where he overuses the word multiple times in Django Unchained.
"And you WILL KNOW my name is THE LORD when I LAY MY VENGEANCE UPON THEE!"
"You ready to blow? Well, I'm a mushroom-cloud-laying motherfucker, motherfucker! Everytime my fingers touch brain, I'm Superfly TNT! I'm the Guns of the Navarone! IN FACT, what the FUCK am I doing in the back?! YOU the motherfucker should be on brain detail! We're fucking switching. I'm cleaning the windows, and YOU picking up this nigga's skull!"
He was a master at saving the ham for just the right moment, for maximum effect.
In the desert battle in Patton, he spends most of it just watching, calmly observing the whole thing. Then when it's clear his troops are winning, comes the immortal, "Rommel, you Magnificent Bastard, I read your BOOOK!"
Interestingly enough, George Patton's daughters said that Scott nailed Patton's personality so perfectly, they felt like they were actually watching their father on the movie screen. Does that make George Patton a ham? (especially in light of the fact that the movie actually DOWNPLAYS some of the more crude and vulgar catchphrases that he was famous for).
Maybe the real-life Patton was a hammier ham than George C. Scott? After all, those pearl-handled revolvers were not exactly Army regulation.
The overacted scenes were supposed to be practice takes. Mr. Scott was not happy to see himself hamming it up on the big screen.
Hardcore. TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!
The Exorcist III. The I BELIEVE speech was off the charts, even for Scott.
Kinderman: Yes, I believe... I believe in death. I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity and torture and anger and hate... I believe in murder. I BELIEVE IN PAIN. I believe in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink and every crawling, putrid thing... every possible ugliness and corruption, YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH! I BELIEVE... in you.
"There is a carp in my bathtub, father. Swimming. Up. And down. Up. And down. And I hate it."
Al Pacino has been delivering Large Ham performances for, oh, the past decade or two. Some particular gems:
Scent of a Woman ("If I were the man I was five years ago I'd take a FLAME-THROWER to this place!" "HOO-AH! I'm just getting warmed up!") - after being passed over for numerous Oscars, he finally got one for this movie due to the hammy speech at the end. He's stuck with the formula since.
Heat ("cause she's got a... GREAT ASS! And you got your head... ALL THE WAY UP IT!" "I had COFFEE with McCauley... HALF AN HOUR AGO!")
The trailer for City Hall has all the ham you need. "I choose to FIGHT BACK!!!!!1111one... until this city is a palace again!"
Pacino as Big Boy Caprice in Dick Tracy is a ham large enough to choke Godzilla.
"I'm looking for generals ... and what do I get? foot soldiers!"
As the Devil in The Devils Advocate, Pacino would only take the part if he got to do a ten minute rant in the film's climax. Upon hearing that, the producers must have looked at each other, shrugged, and said; "Do whatever the hell you want, Al!" Cue Satan Breaking The Fourth Wall as he dips a finger into holy water, boiling it.
GOD!!IS AN ABSENTEE LANDLORD!!
In Scarface (1983), practically every line of spoken dialog by Tony Montana is Ham, and the movie wouldn't have been half as good without it (though that probably goes for all of Pacino's roles)
"SAAAAAAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEEEEEEND"
...And Justice for All - Al ends the movie with an epic bit of courtroom haminess: "My client, the Honorable Henry T. Flemming should GO RIGHT TO FUCKING JAIL!!! THE SON OF A BITCH IS GUILTY!" (lots of ranting then follows)
Any Given Sunday definitely lets him ham his way. Special moment at the end : "WE CLAAAAW WITH OUR FINGERNAAAIIILS FOR THAT INCH!"
In The Godfather Parts I and II in the early 70s, as Michael Corleone he was pretty low-key, almost Playing Against Type but years later in Part III he went full ham, especially in the scene during the thunderstorm and Michael is having a diabetic attack.
His entire performance in Ghost Rider was full of ham, but the hammiest scene of all has to be the transformation. You know, raiiiiiiseeeeeeee fooooooottttt...... STEP! Raiiiiiiiiseeeeeee..... STEP! * MANIACAL LAUGHTER!!!!!!!*
NO!!I don't need anybody's damn permission!! I'm gonna search every inch of this town in the next three hours and anybody who interferes will be brought up on murder charges, you got that!? And you have my permission to stay outta the FUCKING WAY!!!
"Look, I'm just a biochemist. Most of the time, I work in a little glass jar and lead a very uneventful life. I drive a Volvo, a beige one. But what I'm dealing with here is one of the most deadly substances the earth has ever known, so what say you cut me some (deep voiced) FRIGGIN' SLACK?!"
