1. Robert De Niro -- ‘Raging Bull’
Widely considered Martin Scorsese’s finest achievement and heralded as a “modern classic” by Roger Ebert upon its release,“Raging Bull” flourished under Robert De Niro’s storied portrayal of tortured Middleweight boxing champion, Jake Lamotta. A man of unerring appetites and uncontrollable rage, LaMotta’s life was a fascinating battle that went well beyond the ring. De Niro’s dedication to the part is now the stuff of legend, but beyond the 60 pounds he put on to play the elder LaMotta, the extensive physical training, and the actual punches he took from co-star Joe Pesci in the famous “Hit Me in the Face” scene, De Niro captured the inner turmoil of a man drowning in pathos and petty jealousies. Scorsese loves to explore sinners and their subsequent paths to redemption and nobody better embodied that than the deeply flawed former champ.