Alan Rickman started his acting career in the theatre and turned to films after that, and we couldn’t have been more thankful that he did. He has mastered every role he was cast into for the thirty-year duration of his cinematic career. He is one of the most loved British actors, both of his generation and afterwards, and he brought brilliance into each of his roles, even if it was a supporting one.
Rickman’s acting career first began in theatre during the 1980s, and after years he gained his first lead role in 1985. In 1988, Alan received the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard, a role he easily mastered, seeing as he’d received several award nominations by then. Since then, Alan Rickman’s filmography has started to build up with one fantastic performance after another.
Besides his forever-lasting role as Professor Severus Snape, Alan Rickman starred in many critically acclaimed theatrical shows and films. We’re bringing you the top Alan Rickman films that you must watch to know and appreciate the versatility of this late actor’s talent.
Alan Rickman Films
Die Hard (1988)
The ideal performance by Alan Rickman in this film makes him the best actor to play a villain. As Hans Gruber and his terrorist group interrupt an office Christmas party in Los Angeles, one of the employees at this office is the wife of NYPD Detective John McClane, who is on his way to visit her.
The chasing game of cat and mouse begins as both McClane and Gruber battle for dominance over the building; breath-stopping action ensues as good and evil clash. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Gruber made the first film in the Die Hard franchise a big hit and some would dare say the most successful of the entire series. This performance put Alan Rickman on the list of the top Heroes and Villains in History at no. 46.
Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990)
This film is a loveable story we all like to see from time to time. When Nina is driven into sadness over the death of her boyfriend, Jamie, she falls into denial and nostalgia about their relationship. Surprisingly, Jamie reappears in Nina’s life again, but as a ghost which was a delightful surprise at first. Over time, the spirit Jamie begins to drive Nina crazy, and she begins to feel sadder as she wants to move forward with her life, as it isn’t right to tie herself to a ghost. With Alan Rickman as Jamie and Juliet Stevenson as Nina, this film is enjoyable all through.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
After his outstanding villainous performance as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham in this film is another reason he deserved a spot in the historical list of the world’s heroes and villains. Unlike Gruber, with intense and action-heated scenes, the Sheriff here is an entertaining villain to watch, which makes the film more enjoyable. Despite the fact that we didn’t get much Alan Rickman screen time in this film, we believe the film wouldn’t be right without him.
The film is a twist on the classic Robin Hood story, where Robin, played by Kevin Costner, returns to Nottingham to find the Sheriff and his mob in charge of the city, killing anyone who stands in their way. Robin believes it’s time for a rebellion against these injustices, so he retreats to Sherwood Forest. We know many love this version of Robin Hood; we mainly love it for including our beloved Alan Rickman.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Arguably Alan Rickman’s best performance and the best adaptation of a Jane Austin novel. Sense and Sensibility follow the trials and errors of three sisters after their father’s death, and they are left with little to no money. Two of the sisters, Elinor and Marianne, strive to find true love; someone has had his eyes on Marianne for some time. Colonel Brandon seemed dull and a bit away from her taste initially, but Marianne soon found out that his affection for her ran deep, and he was ready to commit to her for eternity. Marianne falls in love with Brandon, and so do we.
Michael Collins (1996)
Michael Collins is a dramatisation of the true story of Ireland’s Michael Collins, who fought for Irish independence, so the film isn’t historically accurate. However, Liam Neeson’s performance as Collins and Alan Rickman’s performance as Éamon de Valera, the Irish president at the time, was impeccable.
Throughout the film, Valera is portrayed almost as an enemy of Collins’ who wants the bloodshed to continue, hence objecting to every political solution Collins could come up with. Even though the primary screen time in this film is Liam Nesson’s but the plot wouldn’t work without the whimsical and cowardly portrayal of Valera, so it’s definitely one of Rickman’s right-to-the-point performances.
Controversial with a touch of comedy, Dogma is about two fallen angels that search for a way to get back to Heaven, using a loophole in the Catholic Dogma as a key. The angels Bartleby and Loki discover that their slates can be wiped clean and return to Heaven, which is a direct disobedience to God’s decision to banish them. In order to stop them, Metatron recruits Bethany to be his means of preventing Bartleby and Loki from getting what they want. Alan Rickman plays Metatron, who represents the voice of God in the film, and even though he doesn’t appear much throughout the film, his brief and gallant words resonate throughout the film.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Galaxy Quest doesn’t sound like a comedy at first, but you will find the film pretty funny as the minutes go by. Alan plays the role of Alexander Dane, an actor meeting with his fellow actors in the convention circuit of a show called Galaxy Quest. The unexpected happens when the actors run into aliens, who mistake the actors for real-life heroes, most probably because of the actors’ sci-fi-like clothes and strange make-up. The film’s outline gives the impression it’s a hardcore sci-fi film when it’s a great source of laughter, which will definitely have you appreciate Alan Rickman’s ability to ace comedy films.
