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Eli Wallach appears in Mystic River. Olivia Williams plays a role in X-Men: The Last Stand. However, neither of them (according to IMDb) is credited in the movie. These two instances are simply examples.

Why are some actors, who are oftentimes quite well known, not credited in certain features?

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2 Answers

The Screen Actor's Guild sets certain required pay scales for actors. In some cases actors will agree to pay adjustments or a lack of credit as a favor to a friend directing the film (Robin Williams in Baron Munchausen) or just to have the chance to cameo in the film for fun. In some cases an actor won't be billed so as not to spoil a surprise. Lately the Marvel films (Avengers, Iron Man, etc) have been not billing cameo actors for this reason.

Lastly, in some cases its a gross oversight. James Earl Jones had to wait decades for the digital reissue of Star Wars to get screen credit as the voice of Darth Vader.

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So the actors refuse credit as they don't want to be paid only a pittance? How would that affect them? I don't get it. –  coleopterist Dec 10 '13 at 17:35
    
Pay adjustments can also be more money to compensate for their name not being in the credits. –  Andrei Freeman Dec 10 '13 at 18:08
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As an example of bucking the SAG rules (but not with a removed credit) In Ocean's 11 to keep the budget down because the actors believed in the film so much, Julia Roberts took, "and Introducing" credits which gave her scale rather than the 20(M) she was fetching per film at the time. –  Andrei Freeman Dec 10 '13 at 18:10
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@coleopterist ... SAG is a union. They have rules regarding pay to the actors in the Guild. For actors with a credit, SAG requires its actors to get paid a certain amount. When an actor does a cameo or a favor for a director or producer (as was already explained), they will not get credited so as to not cause a large production cost, which would otherwise be required by SAG to a credited actor in a production. Now it's probably as clear as mud. –  Paulster2 Dec 10 '13 at 22:06
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@coleopterist ... I'm sure there are more reasons than we could ever think of. Hopefully I didn't muddy the waters too much. –  Paulster2 Dec 11 '13 at 12:31
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Not only that but if a big name actor takes a cameo or small role it can effect future work they receive and so not to come up on recent acting jobs taken that producers check to see what roles and pay they have received, they take uncredited roles so only their major roles show up and not damage future roles

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Do you have anything to back up these suppositions? –  JohnP Apr 14 at 20:02
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