The late, truly great Johnathan Harris, who built his reputation on hamming it up. Who is he you ask? You know him best as Dr. Smith from Lost in Space and that's really all you need to know. Although you should also know him pretty well as Manny, the praying mantis, in Pixar's A Bug's Life. I dare you, no really, I. DARE. YOU. to come up with a better actor who has taken the Large Ham and honed it, perfected it, nay! taken it to the pinnacle of the art form! Seriously, he was such a master of it because he could take any role and imbue it with such over-the-topness, without making it silly, until it was unforgettable. You love him and you know it.
From Roger Ebert's review of The Time Machine 2002: "[Guy] Pearce, as the hero, makes the mistake of trying to give a good and realistic performance. Irons at least knows what kind of movie he's in, and hams it up accordingly."
Strangely, Voldemort, particularly in Goblet of Fire. It's easy to see the fun Ralph Fiennes is having. Fiennes has said that he tried not to go over the top with Voldemort, but then he realized there's no other way to play him. For example, "DON'T YOU TURN YOUR BACK ON ME HARRY POTTER!!!! I WANT YOU TO LOOK AT ME WHEN I KILL YOU!!! I WANT TO SEE THE LIGHT LEAVE YOUR EYES!!!!" Or, what about the infamous, "CRRRRUUUCCCCCCCC-io!" Even after calming down in each following film, his infamous "NYEEEEAAAAHHH HEH HEH" from Deathly Hallows has become quite popular.
For context: This is the scene after Harry is apparently dead in Hagrid's arms. Voldemort and the Death Eaters take the body back to Hogwarts to gloat at the defenders. After announcing Harry's apparent demise, the Death Eaters burst into laughter, cuing one of the most awkward laughs from Voldemort one will hear. He even seems to dance in place for a second. Coupled with one of the weirdest hugs ever done a few minutes later.
So incredibly over-hammed it sounded more like "UUUUUUUhvudu Kuduvru!"
Oh, and the scene where Lupin transforms into a werewolf, "You know the man you TRULY ARE, Remus!" and "THIS FLESH IS ONLY FLESH!"
Professor Trelawney: "In THIS room, YOU shall discover if YOU possess THE SIGHT!" This is a central trait of her character. Naturally, as she's a faux psychic (most of the time, anyway).
Both Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint get to be this during two particularly funny scenes of Half-blood Prince — first when Ron accidentally drinks a love potion and then when Harry deliberately drinks a luck potion.
Emma Watson's first scene as Hermione in Philosopher's Stone gets pretty hammy. In fact most of the scenes in the first movie for the kid actors are very overly done simply because of inexperience.
Helena Bon HAM Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. She made the character way more rabid and insane than described in the books. In her first scene in Order of the Phoenix, she's licking the dark mark on her arm. She takes it further with each subsequent film until in Deathly Hallows, each line she says is a thick slice of ham.
Gene Hackman's Luthor in Superman II also serves, even if the next example is the biggest ham in the movie.
Superman nemesis Zod. One has to almost kneel before him in respect of his vast arsenal of over-the-top bluster, which he can back up on Earth with tremendous power only the Man of Steel can challenge. Whole websites have been devoted to the glorious OTTness of Terence Stamp's portrayal of Zod as a vain, short-tempered and sometimes rather bored aristocratic psycho. So indelible was Stamp's rendition (which bore little resemblance to the comic character on whom it was based) that most subsequent comic versions of Zod have been negatively received due to their lack of similarity to Stamp's characterization. Recently they just gave up and reintroduced the "real" Zod in the direct likeness of Stamp's persona.
Zod: ''Jor-El was right! You're a pack of fools, every last one of you! And you... you believe your son is safe... I will find him. I will reclaim what you have taken from us! I will find him. I will find him, Lara. (Beat) 'I WILL FIND HIM!'
"What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive's name is Dr. Richard Kimble - Go get him."
In all fairness, that infamous voice emerged in The Dark Knight, while not nearly as grating in Batman Begins. Apparently, that one had an okay balance. But still, to quote him in the second, "WHURRRR ARRRRRR THEYYYY?!"
Let us not forget the moment all ham broke loose in the third. All together now: "WHURRR ISH THE TRIGGURRR? WHURR ISH IT? YOU WOULDN'T GIVE IT TO AN ORDINARY SHITISHEN!!! WHURR ISH IT?"
About Schmidt might be the only occasion where Nicholson was low-key.
