7 Career Defining Steve Buscemi Perfomances ...


In so many ways, any of the Steve Buscemi performances show you don’t have to be a hot looking guy (in a stereotypical sense) to be a Hollywood star. And star he is, and a much underrated one too in my opinion. His unique characterizations are always memorable, whether he’s making you laugh or making you cry or making you cringe. I love that he has what I call a slightly shambolic look about him yet his acting is sharp and crisp. Here are some of the best Steve Buscemi performances – in my opinion.

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The Wedding Singer

Yes, before you say anything. I do agree! This is hardly what you would call a starring role. He played a minor role, for which his name didn’t appear in the credits, but the reason I say this is one of the career-defining Steve Buscemi performances is because it was the first time I saw him. Good looking or not, he is visually striking and give me an immediate impression that I wanted to see more of what he could do. It actually led me to seeking out other films he had been in and even though a good number of them were before The Wedding Singer, I hadn’t seen them. When I watched them – some of which appear in this list – I realized this man is one seriously versatile actor.



I love black comedies and fewer come blacker than this. The Coen Brothers are genius filmmakers and this film is practically perfect in every way, earning the brothers the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Please do watch this if you have never seen it. Frances McDormand (who won Best Actress Oscar for her role) and William H Macy were simply brilliant as the lead, but as bungling crook Carl Showalter, Steve Buscemi is sublime. Go on a journey of what can snowball when a crime goes horribly wrong. Watch out for the scene with the wood chipping machine!


Boardwalk Empire

There was a time when film actors made films and TV actors made television. These days the lines are blurred and if anyone shows that you can be as successful on the small screen as on the big screen, it is the various Steve Buscemi performances that seamlessly cross the divide between the two media. Some would actually argue that his TV roles are more prominent than his movie roles. Although he has yet to star in what you would call a true blockbuster movie, Buscemi has been in The Sopranos, 30 Rock, and let’s not forget his 6 year stint on Saturday Night Live. Most recently though, it is Boardwalk Empire that has been his main TV vehicle. As Enuch ‘Nucky’ Thompson he is undisputed ruler of Atlantic City in the 1920s – part gangster, part politician. As Steve Buscemi –part brilliant, part superb.



You either love this kind of movie or you hate it. Me – I’m all for a bunch of heroes jetting off into space to save the Earth from a giant asteroid. Hollywood just wouldn’t be Hollywood if our world didn’t face massive threats and there being a set of unlikely heroes to ensure the future of the human race. In Armageddon, they take “unlikely” to the extreme with a wonderful set of totally misfit characters. Buscemi is Rockhound, a rather creepy genius with a dodgy background of interactions with underage women, who turns in a truly comedic performance throughout, culminating in going insane when they land on the asteroid.


28 Days

I think this is one the of Steve Buscemi roles that is under-rated. He plays Cornell in 28 Days – Sandra Bullock’s counsellor in a rehabilitation unit (she’s suffering alcohol abuse). The reason I believe it is underrated is because in this Buscemi doesn’t work on a funny script or a strange or quirky character and he delivers Cornell as a no-nonsense guy in a very understated way. I was becoming quite used to seeing more than a dose of flamboyance in his performances, so I enjoyed this in a different way.



I think the out and out comedic Steve Buscemi performances are the best. Although he can successfully bring comedy into the most dramatic situations, when he’s given rein to bang his funny bone as much as he can, he’s brilliant. One such role is as Les Galantine in Delirious. He is captivating as a small-time papparazo who in a fit of jealousy plots revenge. Does he see it through? You’ll have to watch it to find out!


Ghost World

With an ending that’s somewhat nostalgic and more than a little bemusing, the two female stars (Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson) tend to attract more praise for Ghost World than Steve Buscemi, but the film would be nothing without his excellent performance as geeky vinyl record collector Seymour. Sit down and enjoy the journey into teenage angst and middle-aged loneliness. Based on the comic book of the same name, this movie never received mass critical acclaim or attention, but it is one of the great cult movies.

There are so many great Steve Buscemi performances – your favorite might be the roles he played in Reservoir Dogs, Con Air, Mr Deeds, Big Daddy, or even The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. I wonder which you rate highly?

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Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

How about reservoir dogs?


He is one of my favorite actors. I first noticed him as one of the weirdo buffalo hunters in the made for TV Lonesome Dove.

Without Conair this list is worthless.

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