Christopher Walken is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and loved actors by audiences old and new. His manner of speech is so unique that, if you spend an hour or so searching the internet for Christopher Walken clips, you won’t be able to help yourself but talk in a… Christopher… Walken voice… until the spell… wears off.
Even his Tweets are like this. We kid you not.
Last night, I drempt… of puppies… and the soft DARKness that hides the future… from the over-curious.
— Christopher Walken (@walken20) May 31, 2007
Saturday Night Live producers had even dedicated a six-minute sketch to this mesmerizing effect, which they dubbed the “Walken Family Reunion.”
He has eyes of green silver, an unmistakable voice, and a penchant for dancing. As a Life Buzz article would have you know, he actually trained as a theatrical dancer before moving onto the big screen.
But, to backtrack a little to, oh, oh, the internet, it is with great delight that we’ve discovered there have been numerous “Top X Christopher Walken This” and “Top X Christopher Walken That” lists all across the net when we’ve started working on this article, replace X with your number of choice. Top X movies he appeared in, top X Christopher Walken movements, top X times when Christopher Walken stared down the devil, etc, etc.
Which begs the question, why should you read our list of seven performances of his that we simply can never forget if the internet already appears filled with them?
The answer is simple: Christopher Walken.
7. True Romance
In this movie, Christopher Walken has a memorable cameo playing Don Vincenzo Concotti, an underboss for the mob. His menacing presence is even more so because he talks to his victim with a smile on his face, his tone conversational and understanding. The scene starts with Christopher Walken’s character introducing himself as such.
“Do you know who I am? I’m the Antichrist. You’ve got me in a vendetta kind of mood. You tell the angels in heaven you’ve never seen evil so singularly personified as in the face of the man who killed you.”
6. King of New York
The movie is carried by Walken through and through. He plays a criminal kingpin-turned-modern-day Robin Hood, taking from the criminals and giving money to the poor. A famous scene from the movie has him riding the subway with his girlfriend when three thugs approach, intent on taking his wallet.
Christopher Walken’s character unfastens the buttons of his suit to show them his pistol before throwing them a cash clip, then tells them to look him up for work like it was nothing. The thugs leave, and Christopher Walken continues enjoying his girlfriend’s company. There’s little dialog in the scene; he lets his famous “don’t mess with me or I’ll rip your heart out” look do the talking.
Christopher Walken plays the exterminator Caesar, wonderfully unhinged and bent on bringing all pesky rodents to justice. Take his monologue for example.
“Normal people are not psychologically equipped to catch mice. You’ve got to get inside their mind. You have to know what they want. Need. You have to think like a mouse. If you can do that, if you can think like a mouse, you can anticipate their moves. Then: boom! Sayonara, mouse.”
And now imagine Christopher Walken saying it. Or, you know, you can just watch the clip instead.
4. Pulp Fiction
Arguably one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history is Christopher Walken’s cameo in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic Pulp Fiction, where he tells a young boy about the importance of the boy’s father’s watch and the lengths he took to hide it from the Nazis.
3. Deer Hunter
In the role that won Christopher Walken his Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, he plays a tormented Vietnam vet who was forced to play Russian roulette as a prisoner of war in what is unmistakably one of the most intense scenes ever filmed. It makes little sense to list all the scenes in which he’s great in this movie – he’s unforgettable in all of them. Oscar well deserved, Mr. Walken.
Christopher Walken the Deer Hunter, 1978 pic.twitter.com/GWnWeXCmnI
— NúriaRIL (@NuriaRIL) July 2, 2015
2. Saturday Zoo
Not a film role, this is a short episode from a British sitcom called Saturday Zoo that aired in 1993; the show’s producers had the brilliant idea of asking Christopher Walken to read the fairy tale about the three little piggies to the show’s audience.
Somehow, when read by him, his distinctive speech pauses and voice give a whole new level of terror to the piggies’ dramatic fates.
Who could have known that a child’s fairy tale we all know could sound so weird.
1. Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice”
Christopher Walken is the left, right, and center of Fatboy Slim’s video for “Weapon of Choice.” Directed by Spike Jonze, it has Christopher Walken dancing for three minutes straight. At some point in the video, he decides to leave gravity behind altogether and takes off flying.
Mesmerizing, enticing, unforgettable, and utterly Walken, it’s a video that made him famous to those few people in the universe who didn’t know him already.
Check out the video for “Weapon of Choice.”
Christopher Walken has played in over one hundred movies, so, naturally, we’ve had to leave some out of our list. As with all such lists, this one is highly subjective, but it wouldn’t be right to fail to mention those films entirely. Our honorable mentions go to Dead Zone, Catch Me If You Can, Communion, The Prophecy, Poolhall Junkies, Batman Returns (worth watching if only for Christopher Walken), Nick of Time, Sleepy Hollow, and, heck, practically every movie he’s ever been in.
And while it may seem that an actor usually cast as playing “the weird guy” (and whose name is not Steve Buscemi) must be strange in everyday life, all… evidence seems to… suggest… that Christopher… Walken… is surprisingly normal and a genuinely nice guy.
[Photo: Hulton Archive, Mireya Acierto / Getty Images]