In The Departed, he is playing probably his most hammy role ever. Especially the now famous "I smell a rat" scene. Within the course of the scene, he does all of the following: a Spit Take onto an elaborate drawing of a swarm of rats, setting part of said drawing on fire only to put it back out in a few seconds, making some truly bizarre facial expressions, tiptoeing around like a cartoon character, and finally, dramatically sniffingLeonardo DiCaprio's character. Oh, and later in the movie, he whips a giant purple dildo out of his pants and starts shaking it in Matt Damon's face.
Get Shorty, where he was a ham playing a ham... playing a ham.
From The Dark Knight Rises, we have Bane, who hams up every scene he's in with a voice that sounds like a crazed Sean Connery on steroids, while dominating every scene physically too. "I was created in the ham. Mollllllded by it. And by the time I saw unsubtle acting, it was nothing but BLINDING!"
James Bond villains
Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies. Whatever scenery his mooks don't riddle with bullets or blast into a million pieces, he cheerfully chows down on like there's no... well, tomorrow. And the movie is, arguably, the better for it.
Better still - Gert Fröbe was a unilingual German speaker. He spoke all of his lines phonetically, and they were dubbed over afterwards.
One wonders at what the movie would've been like if Goldfinger had been played by BRIAN BLESSED, though that may have caused the universe to implode from the super-dense ham.
The laser wouldn't have been necessary, that's for sure. BRIAN BLESSED simply could've shouted until Sean Connery's face melted.
While Yaphet Kotto played a relatively mellow Dr. Kananga in Live and Let Die, Kananga's alter ego, Mr. Big, is a pretty Big ham (hur hur hur), with lines like "DID YOU TOUCH HER??!!" belted with feeling.
"Names is for tombstones, baby! You take this honky out and waste him!
Emperor Palpatine was like this in Return of the Jedi, but substantially more subdued in the first two prequels. Then he was in Revenge of the Sith, where any given line he says after the second act is pure, unadulterated ham. And he's still a fairly effective bad guy. I guess he stopped caring about self-restraint once he conquered the entire galaxy.
ONCE MOAAAARRR the Sith will RUUUUUULE the GALAXYYYYY... and... we shall have... peace.
Vader was quite hammy, not only during his Big "NO!" scene, but also in Episode IV as well. In Episodes V and VI, he was a bit more subdued and chilling. Bless you, Dave Prowse (who gesturesplentifully) and James Earl Jones (who delivers his lines with intense passion).
Darth Vader: Where are those transmissions you intercepted? WWWHHHHAAAT have you DONE with those PLANS????
Darth Vader: Commander, TEAR THIS SHIP APART UNTIL YOU FIND THOSE PLANS! And BRING me the passengers, I WANT THEM ALIVE!
Darth Vader: You are PART of the REBEL AllIANce and a traitor! TAKE HER AWAY!
Vader still had a few traces of ham left in his system, most notably in his We Can Rule Together speech to Luke in Empire:
Darth Vader: Luuuuke, you do not yet realize your impPORtance. You have only begun to discover your POWAH. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our COMBINED STRENGTH, we can END this destrOOCTive conflict and bring ORDAH to the GALAXYYY.
Luke: I'll NEVER join you!
Darth Vader: IF YOU ONLY KNEW THE POWAH OF THE DAHK SIDE.
Pretty much the main reason Admiral Ackbar ever achieved Memetic Mutation. His infamous "It's a trap!" and "Our cruisers can't repel fire of that magnitude!" lines are loved solely because he's so dramatic about it.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan starts out with Shatner playing Kirk as rather melancholy, as the admiral is starting to feel his age. He goes on to prove he's still got plenty of ham to serve; you know the scene. Made brilliant when you realize a few scenes later that the ham was served in-character.
Christopher Plummer as General Chang in Star Trek VI. His Crowning Moment of Ham-osity has to be the bit near the end where his ship is pummeling the crap out of Enterprise, and he's having total blast, bellowing Shakespeare, while twirling around in his motorized Captain's chair. Hamtacular.
"Cry HAVOC!!! And let slip the dogs of war!!"
The ham is noted in-universe by Dr. McCoy, who states "I'd pay real money if he'd shut up."
In Shatner's book Star Trek Movie Memories, a photo of him and Plummer laughing at a flub in the courtroom scene has a caption describing the two as "Hamosauruses".
Ricardo Montalban as KHAAAAAN!!! Interestingly enough, his first take on the character was even hammier, and the director asked him to dial it down to make the times he didrant and rave feel more powerful.
