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All-Star Cast
Most people will hardly find someone they have never seen before in this movie.

"Would it have been faster to say who isn't in this movie? Jesus, it's like the Super Smash Bros. of Hollywood!"
Arthur Knowledge on Mars Attacks!

Any show, movie, etc., where the majority of the lead roles are played by big-name actors. They don't have to be A list. B, C, and even D will do, although in that case, relying on their talents is preferable to relying on their names. If the character list is really big, this can spill over into supporting roles as well.

In the days of the studio system, this was easy to do, but once actors' salaries started rising, this practice gradually declined. Compare the casts at the beginning of the Disaster Movie Era with those at the end of it.

These days, you'd either need a lot of money to pull this off, convince the actors that this is just a fun breather film or be willing to settle for loads of cameos. The exception is animated films, where stars are willing to get paid a lot less just to do voice work.

A good way of being able to tell if it is an all star cast is by an examination of the theatrical poster, if it has more than five names listed on it it is usually big names.

Roger Ebert referred to films with All-Star Casts as "Box Pictures" due to the tendency (at least in the '70s) to display headshots of the cast in little boxes on the poster.

Compare Massive Multiplayer Crossover, Celebrity Voice Actor, Dream Team. Contrast Amateur Cast.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 

    Films — Animation 

     Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live Action TV 
  • Many British costume dramas fulfil this trope to the letter, though occasionally the names are unknown in Hollywood but considered major stars in Britain.
    • The 2005 version of Bleak House starred, among others, Gillian Anderson, Denis "Wedge Antilles" Lawson, Charles Dance, Alun Armstrong, Pauline Collins, Ian Richardson and Anne Reid.
    • The 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice has Colin Firth, Alison Steadman, Julia Sawalha and Emilia Fox.
    • The 2007 Cranford has Dame Judi Dench, Simon Woods, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Julia Sawalha, Philip Glenister and Eileen Atkins, not to mention a host of beloved British character actors in supporting roles, among them Emma Fielding, Jim Carter, Deborah Findlay, Barbara Flynn, Greg Wise, and Francesca Annis. Return to Cranford upped the ante, adding names like Celia Imrie, Tim Curry, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Dockery, and a pre-Avengers Tom Hiddleston.
  • Deadwood has a pretty blinding cast for a TV show - Timothy Olyphant, Ian Mc Shane, Powers Boothe, John Hawkes, Brad Dourif, Keith Carradine, Jeffrey Jones and Titus Welliver, with Brian Cox, Stephen Tobolowsky and Garret Dillahunt appearing as guest stars.
  • Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre featured many well-known actors and actresses. There's Robin Williams, Eric Idle, Paul Reubens, Mick Jagger, Howie Mandel, Peter Weller, Billy Crystal, and Vincent Price, to name a few. Directors of individual episodes included Francis Ford Coppola and Tim Burton.
  • Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme is practically filled with name talent, most of them in cameos: Shelley Duvall (the female lead), Cyndi Lauper, Bobby Brown, Woody Harrelson, Little Richard, Howie Mandel, Cheech Marin... In fact, protagonist Gordon seems to be the only major character to be played by a nobody (albeit in a role that was turned down by Jim Varney).
  • Casting for Criminal Minds tends to go this way. In the first two seasons, the cast had the drawing power of noted TV actors Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore (well-known in the soap world as Malcolm on The Young and the Restless). The second season saw the addition of TV veteran Paget Brewster, with the third season seeing Patinkin replaced by Joe Mantegna, with the eighth season seeing Brewster replaced by veteran actress Jeanne Tripplehorn (most famous previously for Basic Instinct). The show has also become a Star-Making Role for Matthew Gray Gubler. A lot of guest stars on the show- especially lately- are name actors, with Wil Wheaton, Jason Alexander, Teri Polo and Michelle Trachtenberg, among others, all making appearances.

