Alan Rickman (1946-2016)

The death of the actor from cancer was announced today. He played a lot of villains in his career, but he was a very versatile actor and could do deft comedy, as in the film Galaxy Quest (2000) where he played a Shakespearean trained actor frustrated by being mainly identified with a popular Star Trek like TV series character.

But he will undoubtedly be remembered most for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise. In many ways his was the most central and interesting character in both the books and the films because one did not know what his motives were and whether he was as truly evil as he seemed. Here he is talking about how he played the part and how, since only three books had been written when he was cast, he dealt with playing a role where did not know the true nature of the character.


  1. Steve Cameron says

    Another sad passing. For me he’ll be most fondly remembered as Hans Gruber, villain of the greatest Christmas movie ever, Die Hard. I wonder which of the two roles, Snape and Gruber, will be his most enduring legacy.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    My favourite Rickman film is Truly, Madly, Deeply. I’m not a fan of romance films, but the script and the performances of Rickman and Juliet Stevenson raise it to a genre-transcendent level.

  3. says

    Rickman was great as the sheriff of Nottingham. C’mon!

    His best role was in Galaxy Quest, though I admit I have not watched the harry potter stuff.

  4. leftygomez says

    I’ll put in a good word for Bottle Shock, a pleasant trifle of a film but Rickman was great in it.

  5. says

    What, no love for Dogma? I know all the other films listed, but Dogma was hilarious.

    And while it’s not Rickman’s best movie, I liked Something The Lord Made. Despite the title, it’s not a religious movie. It’s a biopic about Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, who were an interesting story in themselves. The biggest problem with this film is Rickman’s British accent coming through when he’s playing a southern US doctor.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    Honest Trailers got it right just a couple of weeks ago:

    “Hans Gruber, one of the greatest movie villains of all time… which is even cooler when it’s his very first movie. Huh, seriously? WAY TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING, RICKMAN!”.

    Favourite moment has to be his acceptance speech for the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: “This’ll be a healthy reminder to me that subtlety isn’t everything.”

  7. Nick Gotts says

    One role not mentioned yet, and that probably few Americans will have seen, and in which Rickman was brilliant: the odious, oleagenous clergyman Obadiah Slope in a 1982 BBC adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s The Warden and Barchester Towers.

    What’s more, he appears to have got through his 69 years without once declaring himself a fascist, or having sex with an underage girl.

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