Films

9 British Actors Who Can’t Do American Accents

We make fun of Americans a lot for bungling various British accents - they think we all sound like The Queen - but it works both ways. There are many British actors, most of them very talented, who just cannot wrap their plummy mouths around a convincing American twang.

Sorry America, none of these actors should have been allowed to speak your words. We have no choice but to forgive you for these attempts.

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Colin Firth - Main Street

Colin Firth is as English as tea and crumpets and not making a fuss. Hearing an American accent come out of his mouth just feels a little wrong, particularly when it's a really mangled Texan accent that starts out sounding a bit like an impression of Bill Clinton and then, just in the space of this clip, gradually becomes a very, very oil prospector from a cartoon. Stick with kings, Colin.

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Gerard Butler – The Bounty Hunter

Butler doesn't have a great history with accents - his Irish in P.S. I Love You is bizarre - and his American is always a bit off. He talks like a kid doing a playground American accent. It should be accompanied by waving a gun and calling someone a "filthy punk".

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Ewan McGregor - Big Fish

McGregor's American accents aren't really terrible and when he's doing one he tends to stay in it and not slip in and out, as a lot of actors do, but he just leans into them too much. His southern accent in Big Fish is cartoonish and very 'aw shucks, gee willickers'. Nobody speaks like that.

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Simon Pegg - Big Nothing

Not very many people saw the bungled heist movie Big Nothing. For the sake of Pegg, whose American accent drifts about like a rudderless ship, that's probably not a bad thing.

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Ray Winstone - The Departed

What...what is this accent supposed to be? Is it Bostonian like the rest of the cast? Is it from a special area of America that the rest of us haven't discovered yet? Because more than anything this sounds Australian. Wouldn't tell him to his face though.

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Michael Caine - The Cider House Rules

Caine has never been good with accents and rarely bothers. He's got such a distinctive voice of his own that when he tries to do anything else it's extremely noticeable. Playing a kindly old orphanage director from Maine, he makes nods at a generic American accent but only fitfully. Still, he won an Oscar for it so he's probably not that bothered.

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Jason Statham - The One

It took us a long time to work out whether or not Statham actually is doing an American accent or not. Turns out he is, when he can be bothered.

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Alan Rickman - Judas Kiss

Another one who's an undeniably brilliant actor but not quite up to the task of doing a New Orleans accent, which is admittedly one of the most difficult there is, as a cop in this forgotten 1998 movie. But if you can't do it, don't do it. And if you're wondering why we're letting Emma Thompson off...

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Emma Thompson - Dead Again

...We're not. She can act up a storm but Thompson does American accents like she's making fun of them. You could also have Primary Colours here.

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(Images: All Star)

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