Best Ensemble Cast of a Film

As more castings are revealed for Christopher Nolan's star packed Oppenheimer, multiple writers look back on films that have done it right when it comes to all-star ensembles.

multiple writers
7th March 2022
Brad Pitt, Jason Flemyng, Michael Hughes, and Liam McMahon in Snatch. Image: IMDB
This took some thought but I finally decided that the cast is in... Guy Ritchie's 2000 film Snatch. Snatch is known as a sequel to another Ritchie film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

This film, and casting, is definitely worth the watch if you haven't already, the story line is impeccable!

Those amongst the cast are: Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford and... Vinnie Jones. I believe all these actors understood the assignment! You could say that some of their personalities show through in their characters - Vinnie Jones for instance was a wildcat around the 2000s with loads of stories in the news circulating his life after, and during, his football career.

Before we say more on Vinnie Jones, let's take a look at Brad Pitt, who signed up to play the role of a traveller. For this role, Pitt revealed he went to live with an Irish traveller in order to learn the accent.

Alan Ford is the best casting - his calm, collected, insane character Brick Top is without a doubt perfection.

Two other people who has understood the assignment are Statham and Graham. They play partners, which "doesn't mean [they...] take walks", they are in the world of unlicensed boxing and set up matches for people to place illegal bets on. Statham, aka Turkish, runs the show whilst Graham, aka Tommy, who could be said to act as a plot device - gets Turkish into trouble. Tommy is the character that brings all the links into play, without him Turkish would be fine and not owe anyone anything, especially Brick Top (Alan Ford). Both actors bounce off one another in harmony and I can not personally think of another duo who could do a better job.

Now, back to Vinnie Jones. Jones is known as a troublemaker in the football community and generally in his life. His character Bullet-Tooth Tony represents him, to an extent. Jones is now celebrating nine years sober, and though it isn't implied that Tony takes drugs, the violence replicates his footballing madness.

Alan Ford in Snatch, playing 'Brick Top'. Image: IMDB

For me, Alan Ford is the best casting - his calm, collected, insane character Brick Top is without a doubt perfection. The famous scene where he discusses the phrase "as greedy as a pig" sends chills down my spine - he is talking about killing people and feeding them to pigs as if he is describing what he had for breakfast. Ford made a cameo in Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - it was Ritchie's best decision to bring him back for a larger, more vicious character. Katie Siddall

Ensemble casts seem to be having a moment right now with numerous films starring a plethora of Hollywood A-listers being released, from Knives Out to Eternals to, most recently, Don’t Look Up, so it would seem as though there are plenty of new releases to choose from when deciding on the best ensemble cast of a film. However, it is not a recent release that stands out to me, but rather the 2006 tragicomedy Little Miss Sunshine.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) is a great example of an ensemble cast. Image: IMDB

Little Miss Sunshine has a witty, uplifting and almost perfect script that makes the characters’ woes feel painfully realistic and highlights the importance of families persevering together through difficulties.

Little Miss Sunshine tells the story of the dysfunctional Hoover family: Olive (played by Abigail Breslin), her parents Richard and Sheryl (Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette), her brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), uncle Frank (Steve Carrell) and Grandpa Edwin (Alan Arkin), who must all embark on a tense road trip in a VW van so that Olive can partake in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

This film is an example of a brilliantly executed ensemble project because each member of the family is dealing with their own personal struggles, which are all explored within the relatively short running time of 102 minutes. From Dwayne’s discovery that he is colour blind, meaning that he cannot fulfil his dream of becoming a pilot, to Olive’s issues with body image to Edwin’s heroin addiction.

The Hoover Family in Little Miss Sunshine. Credit IMDB

Little Miss Sunshine has a witty, uplifting and almost perfect script that makes the characters’ woes feel painfully realistic and highlights the importance of families persevering together through difficulties. But the chemistry of its performers is possibly its greatest achievement as this remains unmatched and it is what makes this cast, in my opinion, the greatest ensemble in cinema history. Heather Adams

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