We lost a legend today, Alan Rickman. The man was a genius on the silver screen; the way he brought his characters to life was mesmerizing. I remember the first movie I saw him in, Die Hard, with my dad. Bruce Willis gets a lot of credit for the success of that movie, but Die Hard isn’t the classic we know today without Alan Rickman.
I wanted to do a bit of a tribute today to him, as I saw a lot of movies where he either starred or stole the show. I’m going to countdown my 5 favorite Rickman characters, in no particular order really, hoping that my fond memories of the actor will inspire some of yours too.
The Sheriff of Nottingham – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Nottingham was a real bastard, huh? The way he killed Robin’s father, the living conditions he’s created while Richard’s away, and then bullies Marian into almost marrying him; bastard might not be a strong enough word. For me, the worst was when he killed his cousin for all of his failures. Poor Guy never saw it coming and in that moment, Nottingham sealed his status as a bad guy above all bad guys.
He gets his in the end though. After hiring the Scots to do his dirty work, Nottingham is killed by Robin in the scenes climatic end fight scene. A fitting end for such a well played, evil man.
Metatron – Dogma
In this quirky Kevin Smith film, Rickman’s character is the Voice of God. He doesn’t appear all that often, but only Rickman could make his scenes memorable with the way he delivers his lines. If you’ve never seen this movie, I urge you to give it a shot, as the cast is wonderful and the story is outrageous. Jay and Silent Bob might be the stars, but Metatron was the man.
Alexander Dane – Galaxy Quest
You remember the weird movie about a TV show who aliens modeled their life over? Rickman was amazing in this movie, embracing the true disdain Dane had for being known as Dr. Lazarus. He had that awful catchphrase too – By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!
Dane wanted nothing to do with the Thermians until that fateful moment when Quellek died in front of him. At that moment he embraced his role and even uttered that stupid phrase, promising to avenge Quellek’s death. If you’ve never seen Galaxy Quest, by all means go do it now.
Hans Gruber – Die Hard
The vaunted German terrorist who takes over Nakatomi Plaza in order to steal all those bonds. Die Hard in its simplest form can be boiled down to a game of cat and mouse between McClane and Gruber.
Gruber is so calculating its scary. From determining the loss of power, which would unlock the vault, to figuring out who McClane’s wife was based on a new report (Holly), he was in control 99% of the time. Unfortunately his arrogance got the best of him at the end when he allowed himself to be distracted by McClane, never seeing the gun taped to his back. His death scene was powerful, holding on to Holly until the bitter end. When you talk about great Hollywood villains, Gruber needs to be near the top.
Severus Snape – Harry Potter
Of all the actors who portrayed JK’s beloved characters, one could argue that Rickman embodied his character the most. Honestly, who doesn’t hear the name Snape and automatically see Rickman’s face leering at Harry? Besides, his character provided some of the best moments of the series, my favorite moment is this:
Snape was a complex character, one with a tragic past of his own yet you could never feel sympathy for him. It took a special kind of actor to bring him to life, one named Alan Rickman.
Seriously, go watch Galaxy Quest. Quit hanging out here already.