Have you ever watched a movie and heard a distinct voice that you immediately recognized even before you saw the actor? Throughout movie history there have been certain voices that are undeniably memorable and they often times can add to the strength of the character or the movie. Sometimes they are just incredibly cool and are automatically associated with the actors themselves. Today I’m looking at five of the best and most recognized voices in cinema. These are five voices that I could recognize regardless of the role. Now with so many great ones I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there is no denying that these five movie voices are phenomenal.
#5 – George Clooney
Some may scoff at this pick but I think Clooney’s voice is one of the most distinct in modern cinema. Clooney often gets hype for his good looks and sex symbol appeal. He’s also a really good actor with a voice that is undeniable. The gravelly voiced Clooney has used his voice in a number of ways from playing romantic pretty boys to dense-headed backwoods Southerners. But perhaps the best use of his distinguished voice came in Wes Andersons’ animated treat “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Again, some may laugh at this choice, but I think it fits onto this list nicely.
#4 – Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson is an actor who has had an incredibly diverse career. But there has always been one constant – that amazing voice. The 63-year old Neeson has used his Northern Irish voice to portray men of high distinction as well as hard-as-nails tough guys. It simply doesn’t matter what film he is in, Neeson is almost always good. But along with good acting chops comes that voice which is simply one of the best. And I can promise you this, if I hear him telling me about his “particular set of skills” I’m certainly going to be intimidated.
#3 – Vincent Price
Whenever I think of Vincent Price a huge grin spreads across my face. Price is known as a horror picture icon but he actually started out as a character actor. He would soon find his true home in the horror and suspense genres and helmed many great classic horror films in the 1950s and 1960s. His most well known feature was his incredible voice. It was eerie and ominous and with it he was able to frighten audiences or at least make them squirm. He often played characters who were mysterious and slightly off and he would use that unforgettable voice to soak them with suspense. For me Vincent Price is a true film great who did more for a movie genre than some today realize.
#2 – James Earl Jones
Now c’mon folks, you had to know that the great James Earl Jones would have to be on any list mentioning great motion picture voices. The 83-year old Jones has had an incredible career winning Tony Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and garnering an Oscar nomination. But whenever I think of Jones I will always think of his voice. Armed with one of the most powerful and towering voices ever, Jones has played a huge variety of roles. He’s played small but pivotal supporting roles as well as iconic ones in landmark franchises. Remember, this is the man who voiced Darth Vader! James Earl Jones is a legend and that great voice is one reason why.
#1 – Jeremy Irons
I realize that this may sound utterly ridiculous, but Jeremy Irons has one of those rare voices that absolutely entrances me. It’s poetic, soothing, and pristine. But as with every great actor armed with an incredible voice, it can also be menacing, threatening, and unnerving. Irons’ English accent mixed with a graveled deepness is as distinguished as any other voice ever to grace the big screen. He has used it in such a wide range of ways while never once losing the qualities that makes it so recognizable. Irons is a stellar film actor and stage actor. He has also read a number of audio books. Just another testament to how magnetic his glorious voice is.
So there are my five phenomenal movie voices. See any you disagree with? Who would make your list? I would love to hear your selection in the comments section below.