He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the kiwi actor is one of the best Hollywood has at the moment. Here are 5 awesome movies he particularly shone in.

1- Romper Stomper (1992)

This Australian film directed by Geoffrey Wright brought the man from the Antipodes to international attention. Dealing with skinheads and neo-Nazism in Australia, it is both disturbing and compelling; not by affiliation with the subject matter but by how the individuals and their beliefs are shown and how human nature is depicted.

Crowe plays the terrifying Hendo, not the hero of the piece for once but the steel-minded center of the racist front. His look and coldness of gaze are matched by the intensity of his performance and were to open doors in more mainstream movies. The film is so shocking that it was even banned for a period of time by The Glasgow Film Council.

2- L.A Confidential (1997)

In his biggest Hollywood film to date, Crowe was cast in Curtis Hanson‘s Noir thriller tale of three sides of police enforcement, as hard man with a heart Wendell Bud White. Crowe’s intimidating presence and rough gravelly voice are used with aplomb. More than just muscle for hire, here Russell shows that the underestimated and undervalued are as human and sharp-witted as even the keenest minds.

3- The Insider (1999)

Michael Mann‘s brilliant take on the fact-based story of the Big Tobacco expose on U.S current affairs program, 60 Minutes. Sharing billing and screen time with Al Pacino in sensational form is no mean task, but Crowe delivers spectacularly, so well in fact his performance was Oscar-nominated. His physical presence, obviously, is clear for all to see, but here the determination of belief and will of conviction in the face of almost impossible odds are what really capture the imagination, and show what a true talent Crowe really is, and is often underestimated.

4 – Gladiator (2000)

I have to be honest, I am a little biased when it comes to this film as it is one of my all time favorites. It brings old school grandeur like Spartacus, blended with the modern wizardry and present day epic storytelling of Ridley Scott, the man behind Blade Runner and Alien. It is all that is great about Hollywood, past and present. Epic sums it up, in every aspect, and although Crowe doesn’t have to carry the movie on his own (there are so many great turns in supporting roles on display; Oliver Reid, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris and Connie Neilson) but he almost does. Maximus is the ultimate hero and legend (if that is possible in fiction). He is an everyman without trick, deception or lie, and his truth, honor and loyalty are all he needs. This is shown so well in this performance, which is likely to be the role Russell Crowe will be remembered for, and that’s no bad thing.

5 – A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Like The Insider, Crowe’s physical presence could have been a distraction, but the vulnerability and frustration of the human condition contradicted with the true genius, super human brain are shown to such wonderful effect by the interpretation of Crowe that his physical interpretation of mathematician John Nash almost doesn’t matter, but he also has the skill to display this on screen too, excellently, in the Ron Howard movie based on the biopic of Nobel Prize winner Nash’s life.

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