Classic Screen Debuts

A collection of the best before-they-were-stars big and small screen appearances from across Youtube.  Screen debuts featured whenever available.

Bryan Cranston-
Sam in 1982’s Crisis Counselor (early screen role; screen debuted in 1968 episode of One Life to Live)
 

Christian Bale- 1982’s Lenor Commercial
(screen debut; first credited role came as Alexei in 1986’s The Mystery of Anastasia)

Tom Hanks-
  Eliot in 1980’s He Knows You’re Alone (screen debut; followed shortly by breakout role as Kip Wilson in Bosom Buddies)

Tom Cruise-
Billy in 1981’s Endless Love (screen debut)

Clint Eastwood-
Jennings in 1955’s Revenge of the Creature (uncredited screen debut)

Julianne Moore and Marisa Tomei
– Frannie/Sabrina Hughes and Marcy Thompson in As the World Turns (18 episodes for Moore whose screen debut occurred a year earlier in a 1985 episode of The Edge of Night.  Tomei starred in 2 episodes, though debuted in an uncredited appearance in The Toxic Avenger earlier in 1984.)

Sylvester Stallone-
Stud in 1970’s X-rated The Italian Stallion aka The Party at Kitty and Studs (second screen appearance following 1969’s The Square Root)


Val Kilmer-
Eric in 1985’s One Too Many: An ABC Afterschool Special; a year after top billed debut in Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker comedy Top Secret!

Nicole Kidman-
Helen in 1983’s Bush Christmas (screen debut)

Gary Oldman- Coxy in 1983’s Meantime (second screen appearance after 1982’s Remembrance)

Margot Robbie- Caitlin Brentford in 2008 episode of City Homicide (screen debut)

Keanu Reeves- Teen client in 1984 episode of Hangin’ In (screen debut, followed shortly by Coke commercial)

Denzel Washington– Kirk in 1979’s Flesh & Blood (second screen appearance following role in 1977’s Wilma.

Nicholas Cage-Nicholas in 1981’s Best of Times (screen debut)

Ben Affleck- 1984’s Voyage of the Mimi (second screen appearance following 1981’s The Dark End of the Street)


Robert De Niro-
Client at the door in 1965’s Three Rooms in Manhattan (uncredited screen debut; first credited role was as Jon Rubin in 1968’s Greetings.

Daniel Day Lewis-
Child vandal in 1971’s Sunday Bloody Sunday (screen debut)

Larry David-
Various characters in Friday’s (screen debut; 54 episodes from 1980-1982)

Angelina Jolie-
Tosh Warner in 1982’s Lookin’ to Get Out (screen debut)

Johnny Depp-
Glen Lantz in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (screen debut)

Ben Stiller-
Peter in 1986 episode of Kate & Allie (screen debut)

George Clooney-
Ace in E/R (early screen role; 8 episode run from 1984-1985)

Jason Alexander-
Dave in 1981’s The Burning (screen debut)

Brad Pitt-
Randy in Dallas (4 episode run 1987-1988; debuted earlier that year in Hunk)

Mel Gibson-
Scollop in 1977’s Summer City (second screen role following 4-episode stint in The Sullivans a year prior)

Jackie Chan-
Cheung 6 Ba in 1962’s Big and Little Wong Tin Bar (screen debut)

Harrison Ford
– Bellhop Pager in 1966’s Dead Heat at a Merry-Go-Round (screen debut)


Kevin Spacey-
Subway thief in 1986’s Heartburn (screen debut)

Jeff Bridges- Davy Crane in 1958 episode of Sea Hunt (alongside father Lloyd; first screen appearance actually came seven years earlier as as an infant in 1951’s The Company She Keeps)

Bruce Willis- Peter Novins in 1985 episode of The Twilight Zone (early performance following first on screen appearance in 1980’s The First Deadly Sin)

Julia Roberts- Tracy in 1987 episode of Crime Story (screen debut)

Kurt Russell-
Kevin in 1962 episode of Dennis the Menace (screen debut)

Meryl Streep-
Sharon Miller in 1977’s The Deadliest Season (on screen debut following voice credit in 1976’s Everybody Rides the Carousel)

