There are numerous actors who can shift accents on the fly without skipping a beat. They make it sound as easy as one, two, three but we are not going to lie here, it can be quite tricky. Slipping into another’s native tongue might be easy when delivering a line or two, but to affect a movie accent for the entire shoot, well, the actor truly needs to be on their A-game.
While some find it as easy as waking up, others give it the college effort but just can’t seem to pull it off. Sometimes the movie accent is so terrible and distracting that it completely takes audiences out of the movie. With that said, we have found seven of the worst accents ever used in film. Not even a dialect coach was able to save them.
Worst Accents Ever Used in Movies
7. James Van Der Beek – Varsity Blues (1999)
Not all accents used in films are foreign. Case in point, James Van Der Beek attempting a Texas drawl in Varsity Blues. It wasn’t just Van Der Beek who struggled with maintaining a Texas twang, but the entire cast was also recognized for their poor effort.
It was so bad that they were given the Worst Fake Accent Award at the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards that year. Van Der Beek was given the double whammy after his son saw Varsity Blues and said his father’s Texas accent “was the worst.”
6. Angelina Jolie – Alexander (2004)
Audiences and critics alike were rightfully confused after listening to Angelina Jolie attempt a Greek accent during the 2004 historical drama, Alexander. They couldn’t decide if it was Eastern European or Spanish, but what they knew for sure was that it wasn’t Greek.
Her attempt was so poor that she was awarded the Worst Fake Accent: Female award at the 2004 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards.
5. Don Cheadle – Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
We love us some Don Cheadle. We loved him as Sammy Davis Jr. in The Rat Pack, we loved him as War Machine in the MCU films, and we even loved him as British explosives expert Basher Tarr in the Ocean’s trilogy.
What we didn’t care for in those Ocean’s films was his rhyming Cockney slang that was more distracting than anything. It was horribly over-the-top and very inconsistent.
4. Harrison Ford – K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Harrison Ford has played some monumental characters throughout his amazing career. He has given us Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Rick Deckard, and even his take on Jack Ryan. The one thing these characters all have in common is that they have an American background, so while Ford had to stretch a bit as an action hero, he did not have to do so with a movie accent.
That is until he tried his hand (horribly, we might add) as Russian Captain Alexi Vostrikov in K-19: The Widowmaker. Instead of sounding like a true Russian, it sounds like he is mocking true Russians.
3. Dick Van Dyke – Mary Poppins (1964)
Without a doubt, the 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins, has stood the test of time. A fun and colorful watch that has a number of memorable musical scenes, its only knock comes from co-star Dick Van Dyck. In the film, Van Dyck plays Cockney chimney sweeper Bert and it is his attempt at the Cockney movie accent that is an ear sore.
In fact, when Van Dyke received his 2017 BAFTA, he took the opportunity to apologize, saying, “I appreciate this opportunity to apologize to the members of BAFTA for inflicting on them the most atrocious Cockney accent in the history of cinema.”
2. Kevin Costner – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Okay, Costner, pick a lane. Either you are going to make an honest effort at an English accent or you’re not. You can’t do both with the same character in the same movie. Well, according to his performance in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, you can.
The movie itself was not half bad, telling the story of Robin Hood’s rise to notoriety, but whatever Kevin Costner was trying to do with his on-again, off-again English accent proved to many to be way too distracting. It definitely took away from a decent film.
1. Keanu Reeves – Dracula (1992)
If we knew then what we know now, we’d probably advise Keanu Reeves to stick with John Wick. Unfortunately, Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula came long before John Wick, so we had the unpleasant task of listening to Reeves’ attempt at a British accent.
It was nowhere near believable and many times he sounded like Theodore “Ted” Logan on Quaaludes. It was lazy and ineffectual, which was too bad because the film itself was quite riveting.