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Fri, May 19, 2017 7:03 PM

Live Poll: Little Big Guys

"A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man" Amen!

Yet, as true as it is, this creed wasn't fully embraced by Hollywood where heightism seems to have prevailed for decades and decades, allowing only a few vertically challenged actors to portray heroic characters instead of the usual sidekicks, comic reliefs, or vile antagonists from the sneaky traitors to the villains with 'Napoleon Complex'.

Celebrating the "little big guys" of cinema, which of these heroic characters played by actors under 5'8 is your favorite?

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls069442006/

http://www.imdb.com/poll/aa2Sk1_9BKU/

Responses

1.4K Messages

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51K Points

3 years ago

hey sdk...nice poll...a few height surprises in there...

as the poll currently stands, i would vote pacino in 'and justice for all'...but...(there's always a but)...

just out of curiosity though...i was surprised as well when i started seeing multiple characters for the same actor listed (like pacino)...i think it may be better just to focus on one performance from each actor, so it just focuses on the 'little big man' himself and not which character or film someone likes best... 

i'm sure there are many choices to find...martin freeman from 'the hobbit' trilogy...peter dinklage from 'the station agent'...elijah wood from 'lord of the rings' trilogy...danny devito from 'batman returns'...woody allen from 'shadows and fog'...etc. and so forth...i'm sure you could easily find more (these were just off the top of my head)...but it's just a suggestion...

anyway...great poll as always...

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75K Points

3 years ago

Ok, one movie per actor please . You had two for Chaplin, three for Pacino, three for Cruise, and three for Hoffman.

*Cough* James Cagney as George M. Cohan in "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942), as Fleet Adm. William F. Halsey Jr. in "The Gallant Hours" (1960), as C.R. MacNamara in "One, Two, Three" (1961), and as the G-man, 'Brick' Davis in "'G' Men" (1935). You pick the film.

Don't forget that Patrick Swayze is not that tall too. "Ghost" or "Dirty Dancing".

4.1K Messages

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125.9K Points

Cagney was a good candidate but I really had to think back on his performance in Yankee Doodle Dandy again and I will include him because it's true that one can see in his unshakable optimism, his passion for his country and his inspiration to all American people a form of heroism in the inspirational meaning of the word. As for the other roles you mentioned, I need to know if he's really a 'hero' or just a major protagonist, the only film I saw was "One, Two, Three" and I don't think there was any hero in this film, there wasn't any villain either.

Swayze is listed as 5'10, and I'm sure he was shorter but even 2 inches shorter would disqualify him. If I count Swayze, I have to count Bogart and that's impossible for the sake of this poll.

PS; I only had two for Pacino and two for Hoffman. I didn't want to be too biased with Pacino because he's my favorite actor but the two roles earned him Oscar nominations so they were 'important' enough not to be considered. On that basis, I might even consider the performance of Hoffman as Lenny Bruce.

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75K Points

I got news for you. Patrick Swayze lied about his real height and wore lifts in his shoes. I'm saw him in real life and I looked over his head, and I'm 5'10".
John Wayne lied about his height too and wore lifts in his shoes. Robert Mitchum complained about this during the filming of "El Dorado" when he had to appear smaller to Wayne when he was taller than Wayne.

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3 years ago

Thanks rock' for all these insights, I actually had many of these things in mind while I was preparing this poll, now, where to start?
.i was surprised as well when i started seeing multiple characters for the same actor listed (like pacino)...i think it may be better just to focus on one performance from each actor, so it just focuses on the 'little big man' himself and not which character or film someone likes best...
I didn't want it to be a favorite actors' poll either, and I hesitated before including multiples entries for the same actor, especially Chaplin, but then again, you don't have many heroic roles played by short actors so it's not like there was enough material to stick to one role per actor. But I'll sleep on that and give it a second thought.

martin freeman from 'the hobbit' trilogy...peter dinklage from 'the station agent'...elijah wood from 'lord of the rings' trilogy...danny devito from 'batman returns'...woody allen from 'shadows and fog'...etc. and so forth...i'm sure you could easily find more (these were just off the top of my head)...but it's just a suggestion...
Actually, some of these suggestions might contradict the purpose of this poll which is to highlight the unexpected instances where a short actor played a hero, which disqualifies hobbits or elfish creatures because they are supposed to be of diminutive size, like children. Plus, Danny De Vito wasn't a hero in the Batman film and Woody Allen specialized in the neurotic but lovable loser, or the self-deprecating schmuck and this is an area where you're going to find many short guys. But I'll look at Woody Allen's filmography, he might have played a hero once.