Burt Reynolds-
Tony Sappio in 1959 episode of The Lawless Years (early screen appearance; debuted the year prior in an episode of Flight)

Judi Dench-
Anna in 1960 episode of The Four Just Men (early screen appearance; debuted the year prior in the TV miniseries Hilda Lessways)

David Letterman-
Pit reporter in ABC Sports coverage of the 1971 Indianapolis 500 (first nationally telecast appearance; though he had served as a weatherman for WLWI in the years prior)

Jay Leno-
Young man in 1976 episode of Good Times (screen debut)

Alec Baldwin-
Dr. Hal Wexler in 1983’s Cutter to Houston (second screen role following 6 episode run on The Doctors a year prior)

Ryan Gosling-
Jamie Leary in 1995 episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark (screen debut, 2 years before his 44 episode run as Sean Hanlon in Breaker High)

Michael Douglas-
Inspector Steve Keller in The Streets of San Francisco (98 episodes from 1972-1977; debuted years earlier in an uncredited role 1966’s Cast a Giant Shadow)

John Travolta-
Chuck Benson in 1972 episode of Emergency! (screen debut)

Steve Buschemi-
Nick in 1986’s Parting Glances (debuted a year prior in 1985’s The Way It Is)

Robert Downey Jr.-
Puppy in 1970’s Pound (screen debut)

Russell Crowe-
Kenny Larkin in 1987’s Neighbors (early screen role; debuted 15 years earlier in 1972’s Spyforce)

Christopher Walken-
Kevin Acton in 1953 episode of The Wonderful John Acton (screen debut)


Robert Duvall-
Various characters in Naked City (4 episodes run betwen 1961-1962; screen debuted in 1960 episode of Playhouse 90)


Steve Carell- 1989 Brown’s Chicken commercial
(screen debut)

Stephen Colbert-
Various characters in Exit 57 (12 episodes from 1995-1996; screen debuted two years earlier in an episode of Missing Persons)

Morgan Freeman- Various roles in 1971’s The Electric Company (early screen role, debuted in uncredited appearance in 1964’s The Pawnbroker)

Leonardo DiCaprio-
Glen in 1989 episode of The New Lassie and 1988 Bubble Yum commercial (screen debuted a decade earlier at age five episode of Romper Room, though he was removed for being disruptive)


Jack Nicholson-
Jimmy Wallace in 1958’s The Cry Baby Killer (second screen appearance following 1956 episode of Matinee Theatre)

Zach Galifianakis-
Five-episode run as Bobby in Boston Common (screen debut, followed shortly by another five-episode run in 1997’s Apt. 2F)

Sandra Bullock-
Lisa Edwards in 1987’s Hangmen (screen debut)

Matt Damon-
Steamer in 1988’s Mystic Pizza (screen debut)

Emma Stone-
Laurie Partridge in 2005’s The New Partridge Family (screen debut; followed shortly by appearance later that year in Medium)

Marlon Brando- Ken Wilocek in 1950’s The Men (screen debut)

Audrey Hepburn- KLM stewardess in 1948’s Dutch in Seven Lessons (screen debut)

Dennis Hopper-
Robert in 1955 episode of Medic (second screen role following appearance in Cavalcade of America a year prior)

Sharon Stone-
Pretty girl on train in 1980’s Stardust Memories (screen debut; three years before 8 episode run on Bay City Blues)

Michelle Pfeiffer- The Bombshell in 1979’s Animal House spinoff Delta House (screen debut; 12 episodes)

Kate Hudson- Cory in 1996 episode of Party of Five (second screen role following 2-episode run on EZ Streets earlier that year)

Anne Hathaway and Jessie Eisenberg- Get Real (Anne 22 episodes and Eisenberg 5 episodes from 1999-2002)

Adam Sandler- Smitty on The Cosby Show (screen debut; 4 episode run in 1985)

Al Pacino- John James in 1968 episode of N.Y.P.D. (screen debut)

Paul Newman- Captain Radetski in 1952 episode of Suspense (early screen appearance after 1949 debut in The Aldrich Family)

Amy Adams- Leslie Miller in 1999’s Drop Dead Gorgeous (screen debut)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman- Steven Hanauer in 1991 episode of Law & Order (second screen appearance after 1989 episode of One Life to Live)

