From playing the honorable Commissioner Jim Gordan in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy to starring alongside Colin Firth and Tom Hardy in Tomas Alfredson’s 2011 drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Gary Oldman has portrayed some of the most memorable characters in cinematic history.
“You can not reason with a Tiger when your head is in its mouth.” ~ Winston Churchill
Join us as we pay homage to the Academy Award-winning actor by highlighting his 20 greatest films of his career. Enjoy!
20. The Book of Eli (2010)
Synopsis: Thirty years after war turned the world into a wasteland, a lone warrior named Eli (Denzel Washington) marches across the ruined landscape, carrying hope for humanity’s redemption. Only one other man (Gary Oldman) understands the power of what Eli carries, and he is determined to take it for himself. Though Eli prefers peace, he will risk death to protect his precious cargo, for he must fulfill his destiny to help restore mankind.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson, Michael Gambon, and Tom Waits
Directors: Albert and Allen Hughes
19. Hannibal (2001)
Synopsis: Seven years have passed since Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) escaped from custody. The doctor is now at large in Europe. Mason Verger (Gary Oldman) remembers Lecter too, and is obsessed with revenge. Verger was Dr. Lecter’s sixth victim, and though horribly disfigured, has survived. Verger realizes that to draw the doctor into the open, he must use someone as bait: Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore).
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Ray Liotta, Frankie Faison, Giancarlo Giannini, and Francesca Neri
Director: Ridley Scott
18. Immortal Beloved (1994)
Synopsis: This biography chronicles the life of infamous classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven (Gary Oldman) and his painful struggle with hearing loss. Following Beethoven’s death in 1827, his assistant, Schindler (Jeroen Krabbé), searches for an elusive woman referred to in the composer’s love letters as “immortal beloved.” As Schindler solves the mystery, a series of flashbacks reveals Beethoven’s transformation from passionate young man to troubled musical genius.
Starring: Bernard Rose, Gary Oldman, Isabella Rossellini, Valeria Golino, and Jeroen Krabbé
Director: Bernard Rose
17. Romeo Is Bleeding (1993)
Synopsis: Jack Grimaldi (Gary Oldman) is a cop who offers tips to the Mafia for money, and cheats on his loving wife with a young mistress. His life changes when an Italian mob boss, Don Falcone (Roy Scheider), asks him to kill Mona Demarkov (Lena Olin), a Russian assassin. But Mona escapes from Jack’s grasp at every opportunity, leaving him to face dire consequences, dragging him into a lethal game of cat and mouse and manipulating him into carrying out otherwise unimaginable acts.
Starring: Lena Olin, Gary Oldman, Juliette Lewis, Annabella Sciorra, Roy Scheider, Will Patton, Michael Wincott, James Cromwell, Ron Perlman, David Proval, and Dennis Farina
Director: Peter Medak
16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Synopsis: Now in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that many in the wizarding community do not know the truth of his encounter with Lord Voldemort. Cornelius Fudge, minister of Magic, appoints his toady, Dolores Umbridge, as Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, for he fears that professor Dumbledore will take his job. But her teaching is deficient and her methods, cruel, so Harry prepares a group of students to defend the school against a rising tide of evil.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Evanna Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, and Brendan Gleeson
Director: David Yates
15. The Contender (2000)
Synopsis: When the sitting Vice President dies, Senator Laine Hanson is chosen by the President to be the first woman to hold the office. The selection meets with opposition from members of both parties, in particular a powerful political adversary who will seemingly stop at nothing to discredit her. Her confirmation hearings set off a firestorm of controversy as shocking secrets from Hanson’s past are revealed, threatening her personal life as well as her political future.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Sam Elliott, Christian Slater, William Petersen, and Philip Baker Hall
Director: Rod Lurie
14. State of Grace (1990)
Synopsis: Gone for a decade, Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) is welcomed back into the fold in his Irish-American neighborhood in New York City. A one-time street tough, Terry is now an undercover officer targeting crime boss Frankie Flannery (Ed Harris). In the name of duty, Terry rekindles his dormant friendship with Frankie’s younger brother, Jackie (Gary Oldman). But as Terry gets closer to his goal, his feelings for the youngest Flannery, his old flame Kathleen (Robin Wright), complicate his mission.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Sean Penn, Robin Wright, Ed Harris, John C. Reilly, John Turturro, and Joe Viterelli
Director: Phil Joanou
13. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Synopsis: Ten years after simian flu wiped out much of the world’s homosapiens, genetically enhanced chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his ever-growing band of followers have established a thriving colony just outside San Francisco in Muir Woods. Meanwhile, a small band of human survivors emerges, which forces Caesar — as leader — to grapple with the dual challenge of protecting his people and re-establishing a relationship with the remaining human population — the latter being Caesar’s secret wish.
