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Last Updated: Friday, 2 July, 2004, 18:45 GMT 19:45 UK
Brando's rollercoaster career
A Streetcar Named Desire
Brando made his mark in A Streetcar Named Desire
Actor Marlon Brando, who has died aged 80, starred in some of history's most iconic films but he also made his share of flops. BBC News Online looks back at the actor's eclectic career.

Brando began his acting career on the Broadway stage and when he came to make A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951 it was only his second film.

But the role as the brooding Stanley Kowalski in the steamy Tennessee Williams drama instantly got Brando noticed, earning him his first best actor nomination.

Follow-up films Viva Zapata! and Julius Caesar saw Brando nominated again. But The Wild One in 1954 finally sealed Brando's status as a star.

On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront earned Brando his first Oscar

He played the rebellious leader of a motorcycle gang, full of angst and attitude.

The role proved Brando's powerful screen presence and created one of the most iconic and emulated movie images to date.

Yet, it was On the Waterfront later that same year that finally won Brando the coveted best actor Academy Award.

Brando's performance as the dock worker Terry Malloy struggling against the corruption of union bosses also helped secure the movie an Oscar for best film.

But despite the early accolades, perhaps his best known and most lauded role was as mafia leader Don Corleone in the 1972 classic The Godfather.

While, the sexually explicit The Last Tango in Paris will be considered by many Brando fans as the actor's most powerful and memorable role - even though the film was denounced as obscene by many others.

The Godfather
The Godfather is probably Brando's best-known role

Brando made more than 40 films and will go down in history as a true Hollywood great.

But along with the praise came equal amounts of criticism for the poor film choices made by an actor who many thought should have known better.

Mutiny on the Bounty in 1962 was an early Brando disappointment.

It went through numerous screenplay rewrites and cost MGM $19m before it finally found its way into cinemas where audiences branded it a flop.

Films such as The Ugly American, The Chase, and A Countess From Hong Kong were derided by critics and Brando fans as self-indulgent and unworthy of the actor's abilities.

Yet, Brando's most eccentric career choices came in the latter part of his career following a period of absence from the big screen.

Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now was one of Brando's curious film choices

Claiming he continued to act only for the money, Brando appeared in Superman and earned a then staggering $3.7m for little more than a cameo performance.

In Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now, Brando was virtually unrecognisable and incoherent.

A speech at the end of the film was said to have been ad-libbed by the star.

While in The Formula in 1980, Brando appeared in only three scenes.

Brando's fleeting and eccentric screen appearances finally dried up and the star became a recluse - but his fans have now been left with an image of Brando as the icon he once was.

Which was Marlon Brando's greatest film performance?
Apocalypse Now
A Streetcar Named Desire
Last Tango in Paris
The Godfather
On The Waterfront
26462 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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