4YE Quick Lists: 11 Best Performances by Young Actors

There are some people in the world who just display extraordinary amounts of talent, and some of them just so happen to be a lot younger than you might expect! In recent years, young actors have constantly surprised me with what they boldly deliver in such a difficult profession, leading me to create a list of some of the best performances given by young actors.

 

Credit: Fox
Credit: Fox

David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne – Gotham

The child actor who, in fact, inspired me to start this list, David Mazouz’s performance as Bruce Wayne in Gotham’s freshman season has been remarkable for his young age of thirteen. His entirely believable portrayal of a young boy who has lost his parents and is struggling to come to terms with the corruption he is surrounded by has just been so impressive. What a star!

 

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

Robbie Kay as Peter Pan – Once Upon A Time

Kay was eighteen when he appeared in Once Upon A Time’s third season as the evil Peter Pan, and what an amazing job he did with the character! Not only did he take on the dark, villainous twist on an iconic character and make it unforgettable, but he also seemingly effortlessly switched between playing the polar opposites Pan and pure-hearted Henry. Kudos, Kay!

 

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

Ramona Marquez as Karen Brockman – Outnumbered

Ramona Marquez was just six when she first appeared on British television as the brilliant Karen Brockman, and quickly became a nationwide favourite. Known for in fact improvising a lot of her best lines, it is entirely unsurprising to hear she is the youngest ever winner of a British Comedy Award. She has me in stitches every time!

 

Credit: Warner Bros
Credit: Warner Bros

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as The Golden Trio – Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

Aged between eleven and thirteen when the Golden Trio first appeared on the silver screen, Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson completely embodied their characters, and went on to define a generation of movie-goers, definitely earning themselves a place on this list!

 

Credit: Warner Bros
Credit: Warner Bros

Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Nothing you can say will ever convince me that Freddie Highmore isn’t really just Charlie Bucket. Absolutely perfect casting, and an amazing performance by the thirteen year old. He also gets special mention as Peter in Finding Neverland.

 

Credit: Jersey Films/TriStar Pictures
Credit: Jersey Films/TriStar Pictures

Mara Wilson as Matilda Wormwood – Matilda

Nine year old Wilson took on one of my favourite fictional characters and completely did her justice. Still a staple in my movie collection (and this list) eighteen years later!

 

Credit: Universal Pictures
Credit: Universal Pictures

Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Simon – Nanny McPhee…

Credit: Universal Pictures
Credit: Universal Pictures

…and Sam – Love Actually

I just love Thomas Brodie-Sangster in everything he’s been in. I was totally in love with him throughout my childhood. The two performances I have singled out are thirteen year-old Thomas in Love, Actually, and two years later, at the age of fifteen in Nanny McPhee. In both films, amongst an all-star cast of seasoned professionals, Brodie-Sangster fits in perfectly, and offers amazing performances.

 

Credit: Tumblr
Credit: Tumblr

Nicholas Hoult as Marcus Brewer – About A Boy

The bowl cut hairstyle. The relationship with Hugh Grant. And even further than that, his portrayal of a son who’s mother is struggling with mental illness. I just can’t with Hoult in this film, he’s too much.

And I’m just going to leave this here.

JUST LOOK AT HIM.

 

Credit: Marvel
Credit: Marvel

Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener – Iron Man 3

What I’ve always loved about Marvel is the heart in the movies, and a prime example of this was the character of Harley in Iron Man 3, and his teaming up with Tony Stark. Precious.

 

Credit: Universal Pictures
Credit: Universal Pictures

Mary Badham as Scout Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird

A classic. Need I say more?

 

Credit: 20th Century Fox
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Lily Tucker-Pritchett – Modern Family

Aubrey successfully brings to the character of Lily a perfect combination of her parents Cam and Mitch and hilarious sarcasm, and all at the age of seven!

 

Special mention of course goes to the obvious, Macaulay Culkin and Shirley Temple!

So there we have it, my thoughts on the best performances by young actors aka those who make me feel like I achieved nothing in my childhood. How impressed were you by any of these films, or have I got it all wrong? Let me know here in the comments, or on twitter!

Zoe Ambrozewska

Zoe Ambrozewska is a Lead Content Editor at 4 Your Excitement. In addition to 4YE, she worked at PopWrapped as a Content Editor and writes for her University newspaper The Badger. Zoe has been always enjoyed English literature and language, and has wanted to be a journalist since a young age. She is currently working towards a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and American Studies from the University of Sussex. You can find her on twitter with her personal feels on everything she finds exciting.
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