Starring: Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Gary Oldman, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval, Keri Russell, Judy Greer, and Jason Clarke
Director: Matt Reeves
12. The Fifth Element (1997)
Synopsis: In the 23rd century, a New York City cabbie, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), finds the fate of the world in his hands when Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) falls into his cab. As the embodiment of the fifth element, Leeloo needs to combine with the other four to keep the approaching Great Evil from destroying the world. Together with Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) and zany broadcaster Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker), Dallas must race against time and the wicked industrialist Zorg (Gary Oldman) to save humanity.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Ian Holm, Maïwenn, and Tommy Lister
Director: Luc Besson
11. Air Force One (1997)
Synopsis: After making a speech in Moscow vowing to never negotiate with terrorists, President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) boards Air Force One with his family (Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews) and advisers. When a group of terrorists led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman) hijacks the flight, the President’s principles are put to the test. Feigning escape, ex-solider Marshall stows away in the aircraft and must race against time to rescue his family and everyone else on board.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Liesel Matthews, Wendy Crewson, William H. Macy, and Dean Stockwell
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
10. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Synopsis: Count Dracula, a 15th-century prince, is condemned to live off the blood of the living for eternity. Young lawyer Jonathan Harker is sent to Dracula’s castle to finalize a land deal, but when the Count sees a photo of Harker’s fiancée, Mina, the spitting image of his dead wife, he imprisons him and sets off for London to track her down.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Sadie Frost, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Tom Waits, and Monica Bellucci
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Synopsis: Harry Potter’s (Daniel Radcliffe) third year at Hogwarts starts off badly when he learns deranged killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison and is bent on murdering the teenage wizard. While Hermione’s (Emma Watson) cat torments Ron’s (Rupert Grint) sickly rat, causing a rift among the trio, a swarm of nasty Dementors is sent to protect the school from Black. A mysterious new teacher helps Harry learn to defend himself, but what is his secret tie to Sirius Black?
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Michael Gambon, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, and Timothy Spall
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
8. JFK (1991)
Synopsis: This acclaimed Oliver Stone drama presents the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy led by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner). When Garrison begins to doubt conventional thinking on the murder, he faces government resistance, and, after the killing of suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman), he closes the case. Later, however, Garrison reopens the investigation, finding evidence of an extensive conspiracy behind Kennedy’s death.
Starring: Jim Garrison, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, Joe Pesci, Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek, John Candy, Ed Asner, Walter Matthau, Laurie Metcalf, and Michael Rooker
Director: Oliver Stone
7. Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
Synopsis: The life and tragic death of British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman) is chronicled in this biographical film. When the young, attractive Orton meets the older, more introverted Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina) at drama school, he befriends the kindred spirit and they start an affair. As Orton becomes more comfortable with his sexuality and starts to find success with his writing, Halliwell becomes increasingly alienated and jealous, ultimately tapping into a dangerous rage.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters, Wallace Shawn, and Lindsay Duncan
Director: Stephen Frears
6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Synopsis: In 1970s England the head of MI6, Control (John Hurt), dispatches an agent (Mark Strong) to meet with a Hungarian general who knows the identity of a Soviet spy in the organization’s ranks. However, the mission goes wrong, and the general dies before he can reveal the information. Undersecretary Oliver Lacon (Simon McBurney) calls veteran agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman) back from forced retirement to ferret out the mole and stop the flow of vital British secrets to the Russians.
Starring: John le Carré, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Ciarán Hinds, and Toby Jones
Director: Tomas Alfredson
5. Sid and Nancy (1986)
Synopsis: Following their breakout success in England, flagship punk rock band the Sex Pistols venture out on their first U.S. tour. Temperamental bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) takes his troubled girlfriend, Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), along for the ride. Along the way, the couple’s turbulent relationship strains the patience of bandmate Johnny Rotten (Andrew Schofield) and manager Malcolm McLaren (David Hayman), while plunging Sid and Nancy into the depths of drug addiction and co-dependency.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, David Hayman, Debby Bishop, Andrew Schofield, and Xander Berkeley
Director: Alex Cox
4. Léon: The Professional (1994)
Synopsis: Mathilda (Natalie Portman) is only 12 years old, but is already familiar with the dark side of life: her abusive father stores drugs for corrupt police officers and her mother neglects her. Léon (Jean Reno), who lives down the hall, tends to his houseplants and works as a hired hitman for mobster Tony (Danny Aiello). When her family is murdered by crooked DEA agent Stansfield (Gary Oldman), Mathilda joins forces with a reluctant Léon to learn his deadly trade and avenge her family’s deaths.
Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, and Danny Aiello,
Director: Luc Besson
3. The Dark Knight Trilogy
Batman Begins Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he’s trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. When Ducard reveals the League’s true purpose — the complete destruction of Gotham City — Wayne returns to Gotham intent on cleaning up the city without resorting to murder. With the help of Alfred (Michael Caine), his loyal butler, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born.
The Dark Knight Synopsis: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has been able to keep a tight lid on crime in Gotham City. But when a vile young criminal calling himself the Joker (Heath Ledger) suddenly throws the town into chaos, the Caped Crusader begins to tread a fine line between heroism and vigilantism.
The Dark Knight Rises Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, the arrival of a cunning cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a merciless terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not be able to win.
Starring: Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson, Marion Cotillard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Katie Holmes
Director: Christopher Nolan
2. Darkest Hour (2017)
Synopsis: A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, and Stephen Dillane
Director: Joe Wright
1. True Romance (1993)
Synopsis: A comic-book-nerd and Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) and a prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fall in love. Clarence breaks the news to her pimp and ends up killing him. He grabs a suitcase of cocaine on his way out thinking it is Alabama’s clothing. The two hit the road for California hoping to sell the cocaine, but the mob is soon after them.
Starring: Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, James Gandolfini, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Rapaport
Director: Tony Scott