GeekyNews Remembers Alan Rickman’s Greatest Film Roles

The loss of Alan Rickman this past Thursday was felt so deeply by movie fans all around the world if by nothing but the sheer magnitude of the roles he portrayed over his many years of acting. Rickman’s resume is as diverse as one could be, making his impact on cinema as great as it could ever be. Rickman was never nominated for any Academy Awards for his work, and yet his death completely overshadowed the nominee announcement that same morning. It’s clear that his presence in film will stand the test of time.

Here’s some of our favorite films of the late, great Alan Rickman:

Dogma

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Like most people my age, Harry Potter was my gateway role to Alan Rickman. But after I discovered his quiet brilliance as a teenager, I was eager to get my hands on his entire filmography. The first thing I chose was Kevin Smith’s 1999 masterpiece, Dogma. The movie had engendered quite a bit of controversy upon its release, so I thought it would be a great place to start. It was, and Alan’s role as Metatron, the Voice of God, has remained one of my favorites of his to this day. It’s one of his uniquely funny roles, but one that has a lot of heart. “I’m as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll!” remains one of my favorite lines in modern cinema, made even better by Kevin Smith’s endearing tribute on Thursday to the actor and to this scene. The movie as a whole serves as an acknowledgement of Alan’s talent, from Metatron’s acute and sarcastic sense of humor, to his captivatingly velvety voice, to his flawlessly emotive face (and in this case, wings). No one could have played that role but him. Wherever you are now, Alan, I hope the real Metatron lets you take over for a while. – Raisa

Galaxy Quest

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Alan had many great roles in his lifetime, but the first film I saw him in was actually 1999’s Galaxy Quest, aka the best Star Trek spoof of all time. As Alexander Dane, a previously Shakespearean actor who’d been type-cast ever since his role as the alien Dr Lazarus, most of Alexander’s deadpan resentment of his fame was lost on child-me until much later reviewings, but that straight-faced delivery is where Alan’s comedic acting really shined. There’s something about Alan’s perceived demeanor that makes his funny roles even more hilarious; something wonderfully Leslie Nelson about him. Every spiteful repetition of “By Grabthar’s hammer” in his monotonous timbre is so perfectly delivered that I can’t help but burst out laughing when I hear it. Not to mention, he really pulls of that headpiece. Alan might be better known for his more dramatic roles, but I truly believe that that’s what elevates his fun, comedic roles to a step above the rest. — Summer

Sense & Sensibility

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At the premiere of Alan Rickman’s film A Little Chaos in 2014, I listened as Kate Winslet (who also starred in film) told the story of meeting Alan for the first time. She was 19, on the set of Sense and Sensibility, and petrified of meeting the 48-year-old actor. In retelling the story, Kate’s knees buckled as she bemoaned how unworthy she felt to be acting alongside Alan, while the latter looked on with equal parts bashfulness and affection. (I would be remiss to fail to mention that when Alan first came onstage to introduce Kate, the two held hands for the duration of his speech.)

However, Alan immediately set Kate at ease, and the result is apparent. The 30-year age difference between the two in Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility vanishes when they share a scene. Alan’s Colonel Brandon is one of the few roles throughout the actor’s career where he portrays someone so pure of heart, entirely devoid of an ulterior motive. Brandon is a knight in shining armor, made the more believable by the youthful charm Alan casts upon the role. The viewer immediately aligns themselves with Brandon in the face of the alluring yet philandering Willoughby, crossing their fingers for a happy ending. While Brandon may be the character you end up rooting for most in the movie, it’s also a special film for the real-life connections it sparked. Besides Kate, Alan went on to write, direct, and star in a number of productions with fellow co-star and Sense and Sensibility writer Emma Thompson, a pairing that was often a favorite among audiences (see below). In a world where Alan Rickman is falsely perceived to be typecast as a villain, his turn as Colonel Brandon is usually enough to silence even the harshest of critics. — Raisa

Love Actually

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While my favorite role of Alan Rickman’s will always be as Severus Snape, I can’t help but have so much love for his role as the cheater mc-cheaterson in Love, Actually. He’s the awkward boss who goes at it with the secretary after what seems like quite a bit of flirting. Finally, the Christmas party is the breaking point and they end up together, seemingly more than once. He even ends up getting her a gift – a necklace – that his wife (played by Emma Thompson) ends up finding accidentally. While we don’t see it, we assume that she confronts him about it but that they stay together, much less happily. He regrets his actions,but the damage is done. The depth he plays this character that everyone ends up hating is amazing. Despite this being an ensemble cast where no one is really the star, he does wonders with the time he is given, often letting his face – whether its using a glance, an eye roll, or a smirk – do the talking. We see him come into the realization that he is wanted by a younger woman, accept it, and then regret his actions when he sees the hurt he has caused, and the consequence of what he’s done. Even for a character that seems to have no redeemable qualities, Rickman managed to make him interesting and even a bit likable. — Jennifer

Harry Potter

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Harry Potter is perhaps one of Alan Rickman’s largest cinematic achievements. He brought to life the character of Severus Snape, a mean and mysterious Potions professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Snape was by far one of the most controversial characters in the entire series, mostly because of the way he treated his students and the distaste he had for Harry in particular. His hatred for Harry’s father rang throughout the series, and he made sure Harry knew it. The true greatness behind Rickman’s role as Snape is how flawlessly he portrayed the “is he good, is he bad?” mystery throughout the movies. He worked closely with author J.K. Rowling to make sure he truly understood Snape’s motivations, and even became the only actor on set who knew what happened at the end of the final book before it was published. Even if you never loved Snape, you couldn’t help but feel an intense sense of loss when Rickman played his devastating final moments in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Whether or not you believe Snape to be a hero or a villain, Rickman made him an integral and iconic character in the films that captivated fans. He will be deeply missed by the entire Potter fandom. – Audri