Some celebrities are rich with fame and fortune, while others are flooded with passion and legacy. Anthony Hopkins is in the latter group.
I was a 7-year-old whose family didn’t pay attention to the MPAA ratings when I first watched the psychological horror film “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991). In the Jonathan Demme classic, Hopkins portrays menacing serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who helps young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) hunt another killer.
Despite my young age, I don’t remember feeling scared of Hopkins’ wicked turn. Did I recognize that he wasn’t a “good guy”? Yes. However, his smooth and calm line deliveries were hypnotic, entrancing me into his world of cannibalistic dread without creating a caricature of the character.
A critically lauded performer whose career has spanned over 60 years, Hopkins has worked alongside legends including Katharine Hepburn (“The Lion in Winter”) and Emma Thompson (“Howard’s End” and “The Remains of the Day”). In addition, he’s a bankable star in the top 100 of highest-grossing worldwide leading men, with over $4.2 billion in total ticket sales.
His big break in film came with his portrayal as Richard the Lionheart, the eldest son of Henry II (Peter O’Toole) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn) in Anthony Harvey’s historical drama “The Lion in Winter” (1968).
Never tied to one particular genre, he has shined in horror flicks like “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) and “The Wolfman” (2010), biopics such as “Shadowlands” (1993) and “Nixon” (1995), and dabbled in the superhero space with “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) and the “Thor” franchise.
After winning best actor for “Lambs,” more acclaim from the Academy was bestowed upon him with “The Remains of the Day” (1993), “Nixon” (1995), “Amistad” (1997), “The Two Popes” (2019) and “The Father” (2021), for which he earned his second Oscar for best actor, becoming the oldest person ever to win for acting.
Hopkins is still a formidable force in the industry, coming off a year with two supporting turns in James Gray’s “Armageddon Time” and Florian Zeller’s “The Son.” Next on the docket, Hopkins will play British humanitarian Nicholas Winton, who rescued children from being murdered in Nazi Germany, in the biographical drama “One Life” co-starring Johnny Flynn, Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce. He’ll also have a voiceover role in Zack Snyder’s anticipated “Rebel Moon” from Netflix.
To celebrate Anthony Hopkins’ birthday on Dec. 31, below The Hamden Journal ranks the 19 best film performances of his career so far.
Honorable mentions: “84 Charing Cross Road” (1987), “Meet Joe Black”(1998), “Hannibal” (2001), “Red Dragon” (2002), “Bobby” (2006), “Hitchcock” (2012), “Armageddon Time” (2022), “The Son” (2022)