I received a suggestion to look at some newer movies and chat about the bit parts. A good suggestion! The writer said that movies these days rely more on Bit Actors to carry them than they did back in the golden days, because newer movies use so many special effects and GCIs to dazzle the eye. The stars can get lost in the dazzle.
True Lies (1994) was a big hit with a load of big stars. It made over $140,000,000 in the USA alone. It won a bunch of awards and was nominated for an Oscar, and I love it. (The tango scenes are my favs.) And now, the Amazon link to the left has it selling for 79 Cents!
Arnold Schwarzenegger (b. 1947), Jamie Lee Curtis (b. 1958) and Tom Arnold (b. 1959) could not have been better in their parts and need no blog posts. Let's look at some others.
Art Malik (b. 1952) was the bad guy. While he had a fairly large part in this movie, I think he could be categorized as a Bit Actor. His name is not very well known, but some of his parts are substantial. Look for him in The Living Daylights (1987) with Timothy Dalton (b. 1944) as James Bond, where he plays an Afghan resistance fighter. He then works with Patrick Swayze (1952 - 2009) in City of Joy (1992) set in India.
Here are a few bit parts for him...Booty Call (1997) with Jamie Foxx (b. 1967) and Vivica Fox (b. 1964), Tabloid (2001) with John Hurt (b. 1940), then he narrates a 2001 documentary "The Real Shirley Bassey," and he is in the 2010 remake of The Wolfman.
Grant Heslov (b. 1963) plays Arnold and Tom's junior partner in True Lies. He started out playing small parts on TV, such as "Joanie Loves Chachi" in 1982, but soon he is a Bit Actor in movies like Catch Me if You Can (the one from 1989, not the Tom Hanks hit from 2002), and Vital Signs (1990).
Better movies and bigger parts followed True Lies. He was a photographer in The Birdcage (1996), a volcanologist in Dante's Peak in 1997, and is in The Scorpion King in 2002.
Just think about the special effects used in True Lies, then think about the performances of Malik and Heslov, and all the great moments they contribute to it. I think you'll agree that good Bit Actors really round out a great movie.