GET OUUUUT!! GET OUT OF THERE!! GLORIOUS, isn't it?!
Apparently, Christopher Lloyd was a barely containable ham in one scene. Kruge was supposed to call to be beamed up over his handheld communicator, but they could never get him to talk into the prop — he'd always spread his arms wide, throw his head back, and bellow "BEAM ME UP!" to the heavens. Epic ham.
IT HAPPENED! I SAW IT HAPPEN! DON'T TELL ME IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!
That first gets extra points because during one take Bana passed out after yelling it all.
Picard's rant in First Contact. Normally, Patrick Stewart keeps it mellow and classy, but when his crew suggests they run from the Borg, he has a Heroic BSOD complete with a couple of Big Nos and a thick side of ham. (Apparently he took a few lessons from Shatner in between takes of their previous movie.)
Picard: The line must be drawn Heeyah! This far, no further. And IIIIIII... will make them pay, for what they've done!
"Your crew requires oxygen to survive; mine does not. I will target your life support systems [...] and after every single person aboard your ship suffocates, I will walk over your cold corpses to recover my people. Now, shall we begin?"
Captain Hector Barbossa from the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Even the character seems to be deliberately cultivating his exceptional, rum-laced ham, right down to the slightly unhinged Evil Laugh he repeatedly indulges in. And the bit where he goes "Aaar!"
His hamminess actually becomes an issue when trying to free Calypso. The requisite line is supposed to be whispered gently into her ear, but Barbosa hams it up so much the ritual fails.
R.J. Fletcher, the main villain in UHF, is a truly monumental ham. The performance was so over the top that, according to "Weird Al" Yankovic, veteran actor Kevin Mc Carthy had a very difficult time keeping a straight face.
"This community means about as much to me as a festering bowl of dog snot!"
"Greetings, programs! Oh, what an occasion we have here before us. Because your rumors are true! We do indeed have in our midst... A USER! A user! So, what to do? What does this user deserve? Might I suggest, perhaps... the challenge of the grid?! (crowd cheers) And who best to battle this singular opponent? Perhaps one who has some experience in these matters... oh yes indeed, programs!Your liberator!Your luminary! Your leader and beacon! The one who vanquished the tyranny of the user those many cycles before! CLU!!!!"
Robert De Niro as Max Cady in Cape Fear. His Captain Shakespeare of the movie adaptation of Stardust belongs here as well — that cancan REEKS of ham (and you can just tell he loves every second of it).
If Robert Bloody De Niro doing a can-can in a pink dress isn't the prime cut of all hams, watch it after Ronin.
Similarly, the entire cast of Brazil chewed scenery at some point or another.
This was actually ad-libbed. Hiddleston was genuinely scared of Hopkins at that moment.
Although Odin's son Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) gives Hopkins a run for his money, what with all the intense gazes and grandiloquent declarations.
Tom Hiddleston as Loki probably takes the prize pig in a family of hams, though, leaving most of the ham for when he strikes Earth in The Avengers. Seriously, the speech he gave to the crowd in Germany was spectacularly theatrical:
Loki: Kneel before me. I said... KNEEL! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.
Loki's need to make everything into a theatrical event about him is actually an explicit plot point.
And for a non-Serkis Folk example, John Turturro, who already has his own section in this page ("Ooh. Nokia's are real nasty. You've gotta respect the Japanese. They know the way of the samurai."note A character points out "Nokia's from Finland." and another reminds "Yes, but he's, you know, a little strange."), particularly in Revenge of the Fallen where he is free from The Men in Black constraints.
Virtually anybody in Speed Racer, but in particular Pops ("Terrible what passes for a ninja these days"), Royalton ("Do you want to become a real race car driver?! Then SIGN that contract!"), and impressively, eight-year-old Spritle.
A newage is dawning. An age of HAM, and ALL THE WORLD WILL KNOW that SPARTAN KING LEONIDAS chewed EVERY LAST INCH OF SCENERY TO DEFEND IT!
Ephialtes and Xerxes were pretty hammy, too. (A particular scene of the latter's earned a "Ham alert! Ham alert" in 300's RiffTrax)
Can you SMEEEEEELL what The Rock is COOOOKIIIIING?!
Yes, and it's a big thick ham steak, wrapped in bacon and stuffed into a suckling pig with a can of Spam in its mouth. Served on a plate of porkchops.
The Rock's mother didn't like him using the word "ass" (during his general promo about "turn[ing] that sumbitch sideways and sticking it straight up your candy ass!")... so one time, he changed it to "straight up... your RECTUM."
