13 Unbelievable Hollywood Comebacks

13 Unbelievable Hollywood Comebacks

  • By Movie Moments
  • Nov 02
three mens faces

Hollywood, it’s like the high school of fame – you’re in, you’re out, and sometimes you come back with a vengeance. We’ve seen stars shoot to the top, only to disappear into the abyss, but then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, they stage a comeback that leaves us all stunned. Here are 20 jaw-dropping examples of Hollywood’s finest making a splashy return to the scene.


Ke Huy Quan in ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’

You might remember Ke Huy Quan as the adorable kid from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies.” Then, the poor guy struggled to get work. But hey, he came back with a bang in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and clinched an Oscar in 2023 for Best Supporting Actor. Not bad for a comeback, right?


Nicolas Cage in ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

Nicolas Cage, the ’90s superstar, dipped into straight-to-video oblivion for a while. But now, he’s making a grand return with “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” where he plays himself! By poking fun at his own career and reflecting on his wild journey, he’s reminding us all why he’s an icon.


Hayden Christensen in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

Hayden Christensen had a love-hate relationship with “Star Wars” fans as Anakin Skywalker. After the prequel trilogy, he disappeared. But in 2022, he resurfaced in “Obi-Wan Kenobi” as Darth Vader, and fans went nuts with nostalgia.


Jennifer Coolidge in ‘The White Lotus’

Jennifer Coolidge, the queen of comedy, made us all howl as Stifler’s Mom in “American Pie.” But then, she disappeared from the big roles for a bit. That is until she graced our screens in two seasons of HBO’s “The White Lotus.” Her multi-faceted performance had us rolling on the floor, and she scooped up a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Talk about a well-deserved return to the limelight!


Michael Keaton in ‘Birdman’

Michael Keaton, the ’80s comedy and Batman king, vanished from leading roles for two whole decades. But then, he swoops back onto our radar with “Birdman,” where he plays a former superhero actor trying to make a comeback. The irony isn’t lost on us. Since then, Keaton’s been gracing us with his presence in leading and supporting roles alike.


Keanu Reeves in ‘John Wick’

Keanu Reeves – the guy from “The Matrix” and “Speed” – was the go-to action hero of the ’90s. But after Neo took his final bow, he kinda lost his touch. Then came “John Wick” in 2014, and he was back in the game, guns blazing. It’s like the Keanu Renaissance, and he even launched a whole franchise out of it.


Renée Zellweger in ‘Judy’

Renée Zellweger, our beloved Bridget Jones, had a rom-com reign. But then, she took a six-year break from acting during the 2010s. When she came back in 2019 as Judy Garland in “Judy,” it was like watching a phoenix rise from the ashes. She snagged her second Oscar, this time for Best Leading Actress, and we couldn’t be happier for her!


Mickey Rourke in ‘The Wrestler’

Mickey Rourke had a roaring start in the ’80s, with acclaimed roles in films like “Diner” and “Barfly.” Then, he went a bit off the rails, left acting, and tried his hand at boxing. But lo and behold, he returned to Hollywood and hit it big with “The Wrestler,” a role that landed him an Oscar nomination. Talk about a knockdown, drag-out comeback!


Brendan Fraser in ‘The Whale’

Remember Brendan Fraser, the poster boy of late ’90s and early 2000s action and comedy? He was swinging from vines in “George of the Jungle” and battling mummies in “The Mummy.” But then, he took a hiatus that lasted most of the 2010s. Just when you thought he’d vanished into the sands of time, boom! He emerges with a mind-blowing performance in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale,” and the world is like, “Brenaissance!” He even snags an Academy Award!


Matthew McConaughey in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

Matthew McConaughey was rom-com royalty in the 2000s, but he wanted more. He took a U-turn into drama and hit it big with “Dallas Buyers Club.” His transformation as an AIDS victim earned him an Oscar and firmly reestablished him in Hollywood.


John Travolta in ‘Pulp Fiction’

John Travolta was the bee’s knees in the ’70s thanks to “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever.” But by the ’90s, he was like, “Hello? Anybody there?” Then, along comes Quentin Tarantino with “Pulp Fiction,” and bam! Travolta’s back in action as hitman Vincent Vega, and he even gets an Academy Award nomination. It’s like a cinematic resurrection!


Robert Downey Jr. in ‘Iron Man’

Now, let’s talk about Robert Downey Jr., the guy who went through the Hollywood wringer thanks to his struggles with addiction. He was successful in the ’90s, then spiraled down. But his redemption arc is like something out of a superhero movie! He gets clean, suits up as Tony Stark in “Iron Man,” and becomes the face of The Avengers and the biggest star on the planet. Iron Man, indeed!


Marlon Brando in ‘The Godfather’

Marlon Brando, one of the greatest actors of all time, had a rough patch in the ’60s with box office flops. Then came “The Godfather.” It’s like the movie gods themselves decided to bless him with the role of Vito Corleone. The film became an instant classic, and Brando created an iconic character that’s still quoted today.


These Hollywood comebacks, my friends, they’re like the plot twists we never saw coming. And they’re a reminder that in Tinseltown, the show ain’t over until it’s over!


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