Born in Wales, in 1937, Anthony Hopkins was made a Commander of British Empire in 1987 and knighted at Buckingham Palace in 1993 for a career dedicated to the arts. The actor was influenced by Richard Burton, another awarded and well-known Welsh actor.
Here is a list of some great movies from this brilliant and versatile actor with an intense look and one of the most singular voices in cinema history.
20. August (Anthony Hopkins, 1996)
Not an obvious choice to make into this list (Hitchcock could be easily in this place) but two main reasons were the cause: It’s directed by Mr. Anthony Hopkins himself; It’s also a glimpse we can take on his more private tastes such as literature with this adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’.
Alongside these two main factors, Anthony Hopkins gives an amazing performance as usual at a completely mature state of his career. He appears in the leading role as an intense and engaging character named Ieuan, an eloquent, engaged, bored and even sometimes, a depressed character who likes to talk about several different topics like his family, women, his future (or lack of it) in an atmospheric setting of Wales. A wonderful Vanya (Ieuan/Hopkins) version who takes place in British lands.
19. The Mask of Zorro (Martin Campbell, 1998)
Anthony Hopkins plays here an heroic character, something we’re not used to see along his career. Hopkins (or Don Diego de la Vega) plays the original Zorro intending his revenge against Don Raphael Montero (Stuart Wilson) who, 20 years ago, murdered his wife and took his daughter Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
After being released from his prison, Don Diego, who is now too old to fight, chooses Alejandro Murrieta/Antonio Banderas (who also has a revenge to take over Don Raphael’s right-hand man, Captain Harrison Love), as an apprentice and successor, passing his mask as a symbol of handing his legacy over Alejandro so he can continue Don Diego’s path of justice.
After an intense training by Don Diego in sword fighting and conduct, the new Zorro is ready to avenge his past and conquer Elena’s heart. This film is a good balance of action, comedy and romance.
18. The Tenth Man (Jack Gold, 1988)
Based on the novel of Graham Greene, Anthony Hopkins plays Jean Louis Chavel, a rich French lawyer, who, imprisoned in Paris by the Nazis during the occupation, makes a deal with other prisoner giving him all of his fortune so they could change identities to save himself of being executed, by the firing squad, due to his activities in the Resistance.
Travelling unknown, Hopkins’ character takes job as a gardener at his old house and ends up falling in love with the sister of the prisoner who indirectly (or directly) Chavel conducted to death and occupied the property. Their relationship develops without Therese (Kristin Scott Thomas) knowing who’s Chavel until one impostor (played by Derek Jacobi) comes and claims to be him.
This is an interesting and neglected gem of war drama with a splendid and sober acting by Sir Anthony.
17. 84 Charing Cross Road (David Jones, 1987)
A beautiful and overlooked movie about a true story of friendship where Helene (Anne Bancroft) and Frank (Anthony Hopkins) start their relationship in an original and charming way.
In this true story, Helene Hanff (the movie is based on her memories) builds a forty-year friendship with the workers (especially Frank/Hopkins, one of them) of a bookstore in London, based on the correspondence she start with them.
Nobody plays a repressed British man better than Anthony Hopkins, this movie and Remains of the Day (also in this list) are some great examples on that subject. His gentle and subtle way of not telling what’s in his mind while he clearly shows it by his expressions and through his eyes is really fascinating.
16. Fracture (Gregory Hoblit, 2007)
A smart thriller in form of a ‘puzzle-solving’ mystery with a dramatic build-up puts Anthony Hopkins, the smart and creepy cold-blooded wealthy man against Ryan Gosling, a young, overconfident and edgy prosecutor.
Hopkins is Ted Crawford, a rich and brilliant engineer who shoots his wife and entraps her lover. Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), the prosecutor is a slick attorney who thinks it’s a solved case, but the brilliance of Ted Crawford will prove he’s wrong (with some interesting twists along the way).
As the movie carries on, the audience may think that it is Hannibal Lecter on screen once again due to those scary eyes and fearful calm Hopkins manages to pull like no one else can.
15. Red Dragon (Brett Ratner, 2002)
Hopkins return to Hannibal Lecter shows him again in top form. Sadistic, provocative and brilliant, the character is performed by Hopkins in the same tone as his previous performance.
This time, Hopkins shares screen time with Edward Norton and Ralph Fiennes. Red Dragon is an excellent thriller with another excellent performance by Hannibal Lecter, or Anthony Hopkins, as you prefer.