It’s a sad day for the world of acting as it’s been confirmed that beloved star Alan Rickman has died at the age of 69. After close to 40 years in the business, the prolific star of several films leaves behind a wonderful legacy that is sure to be revisited by his fans following the sad news.
According to the BBC, a statement released Thursday by the actor and director's family assured the public that he passed away surrounded by “family and friends,” which should come as a comfort to the collection of fans he’s acquired since beginning his career in 1980 with “The Barchester Chronicles.” Rickman’s list of credits is long and extensive, meaning fans have a rich tapestry of exciting roles to turn to in order to remember the actor. However, to help narrow down the selection, below is just a sampling of suggestions to review the actor’s best work.
[WARNING: Clips in links may be NSFW.]
“Harry Potter” (1-8)
Although it was hardly the actor’s first role, he brought the often nasty Severus Snape to life in a way that no other actor could have. The character needed to be the meanest one in the room at some moments, and the most sympathetic hero in others. Although it would have been easy for an actor of his caliber to phone in a performance on a young adult book adaptation, Rickman’s portrayal of the character solidified his place in the hearts of many “Harry Potter” fans and stands tall as one of the franchise’s heaviest hitters. If you’re looking to honor his memory, you really can’t go wrong with any of the eight movies featuring him as Snape.
Although he’s not necessarily known for his comedy, the actor’s dry wit and delivery ended up working perfectly in this Tim Allen-led “Star Trek” parody. The film focuses on a group of washed up actors that previously appeared on a science fiction show similar to that of the hit 1960s TV series. Rickman plays Alexander Dane in the movie, a Shakespearian actor that resents his role as the ship’s alien science officer. His reluctant performance and the overall hero’s journey in the movie act as another shining example of the British actor absolutely stealing the show on a role that could have easily been a one-off joke.
Everyone who is a fan of the action movie genre likely knows the name of Bruce Willis’ New York policeman character John McClane from the “Die Hard” movies. Although the films have become a full blown franchise, with five total installments, many may have forgotten that it was Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber that got the action started for the hero in the 1988 original. Thanks to his menacing tone and eerily calm demeanor in the face of his comrades dying in gruesome ways around him, Rickman set the gold standard for movie villains and road that wave to a career of success. If one is planning to binge-watch some of his best movies, “Die Hard” is an absolute must.
This is, by any definition of the word, a very silly movie. However, it deals with some heavy themes by having an everyday person learn that she’s been chosen for a great mission from God. Rickman is perhaps the best part of the movie playing Metatron, the voice of God. Rickman appears at random times throughout the movie to offer sage wisdom and speak about the upper echelon of heaven’s ranks with the kind of irreverence normally reserved for employees at a restaurant gossiping about one another. Although the movie takes some serious leaps of logic and faith, it’s worth the time investment for Rickman’s performance alone.
As if joining the cult of “Harry Potter” wasn’t enough, the actor challenged himself by joining a fan-favorite, Tim Burton-directed film adaptation. Rickman plays Jude Turpin in one of his most subtle roles yet. Not only does the dark and foreboding movie allow the actor to show off his skills, but his role forces him to sing as well, which is absolutely worth seeing if you consider yourself a fan of the late actor.
“Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”
In what was perhaps his most famous role prior to “Harry Potter,” Rickman portrayed the infamous Robin Hood Villain, the violent and ill-tempered Sheriff of Nottingham. The actor earned himself a BAFTA for his role in the movie and got the chance to show off some of his classically-trained acting abilities. The movie is worth watching for his venomous delivery of his lines.