Best Movies With Actors Who Played Multiple Characters

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

It takes special skill and talent for an actor to convincingly play more than one role in a single film, but there are numerous examples of this double duty (or more) in movie history. The use of the same performer for more than one part is sometimes obvious to the viewer, even when heavy makeup and/or prosthetics might be involved. (Prosthetics aren’t the only way for actors to change their physical appearance, of course. Read about these actors who made major body transformations for roles.)

Other times, the doubling-up is only revealed at the end as a shocking plot twist. Either way, when it’s done well, the result offers a unique cinematic experience.

To determine the best movies with actors who played multiple characters, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of March 2023, weighting all ratings equally. Only movies in which one actor or more actors play more than one character were considered. Animated children’s movies were excluded.

Some films featuring the same actor in more than one role are numbered among the greatest classics of cinema – like “The Great Dictator,” in which Charlie Chaplin plays both a pompous fascist dictator and an unassuming Jewish barber, or “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” featuring Alec Guinness portraying eight different members of the D’Ascoyne family.

Many films using this device, in fact, are comedies. One more contemporary name that comes to mind is Eddie Murphy, who has played multiple roles in several of his films, including “Bowfinger” and “Coming to America” – both on this list. (These are some comedic performances so good they even won an Oscar.)

Comedies aren’t the only films in which performers play more than one character, though. The movies on this list also include examples of horror, sci-fi, and suspense films – all of them using the multiple performances to great effect.

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