Bruno Kirby is a great supporting actor, but that’s about where his skill stops. He hit that ceiling a while ago and without any disrespect to the man that’s where the talent he has is at its best. Kirby is the kind of guy you rely on to be there to bolster the other actors up, someone that doesn’t so much make people look better but rather helps the picture to flow the way it should. He’s played some very influential characters but the fact remains that he’s still a pillar in pretty much any movie he plays, whether it’s a very needed role or a role that just needs to be there. He’s the guy you depend on, but not the leading man, and it suits him in a very big way.
He’s the perfect man to keep a movie from falling down, and that’s a big compliment.
5. City Slickers-Ed Furillo
One thing Kirby knows how to do is talk, and in City Slickers he does a lot of it mostly because that’s his character and that’s what Ed does, he talks. But when it comes time to put that ego away and get the job done he also proves that he’s capable of walking the walk as well. That’s what makes him a pillar character and an important fixture. I wonder if I can coin that term ‘pillar character’.
4. Sleepers-Shakes’ Father
You don’t see him in the trailer and I really did look for clips that would show him in the movie, but Shakes’ father is an important figure in the movie as well, since he tends to shape how Shakes views the world. At first his father is a very disruptive and violent figure, but he also carries hints of wisdom in his stories about the neighborhood and what it means to exist in Hell’s Kitchen. He doesn’t have a big role but what he does do is memorable.
3. The Godfather II-Young Clemenza
His role in this film is a lot bigger since he happens to be painting the picture of how Clemenza and Vito meet in the past. It’s kind of surprising to learn that Clemenza seems to be the one that really led Vito into a life of crime, though if you watch the first movie then you get the idea that Clemenza is definitely more inclined towards the life than Vito ever was.
2. Donnie Brasco-Nicky
A lot of different things carry a big meaning in the mafia culture it would seem. If you look at someone the wrong way, if you say something that people don’t agree with, and obviously if you smack someone in the wrong way at the wrong time it’s considered a horrendous insult. Of course getting pimp slapped, or its equivalent, in front of the guys is never a good thing.
1. When Harry Met Sally-Jess
It’s a little obvious that Kirby seems to like working with Billy Crystal, but that’s great since the two make an awesome pair that just seem to feed off of each other onscreen. Like I said before Kirby is that kind of guy that bolsters a movie but doesn’t just tend to make a push towards being the leading man. It works though.
He’s one of the best supporting actors ever and gets largely underrated.