Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking

Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking

Sean Penn is one of the greatest actors of his generation and already has two Oscar wins under his belt.

He is back on the big screen this week as he takes on the role of gangster Mickey Cohen in Gangster Squad.

To celebrate Penn's return to the big screen we have taken a look at some of his best performances over the years.

- Mystic River

Mystic River celebrates its tenth anniversary this year as it was 2003 when it hit the big screen.

Penn's performance really does carry the movie has he is a dark almost dead behind the eye kind of character who is weighed down by the pain of what has happened to his daughter.

He gives every inch of emotion that he has to this character and it really pays off as you believe he is a father who is shattered by what has happened.

Penn went on to win Best Actor Oscar for this stunning performance seeing off competition from Johnny Depp, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law and Bill Murray.

Click here to buy Mystic River on DVD

- Milk

Penn gave another Oscar winning performance in 2009 when he starred as Harvey Milk in a bio-pic about the politician.

Directed by Gus Van Sant the movie followed his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Penn delivered another knockout performance as Milk in what was a powerful and moving turn from the actor.

This is one of the best bio-pic performances of recent years as Penn show both the tough and softer sides to this man.

Penn was the toast of the awards circuit that year and he saw off Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, Brad Pitt and Mickey Rourke to win his second Best Actor Oscar

Click here to buy Milk on DVD

- 21 Grams

21 Grams was another top notch performance from Penn as he team up with Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro.

This is a thought provoking movie that raises questions about life, death and humanity having said that it is a bit of a depressing film.

Penn' performance will send shivers down your spin and his scene with both Watts and Del Toro really are the best in the movie.

Ok so it may not be the most cheery film that you will ever see but it is one that you must see of you are a Penn fan.

Click here to buy 21 Grams on DVD

- Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking remains my fave Sean Pen performance as he teamed up with Susan Sarandon.

The movie was an adaptation of Helen Prejean's novel who befriended a man on death row and was directed by Tim Robbins.

Penn did a great balancing act with this role as he portrayed Poncelet as a killer and yet he is still a character that the audience has sympathy for.

This was the best performance of his career to date and he was rewarded with a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work - he missed out to Nicholas Cage.

Click here to buy Dead Man Walking on DVD

- I Am Sam

One of his most moving performances came in 2001 when he teamed up with Dakota Fanning for I Am Sam.

He played a man with developmental disability who is forced to fight for his daughter when she is taken out of his custody.

I Am Sam is a hard hitting, emotional, heart-warming and funny movie that looks at the issues facing adults with developmental disabilities.

Penn is simply magnificent in this incredibly touching role and his scenes with Fanning are just fantastic.

Click here to buy I Am Sam on DVD

Another Oscar nomination came his way but he missed out to Denzel Washington.

Gangster Squad is released 10th January

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