Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the greatest actors of our time, but after a nearly 50-year career in entertainment, he is stepping away from it all. The "There Will Be Blood" star announced his retirement from acting in the summer of 2017, revealing that the Paul Thomas Anderson period drama "Phantom Thread," in which he plays a renowned couture dressmaker, will be his last film. In honor of the movie's release on Dec. 25, 2017, Wonderwall.com is counting down Daniel's movie roles from meh to yeah. Keep reading to see our picks!
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No. 17: Henderson Dores in "Stars and Bars"
Daniel Day-Lewis might be a phenomenal actor, but even he couldn't improve this 1988 film. "Stars and Bars," a comedy based on William Boyd's 1984 book, presented Daniel with a much sillier and comedic character than he usually plays: He took on the role of a British art expert who travels to America's deep South to obtain a painting. Unfortunately, the hijinks and fish-out-of-water moments just fell flat.
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No. 16: Guido Contini in "Nine"
Anticipation was high for 2009's "Nine" and many thought the musical adaptation would be an Oscar winner. Unfortunately, reality did not live up to expectations. Daniel Day-Lewis joined an A-list cast that included Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard and more, but the talented group did not stop the film from becoming forgettable. Daniel's performance as director Guido Contini was praised, but the movie itself was a clunker.
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No. 15: Jack Slavin in "The Ballad of Jack and Rose"
Many have speculated that Daniel-Day Lewis only took on the role of Jack in 2005's "The Ballad of Jack and Rose" because his wife, Rebecca Miller, wrote and directed the film. Whether he did or not, this role is probably one of Daniel's least intriguing. He plays a Scottish farmer who lives with his daughter on a former commune. It's a low-key performance that does not rank very high compared to his more vibrant efforts.
No. 14: Fergus O'Connell in "Eversmile, New Jersey"
"Eversmile, New Jersey" is 1989 dramedy that many fans have never even heard of. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Fergus, a traveling dentist who aspires to practice in the land of Patagonia. Some critics accused Daniel of overacting in the odd, surrealist film, but it's clear he was at least having fun. Considering it's one of his earlier films, we think we can let the performance slide.
No. 13: John Proctor in "The Crucible"
This powerful 1996 film adaptation of Arthur Miller's play has been praised for its amazing cast and intense writing. Daniel-Day Lewis played John Proctor alongside Winona Ryder, Joan Allen and others in "The Crucible," a movie inspired by the Salem witch trials. The film might feel a little dated and run a little long, but Daniel's performance is compelling and relevant to the political landscape both then and now.
No. 12: Danny Flynn in "The Boxer"
"The Boxer," released in 1997, is one Daniel Day-Lewis's defining films that really proved how fabulous his method acting is. The actor trained as a boxer for 18 months before shooting began and his trainer at the time told reporters that he was good enough to compete as a middleweight in real life. The movie is a little cliche and Daniel outshines the writing in the film, but it remains one of his strongest performances.
No. 11: Newland Archer in "The Age of Innocence"
Martin Scorsese's 1993 film "The Age of Innocence" presented Daniel Day-Lewis with one of his finest roles yet. Daniel played young lawyer Newland Archer in the period drama, which combines 19th century simplicity with Martin's edginess to make for a very entertaining film. The actor — who worked alongside Winona Ryder and Michelle Pfeiffer — perfectly captured the highs and heartbreak of love lost.
No. 10: John Fryer in "The Bounty"
The 1984 film "The Bounty" is centered on characters played by Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, but Daniel Day-Lewis still managed to shine in a terrific supporting role as sailing master John Fryer. Before he was an acting legend, Daniel gave a low-key but superb performance in the film.
No. 9: William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting in "Gangs of New York"
"Gangs of New York" might have its shortcomings, but Daniel Day-Lewis was absolutely mind-blowing in his role as terrifying Bill the Butcher. The 2002 Martin Scorsese period drama was unbelievably savage, which gave Daniel the material he needed to earn a best actor Oscar nomination for his dynamic portrayal of the crime boss.
No. 8: Hawkeye in "The Last of the Mohicans"
Daniel Day-Lewis truly expanded his repertoire with this physically demanding role. The actor starred as Hawkeye — the adopted son of Mohawk leader Chingachgook and a near-fearless warrior skilled in weaponry — in the action-packed historical film "The Last of the Mohicans" in 1992.
No. 7: Gerry Conlon in "In the Name of the Father"
Daniel Day-Lewis brought his A-game to "In The Name of the Father." The film tells the story of the 1974 Guildford pub bombings in England and Daniel's character-driven performance is exceptional. The actor, who dropped 50 pounds for the role, earned a best actor Oscar nomination for his work as the wrongfully convicted Gerry Conlon. A stellar cast that also included Pete Postlethwaite and Emma Thompson rounded out this amazing movie that went on to earn seven Oscar nominations, including nods for best picture and best director for Jim Sheridan.
No. 6: Tomas in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"
The raw and amazingly shot "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" might be a little long (it's 171 minutes), but the runtime is made up in the excellent performances from Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin and, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis. Daniel perfectly balanced the complexities of his character, Czech Lothario and brain surgeon Tomas, in the 1988 film adaption of the novel. His performance was not enough to crack our top five, but it came awfully close.
No. 5: Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln"
Take about fully immersing yourself in a character! Daniel Day-Lewis perfectly embodied President Abraham Lincoln in 2012's "Lincoln" down to his mannerisms and voice inflections. His amazing work in this Steven Spielberg-directed film won Daniel his third best actor Academy Award. The film as a whole struggles at some points, but Daniel's mesmerizing work cannot be understated.
No. 4: Cecil Vyse in "A Room with a View"
Coming in at No. 5 is Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as the insufferable Cecil in 1985's "A Room with a View." The actor found the perfect balance between loathsome arrogance and well-meaning propriety while portraying the snobbish fiance of Helena Bonham Carter's heroine. Helena, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench all also contributed to this great period drama that also features amazing visuals.
No. 3: Christy Brown in "My Left Foot"
Daniel Day-Lewis's work as Christy Brown, a celebrated writer and artist with cerebral palsy, in Jim Sheridan's 1989 film "My Left Foot" showcased his efforts to thoughtfully portray a disabled person despite being an able-bodied actor. Daniel fully encompassed the depth and complexities that Christy faced as a person with a disability. He was so in tune with his character and delivered such a powerful performance that he received his first best actor Oscar nomination — and win — for it.
No. 2: Johnny in "My Beautiful Laundrette"
Daniel-Day Lewis truly shined in his breakout role, Johnny in 1985's "My Beautiful Laundrette." Daniel played a bleached-blond street punk whose fascist background eventually transforms into sexual freedom as a gay man. The role was the first of many that earned Daniel critical acclaim and award buzz. The film itself featured one of Daniel's best performances but was also a truly important work of art due to its commentary on 1980s race relations, homosexuality and the political climate in Britain.
No. 1: Daniel Plainview in "There Will Be Blood"
And now for his No. 1 role… Daniel Plainview in 2007's "There Will Be Blood." (Honestly, what else could it be?!) Daniel Day-Lewis absolutely dominated in his performance as the unhinged, ruthless oil prospector, somehow managing to perfectly portray both his eerie calmness and explosive wrath. The performance earned Daniel his second best actor Oscar and solidified his reputation as one of Hollywood's all-time greats. We'll miss you on our screens, Daniel!