The Search for John Gissing (2001)
In the film, John Gissing, played by Alan Rickman, knows that the new employee his company brought in from America is set to replace him in the London office. Unwilling to go without a fight, John sets to ruin every chance his successor might get, all in a comedic sense, which makes the film rather enjoyable to watch. The pranks John prepares satisfy all tastes, the lame and the weird. You will love to watch this film because it shows how Alan Rickman can employ his funny side in different film themes and for the loveable comedy and energy in it.
Harry Potter Films (2001 – 2011)
Severus Snape was the Potions Master, Head of House Slytherin and the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor at one point or another in the Harry Potter series, and Alan Rickman was an embodiment of Snape’s character. If you go back in time and try to imagine any other actor playing Snape other than Rickman, you would simply end up with a glitchy image.
Professor Snape’s intentions towards Harry Potter were not apparent in the beginning, but as events progressed and time went by, you’d start to see that Snape has been a part of Potter’s life for years and has kept his word to protect him until he died. Harry Potter, his friends and Hogwarts allies fight against the Dark Lord; Voldemort, to once and for all put an end to his villainous plans. Whether Professor Snape fights for the good guys or the bad guys, you’ll have to watch and find out.
Love Actually (2003)
There’s a love-hate relationship between many people and Love Actually, but that’s the thing about this film, so you like to watch it even if you hate it. The Christmas classic follows many familial, platonic and romantic relationships, but the sad part is that not all relationships in the film have a happy ending.
Alan Rickman plays Harry, a happily married man to his love Karen, played by Emma Thompson. Unfortunately, Harry succumbs to his assistant’s seductions, and they have an affair. Karen discovers the affair by finding a locket in Harry’s pocket that he had bought for his assistant, and the world comes crashing down. Heartbreaking and unexpected, but these two talented actors’ display of pure emotions will grip you until the very end.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006):
Perfume is an intense film, to say the least; it tells the story of a lonely and troubled young man known as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who has an impeccable sense of smell and used to work as a perfumer’s assistant. Grenouille sets out on a journey to recreate a scent he loves, but the problem is that the smell is of a girl he unintentionally killed. To realise his goal, Grenouille sets he needs the smell of 13 women, whom all must die, and Alan Rickman plays the father of the last woman in the puzzle.
This film is bizarre and gruesome; it’s evidence that shows how savage humans can become. Alan Rickman’s emotional performance, searching and mourning for his beloved daughter, helps to add a relatively humane feel to the film. Perfume isn’t for everyone to watch; to be true, it left us feeling anguish afterwards.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
As the evil Judge Turpin, Alan Rickman showed us that he could excel at bone-shrilling roles. Judge Turpin is Sweeney Todd’s antagonist in the film, played by Johnny Depp. Turpin frames Todd and has him sent away as he continues to pursue Todd’s wife, Lucy, eventually succeeding in luring her in, and then he takes her infant, Johanna, whom he keeps locked for years while keeping a watchful creepy eye on her. As the years pass, Sweeney Todd returns and plots revenge with his accomplice, Mrs Lovett. They lure Turpin into Sweeney’s barbershop; Sweeney succeeds in slitting Turpin’s throat before sending him off to Mrs Lovett, who adds him to one of her pies.
Eye in the Sky (2016)
Alan Rickman’s last cinematic appearance before he passed away is an emotional, suspenseful military dilemma. Rickman plays the role of Lieutenant General Frank Benson, who is overseeing an airstrike on a terrorist safehouse in Kenya, along with other highly-positioned members of the British government. However, when an innocent girl enters the safehouse, Benson hesitates between his duty as a military official and his thinking as a human. Will Benson authorise the airstrike counting the girl as mere collateral damage? Or is there another way around it? Alan’s acting and expressions powerfully portray the dilemma and touch the audience’s hearts.
Alan Rickman’s filmography includes more than 50 films, but the films we’ve chosen are so versatile that we hope they make you understand the scope of this beloved actor’s impeccable skills and, perhaps, love him even more!