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"Followers of the Bran-Dao believe that you don't gotta be running your mouth to prove how macho you are. Just gotta be confident and put your all into what you do, and people will fill in the rest themselves. We believe if you live your life right, you reach a state of Nirvmana where the whole universe is in complete recognition of your masculinity."

Marlon Brando (1924-2004) was a legendary American method actor who broke out in the early 1950s, appearing in two Elia Kazan films, A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront, as well as less arty projects such as The Wild One and the screen adaptation of Guys and Dolls. He later created and forever owned the role of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, as well as performed notable cameo roles in several high-profile films, including Jor-El in Superman and Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

Brando eventually became regarded as something of a joke for his exorbitant demands and primadonna behavior on film sets, which put many directors at odds with him. He eventually went into a self-imposed seclusion, from which he emerged only to appear in films far below his demonstrated talent.

He was voted in the UK's Empire Magazine in 1997 as one of the five greatest living actors. He passed away in 2004.


Tropes associated with Brando and his characters include:

  • Badass Biker: Possible Ur Example in The Wild One.
  • Badass Bisexual
  • Billing Displacement: Brando was given top billing in both Apocalypse Now and Superman despite having comparatively small roles in both (less than 10 minutes in the former, in fact).
  • Bi the Way
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Al Pacino said that he would work his ass off in acting only to come short of what Brando could do in his sleep. The man was also famous for refusing to memorize lines and often had cue cards on set or just improvised.
  • Doing It for the Art: Claimed he only made films to fund a sadly never made project about Native Americans.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Unarguably one of the most recognisable voices in film history. You'd know it even if You have never seen his work.
  • Hidden Depths: His activism for the Civil Rights Movement and Native American rights. He also studied with a voice teacher and did his own singing in Guys and Dolls. He's not mind-blowing, but he more than holds his own against his co-star, Frank Sinatra.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender: Trope Namer via On the Waterfront.
  • Insufferable Genius: One of the greatest actors to have ever walked the Earth...but he was also self-absorbed and narcissistic at the same time.
  • Jerkass
  • Large Ham
  • Money, Dear Boy: Most of his movies from the mid-70s on. He demanded, and got, $3.7 million up front and 12% of the box office for Superman. He also demanded to work no more than a week and a half and had cue cards on set so he wouldn't have to memorize his lines. And he was worth every penny.
  • Older Than They Look: For much of his life. Much makeup had to be applied to him in The Godfather though he was only six years younger than Vito Corleone. In Superman, he certainly doesn't look like He's nearly thirty years older than Christopher Reeve.
  • One-Book Author: His directorial debut One-Eyed Jacks.
  • One-Scene Wonder: In Apocalypse Now and Superman.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Missouri Breaks, where his Wild West hit man character lapses in and out of a stereotypical Irish accent.
  • Sue Donym: Became a ham radio enthusiast after settling in Tahiti. He's listed as "Martin Brandeaux" in the FCC records.
  • Troubled but Cute: Many of his early roles.
  • Wag the Director: After his dual roles in Godfather and Last Tango in Paris in 1972, Brando became a real challenge for any director, constantly improvising and arguing on set. On of the more infamous cases was One Eyed Jacks, were his gerrymandering of the script lead to Stanley Kubrick being fired as director and Brando taking his place.
    • Brando's behaviour on the set of Apocalypse Now is infamous because of his interactions with Francis Ford Coppola. Brando had assured Coppola that he had read "Heart of Darkness" (the film's source material) and was prepared for the role. Unfortunately, when Brando arrived on set, it became clear that Brando had not only not read the book in question, but didn't know his lines. When Coppola tried to get Brando off the film, he threatened to quit (and keep his $1 million advance) if he wasn't allowed to ad-lib his own lines and have all his scenes filmed in silhouettes/shadows.
      • And I'll be damned if those shadows and ad-libs didn't make the movie.
      • Of course, half the reason for the silhouettes was also because he turned up midway through the filming having gained a ton of weight. Many of his character's standing shots after that had to be filmed with a body double.
        • In his final theatrical film (The Score), he could not get along at all with Frank Oz and constantly referred to him as "Miss Piggy".
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