Dustin Hoffman- Finney/Lester Stenton in 1961 episode of Naked City (screen debut)

Hilary Swank- Danielle in Camp Wilder (19 episodes from 1992-1993; first screen appearance was a 1989 episode of ABC TGIF)

Charlize Theron- Eli’s Follower in 1995’s Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (uncredited screen debut)

Reese Witherspoon- Dani Trant in 1991’s The Man in the Moon (screen debut)

Channing Tatum- 2000 Mountain Dew commercial (screen debut)

Jake Gyllenhaal- Danny Robbins in 1991’s City Slickers (screen debut)

Hugh Jackman- Chicka McCray in 1994 episode of Law of the Land (screen acting debut; hosted TV special Carols in the Domain in 1983)

Jennifer Lawrence- Mascot in 2006 episode of Monk (screen debut)

Jennifer Aniston- Courtney Walker in Molloy (7 episodes in 1990; second screen role following uncredited appearance in 1988’s Mac and Me)

Patrick Swayze- Ace Johnson in 1979’s Skatetown, USA (screen debut)

Heath Ledger- Orphan Clown in 1992’s Clowing Around (screen debut)

Matthew McConaughey- Larry Dickens in 1992 episode of Unsolved Mysteries (screen debut)

Idris Elba- Pizza delivery man in 1994 episode of Space Precinct (third screen role following appearances on 2Point4 Children and Crimewatch earlier that year)

Jeff Goldblum- Freak #1 in 1974’s Death Wish (screen debut)

Jude Law- Mayor’s Stableboy in 1989’s The Tailor of Gloucester (second screen role following appearance in 1988’s The Ragged Child)

Halle Berry- Emily Franklin in Living Dolls (screen debut; 12-episode run in 1989)

Liam Neeson- Pilgrim in 1978’s Pilgrim’s Progress (screen debut)

Tommy Lee Jones- Paul in Billy Joel’s 1973 Piano Man music video (third screen appearance following debut in 1970’s Love Story)

Ethan Hawke- Ben Crandall in 1985’s Explorers (screen debut)

Cate Blanchett- Mrs. Haines in 1993 episode of Police Rescue (second screen appearance following small role in 1990 Egyptian film Kaboria.

Kate Winslet- Reet in Dark Season (screen debut; 6 episode run in 1991)

Robin Williams- Lawyer/Man With Toothache in 1977’s Can I Do It ‘Till I Need Glasses? (screen acting debut)

Joe Pesci- Joe in 1976’s The Death Collector (second screen role following brief appearance as uncredited dancer in 1961’s Hey, Let’s Twist.

Daniel Craig- Sgt. Botha in 1992’s The Power of One (screen debut)

Adam Driver- Will Slandky in 2009 episode of The Unusuals (screen debut)

Peter Dinklage- Tito in 1995’s Living Oblivion (credited screen debut)

Tilda Swinton- Lena in 1986’s Carvaggio (screen debut)

Bradley Cooper- Jake in 1999 episode of Sex in the City (screen debut)

Jeremy Renner- Dags in 1995’s Senior Trip (screen debut)

Jessica Chastain- Dahlia Taslitz in 2004 episode of ER (screen debut)

James Franco- Brian in 1997 episode of Pacific Blue (screen debut)

Uma Thurman- Laura in 1987’s Kiss Daddy Goodnight (screen debut)

Wynona Ryder- Rina in 1986’s Lucas (screen debut)

Danny Trejo- Boxer in 1985’s Runaway Train (screen debut)

Jim Carrey- Tony Moroni in 1981’s Rubberface (screen debut)

Rachel McAdams- Hannah Grant in 2001 episode of The Famous Jeff Jackson (screen debut)

Steve Martin- 1968 episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (early screen appearance)

Emily Blunt- Isolda in 2003’s Warrior Queen (screen debut)

John Candy- Weatherman in 1972’s Cucumber (screen debut)

Melissa McCarthy- Sandra in 1999’s Go (film debut; first screen appearance came on 1997 episode of The Jenny McCarthy Show)

Jack Black- Kid in 1983 Pitfall! commercial (screen debut)

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