His work in the masterful Southland Tales. "I'm a pimp... and pimps... don't. Commit. Suicide."
Really, any wrestler-turned-actor is going to run into this as a rather understandable result of originating from the World of Ham that is professional wrestling, Hulk Hogan being possibly the Ur Example.
"He sitssss up there, in those melancholy hills. Some say he SLUMBERS DEEP, like the KRAKEN! The troopers will never catch him! So... I... wait, Mr. Murphy. I wait."
Or his even more delightful line, which is censored not because it's a spoiler, but because of how offensive it is,. "What is an Irishman... but a nigger turned inside out?"
Faye Dunaway, burying herself in the character and a very Large Ham, as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. "NO. MORE. WIRE. HANGERS!!!"
Creeeeeeeeeedence Léonore Guilgud from Troll 2, incapable of not extending a word to epic proportions, and playing up the creepy witchDepraved Bisexual angle for everything it's worth. As Rifftrax so memorably put it: "This is community college draaaaaaaaama class!".
Dorothy Lamour commenting on making the Road to ... pictures with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope: "I felt like a wonderful sandwich, a slice of white bread between two slices of ham."
Price was always the right side of ham though, as his passion for acting and captivating voice and mannerisms helped him stop becoming cheesy.
He also played Egghead in the 60's Batman series, delivering a fine meal of ham and eggs.
In His Kind Of Woman, Price plays an Errol Flynn-style movie star who, when confronted with real mortal danger from mobsters, gets a huge rush from it, and leaps into the fray shouting out Shakespeare with extra ham - he even wears a thespian cape!
Everybody with a name from Super Mario Bros. gets to ham it up now and again (Toad's guitar playing for one), but Dennis Hopper as King Koopa stands out above all the rest. "Bobomb..."
Given that the two leads have said they only got through the film due to large amounts of alcohol, it stands to reason.
Listen up you primitive screwheads! Bruce Campbell is a LARGEHAM! He starts off as a Deadpan Snarker, top-of-the-line. You can find this in lines like "Groovy". That's right, then this sweet actor from Royal Oak, Michigan gets 110 bucks worth of ham. He's got a hyperactive jawline, walnut brown eyes and a hair ham trigger. So when shopping for ham, Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart. GOT THAT?
Also, the only Sci Fi original movies that are even close to bearable are the ones with Bruce Campbell in them, specifically for this reason.
His performance as an elderly Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep is a slightly subdued version.
Sort of lampshaded in Army Of Darkness, where one character asks if everyone in the future is as much of a loudmouthed braggart as he is.
Everyone in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension was hamming it up so bad that toss in some cheese and a couple loaves of bread and you could feed Grovers Mills for a month. Just try to tell me that every single person in front of that camera wasn't having the time of their lives by trying to out-ham everyone else.
The actor was actually dubbed by someone else, as the camera they used couldn't record sound. Although, Torgo's constant mugging and twitching suggests that he was perfectly capable of hamming it up in mime. Even his walk is over the top.
"MANOS! As thou hast decreed, so have I done. The Hands of Fate have doomed this man! Thy... will...is...done."
Ann-Margret in Ken Russell's Tommy. Fine ham abounds. And your ham has to be pretty damned fine to stand out in that freakfest (see Tina Turner as the Acid Queen and Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie just for starters). She even got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
The Wizard played by Mako in Conan the Barbarian (1982) is a humming ball of ham in a seaweed outfit, while Thulsa Doom manages to be completely mesmerising, yet hammy as well. "Steel isn't strong, boy...flesssh is stronger."
Contemplate this... on the tree of woe.
Mako: "BETWEEEEEN THE TIME WHEN THE OCEANS DRAANK ATLAAANTIS... AAAND the rise of the sons of Aryas... there was an age undreamed-of. AND ONTO THIS, CONAN! Destined to bear the jeweled cwown of Kahlifonia Aquilonia UP...PON A TROUB...BLED...BROW. It is I, his KWONICLER who ALONE can tell thee of his saga. LET ME TELL YOU OF THE DAYS OF HIIIIIIIGH AD-VEN-TUUUUREE!!!!"
John Candy sometimes played roles like this. In the 1986 film version of Little Shop of Horrors he had a cameo as an over-the-top radio DJ named Weird Wink Wilkinson. Weirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd stuff!
Peter Sellers knew a thing or two about being this in many of his films. Prime cuts of ham include the title character in Dr. Strangelove and Dr. Fritz Fassbender in What's New Pussycat? (arguing with his wife: "Is she prettier than you? I'M prettier than you!"). And Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau was good for five films' worth of this, especially as he drove Herbert Lom's hapless Dreyfus to the (hammy) edge of sanity.
