12 Best Returns To Acting After a Long Hiatus

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but with Hollywood stars, it makes the return of a beloved actor hit harder. These 12 actors stunned everyone with their return to the big screen with top-notch performances.

Without further ado, here are twelve of the most impressive comebacks by actors following a period of absence.

1. Keanu Reeves

John Wick Keanu Reeves Michael Nyqvist Alfie Allen
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

After taking the red pill, Keanu left because he was just tired of the business. However, his return in 2014 took the world by storm, as the ex-matrix trotter put on a three-piece suit to play John Wick. Since then, seeing him as anything other than the Baba Yaga has been hard.

2. Linda Hamilton

Linda Hamilton
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Taking a break to care for her family, Linda Hamilton stayed away from the big screen for 17 years. However, by 2019's Terminator: Dark Fate, Linda returned as Sarah Connor and proved that her time away from the cameras did not dull her skill or desire to take down Skynet by one bit.

3. Robert Downey Jr.

Avengers Endgame Robert Downey Jr.
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

RDJ took an unplanned four-year break from acting to deal with his well-documented addiction and legal issues. However, the charming and witty actor returned in 2008 to kick off the biggest superhero franchise of the last decade with nothing but his wit, charm, and a suit of iron. He is Ironman.

4. John Travolta

Pulp Fiction John Travolta Samuel L. Jackson
Image Credit: Miramax.

When asked what some of the greatest movies ever made are, Pulp Fiction often comes into the conversation because it is an absolute spectacle.

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson started an entire pop culture revolution with that single movie, and it is crazy to think John Travolta had been on a six-year hiatus before that. Man has got talent!

5. Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Michael Keaton returned to the big screen after a five-year hiatus. After a string of successful movies in the 80s and 90s, one would have thought the ex-batman actor was done, only for his triumphant return as another bird-themed actor in 2014's Birdman. From there, he played the Vulture in Spiderman: Homecoming — didn't peg him as a bird lover.

6. Daniel Day-Lewis

Gangs of New York
Image Credit: Touchstone.

Daniel Day-Lewis is known for taking hiatuses from acting that are longer than some actors' entire careers. In the late '90s, he took a break to become a cobbler, proving he's just as dedicated to his shoes as he is to his craft.

He returned to acting in 2002 with Gangs of New York. Then he took another hiatus before returning for Phantom Thread. With each return, Day-Lewis proves that he's not just an actor; he's a force to be reckoned with.

7. Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando
Image Credit: MGM/UA.

He's not just the Godfather; he's probably the Godfather of hiatuses. After several high-profile movies in the 50s and 60s, Marlon took a nine-year break to focus on personal projects such as activism and other arts.

His return marked one of the most iconic movies of all time. Putting him on this list was an offer we couldn't refuse.

8. Ke Huy Quan

Ke Huy Quan
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Starting in The Goonies and as a child actor in Indiana Jones, Ke Huy Quan took a break from acting, pursued his martial arts interests, and worked as a stunt choreographer.

A decade later, he returned as Jubilee in X-Men 2. However, his 2022 movie, Everything Everywhere, All At Once, got him his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

9. Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder
Image Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Talent? Check! Range? Check! The ability to make you feel emotion through her eyes alone? Check! Check! Check! Winona Ryder started in the 90s, and after a few films, she took a decade-long break before returning to the big screen in 2010 for Black Swan.

Since then, she's appeared in other projects. One of her most powerful performances has been in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things.

10. Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

After a promising start to his career in the '80s, Rourke took a break from acting to pursue a career in boxing. He returned to the big screen in 2005 with a string of acclaimed performances, including his Oscar-nominated role in The Wrestler.

Rourke's comeback was a triumph, showcasing his raw talent and unique presence on screen. Did his performance bring us to tears? Yes, very much, yes.

11. Joe Pesci

Joe Pesci
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Martin Scorsese never miscasts, and bringing Joe back in for The Irishman was an absolute goldmine. After a stellar start to his career in Goodfellas and Casoni, Pesci took a long break from acting to focus on music.

Good things come to those who wait, after all, as his 2019 return was just the breath of fresh air Hollywood needed.

12. Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Jamie Lee Curtis' return to acting after a hiatus was a testament to her incredible talent and versatility. After establishing herself as a horror icon, Curtis took a break from acting and returned in 1994 with True Lies, showcasing her comedic timing and range as an actress.

It's one thing to get back into the movie industry and another to excel at a whole other genre, and Jamie pulls it off with finesse.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Boloere Seibidor, fondly called B.S. is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics to cover include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sites. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.