Spotlight: Alan Rickman

Known to many as the dreaded Professor Severus Snape of Harry Potter fame, actor Alan Rickman is a prolific performer with a history in film and television extending back to the late 1970s. He’s one of my favorites (LOVE his velvet voice!). We realized recently that we own eight of Rickman’s films, the breadth of which highlights his versatility as an actor. So I thought it’d be fun to review and recommend these films featuring Alan Rickman.

Rickman as Colonel Brandon in "Sense and Sensibility"

  1. Die Hard (1988) – I’ve never watched this one, but Dr. Sci-Fi claims it’s his favorite Christmas movie. He says Rickman makes a smarter-than-normal villain whose ruthlessness poses more of a challenge to the hero.
  2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – This was the first Rickman film I saw. Rickman steals the show as the Sheriff of Nottingham (with awesome ’90s hair) and helps make this one of my favorite Robin Hood films.
  3. Sense and Sensibility (1995) – As I said, I first saw Rickman as the dastardly Nottingham. So imagine my surprise upon next seeing him as the soft-spoken, puppy-dog-eyed Colonel Brandon in this Jane Austen classic. Let’s just say I had a bit of a crush.
  4. Galaxy Quest (1999) – Rickman costars in this cheesy but entertaining Star Trek send-up. He’s hilarious as a sulking actor stuck playing a “Spock” type character, always second fiddle to Tim Allen‘s cocky “Captain Kirk” role.
  5. Love Actually (2003) – Though rated R for some completely unnecessary sex scenes (and profanity), this British Christmas romance is sweet and engaging. Rickman portrays Harry, a man caught between a ho-hum marriage and the temptation of an alluring and aggressive secretary. Okay, so Rickman’s character isn’t exactly sweet, but his encounter with Rowan Atkinson as a painfully precise gift-wrapping clerk at a jewelry counter is memorably funny.
  6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – Who else could voice Marvin the Paranoid Android?
  7. Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire (2005) – This is actually the only Harry Potter film we own and I don’t think Rickman appears much in it. However, it must be said that he’s a perfect fit for the role of Prof. Snape.
  8. Bottle Shock (2008) – Though not a widely known film, this true story of Napa Valley’s rise to fame in the wine world is a nice, relaxing yet engaging flick. Rickman stars as Steven Spurrier, the English wine expert responsible for setting up a blind tasting between French and Californian wines in 1976.
So that’s our Alan Rickman collection. I’d recommend all the films on this list (I’m recommending Die Hard on the strength of Dr. Sci-Fi’s opinion) if you haven’t seen them already. Heck, even if you have seen them, they’re worth rewatching. As I pointed out, Rickman is a truly versatile actor. Just in our collection alone we see him as nasty villains, an Austen hero, average married man, chronically depressed robot, and bitter wizard. Talk about scope!
That’s it for this spotlight. Let us know if you have any Rickman favorites that aren’t on our list.
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3 comments on “Spotlight: Alan Rickman

  1. Bethany
    July 27, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Lovely way to start my morning! I love Alan Rickman, especially in Sense & Sensibility. The Mr. and I have a theory about Snape in which he ridiculously elongates one word in every Harry Potter film. For example: “You just……………..know.” or “e………..qually guilty.” But I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job in that role. No one does greasy better. 🙂

  2. Lewis
    July 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    He was also the bad guy in Quigley with Tom Selleck. Not sure what year, but he was a really mean guy who of course dies in the end….like many of his first few roles.

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