In fact, ever since cinema existed, short guys have been part of the great adventure, hell, even the most iconic character of all time is the Little Tramp, but think about it, there were the funny ones: the universal clown, the asskicking and romantic stuntman by Keaton, the wisecracking and goofy Marx brothers, and there were the gangsters: Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, George Raft and to a lesser extent Bogart who was 5'8 but looked taller. But the heroes were always the same tall and handsome leading men.

And the little ones got to be the sidekicks, the traitors or the comic reliefs, same for overweight men or women of unconventional looks (too skinny, too fat etc.) and one day, I wanted to check how many heroes were actually short in real life: James Bond, Indiana Jones or even Stewart's Mr. Smith, all big guys. Heroes are average at best like Sylvester Stallone, Paul Newman, Spencer Tracy or Mel Gibson, but never plain short. Maybe it has more to do with actors' casting, but it's quite sad to think that actors and actresses, like people in real life, are conditioned by their looks. And Jonah Hill might never play a traditional leading male role.

They can't all be Tom Cruises, can they?

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51K Points

so you are actually looking for the character to be highlighted and not the actor...

o.k..if that's the case, cool...

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51K Points

yea...after seeing your responses to others here, i truly realize that i totally got the wrong end of the stick on this one...my apologies...

Champion

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3 years ago

You have Dustin spelled wrong.

Cagney was in Yankee Doodle Dandy, not Born on the Fourth of July.

I really want Scott Caan to be on this list but...I'm not super familiar with his oeuvre. He's obviously a hero on Hawaii Five-0 but not so much his films. The Ocean's movies are debatable...

Was Harry Potter an adult by the end? I know Radcliffe was... Otherwise, you can probably use The Woman in Black.

FYC:
James McAvoy - Wanted or Atonement
Martin Lawrence - Bad Boys
Michael Pena - World Trade Center
Dennis Dun - Big Trouble in Little China
Shaobo Qin - the Ocean's movies
Kevin Hart - Central Intelligence
Josh Hutcherson - The Hunger Games
Frank John Hughes - Band of Brothers
Freddie Rodriguez - Planet Terror
Jack Black - Nacho Libre
Aaron Yoo - Disturbia
Jamie Bell - Fantastic Four or Defiance
Gael García Bernal - No
Giovanni Ribisi - Boiler Room or The Mod Squad
Aziz Ansari - 30 Minutes or Less
Frankie Muniz - Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London
Richard Dreyfuss - Close Encounters of the Third Kind or Jaws
Martin Sheen - Apocalypse Now

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125.9K Points

I'll add the last two without any hesitation. I was first reluctant to add any member of a group because it's a common trope to have a vertically challenged or nerdy guy among the heroes, but Matt Hopper kicked ass before the trio was formed and Capt. Willard was the leader of the whole expedition, so he's not just "any member".

I wouldn't count Muniz or Radcliffe in the 'Potter' series because they are supposed to be young or boyish enough so their height doesn't strike as an odd thing. Besides, there was nothing remotely heroic in Radcliffe in Woman in Black, he was your typical horror-flick passive and then active observer.

Which makes a bit hesitant for the others, if you're familiar with these films, please tell me if they are really playing a hero in the inspirational or badass meaning of the word, of if they're just leading guys.

As for Martin Lawrence, I'm not sure, he's half a duo and obviously, Will Smith was the one people wanted to see in the movies (and he's quite a tall guy) so I wonder if Lawrence wasn't just there to play the obligatory 'straight man' and was more of a foil to Will Smith's wisecracks than a 'hero'. If Lawrence had played Don Cheadle's role in Hotel Rwanda, it would've been perfect, that's the kind of 'heroic' stuff I'm looking for.

If the character, as short and badass as he is, is only part of a group that features enough big guys to please audiences with more 'traditional' tastes, the purpose of the poll tends to be defeated.

Champion

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4.3K Messages

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88.6K Points

I still contend you should include more of these, but it's your list, so whatever...

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125.9K Points

it's your list, so whatever...
That was needlessly defensive, Jen. Seriously, what did I write exactly that made you believe I didn't want to include all the others?

I'm not familiar with many of your suggestions, but from those I recognized, I could tell I was misunderstood (and I plead guilty 'cause I probably didn't make myself clear),  now, I need your help, I need you to tell me which of your suggestions meet these requirements:

- not part of a group (where physical diversity is expected) unless he's the leader of the group (like in 7 Samurai)
- not a young age that can suggest full adulthood wasn't reached yet
- not a foil or a sidekick, it has to be the main protagonist, the top-billed actor, or second at least
- heroism or badassry displayed in the film

I might sound nitpicky, but believe me, without these criteria, I could right now come up with 40 more suggestions, sorry if I sound dubious but that's how I felt for my own suggestions.