    Music 
  • This is the entire point of a posse cut in hip-hop. Some well-known examples:
    • "Scenario" by A Tribe Called Quest & Leaders of the New School
    • "Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)" the original was by Craig Mack, but the remix featured The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes.
    • DJ Khaled is known for these; some examples are "All I Do is Win", "We Takin' Over", and "Out Here Grindin'"
  • The intersection of films and songs is of course concert movies, and Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, which documented and celebrated the last performance of The Band, assembled a murderer's row of talent. Aside from the group themselves, there were performances from Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, and Bobby Charles (Neil Diamond too, but we don't like to talk about him)—and of course, a set by Bob Dylan, who brought The Band to prominence as his backing group before they went solo. Oh, and just for completeness sake, the last song adds in Ringo Starr and Ron Wood as backing musicians.
  • It's very common in jazz as the genre relies on the skill of their protagonists.
    • Famous example is Miles Davis' Kind of Blue from 1959 that features high-profile players like saxophonists John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and pianist Bill Evans. Bitches Brew from 1970 collected an impressive cast as well: guitarist John McLaughlin, pianists Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul as well drummer Jack DeJohnette. A bonus track from a reissue even had Billy Cobham! His two legendary quintets weren't far behind, so Miles definitly had a taste for a Cast of Snowflakes.
    • Cannonball Adderley's 1958 album Somethin' Else had drummer Art Blakey, the "two Jones" Sam and Hank Jones (not related) and Miles Davis.
  • This trope is the Raison d'être of the Supergroup, which assembles a group of famous musicians (or members of famous bands) and draws in fans with the promise of awesomeness by amalgamation. A special mention needs to go to The Traveling Wilburys, who assembled an utterly unbelievable amount of talent (to quote its own trope page," Bob Dylan. Roy Orbison. Tom Petty. George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. Holy Shit.")— and then released the entire thing under a Stage Name, with no reference to who they really were, because they were doing it to have fun and work with each other.
  • Chickenfoot is composed of Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith.
  • This is a staple of the Charity Motivation Song genre, as seen in "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and "We Are The World", and the charity benefit concert, as in the case of Live Aid.
  • Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, especially on All of the Lights.
  • Jamie Foxx's video for "Blame It" both parodies this with its opening and plays it straight when you realize just how many famous people are in the video.
  • Michael Jackson's "Liberian Girl" which was literally just all his famous friends walking around a set talking and waiting for Michael to show up to the video shoot while the song plays in the background. That's the whole point.
  • Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna cut You Down".
  • The song and video for "Bed Rock" by Young Money features everybody in the Young Money group(and a few others) including Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Birdman and Lloyd.
  • Jay-Z's "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)..." video is packed with famous faces, some predictable (Diddy, Roc-a-Fella artists Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Jadakiss, Freeway, Tru Life, and Young Gunz), some unexpected ones (rapper Rick Ross, singers Mariah Carey, and Cassie, rap producers Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze, The-Dream, DJ Clue, and Irv Gotti, and America's Next Top Model alum Yaya Dacosta), and a few downright surprising ones (former adversary Nas, Rock Of Love contestant Kristia Krueger, actors Drew Sidora and Tristan Wilds, athletes Zab Judah and Larry Johnson). Of this group, only Diddy and Cassie had a hand in creating the song. Ironically, the track's most famous contributors, Kanye West and background vocalist Beyoncé Knowles, are both absent.
  • David Bowie's second and third videos from The Next Day (2013) attracted some name acting talent to shore him up: Tilda Swinton plays his wife in "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)", while Gary Oldman plays a Catholic priest and Marion Cotillard a prostitute in "The Next Day". (No links because neither clip is safe for work.)
  • Slash's debut album was made on the theory that the guitarist would write whatever he wants in any genre he wants, then contacts the singer best suited for it when he's got a basic song laid down (most of them friends he's made throughout the years). This session ended up including Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell, Lemmy Kilmister, Kid Rock, an instrumental with Dave Grohl and his old Guns N' Roses band-mate Duff McKagen, and Alice Cooper doing a duet with Nicole Scherzinger among others. Two of the only names he wasn't able to get for various reasons were Dave Mustaine and Jack White.
  • Megadeth's 2013 Gigantour already included several bands with celebrity members, except they were playing in smaller or less famous bands. Then one night in Texas they all got on stage together to perform "Cold Sweat" by Thin Lizzy while Slash was in the building. This ended up becoming a jam of David Ellefson and Jason Newsted on bass, Vinnie Paul on drums, Mustaine, Chad Gray and David Draiman on vocals, and Mustaine, Chris Broderick, Shawn Drover off his kit, Slash and Zakk Wylde on guitar. So basically, a number of famous names in metal (and then the fellow from Death Division). For a metalhead, Dave Mustaine announcing these names quickly became Serial Escalation.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Many Muppet films from The Muppet Movie onwards have a variation: the Muppets themselves are the stars, but most of the human supporting characters and cameos are name performers. And the first three films even work in cameos from Sesame Street characters!

    Theatre 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 

Adventure DuoEnsemblesAmazon Brigade
Age LiftCharacters and CastingAmateur Cast
Adored by the NetworkTriviaAnime First
The ExpendablesImageSource/Live-Action FilmsTroperiffic

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