Michael Caine is a talented, well-respected actor who has done scores of different movies and different types of movies. He's been involved in some great movies, but he's also been in a fair number of stinkers -- movies that aren't just bad, but are almost universally reviled. In his case, it's apparently because of his work ethic; for a while he felt it was his obligation as an actor to take whatever jobs he got.
Sean Connery has a similar career, but not a similar excuse -- at least so far as I know. He just seems to have a knack for taking really bad movies along with really good ones. And his really bad ones are, in some cases, really really bad.
Think of any actor who's been around long enough to do movies of a variety of types, and then try to think of a stinker they've done. In nearly every case, one comes to mind rather quickly. No matter how good an actor is, they all seem to have run across a film that turned out terrible.
While watching The Shawshank Redemption, I found myself thinking that maybe Morgan Freeman is an exception. I haven't really gone over his filmography with a fine-toothed comb, but even giving it a fair amount of thought, nothing stands out. Closest I can come is Evan Almighty, but while it was a disappointment and certainly not a modern classic, it's not exactly a total groaner, it's just not that great. Maybe there's a stinker that I don't know, though. But even if there's an obscure stinker he's done, that still puts him head and shoulders above just about any actor with a career as long and varied as his.
The really tricky thing is to think of other actors about whom you can say the same thing. Who else has managed to avoid the stinker trap?