Brief but often brilliant, looks back at the best movie cameos…

Orson Welles in The Muppets movie

Muppet movies have always been crammed full of celebrity cameos – Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, John Cleese, Elliot Gould, Cloris Leachman, to name but a few, but Welles’s appearance remains the classic cameo. The picture cast Welles as studio head Lew Lord (based on mogul Lew Grade) and introduced an entire new generation to a true cinematic genius…

David Bowie in Zoolander

No stranger to the big screen, Bowie makes a brief yet hilarious appearance in Ben Stiller’s model; framed by the intro of his own song “Let’s Dance”, the glam rock star steps out of the crowd to volunteer his services as judge for the crucial walk-off between Zoolander (Stiller) and his rival Hansel (Owen Wilson). With very little effort Bowie shows everyone in the room and in the audience what real screen presence is all about.

Keith Richards in Pirates 2

Definitely not a surprise cameo – Richards was to star to be in PIRATES 2 but had to pull out due to tour commitments. The joke of course is that because Johnny Depp modeled his Jack Sparrow character on Richard. A predictable but pleasing cameo, sadly the same can’t be said for the movie…

Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein

Great uncredited cameo in which Hackman plays a bearded blind man named Harold who gets a prayed for visit by Frankenstein’s monster (Peter Boyle). Harold serves the monster soup, wine, and cigars but fails to teach him that “fire is good” prompting a sudden exit. Harold exclaims – “Wait! Where are you going….I was gonna make espresso!”

Sean Connery in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

In the days before internet spoilers, Sean Connery suprised us all by showing up in Robin Hood. Appearing for less then a minute as King Richard, this remains one of the very best surprise cameos of the past two decades. Connery also managed to picked up a six figure sum for his brief appearance, which he then donated to charity.

Samuel L Jackson in Iron Man

There’s a reward every now and then for staying after the credits, and this gets on the list for sending our geekometer off the scale. The appearance of Nick Fury right at the end of Iron Man kicks off the path to The Avengers. Plus – hey! – it’s Samuel L Jackson , who can argue with that?!

Danny DeVito in Austin Powers , Goldmember

Amongst the many fleeting cameo faces that appear early on in the third Austin Powers movie, the funniest by a country mile for us – sorry, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg – was the sight of Danny DeVito as Mini Me. With his finger defiantly raised in the air, it was brief, but it was brilliant.