– “After all your posturing, all your little speeches, you’re nothing but a common thief.”
– “I am an exceptional thief…”
The above exchange occurs in Die Hard, which (in addition to being the gold standard for modern action movies) marked the film debut of Alan Rickman. The beloved, commanding actor — who died of cancer Thursday at age 69 — had already distinguished himself as a superstar of the British theatre world. But it was with his iconic performance as Bill Clay Hans Gruber that Rickman stole his way into the hearts of moviegoers worldwide.
It would’ve been all too easy for Rickman to settle into a career playing haughty villains, thanks to his velvety baritone (the Voice of God!) and clipped diction. (And he did portray his share of baddies in films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Sweeney Todd.) Fortunately for us, his immense charisma and magnetism simply made that impossible. As a result, Rickman also excelled at comedy (Dogma, Galaxy Quest), romance (Truly Madly Deeply, Sense and Sensibility), and everything in between (Love Actually). It’s no accident that the actor’s best-known, big-screen work — playing the enigmatic Professor Severus Snape in eight Harry Potter movies — contains dashes of humor, villainy and pathos. You often hear about characters that audiences “love to hate.” In Rickman’s case, he made it practically impossible to hate him…no matter how “bad” he was.
We’ve actually had the pleasure of reviewing some of Rickman’s work here at UpcomingDiscs. Join us for a quick trip through our archives.
Die Hard (1988)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Snow Cake (2006)
Nobel Son (2007)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Little Chaos (2014)
If you like, share your favorite Rickman performance below. (I’m not gonna mess around with mine: “Happy trails, Hans!”)