Since making his debut in the early seventies Christopher Walken has been one of the most versatile and iconic of all American actors. Adept in the heaviest of dramas, to the lightest of comedies, Walken is one of those actors that can do it all. To pay tribute to the man who has given us some of the most memorable performances of the past thirty years I have selected seven of my favorite scenes with Walken that show his extraordinary (and often undervalued) talents. There are many others, but I find these seven to be particularly memorable and great.
7. THE ADDICTION
Walken turns in one of his strangest, and most effective, performances here in Abel Ferrara's savage 1995 film THE ADDICTION. This scene, featuring Walken with Lili Taylor, is among the best of either of their careers, and it is the kind of moment that only Ferrara could have delivered.
6. ANNIE HALL
One of the funniest scenes in Woody Allen's vast filmography is this moment with Allen and Walken from 1977's ANNIE HALL. Watch Allen's terrified reaction to Walken's trademark deadpan delivery. Classic scene, and the payoff at the end is the stuff of legend.
5. TRUE ROMANCE
Walken goes head to head with fellow legend Dennis Hopper in this, one of the great moments from Tarantino's pen. The scene is also nicely directed by Tony Scott, and the two actors are clearly getting a kick sparring off each other.
4. THE DEER HUNTER
Walken would get a much deserved Academy Award for his heartbreaking performance in Michael Cimino's epic masterpiece. The Russian Roulette scene is the most talked about, but I think this scene outside of the hospital is the most crushing moment of the film.
3. PULP FICTION
I will never forget seeing this for the first time with a sold out audience back in 1994. The moment when Walken reveals where he kept that 'uncomfortable piece of metal' garnered some of the biggest laughs I have ever heard...and the scene still gives me chills because of how great Walken is in it.
2. THE DEAD ZONE
Cronenberg's masterful film gave Walken one of the finest roles of his career, and he delivered a devastating performance in it. There are many great scenes in THE DEAD ZONE, but this one is particularly haunting. Just watch the look on Walken's face as he sees Brook Adams walking towards him.
1. THE KING OF NEW YORK
The final shots of Ferrara's influential 1990 gangster epic remain some of my favorite ever filmed. Walken's performance as Frank White is electric, chilling, terrifying and finally moving. These final moments capturing White at the end are my favorite shots of Chris in any film. He is as good as in actor has ever been in these silent last shots...
There are many others, but frankly with over 100 films under his belt now it is hard to choose from all of them. Christopher Walken is one of our great actors and icons. I am looking forward to paying tribute to one of his key films later this weekend.