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Every Major Cameo In The Anchorman Movies Ranked Worst To Best

The "Anchorman" movies are loaded with memorable quotes. In fact, we're almost certain we could conduct an entire conversation using only zingers from the first movie. But the "Anchorman" series is full of a lot of things. In addition to one-liners, both films — the original "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" from 2004 and "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" from 2013 — include a heap of cameo appearances by some of Hollywood's biggest and brightest.

In addition to oodles of others, Fred Armisen and Vince Vaughn both pop up in "Anchorman."  Wes Mantooth, Vaughn's character, functions as the greatest foil to protagonist Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in the first chapter and delivers a cameo in "Anchorman 2."  

The second "Anchorman" movie is flooded with big names, from Kristen Wiig to Greg Kinnear to James Marsden. It's fair to say that the cameos in "Anchorman 2" get a little outlandish in their efforts to one-up the first film. Ranking the whole series is a subjective task, but we took up the challenge nonetheless. Ultimately, all the characters — whether they make a subtle or major appearance — help make the "Anchorman" movies comedic gold. Here's every major cameo in the "Anchorman" movies ranked.

14. Tim Robbins as Public TV News Anchor

Similar to most of the famous cameos in "Anchorman," Tim Robbins' character — listed on IMDb "Public News Anchor" — shows up when the television news teams of San Diego all meet to battle to the possible death for reasons that are never quite explained. In addition to his obvious violent tendencies, he also smokes a pipe, adding another dark element to his character. During the slobber-knocker, Public News Anchor chops off Channel 2 new anchor Frank Vitchard's (Luke Wilson) arm and, once again, smokes his pipe.

Chopping off someone's arm is a thoroughly sinister act, and Robbins' character confirms his capacity for being horrible when he pushes Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) into the bear pit at the zoo in order to steal her shot of a panda giving birth. Clearly, Public News Anchor isn't a good person and is only searching for sky-high ratings. As far as Public News Anchor goes, he came, he saw, and he did some serious damage.

13. Harrison Ford as Mack Tannen

"Anchorman 2" takes everything that works in the first "Anchorman" and overflows the film with those same elements. There's a massive brawl with celebrity cameos in the first movie; there's an even bigger one in the second movie, and that's where most of the celebrity cameos take place. Unlike most of the fighters, Harrison Ford's Mack Tannen gets a little bit of a backstory. He's a legendary news anchor on the verge of retirement. After Mack invites Ron and Veronica into his office, their stomachs and hearts fill with butterflies.

Because the second "Anchorman" aims for the fences with every swing of the bat, Mack admits that he's a bad father and a total murderer. Though he initially implies that he's going to make Ron and Veronica co-anchors of the evening news after he retires, he subverts this expectation by promoting Veronica and firing Ron for massive incompetence. Ron asks him to name one wrong thing he's ever done, and then we see a montage of Ron cursing and making mistakes on the air. Mack also annoys Ron by getting a little too familiar with Veronica in his presence. When Mack appears in the news rumble, he asks if they have any room for an old warhorse. Then he turns into a werewolf.

12. Will Smith as Jeff Bullington

In "Anchorman 2," the cameos during the news team fight come in the form of a rapid-fire onslaught of fame and brutality. Enter Will Smith, who plays ESPN reporter Jeff Bullington. Smith's character enters the rumble by stopping a soccer ball and, for good measure, he's holding a bat — just in case fans needed another reminder that he's a sports journalist. He also pats his hands with powder and throws that powder into the air in a fashion reminiscent of LeBron James' signature chalk toss ritual.

Though Jeff Bullington has his moments, like when he calls in an airstrike using an early version of a cellphone that's roughly the size of a large man's forearm, he gets a little lost in the shuffle of fantastic "Anchorman" cameos. We must ask ourselves, "Would we remember Jeff Bullington if he was played by a less famous actor?" And the answer is of course we wouldn't — don't be silly. 

11. Kirsten Dunst as El Trousias, Maiden of the Clouds

The rumble scene in "Anchorman 2" gets pretty bonkers. Out of nowhere, star of classic films including 1999's "The Virgin Suicides," 2002's "Spider-Man," 2004's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and 2011's "Melancholia," Kirsten Dunst appears on top of a building in the guise of El Trousias, Maiden of the Clouds. El Trousias plays a short song on her oversized horn-type instrument to kick off the bloody clash. After she finishes her song, she says "That means you can start."

Dunst's cameo proves that the second chapter of Ron Burgundy's tale pretty much takes every joke it can think of and throws it into its proverbial comedy stew. Some folks consider Dunst one of the greats among her era of Hollywood, but it's pretty easy to not notice she's in this movie until the credits roll. She only really has those two lines and she's up on a building, far away from the action. 

