Best co-starring performances: Strange Days (1995), Heat (1995), The Perfect Storm (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Blades of Glory (2007), The Dark Knight (2008), Date Night (2010), Drive Angry (2011)

William Fichtner could stop acting right now and he'd be leaving the game with an iconic performance under his belt—in one of the biggest movies of all time, no less. One of the best sequences in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is its taut, masterfully executed opening bank robbery, which both sets the film's dark tone and introduces Heath Ledger's Joker. At the center of the scene, aside from Ledger, is Fichtner's defiant, ready-to-fight bank manager, who grabs a sawed-off shotgun and memorably tries to defend his turf.

When casting Fichtner for the small yet important role, Nolan knew something that fans of the actor's work—largely accrued from the TV shows Invasion (2005-2006) and Prison Break (2006-2009)—have known for years: His intensity as a performer is something to behold. Whether a film needs a cold-blooded villain or a no-bullshit authority figure, Fichtner is an ideal choice.

But he's also not afraid to have some fun and shed his tough guy mystique. Fichtner has mined laughs alongside Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory) and Adam Sandler (The Longest Yard), and in next year's bizarre, absurdist independent comedy Wrong, he's the funniest thing in an all-around ludicrous mirth-fest.

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