Still, it’s a fascinating film, with Brando’s sadistic killer, Robert E. Lee Clayton, constantly shifting his accents, his identities, even his hats, each time he stalks a foe. Unfortunately, audiences couldn’t apply the richness of the character’s psychosis to the framework of the traditional Western. (And as much could be said for another Western, One-Eyed Jacks , Brando’s only directorial effort, in which he plays a Billy the Kid type of character.)

The Freshman (1990)

Nearly two decades after The Godfather , Brando topped every Brando impressionist in show business with his own caricature of Don Corleone in this underrated comedy, costarring Matthew Broderick and Bruno Kirby (who played the young Clemenza in The Godfather, Part II ). More than that, he turned the caricature into a flesh-and-blood human being. Classic scene: A nervous Broderick, meeting Brando for the first time in the back of a restaurant in Little Italy, glances at a picture on the wall. “Is that Mussolini?” he inquires. After a pause Brando replies, “It ain’t Tony Bennett.”