127. Steve McQueen - Capt Virgil Hilts, The Great Escape (1963)
An ensemble cast with one star role: Steve McQueen’s rebellious ‘Cooler King’ was added to keep US audiences onside during this tale of Brits behind barbed wire.
Sticking it to the stiff-upper-lipped COs and the evil Nazis, Hilts is a can-do hero who’s cooler than the cooler he’s repeatedly banged up in. He underplays brilliantly, all laconic shrugs and a single quiver of emotion as buddy Ives gets iced.
“He knew, better than anyone,” says costar Richard Attenborough, “that one telling look is worth any amount of dialogue.”
Greatest Moment: The iconic barbed wire motorbike leap. Vroom, vroom.
Also See: Vin (The Magnificent Seven), Bullitt (Bullitt), Junior Bonner (Junior Bonner).