Jose Ferrer made it clear that he regarded his brief performance in Lawrence of Arabia as his best-ever screen work. Quote: “If I was to be judged by any one film performance, it would be my five minutes in Lawrence.” I can’t think of any other non-comedic, cameo-level performance as good as Ferrer’s — can anyone?
Sean Connery‘s cameo as King Richard the Lionheart at the end of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves wasn’t on Ferrer’s level. Connery was showboating, taking a bow.
Comedically speaking, Tom Cruise‘s Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder and Bill Murray‘s walk-on performance as a pretend zombie in Zombieland are obvious stand-outs. But it’s easy to be amusing in a quickie context.