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8 Alan Rickman Characters That Will “Always” Remain in Our Hearts

We celebrate legendary English actor Alan Rickman’s most memorable roles in film

Riddhi Chakraborty Jan 15, 2016
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Although known most by those who grew up watching him bring sardonic humor and hostility as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series, Alan Rickman had cemented his place in our hearts long before the start of the new millennium with several iconic performances. While veering towards mostly villainous roles, he redefined them as extremely intellectual characters with angst and motive, causing audiences to often root for the bad guy. Here are eight of Rickman’s characters that were especially loved and lauded.


Hans Gruber, Die Hard, 1988

Rickman crafted a suave, eloquent evil mastermind with Hans Gruber and made a distinct change in the way villains are portrayed in films.


Colonel Brandon, Sense and Sensibility, 1995

One of Rickman’s most unforgettable roles, the noble Colonel Brandon made a special impact on audiences because of his kind, patient and loving nature. Until now a lot of Rickman’s roles had been negative and playing Colonel Brandon cast him in a new light.


Severus Snape, the Harry Potter Film Series, 2001-2011

With Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone [2001] began what was possibly the most memorable and iconic role of Rickman’s career, making him a household name worldwide. Professor Severus Snape was a core character in the eight-film series, closely connected to protagonist Harry Potter’s [Daniel Radcliffe] life in complex ways that were only made clear in the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Rickman spent years developing details the character and making it completely his own to tremendous success. Co-star Radcliffe shared a post on social media following the news of Rickman’s passing, remembering the actor’s talent, kindness and great sense of humor:

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Judge Turpin, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2007

This dark and intense musical Tim Burton thriller saw Rickman take on the role of the heinous Judge Turpin who is then finally killed by Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd. It also gave the actor the chance to sing show off his unique, deep voice.


Jamie, Truly, Madly, Deeply, 1990

Rickman plays the ghost of Nina [Julia Stevenson]’s dead boyfriend who comes back to help her move on and find love again. Sweet, slightly infuriating and charming, Jamie was a landmark role for Rickman, highlighting his ability to play various vastly different characters.


Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet, 1978

Unknown to many, Rickman had started his film career by playing the role of Romeo’s infamous adversary Tybalt in the 1978 BBC Shakespeare production.


Harry, Love, Actually, 2003

Featuring an ensemble cast, Love, Actually focuses on different people and their stories of love, heartbreak, family and friends. Rickman played the character Harry who almost destroys his relationship with his wife Karen [Emma Thompson] by getting involved with another woman, before realizing how much his wife means to him.


Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 1991

Rickman’s brilliant and convincing role as the primary antagonist, the Sheriff of Nottingham, in this critically acclaimed film won him a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor in 1992.

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