Stanley Kubrick, making Lolita, gave Sellers plenty of room to improvise, so his part as Claire Quilty grew much larger than planned, apparently bothering star James Mason in the process.
Half the cast members of Enchanted are practically required by the situation (cartoon fairy tale characters thrown into the real world) to do this. James Marsden and Susan Sarandon are especially generous with the ham.
George Pickett is played this way in Gettysburg. In his first appearance, he comes riding into Longstreet's camp shouting "HELLO MY BOYS, VIRGINIA HAS ARRIVED!".
The Baron Harkonnen of David Lynch's film of Dune is an enormous bucket of ham. His nephews Rabban and Feyd are definitely on their way to full ham-hood, Piter de Vries even proves you can give sign language a pork content, and Gurney Halleck is hammy as ever.
Seems he and Freddie Jones had a scene-chewing competition going on.
Thufir Hawat: (Wait, what?) THOSE SOUNDS ...(smack your lips, wiggle your jowls) COULD. BE. IM-IT-TAYT-TED.
Ian McNeice chews up immense amounts of scenery as the Baron in the Sci-Fi miniseries. Possibly lampshaded when Paul suggests renaming House Harkonnen to "House Hog". Though it's probably just the Atreides having a laugh at the Harkonnens' expense.
To be fair, half the dialogue they had to work with had distinct pork content to begin with.
The Blues Brothers. Take the scene where Belushi finally comes face to face with Carrie Fisher (aka the Chick With the Flamethrower) and throws himself on his knees to apologize:
Jake: Oh, please, don't kill us! Please, please don't kill us! You know I love you baby. I wouldn't leave ya. It wasn't my fault!
Mystery Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.
Jake: No, I didn't! Honest! I ran out of gas! I, I had a flat tire! I didn't have enough money for cab fare! My tux didn't come back from the cleaners! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE! A TERRIBLE FLOOD! LOCUSTS! IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!
How could we mention the good Mr. Belushi without talking about his most ludicrously over-the-top role ever: BlutoBlutarsky!
Zero Mostel. Estragon in Waiting for Godot. Max Bialystock in The Producers. Abe in The Hot Rock. Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. John in Rhinocerous. He wasn't always a ham, but when he was, he was the biggest, best, hammiest ham ever.
Peter Ustinov steals the spotlight in every movie he appears in. Special mention goes to his performance of Nero in Quo Vadis, where he makes being the emperor of Rome look so fun that it's impossible to hate him even as he makes living torches out of Christians. invoked
"Oh! Is this the untimely end of Nero?" Declare it in your most florid voice; it's fun!
KILL! KIIIILLLLLLLL THE NEWBORN!!
A good chaser to Tim Curry's Pass the Ammo performance is the barely-released Marty Feldman comedy In God We Tru$t (1980), which brought the world Andy Kaufman as a Deep South televangelist. The character's name, Armageddon T. Thunderbird, is just the tip of the ham hock here.
Supporting performer Scott Paulin, in the beat-'em-up Knights. The leads are either capable only of Dull Surprise (Kathy Long), or clearly thinking mainly of their pay-cheques (Kris Kristofferson, Lance Henrikson); Paulin appears to have been the only one on the set who realized he was playing a vampire ninja cyborg named after an apostle and decided to just go with it! The resulting exuberant, gleeful bombast that embues 'Simon's' seven screen-minutes almost hauls the movie up into the 'cheesy-fun' bracket.
Mamma Mia! consists of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, and Christine Baranski switching between hamming it up for all they're worth and giving a heartbreakingly genuine performance. Sometimes they do both at once.
Oh, I hate being disappointed, Smee. And I hate living in this flawed body. And I hate living in Neverland. And I hate... I hate... I hate Peter Pan!
Peter. I swear to you wherever you go, wherever you are, I vow there will always be daggers buried in notes signed James Hook. They will be flung into doors of your children's children's children, do you hear me?
"You will only be risking your lives, while I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor."
Kurt Russell has such a habit of hamming it up that you could practically make a drinking game out of it. Probably the most jarring example would be the river shoot out in Tombstone, shouting a Big "NO!" as he unloads two barrels of buckshot into Curly Bill while making a face that could only be described as the face that a walrus makes when sucker-punched in the kidneys.
Everybody in Tombstone takes big pieces out of the scenery - Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, Michael Biehn as Johnny Ringo, Sam Elliot as Virgil Earp ...
