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Was Val Kilmer's Doc Holiday the best performance ever in a western movie?

Asked by: Maxwell61
  • Almost Perfect Casting

    By far, Val Kilmer was the best Doc Holiday ever. The casting was great. You knew Wyatt was tougher than most, but Ringo was crazier and faster. Kilmer perfectly conveyed that Doc had nothing to lose, which made him fearless and feared of all. Flawless performance. The only thing that makes me say "no" to the question was the significant presence of Charlton Heston in a bit part as Henry Hooker. The scene with Hooker made everyone else in the movie look like play-acting little boys. Heston played a man. By casting Heston in a more significant part - getting killed by Ringo for example - adding cruelty and realism to the movie, we could have seen how the two western worlds - old and new - come together. As it was, it would have been better not put Heston in at all. It was not clear given the brevity of his role, how any other performer could have stood up to him. I think Kilmer and others could have performed well in meatier scenes with Heston, and I believe Kilmer would have shown one more dimension than he did in his already amazing, one-of-a-kind performance. Val Kilmer should have received an Academy Award, his performance was that good, but Heston's small part made the movie incongruent and unfortunately exposed it as a fraud. Because the opportunity for Kilmer to dig just that small bit deeper was not there, it fell just short of the "best ever" performance. But I'll say it was damn close.

  • From his first scene...

    Watching Val Kilmer steal a picture out from under the likes of Kurt Russell and the late Bill Paxton, not to mention greats like Powers Boothe and Sam Elliot was nothing less than mesmerizing. I have the greatest admiration for all the artists I mentioned, but it was Val Kilmer that made this movie a classic.

  • Doc was the wild card. Val perfected it.

    I agree. Val's absolute best performance was Tombstone. He really had an open canvas of acting ground. It felt like he was free to embody the character. There were no restrictions, because Doc was the wild card in the bunch. I think what really made this character amazing was how Val could turn from sarcastic to down right deadly in the blink of an eye. I still get chills when he taunts Johnny Ringo after shooting him.

  • It is what it is

    He was the best. Scene stealer. Cool. Handsome. Never get tired of watching his scenes. Pretty cool western too. Some good characters. I really enjoy this film evertime i watch it. I can say it is up there with other great western films. But doc holliday played by val kilmer is definitely the best

  • The real lead man of OK corral

    Steals every scene he's in during tombstone. There nobody who could've did a better job than him. The most intimating sick skinny guy n would never bet against. Plays the part to perfection. By far my favorite bad-ass in any movie. Once in a lifetime role. Everyone else are Huckleberries

  • Natural for this role

    All the characters meshed well together but Val was Doc he was the character with loyalty passion strength and a friend till the end.Eho didn't want to be the fastest gun slinger like Doc Holliday?.Wyat Earp was his real friend and he didn't have a lot of friends tearjerker friendship

  • Natural for this role

    All the characters meshed well together but Val was Doc he was the character with loyalty passion strength and a friend till the end.Eho didn't want to be the fastest gun slinger like Doc Holliday?.Wyat Earp was his real friend and he didn't have a lot of friends tearjerker friendship

  • Natural for this role

    All the characters meshed well together but Val was Doc he was the character with loyalty passion strength and a friend till the end.Eho didn't want to be the fastest gun slinger like Doc Holliday?.Wyat Earp was his real friend and he didn't have a lot of friends tearjerker friendship

  • Absolutely the best

    When you think about the movie tombstone the first thing anybody does is quote a doc holiday saying. To me that means he stood out to everybody that watched the movie.Kurt Russel was also good but val kilmer stole it with his epic performance as doc holiday so " say when"

  • Great work on Tombstone

    This performance is legendary and lifted this movie to the height of popularity it still enjoys today. Like others who have responded, I feel Kilmer's performance is on a par with Victor Mature's Holiday in the film, My Darling Clementine. You remember both, but you remember Kilmer's more. Good stuff.

  • Almost Perfect Casting

    By far, Val Kilmer was the best Doc Holiday ever. The casting was great. You knew Wyatt was tougher than most, but Ringo was crazier and faster. Kilmer perfectly conveyed that Doc had nothing to lose, which made him fearless and feared of all. Flawless performance. The only thing that makes me say "no" to the question was the significant presence of Charlton Heston in a bit part as Henry Hooker. The scene with Hooker made everyone else in the movie look like play-acting little boys. Heston played a man. By casting Heston in a more significant part - getting killed by Ringo for example - adding cruelty and realism to the movie, we could have seen how the two western worlds - old and new - come together. As it was, it would have been better not put Heston in at all. It was not clear given the brevity of his role, how any other performer could have stood up to him. I think Kilmer and others could have performed well in meatier scenes with Heston, and I believe Kilmer would have shown one more dimension than he did in his already amazing, one-of-a-kind performance. Val Kilmer should have received an Academy Award, his performance was that good, but Heston's small part made the movie incongruent and unfortunately exposed it as a fraud. Because the opportunity for Kilmer to dig just that small bit deeper was not there, it fell just short of the "best ever" performance. But I'll say it was damn close.

  • I know this debate is old news but..

    Heck NO! Two words. Clint Eastwood. Nuff said. Man with no name, Josey Wales, William Munney from Unforgiven. Even if you somehow cut out all Clint, Tuco from the good, the bad, and the ugly is one of the greatest characters ever!

    Dig this line if you aren't convinced of Tuco:

    [Tuco is in a bubble bath. A One Armed Man enters the room]
    I've been looking for you for 8 months. Whenever I should have had a gun in my right hand, I thought of you. Now I find you in exactly the position that suits me. I had lots of time to learn to shoot with my left.

    (Tuco kills him with a gun he has hidden in the foam, BLAM, BLAM, BLAM!)

    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.

    That right there sums it up.

  • Probably not but...........

    It was certainly one of the great western performances if for nothing more than memorable quotes.

    There have just been so many good roles that it would be very difficult to say that he was the "best" ever. Clint Eastwood as Josie Wales and Will Munny in Unforgiven have to be up there. John Wayne usually played just "John Wayne" but The Shootist and True Grit were great performances that can stand up to any western and arguably Wil Andersen in The Cowboys. Then there was Alan Ladd in Shane and even alongside Kilmer in Tombstone was a great job by Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp.

    Val Kilmer's character as Doc Holiday was one of the great western performances... But the "Best" ever? Too many good ones to say that.


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thg says2013-08-17T06:54:04.443
Definitely a great performance..."I'm your huckleberry...That's just my game...Say when..."
rja7 says2013-08-24T02:23:00.990
Don't know about best..Most captivating definitely!...I thought clint in unforgiven was pretty good to..Especially for clint.