Champion

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4.3K Messages

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88.6K Points

Sorry if I was flippant. Totally didn't mean that.

"Badassry" heh.

Based on what you put above I think these qualify:
James McAvoy - Wanted or Atonement
Martin Lawrence - Bad Boys
Michael Pena - World Trade Center
Dennis Dun - Big Trouble in Little China
Freddie Rodriguez - Planet Terror
Jack Black - Nacho Libre
Gael García Bernal - No

From our perspective now it probably seems like Will Smith was the only lead/big star of Bad Boys, but when it came out Martin Lawrence had a wildly successful TV show, just as Will Smith did. The bringing together of the two of them was a big deal and signaled that they were ready to become stars in films. They were on the same level, it wasn't Will Smith and his sidekick Martin Lawrence.

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125.9K Points

Fair enough. They'll be on the list. Thanks for your filtering.

And no worries, we speak, we clear misunderstandings and we move forward :)

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75K Points

For Potter, yes he was an adult legally. In the books, there was an issue of the legal age of adulthood in the stories. 18 was the legal age in the book for muggles and 17 was the legal age for the wizarding community. So yes, Harry was legally an adult in the last book and the last two films.

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Thanks but I don't think Harry Potter works for this poll,and in all fairness, I will also remove the one who'd have gotten my initial vote, my favorite of the bunch: Marty McFly who's supposed to be 17 in the film. 

Champion

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13.4K Messages

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411.9K Points

3 years ago

ElM,

Image #3 is off-centered to the right and may crop with too much blank space. You may wish to switch this with image #6, which is better centered, or another better-centered image.

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls069442006/#3
http://www.imdb.com/list/ls069442006/#6

Champion

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7.3K Messages

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253.4K Points

I would also say that images like number 7, 8 or 10 (Williams, Pacino, Dreyfuss) might look better in the homepage crop than number 1, 4 or even 6.

Here's a tip: If you add some code to the image list URL, you can toggle a view which displays the images in a poster/portrait crop which is similar to the one used in the homepage:

http://www.imdb.com/list/ls069442006/?view=grid

Champion

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411.9K Points

Peter,

Thanks. This is very useful. I wish I thought of this. The images in the Grid View and Poll featured on IMDb home page have similar aspect ratios and crop roughly the same.

140px X 209px Aspect Ratio 0.67:1 or 2:3 Grid View
115px X 170px Aspect Ratio 0.68:1 or 2:3 Poll featured on IMDb Home page

px = pixels
Aspect Ratio = the ratio of the width to the height of an image or screen.

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125.9K Points

Thanks guys,

I'm coming late on this poll, I just read your advice.

I did the changes suggested by Peter, but having done that, I can't tell which picture was off-centered in the first place, I don't think it was the Chaplin one but tell me please if the current crop is good (though I wish I could have Marty)

Cheers

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75K Points

I think I can help on that so that you can work on that now. I think the IMDb wants the faces dead center as much as possible. The one that don't have the faces dead center are Bruce Lee (1), two Tom Cruise ones (12 & 17), Takashi Shimura (19), maybe Chaplin in the kid, and maybe (21) Pacino in "Justice For All".

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125.9K Points

You bet you can help :) I changed every picture you suggested, tell me if they work now and feel free to suggest any other change.

Actually, I'm wondering if some new pics wouldn't look good in the Top 5.

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I fine with it. But it is these guys who have the final say.

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Yep, as you say :)

Champion

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I can't remember which images were problematic, but I think the images look OK.

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108.5K Points

3 years ago

Joe Pesci as My Cousin Vinny

FYC:
As height averages have changed over time and by region, some of these actors are or were considered of average height when then made their films. List of average human height worldwide

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You're totally right, speaking of regions, I don't think Bruce Lee or Takashi Shimura would have been labeled as 'short actors'. Toshiro Mifune who was 5'9 was definitely a 'big guy'. 

But I used the word 'short' from a Hollywood perspective, and although there are some notable exception, you'd have a hard time listing 50 heroes who're under 5'8''.

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125.9K Points

3 years ago

bump

Champion

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6K Messages

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175.2K Points

3 years ago

Any Hoffman or Pacino character or René Saavedra from No. 

'
I'd suggest citing the author of the quote that you use at the beginning. 'Good quote, btw, 'Great poll, as always. :)

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You're right, let's give Jebediah Springfield the credit he deserves :)

Champion

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Hahaha, I didn't remember that he said that. That is so funny. That makes that quote even better. :)

Champion

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3 years ago

4.1K Messages

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That makes me happy :)

707 Messages

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11.2K Points

3 years ago

I voted for Takashi Shimura in Ikiru (1952).

Congrats on the live poll!