Alan Rickman’s Most Memorable Roles

Above: Actor Alan Rickman, known for films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, has died at the age of 69
Above: Actor Alan Rickman, known for films including Harry Potter, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, has died at the age of 69

Alan Rickman got his start acting in stage productions across the UK. He worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company, tackling roles in Romeo and Juliet, The Seagull, and the lead in an adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He was known for playing villains, but he took on a wide variety of roles, and was nominated for plenty of awards during his 38 year career.

Many younger generations know Rickman best for his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. For that role alone, he will never be forgotten, but here are a few more of his best characters.

Harry Potter franchise – Severus Snape

Rickman appeared as Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter films, released between 2001 and 2011. The character’s moral ambiguity, and mysterious backstory and motives made him one of the most complicated characters in the entire series. Rickman was J.K Rowling’s personal choice to portray the character, and he was nominated for several awards for his performances.

Die Hard – Hans Gruber

In his first big screen role, Rickman appeared as villain Hans Gruber in the classic Christmas action movie, Die Hard. Gruber is an aspiring thief disguised as a terrorist who does not bluff. The character is killed at the end of the movie, but he’s so iconic that he’s considered the quintessential Die Hard villain and still gets a mention in at least two subsequent franchise films.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – Sheriff of Nottingham

After his aptitude for playing villains was demonstrated in Die Hard, Rickman was cast as Robin Hood’s main adversary, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The movie, co-starring Kevin Costner and Christian Slater, was a huge box office hit, and it earned Rickman a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Sense and Sensibility – Colonel Brandon

In the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Rickman plays Colonel Brandon, an older bachelor and love interest of Kate Winslet’s character, Marianne. The role gave him the opportunity to show his sweeter side, and demonstrate that he could do much more than play a convincing villain.

Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny

Although it wasn’t a mainstream hit, the biographical TV film chronicling the last four year of Grigori Rasputin’s stint as a healer to Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsar of Russia, earned Rickman both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role as Grigori Rasputin.

Dogma – Metatron

In this Kevin Smith written and directed film, Rickman plays Metatron, AKA, the Voice of God. Although it’s a small part, the comedic aspect was different for him, and the film did relatively well in the box office, and is considered a quintessential Kevin Smith film, featured recurring characters like Jay and Silent Bob.

Galaxy Quest – Alexander Dane

The science fiction action-comedy has reached cult favourite status since its 1999 release and is particularly popular among Star Trek fans. Rickman plays Alexander Dane, an actor who used to play a space ship’s alien science officer on the once popular space-adventure series, Galaxy Quest. The role earned Rickman a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Love Actually – Harry

In the fan favourite romantic comedy featuring an ensemble cast, Rickman plays Harry, a married director of a design agency. He explores the possibility of starting an affair with his secretary before realizing he should probably just appreciate what he has. Despite mixed reactions, the film is still considered a classic Christmas movie that fans will watch over and over.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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