10. Sacha Baron Cohen as BBC News Reader

Sacha Baron Cohen portrays a BBC news anchor, or "news reader" as he describes himself, in "Anchorman 2." Ironically, Baron Cohen's character in "Anchorman 2" comes much, much closer to his actual Londoner speaking style and mannerisms than any of his most well-known characters, including Ali G and Borat Sagdiyev. The BBC News reader calls Entertainment News an "abomination" and knights a fellow BBC News member before the news-team-on-news-team carnage begins. A lot happens during this scene.

There's nothing wrong with Baron Cohen's cameo, exactly. In fact, we bet he appreciated the opportunity to be in a movie without having to reside within a complete personality overhaul or putting himself in legitimate danger. But knowing what he's capable as evidenced by much more recent projects like 2020's "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," it feels like Baron Cohen in "Anchorman 2" shouldn't be less funny than James Marsden. 

9. Kanye West as Wesley Jackson

Kanye West plays MTV VJ Wesley Jackson in "Anchorman 2." His team comes down from the sky wearing leather and other impressive '80s-style getups and totally pulling it off. Producer Judd Apatow (via The Cut) has stated that West completely hated the jacket costume designers picked out for his character and help up production for hours looking for a more suitable jacket, until eventually settling on the one he was originally going to wear anyway. After Mack Tannen turns into a werewolf, Wesley muses that he's going to call Michael Jackson because this sight gives him an idea for a video. Clearly, he's referring to "Thriller."

Although other cameo performances are funnier, Kanye's MTV outfit and its ridiculous backstory is reason enough to celebrate this role. Let's add extra points for the surprise factor. Did anyone expect Kanye West to get mercilessly killed by Steve Carell in the second "Anchorman" movie? Because we certainly didn't.

8. Tina Fey as Jill Janson, Amy Poehler as Wendy Van Peele

Comedy legends Amy Poehler and Tina Fey play Entertainment News reporters Wendy Van Peele and Jill Janson. The two drop some memorable lines, most of which cannot be recreated in this article because we're trying to run a family-friendly pop culture-oriented content outlet. 

Poehler and Fey's dynamite cameo performances certainly leave a memorable mark on "Anchorman 2." So much so, it makes us wish they seemed like they participated more in the fight and had bigger roles in the movie. But since they were both starring in mega-hit sitcoms at the time — "30 Rock" if Fey's case and "Parks & Recreation" in Poehler's — it's entirely possible they simply didn't have a ton of time to devote to "Anchorman 2" at that point in their careers. At least the two show up and make their presence known during the most majestic part of the movie. And as fellow disseminators of entertainment-related information, we here at Looper appreciate being represented as a clever and stylish swath of the media landscape.

7. John C. Reilly as the Ghost of Stonewall Jackson and Liam Neeson as History Channel Host

In "Anchorman 2," Liam Neeson plays a History Channel host who arrives to reenact some atrocities alongside the ghost of Stonewall Jackson played by John C. Reilly. In the second "Anchorman," basically every TV station that's close to being news-adjacent gets a shot at the champ, Papa Burgundy.

Due to his incorporeality, the ghost of Stonewall Jackson can't physically harm his adversaries directly, but he does manage to take someone's soul while on the battlefield. Burgundy stops fighting at one point to acknowledge the ghost of Stonewall Jackson's presence — or maybe Ferrell is simply saying hello to Reilly, his long-time buddy. Given the track record of Neeson's movie characters and the fact that Reilly plays a ghost, if Burgundy wasn't the main character, this duo might have a good shot at prevailing against the other news teams. Then again, if Ulysses S. Grant can make Stonewall Jackson look like a punk, is there any reason why Amy Poehler couldn't do the same?

6. Danny Trejo as a bartender

In the first "Anchorman," Danny Trejo shines as a bartender who gives Ron Burgundy all-star advice, only for a drunken Ron to shrug it off and use casual racism to pretend he can't understand Trejo's character. 

Trejo's appearance comes toward the end of the film while Ron is an unshaven, foul-smelling mess looking for rock bottom after losing his career and falling out with Veronica. Trejo's bartender character tells Ron that times are changing — essentially, delivering the message of the movie — women "can do stuff" now, and it's on macho guys like Ron to learn how to cope with the new normal. 

Later, Ron cleans up when he's needed to report the news. Watching Ron on television, the bartender correctly observes that Ron Burgundy cleans up nicely. Trejo's typically known for action movies like the "Machete" franchise, so not many viewers expect him to drop by in a movie like "Anchorman." Not only is Trejo's cameo a pleasant surprise, it stands out by not going too over the top, as cameos in the "Anchorman" series tend to do.

