John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

Over the last couple of years we have seen Lindsay Lohan trying to get her career back on track - that continues this week as she is set to appear in Scary Movie 5.

But the actress should take heart as we have seen a whole host of actors turn their careers around... and some have done it in fine style.

- Robert Downey Jr - Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr is back on the big screen at the end of the month as he reprises the role of Tony Stark aka Iron Man in the hit Marvel franchise.

This was the movie that really did turn it all around for Downey Jr back in 2008 and put him well and truly back on the A-list.

Drug problems blighted his career in the late nineties and early noughties and he spent some time behind bars meaning he disappeared from the big screen.

But by 2003 the actor had turned himself around and was taking on small movies... until Iron man came along in 2008.

This was the movie that really put him back on the map as it was a huge critical and commercial success that saw the start of a huge franchise.

Since then he has been one of the most in demand actors with the Sherlock Holmes franchise and Avengers Assemble amongst some of the huge movies that he has starred in.

- Marlon Brando - The Godfather

Marlon Brando was one of the biggest names in cinema in the fifties with A Streetcar Named Desire and Wild One being just two of his stand out roles.

But by the end of the sixties his career really was in decline and looked all but over... but that was until Francis Ford Coppola came along.

The director cast Brando in his gangster classic The Godfather in the role of Vito Corleone - one of the most iconic movies of all time.

It was to be a role that revitalised Brando's career as it showed off his power and presence as an actor as he dominated every scene that he was in.

Off the back of The Godfather he went on to star in Last Tango In Paris, Apocalypse Now and Superman.

- John Travolta - Pulp Fiction

John Travolta enjoyed huge success throughout the seventies with Carrie, Grease and Saturday Night Fever and he really was one of the biggest names in cinema.

But by the early nineties he really was on the way down until he was cast in Pulp Fiction.

Pulp Fiction was the second movie by maverick director Quentin Tarantino and it was the film that was to change everything.

He took on the role of Vincent Vega in the movie, a role that was to see the actor blend violence and humour with ease.

Travolta was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar and he went on to star in the likes of Get Shorty and Face/Off in the coming years.

- Frank Sinatra - From Here To Eternity

It seems hard to believe that Blue Eyes himself would have had any movie troubles but that was not the case in the early fifties as his film career stalled.

The forties had seen him star in the likes of Anchors Aweigh and Take Me Out but it was getting harder and harder for him to bag big roles at the start of the new decade.

Sinatra battled to land the role of Pvt. Angelo Maggio in Fred Zinnemann's adaptation of From Here To Eternity but it was a movie that show just what Sinatra was made of.

This was a non singing role that really showed off Sinatra's acting talent and he was rewarded with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

From Here To Eternity not only ignited his acting career but also his music career as he went on to sign with Capitol Records in 1953.

- Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke walked away from a very successful acting career in the nineties to pursue his love of boxing - despite being a huge star at the time.

Rourke had starred in the likes of Rumble Fish, 9½ Weeks and Angel Heart and he was on the cusp of being a real superstar.

He returned to acting in 1991 but struggled to get the big roles he had landed before he took his break.

But in 2009 all that changed as he took on the lead role in Darren Aronofsky's movie The Wrestler.

It was a powerful and heartfelt performance from the actor and it earnt his critical acclaim as well as a Best Actor Oscar nomination.

Since then Rourke has been on the rise with roles in Iron Man 2, The Expendables, Immortals and he will be back in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

- Burt Reynolds - Boogie Nights

Burt Reynolds is another actor who enjoyed major success with movies such as Deliverance and The Longest Yard and was, for a time, one of the most recognisable faces on the big screen.

But that success didn't last and into the nineties his roles were not so great - Cop and ½ for example say him pick up a Razzie.

But in 1998 he starred in a movie that would turn it all around as he landed the role of porn king pin Jack Horner in Boogie Nights.

The movie was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and saw Reynolds deliver a performance that we had not seen for many a year.

A string of award nominations followed - including a Best Supporting Actor nod.

Other honourable mentions include Julie Christie in Away From Her, Ben Affleck with Gone Baby Gone and Dennis Hopper with Hoosiers.


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  1. by 09th Apr 2013 11:39

    There really have been some terrific comebacks over the years but, it has to be said, Robert Downey Jr really has turned things around.

  2. by Harry 09th Apr 2013 11:39

    Ben Affleck is one of the biggest turnarounds in recent years - his career is almost unrecognisable.