x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Anthony Hopkins: 10 unforgettable roles

From the dark role that launches his career to arguably the most famous crooked American politician, Anthony Hopkins's four decades of film have produced several memorable roles.

Anthony Hopkins, in the title role of Oliver Stone's "Nixon," dances with Joan Allen, who played former first lady Pat Nixon.
Anthony Hopkins, in the title role of Oliver Stone's "Nixon," dances with Joan Allen, who played former first lady Pat Nixon.

MAGIC (1978) The character actor and star of television films made his big-screen breakthrough as a lead actor in this Richard Attenborough thriller. Hopkins's dark turn as Corky the psychotic ventriloquist foreshadows his later scene-stealing as a certain cannibalistic psychiatrist.

THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980) Hopkins plays a sympathetic doctor who rescues and tries to lend dignity to the hideously deformed title character in this drama based on the true story of Joseph Merrick. The film was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.

THE BOUNTY (1984) In the fifth film version of the 1789 mutiny on the Bounty in the South Seas, Hopkins portrays Captain Bligh to Mel Gibson's Fletcher Christian. The film got mixed reviews, generally earning praise for its historical accuracy and realism, but disappointment in its distinguished cast, which included Laurence Olivier, Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson.

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Hopkins won the Best Actor Oscar for his tour de force as the cannibalistic serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter, and the film swept the four other major Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Actress (Jodie Foster) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Portraying the mind-manipulating psychiatrist let him excel in both his preparation and improvisational skills, and he reprised the role in the sequel Hannibal (2001) and in the prequel Red Dragon (2002).

HOWARDS END (1992) In the third Merchant-Ivory production of an EM Forster novel, Hopkins stars in a tale of class relations at the end of the 20th century with Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter and Emma Thompson. The film and its cast earned much critical acclaim, and Thompson won the Best Actress Oscar.

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (1993) Hopkins displays his stage discipline in the utter focus and emotional repression of the butler Stevens, who sacrifices his all to service and realises too late that he let the love of his life (Thompson, co-starring again) slip away. The Merchant-Ivory film was nominated for eight Academy Awards but won none.

LEGENDS OF THE FALL (1994) In a sprawling story of love, betrayal, corruption and family bonds in the US West, Hopkins is both taciturn and emotional as Colonel Ludlow, starring with Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn as two of his conflicted sons. He gets to ham it up as a stroke victim with a scrunched-up face, slurred speech and a pronounced limp in the second half of the film.

NIXON (1995) Critics either loved or hated Hopkins's portrayal of the US President Richard M Nixon in this Oliver Stone biopic, with some saying he nailed the complex and flawed character and others saying he veered off into camp. Hopkins received a Best Actor Oscar nomination and the film got largely positive reviews, although it was a commercial failure.

AMISTAD (1997) Hopkins astounded the cast and the director Steven Spielberg by memorising a seven-page courtroom speech and delivering it in one take. He got his second Oscar nomination for playing a US president, this time John Quincy Adams, who (after his term in office) passionately defends African slaves who mutinied aboard the ship Amistad in 1839.

THE MASK OF ZORRO (1998) Hopkins plays Don Diego, the original Zorro, to Antonio Banderas as his hand-picked successor in what the US critic Roger Ebert called "probably the best Zorro movie ever made". Hopkins relished the swashbuckling action role, quite a change of pace for him.