5. Drake as Soul Brother

Unlike its predecessor, "Anchorman 2" pulls a few notable celebrity cameos from the music world. When "Anchorman 2" hit theaters in November of 2013, Kanye West had followed-up his career zenith, 2010's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," with the release of "Yeezus" five months earlier. West's career was going very, very well at the time, so it makes sense for his character to wind up mashed into the slurry of movie and TV stars in the news team fight. Drake, however, probably wasn't quite as famous as he'd become a few years down the line. Therefore, in an amusing twist, Drake plays a character IMDb lists as "Soul Brother" and catcalls Veronica in the opening scene of the movie, instead of joining Jim Carrey and Marion Cotillard on the Canadian news team.  

As Ron and Veronica walk along the sidewalk in New York City, Soul Brother takes off his sunglasses and says, "Ron Burgundy! That lady's got an @$$ like the Loch Ness monster. That thing is mysterious ... ever sought after." Though that line isn't something anyone should say to another human being except under very specific circumstances, Ron basically tells a disturbed Veronica that Soul Brother is right. In the name of humor, she shrugs it off. As the narrator says, this was a time before "cellphones and steroids" and let's add the #MeToo movement to that list of stuff that happened after "Anchorman 2." 

4. Luke Wilson as Frank Vitchard

Luke Wilson plays his few lines in "Anchorman" to perfection. He unexpectedly shows up during the news rumble as Channel 2 News lead anchor Frank Vitchard. Unfortunately, the skirmish doesn't treat him kindly, as his arm is chopped off not long into the bloody ordeal.

Frank shows up later in the movie when every station is covering the birth of a panda at a San Diego zoo. Unfortunately, Frank loses his other arm in the process of reporting the historic panda-oriented story to his viewers. The events of "Anchorman" are tragic for Wilson's TV reporter, indeed. But when someone loses both of their arms, most of the time it's horrifying and incredibly sad. When it happens to Frank Vitchard, it's pretty funny. Go figure! As is the case for "Old School," Ferrell and Wilson are quite the team when they share the screen together.

3. Ben Stiller as Arturo Mendez

Ben Stiller tends to thrive as two kinds of characters: a pushover who gets picked on, and a self-centered egomaniac who inflicts bullying rather than receives it. In "Anchorman," he plays the latter. Enter Stiller as Arturo Mendez of Spanish Language News, who drops the classic line, "Tonight's top story: The sewers run red with Burgundy's blood."

Stiller's appearance is short and sweet, as all good cameo roles tend to be. But is his depiction of Arturo respectful to Hispanic folks? Stiller's definitely wearing brownface makeup, so it's a pretty bad look. But, partially due to our emotional resistance to thinking bad thoughts about a nostalgic favorite like "Anchorman," we'd like to think this character lands closer to Anthony Hopkins playing Don Diego de la Vega in 1998's "The Mask of Zorro" than Mickey Rooney playing an ugly Asian stereotype in 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Stiller's always great when he plays a jerk, but not everything about "Anchorman" aged spectacularly. 

2. Jack Black as Motorcyclist

Though Jack Black's character is a villain who's cruel to animals, he has one of the most unforgettable cameos in "Anchorman." Black plays a motorcyclist who Ron accidentally throws a burrito at while driving. In response, the motorcyclist crashes. He claims his bike is ruined, even though he doesn't take a look to see if it's still working. The motorcyclist goes on to ask Ron what he loves most in life, and Ron tells him about his four-legged friend Baxter. Black's character picks up the dog and boots the helpless Baxter off the bridge.

Baxter resurfaces uninjured later in the film, of course. But before that point, this truly horrifying act leads to Ron spiraling out of control and inevitably showing up late to work. As a result, Veronica has to cover for him, becoming the first woman to report the news in the process. Ratings skyrocket and then she gets a co-anchor job alongside Ron, which drives him further along on his downward spiral. Luckily, Baxter eventually rescues Ron and Veronica from being ripped apart by bears and Jack Black's motorcyclist is never seen again.

1. Marion Cotillard and Jim Carrey as French-Canadian TV News Team

Out of nowhere, Marion Cotillard of "Big Fish," "Inception," and a whole slew of other movies shows up during the news team fight as a French-Canadian TV news anchor alongside Canadian anchor Scott Riles, played by Jim Carrey. The pair lead the incredibly polite Canadian News Team, equipped with hockey sticks and gloves.

Throughout their delightful time on the screen, Cotillard and Carrey's characters make light threats and apologize directly after. Scott even sharpens an ice skate at one point. The fantastic duo shoot hockey pucks at their enemies, and apologize every time they hit someone. Though audience members might not have been able to picture the two standing side by side in an "Anchorman" movie, the actors deliver a scene-stealing performances. Sorry. 

Ultimately, every cameo in the two "Anchorman" films is aces. It's virtually impossible to pick a true champion as they all stand out.