For single film Ham content, it's very difficult to get past Gabriel Byrne as Uther and Nicol Williamson as Merlin in John Boorman's Excalibur. Williamson in particular makes a massive meal out of the scenery:
Merlin: BeHOOOOOLLLLlllddd! The sword of POWahhhh! ExxxxCALibahhh!
Merlin: CHHHAAAAaaaange! TRANS! FORM! NOWWW!
Merlin: Oh, I have sleeept. For nine moOOns. What I did for eeeewe wasn't easy.
Merlin: Do nothing. Sleep! Rest in the arms of the dragonnnn. DREEEEAAAAMMM.
Merlin: A dream ham. To some. A NIGHTMARE!!! TO OTHERS!!!
Gabriel Byrne chews up a pig's worth of Ham even though he's only in the movie's first act:
Both Doctor Logan: "I want you to sit there in the dark and think about what you've done. Think about it. Think." and Captain Rhodes: "I'M RUNNING THIS MONKEY FARM NOW, FRANKENSTEIN, AND I WANNA KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU'RE DOING WITH MY TIME!!!" in Day of the Dead.
And as Jake Mazursky in Alpha Dog: "No matter where you go, No matter what you do, I'm gonna hunt you down. I'm gonna hunt you down and then I'm gonna slit your throat and then I'm gonna cut you open and then I'M GONNA EAT YOUR MOTHER FUCKING HEART! YOU BETTER YOU PRAY, JOHNNY YOU BETTER FUCKING PRAY THAT THE COPS FIND YOU, BEFORE I DO! GET ON YOUR COCKSUCKING KNEES AND PRAY!"
French actor Gérard Depardieu in about every single role he had.
He's a villainous sorcerer who got no less than three songs, one of which was a Villain Love Song. He had an Unlimited Wardrobe replete with swirling capes and infamous tights. On top of that, he was frightening, he reordered time, he turned the world upside down, and he did it all for you! Jareth (David Bowie) is exhausted from living up to your expectations of hamminess. Isn't that generous?
Watching Bruce Payne, it is difficult to tell if he takes his roles too seriously or doesn't take them seriously enough but it amounts to the same. Just watch how he says the phrase "headless chickens" in Highlander: Endgame.
"FUCK, THOSE ANIMALS STINK!" "Then we should COUNT on that, Mr. McGruder! Forrest Taft is the patron saint of the impossible. And if you had only done your job like you're supposed to, it wouldn't have COME TO THIS!" " You're a bunch of GUTLESS PRICKS! ALL OF YOU!"
Edward James Olmos as Selena's father in Selena, don't start him on how Hispanic-Americans get treated he won't stop. And also there's the scene where Selena starts dancing in a skimpy clothing and Olmos' character nearly has a meltdown, and yelling "YOU'RE FIRED" at Selena's boyfriend/band member either when he trashes a hotel room or he makes it clear he has a thing for his daughter. There are times where he's calm and subtle and there's other scenes where Olmos completely loses it and goes completely over the top. Though Stand and Deliver was pretty hammy in the performance department too, though a little more subtle than Selena.
Morgan Freeman as a pimp named Fast Black in Street Smart, not only is it against type casting even for its time, Freeman gives a pretty frightening over the top performance. The most frightening the bathroom beatdown on Christopher Reeve, that probably made him piss his pants.
Joe Spinell in Maniac and to a greater degree The Last Horror Film complete with whining, crying and general disturbing behavior which is natural considering one was a serial killer and another was a crazed stalker fan.
Most of the characters, even the atmosphere in John Woo's HK movies (Sometimes in his American movies but to a lesser extent), to a glorious level. Chow Yun Fat is the winner of hamminess in Woo's movies though, with the most hammy being the rice scene in A Better Tomorrow 2 where Fat nearly force feeds an American Gangster rice at gun point. Hard Boiled is built of ham, which just makes it more awesome. The villains in nearly all of Woo's films, even his American films with the exception of Windtalkers, are great giant hams (best example being Face/Off where Nicolas CagebecomesJohn Travolta and vice versa, and the results are copious amounts of Ham-to-Ham Combat).
Syndrome from The Incredibles flip-flops between dangerously understated and hammier than a Honeybaked warehouse, especially when he's enjoying himself. In fact, he gets so hammy that he actually loses Mr. Incredible.
Syndrome:[with Mr. Incredible in his tractor beam] I am Syndrome![wild hand gestures] I am your nemesis! I— [Syndrome's hand gestures accidentally turn off the tractor beam and Mr. Incredible goes flying.] Oh, brilliant.
