My top 10 bad movie accents

A good actor should be able to play pretty much any role, right? But sometimes when that role involves speaking with an accent different to your own, even the best actors fall horribly flat. There are times when it doesn’t really matter (think Fassbender breaking into full raging Irish brogue towards of X-Men First Class) and then there are other times when it ends up taking over the entire performance, these are the times I am talking about below.

one-day08Film: One Day (2011)
Character: Emma
Played by: Anne Hathaway
Attempted accent: Yorkshire
Native accent: Brooklyn
Oh dear… not only was Anne way, way too pretty to play the supposedly dowdy Emma but her accent seemed to change like the wind throughout the entire film making it the centre of all the reviews.

morgan-freeman_invictusFilm: Invictus (2009)
Character: Nelson Mandela
Played by: Morgan Freeman
Attempted accent: South African
Native accent: Memphis, Tennessee
I know our beloved Madiba has a very distinctive and unusual speaking voice so I would never have expected an exact replica but really most of the time it doesn’t even sound vaguely South African.

ironman2_rourke_whiplash_thumb-thumb-550x305-19188Film: Iron Man 2 (2010)
Character: Ivan Vanko/Whiplash
Played by: Mickey Rourke
Attempted accent: Russian
Native Accent: Schenectady, New York
Kind of reminds you of every 80’s “the Russians are coming to get us” cheesy action movie you loved when you were eight…

highlander-2-LST044716Film: Highlander (1986)
Characters: Connor MacLeod & Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez
Played by: Christopher Lambert & Sean Connery
Attempted accents: Scottish & Spanish/Egyptian (??)
Native accents: French & Scottish
I can’t imagine whose idea itΒ  was to get a Frenchman to play a Scot and a Scotsman (who has only ever been capable of one accent) to play a Spaniard/Egyptian but it all went horribly, horribly wrong. So wrong that it’s impossible to pick just one of these for the top 10.

django-unchained-quentin-tarantino-movie-image-set-photo1Film: Django Unchained (2012)
Character: The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. Employee
Played by: Quentin Tarantino
Attempted accent: Australian
Native accent: Knoxville, Tennessee
Although Tarantino has just popped in for his standard brief cameo, his attempt at an Australian accent is so jarring that it’s one of the most memorable moments of an otherwise impressive film. Put another shrimp on the barbie, mate!

Dick-Van-Dyke-Mary-PoppinsFilm: Mary Poppins (1964)
Character: Bert
Played by: Dick Van Dyke
Attempted accent: Cockney
Native accent: West Plains, Missouri
This has got to be the original yardstick on which all terrible British accents are measured.

capcore2Film: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
Character: Captain Antonio Corelli
Played by: Nicolas Cage
Attempted accent: Italian
Native accent: Long Beach, California
Being an Italian-American you would think Cage might have met some Italian people in his lifetime. Instead he chose to base his accent on the Dolmio adverts.

9606-16142Film: Robin Hood Men in Tights (1993)
Character: Little John
Played by: Eric Allan Kramer
Attempted accent: West Country? Definitely something British.
Native accent: Grand Rapids, Michigan
While Cary Elwes (mmm… Cary Elwes) might be the only Robin Hood who can speak in an English accent, the same cannot be said for most of the rest of the cast of this spoof, with Kramer doing the absolute worst job of the lot.

2004-ALEXANDER-ALEXANDER--006Film: Alexander (2004)Character: Olympias
Played by: Angelina Jolie
Accent: Fuck knows… Macedonian?
Native accent: Los Angeles
Poor Ang appears to have gone for the tactic of picking an imaginary random accent that sounds like none of her Alexander contemporaries, resulting in her just sounding batshit crazy.

004Film: Anaconda (1997)
Character: Paul Serone
Played by: Jon Voight
Attempted accent: Paraguayan
Native accent: Yonkers, New York
Like father, like daughter. Voight probably could have gotten away with any kind of South American accent but he ends up sounding utterly ridiculous.


  1. Have you seen Rounders? John Malkovich’s ‘Russian’ accent (and I use that word advisedly) is a joy to behold. Great film too.

    1. Abbi

      I haven’t. But I shall certainly look it up now!

      1. It’s up there at Van Dyke levels of terribleness. So bad it’s funny.

  2. Why isn’t Mel Gibson on this list for Braveheart? Surely the worst attempted Scottish accent of all time, eclipsing even the mighty efforts of Christopher Lambert.

    Also Kevin Costner, Christian Slater and Mike McShane for Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves in a three-way joint award.

    1. Abbi

      It always gets so hard to choose with these top 10’s but those are some great shouts! I didn’t add Kevin Costner because I didn’t feel like he was even attempting an accent. Lol!

  3. Couldn’t agree more on the highlander one Abbi. I’d also include Keanu Reeves in Bram Stokers Dracula. Dreadful English accent

    1. Abbi

      I remember watching Highlander and thinking “what IS this?” The accents are hysterical. I think Keanu definitely deserves an honourable mention!

  4. theipc

    GREAT post!!

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! πŸ™‚

  5. Do not speak to me of the travesty that was Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It still hurts…

    1. Abbi

      It’s really not pretty!

  6. LOL, funny list! Definitely agree on Tarantino, ugh. I would add Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York and Jodie Foster in Elysium.

  7. Oh, and I forgot about Keanu Reeves in Dracula!

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I had a lot of fun doing it.

  8. Great idea for a top ten! πŸ™‚ And seems to be a good list but I have a confession to make – I’m rubbish with accents! Being American but living in the UK, you would think I’d be better with them but I’ll hear an American here sometimes & I don’t even notice. All I really notice are “Northern” English accents but half the time I think they’re Scottish or Irish. This is probably why I love Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins -sounds fine to me! πŸ˜‰

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I still get accent confusion sometimes, especially between Northern Irish and Scottish. I can now finally pick out a Scouse and a Geordie accent though.

  9. I think Keanu has a sort of honorary membership on this list. I’ve still yet to hear a worse one than van Dycke, and being from England it’s even stronger! I’d forgotten about Anaconda. First time i remember seeing Jennifer Lopez. I was never interested in seeing Captain Corelli’s mandolin, but after that description I almost feel I have to haha.

    1. Abbi

      Yeah Keanu was such a shocker in Dracula. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is so very long and so very shite that I would feel bad if I didn’t pre warn you.

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