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A Gallery of Cinematic Eyes

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When it comes to movie magic, the eyes have it. From dramas and comedies to westerns and cartoons, there is nothing on a theater screen that holds our attention as tightly as a dazzling pair of eyes. Sometimes we forget that fact, amid the shock and awe of summer movies. Here’s a reminder.

 

PAUL NEWMAN

The gold standard for blue eyes on film. A longtime Connecticut resident, Newman used his high beams to accentuate the intensity of whatever part he was playing, from flawed heroes to insensitive rogues.

 

ANGELINA JOLIE

The reigning queen of moving picture peepers. Jolie wields the power to command the screen with a look.

 

BELA LUGOSI

There’s a reason this little, old dude remains part of the conversation about enduring movie icons after all these years, and it’s not because of his tremendous acting chops or his good looks. It’s the crazy hoodoo he performs with his orbs.

 

LENA HORNE

Still photos don’t begin to convey the playful force of Horne’s eyes. It was particularly true when she sang on the big screen.

 

MARTY FELDMAN

Was it the bug-eyed quality of Feldman’s eyes that made him so memorable? In part, sure. But the man also had perfect comedic timing. Check out “Young Frankenstein” again some time. He’s just remarkable.

 

SAURON

Best. One-eyed. Movie. Performance. Ever.

 

MALCOLM MCDOWELL

At the center of the terrifying, masterful “A Clockwork Orange” – beyond the physical and emotional violence, beyond the bleak portents of sociopathic young people and social institutions obsessed with mind controlare McDowell’s terrifying eyes.

 

BETTE DAVIS

Must I say it? The woman has Bette Davis eyes. Here’s a photo from her younger days, before her scary-eyebrow period.

 

KAA

I can report with complete authority that this animated snake from “Jungle Book” launched thousands of snake phobias across this great land in the 1960s. Or at least one.

 

BUSTER KEATON

With all due respect to Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, I’ve always been a Buster Keaton man. My goodness, look at those sad eyes.

 

YAPHET KOTTO

Good guy or bad guy, serious or funny, Kotto’s characters are always about what’s going on behind those utterly deadpan eyes.

 

WALL-E

Come on, folks. Would this flick have worked even half as well if the lonely robot had smaller eyes? I think not.

 

LILLIAN GISH

Speaking of big eyes, Ms. Gish was a superstar of the silent era thanks to hers.

 

JACK ELAM

He and his immobile left eye (injured in childhood) found a tremendous amount of work. Elam was known mainly for supporting parts in Westerns such as “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” and “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.”

 

ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Best movie eyes of all time? It’s not even close. Taylor’s violet eyes were breathtaking.