The return of the great Hollywood ensemble

The story is intriguing, the setting fabulous. But there’s another massively appealing element in The Only Living Boy in New York: the ensemble cast.
Ensemble films are a wonderful indulgence for moviegoers yet compared to 1930s Hollywood, they are few and far between. But this may be changing. We’ve noticed a slow resurgence of movies featuring sizeable casts made up of big acting names.  Could this be the beginning of a new wave of brilliant ensembles? Here’s our list of movies that have been leading the way:


Saving Private Ryan
Image Source: Paramount Pictures

This film is epic in every way and particularly in its scale of excellent actors. Everywhere you look in this movie, there is a recognisable and much admired star. The cast includes Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Tom Sizemore, Paul Giamatti and Ted Danson – and each delivers a performance worthy of the company they kept.


American Hustle

While the number of actors is certainly less in this Oscar-nominated film, the performances in American Hustle are no less formidable. Each of the A-list cast members show exactly why Hollywood producers cast them: they know how to own a role and carry a film all the way to box office success.


The Only Living Boy In New York

A sexy and smart drama set in the most sophisticated city in the world needs a cast of great scope and talent to carry it. So director Marc Webb assembled Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy award winners Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon - together with Kate Beckinsale and talented newcomer, Callum Turner – and nailed it. The superb ensemble and striking New York scape are so authentic, you forget you’re watching a movie and think you’re hanging out with your Upper West side rels instead.


Oceans 11

When Stephen Soderbergh cast his 11 key actors for this remake, he was effectively presenting a dream team to cinemagoers. And in true ensemble form, each actor shines equally, allowing audiences to absorb less of an individual character and focus more on the brilliant story of a very clever heist.


The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of ensembles – his films pretty much thrive on them. In The Hateful Eight the strength of the ensemble makes this film. Each of the actors give the performance of their career – but it is when they come together that the film becomes an absolute tour de force. 


The Lord of the Rings

The ambition of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy was impressive enough. To then pull it off, a mindblowing feat. This was a franchise that got every facet of filmmaking right including the cast who embraced their characters with utter conviction and created a world we absolutely believed in.

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