Igor has quite a few, including the mad scientists.
Lampshaded in Shrek the Third. When Arty starts guilt tripping Merlin to help Shrek, Donkey, and Puss back to Far Far Away, little Arty starts hamming it up to a fairly respectable degree. After his little guilt-trip is over, Shrek, obviously impressed, asks "Would you like some eggs with that ham?" Granted, little Arty has nothing on Shatner, but still...
The merger has begun! Earth is under attack! And IT! IS! GLORIOUS!
Piper Laurie as Margaret White, the fanatically religiousmother of the title character, in the 1976 version of Carrie. Her performance was so over-the-top that she thought that the film was meant to be a comedy... before she saw the finished product. She wound up getting an Oscar nomination for it.
Proving again that no one can ham it up like an Oscar-winner, the normally restrained Charlize Theronreally goes for it as the evil Queen Ravenna in Snow White & the Huntsman - watching her guzzle all the scenery in sight is by far the most entertaining thing about the movie. She even goes into orbit when she isn't turning the volume up:
Melissa Leo in The Fighter, whose scenes feel like that they are in a different film (compared to the restrained acting of Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams and the hyperactive method acting of Christian Bale). Along with Sandra Bullock in Literature//The Blind Side (playing an over-the-top version of a rich Southerner), it proves that hamminess is exactly what the Academy wants (both performances won Oscars).
The Drake crime family in Hobo With a Shotgun - the main villain even dances a jig half the time he's on screen as he boasts about being an evil bastard.
Stephen Lang and to a lesser extent Giovanni Ribsi in Avatar, Lang is playing such an over the top R. Lee Ermey type of role. While I don't know Ribsi just came off as extremely cartoonish for a businessman bad guy type villain.
Tcheky Karyo as the bad guys in both the first Bad Boys (fouchet) and the bad guy in Kiss of the dragon (inspector Richard), not to mention the bad guy in Dobermann. But Karyo always becomes so hilariously hammy. Kiss of the dragon is crown example, most of his role consists of yelling and screaming and then trying to act somewhat calm and then yelling some more.
Yello Dyno of Tricky People: "NOT THE OLD 'I GOT SOME PUPPIES IN MY CAR' ROUTIIINE!!"
Johnny from The Room is one of the more bizarre examples of the trope, due to his strange accent and bored tone of voice whenever he's trying to emote.
Dieter Laser, the villain in the first Human Centipede film, is quite proud of himself for the surgical monstrosity he has created, and isn't afraid to show it. He even pulls a mirror off the wall and kisses his own reflection as he sheds tears of joy.
"I DID IIIIT! AAHH HAH HAH HAH!"
Harrison Ford playing Dodgers manager Branch Rickey in 42. This is apparently Truth in Television, as baseball historians said the real Rickey was even more hammy than Ford's portrayal.
The 2013 CBC movie Jack, about Canadianpolitician Jack Layton, portrays him as a bit hammy. It's also discussed within the movie; Olivia mentions that Jack Layton is a ham. Truth in Television, since in real life his time as NDP leader was marked by a relatively hammier debating style than that associated with the leaders of the more mainstream political parties.
Nearly every main character from Robots is one in different levels of hamminess. (aside from arguably Aunt Fanny, Cappy, Lug and Rodney's Parents though they had a few moments.) Whether its Bigweld when he makes one of his speeches, Crank being The Cynic "Never try, never fail.", Diesel managing to be one without saying a word (though he's a bit hammy whenever he gets a voice chip) most of the time; Fender with well every line he says, Madame Gasket when she tells her son what to do, Piper taking after her brother with her levels of ham, Ratchet being near Fender levels (his biggest moments his villainous breakdown "No wait, please listen to me; you cant do this to me. This job is my life, it means everything to me! You don't know what I've done to get here, the lies I've told, the lives I've ruined! -pause- this isn't helping me." Then "Wait, please! Can't I just make one more heartfelt plea?" Bigweld asks what he wants to say, he hits him with the intercom mic"THAT!-another pause-Oh my gosh I'm as crazy as my mother!" Bigweld stirs a bit and he growls and hits him again) or Rodney when he confronts Ratchet both times he does so; hell even Wonderbots one, the majority of the cast are hams.
In the tradition of its source material, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has several grade-A hams. Hiroki Narimiya as Phoenix Wright and Akiyoshi Nakao as Larry Butz are just two of the louder portrayals in the movie. Even the 'hair'' in this movie overacts.