The 10 best Anthony Hopkins movies – from Silence Of The Lambs to The Elephant Man

9 mins read

ANTHONY Hopkins is a three-time Bafta-winning actor with a knighthood to his name.

But with a blockbuster career spanning more than 50 years, which of Anthony Hopkins‘ films should you be taking the time to watch? Here’s just a few examples of his best and most famous works.

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Anthony Hopkins is one of Britain’s greatest actors[/caption]

1. The Silence Of The Lambs

Sir Anthony Hopkins is terrifying as Hannibal Lecter in classic thriller The Silence of The Lambs
Rex Features

Where better to start than with this chilling 1991 thriller?

Hopkins masterfully plays the iconic role of Dr Hannibal Lecter – a gruesome cannibal with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.

Lines such as “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti” show an actor at the pinnacle of his profession – highlighted further by dismal efforts to remake the classic in the years to come.

Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, an FBI student determined to bring Hannibal, sitting behind bars in prison, out in the open and manipulate him to solve another case.

Clarice dangles herself in front of the psychopath to solve the case – but not without a few near-death experiences with the man-eating monster.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 95%

2. The Elephant Man

Sir Anthony Hopkins starred alongside John Hurt in this dark historical drama

This 1980 historical drama, like Silence Of The Lambs, once again places Hopkins in another scenario involving obscurity and horror.

The Elephant Man centres around the relationship between Joseph Merrick (the titular ‘Elephant Man’), played by John Hurt, and Doctor Frederic Treves, played by Hopkins.

Dr Frederic shows unwavering compassion and love by taking Merrick under his wing and showing him there is more to life than a mere genetic disorder.

The Elephant Man again received an impressive eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Leading Actor for John Hurt.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 93%

3. The Two Popes

AP:Associated Press

Sir Anthony Hopkins with Jonathan Pryce in a scene from The Two Popes[/caption]

Released by Netflix in 2019, The Two Popes is further evidence of Hopkins’ longevity in the film business.

Hopkins plays Pope Benedict in this biographical drama, starring alongside fellow veteran actor Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis.

The two figureheads of Catholicism lock horns over the future of the church in this deeply thoughtful yet humorous hit.

The Two Popes earned Hopkins numerous nominations, including Bafta, Academy Award, and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 88%

4. The Remains Of The Day

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Anthony Hopkins with Emma Thompson in The Remains Of The Day[/caption]

This 1993 romantic drama was based on a 1989 Booker-Prize winning novel – and was highly acclaimed itself, winning Hopkins a Best Actor Bafta.

Hopkins plays James Stevens, a butler who served his master, Lord Darlington, played by James Fox, through thick and thin in the 1930s.

But years later, Stevens realises his loyalty was misplaced, after learning about his former master’s shady past.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 89%

5. Shadowlands


Debra Winger in 1993 film Shadowlands in which Anthony Hopkins starred as author CS Lewis[/caption]

Hopkins once again showcases his masterful character range in this 1993 romantic drama – released just one month after The Remains Of The Day.

Hopkins portrays literary giant C.S. Lewis, famous for creating the mystical world of Narnia through his 1950s book series, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Shadowlands takes viewers on a chronological adventure through the life of the children’s author.

Hopkins was nominated for a Bafta for Best Actor for this film – but was ineligible for Academy Award consideration, due to his Best Actor nomination for Remains Of The Day.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 89%

6. Nixon


Anthony Hopkins as President Nixon[/caption]

Hopkins took on the role of ex-United States President Richard Nixon with ease in this 1995 historical drama.

Nixon details the ins and outs of the 37th President of the United States, and all his well-documented scandals, throughout his term in office from 1969 to 1974.

The film begins in Nixon’s youth – from a promising intellect with a love for politics, to the centrepiece of the monstrously famous Watergate Scandal which led to his capitulation and resignation.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 74%

7. The Lion In The Winter

This 1968 historical drama shows Hopkins in one of his very earliest film roles.

The movie won three Academy Awards, two Baftas, and two Golden Globes.

The Lion In The Winter tells the tale of King Henry II and his incredibly difficult decision of choosing his successor in the late 12th century.

Hopkins plays Richard the Lionheart, battling it out with his other two brothers for the position of future king.

The role, which was only his second film appearance, earned Hopkins a Bafta nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

It also notably stars Katharine Hepburn as Queen Eleanor.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 90%

8. The World’s Fastest Indian

This 2006 biographical sports drama only went on to return just over $18million in the box office – yet still receives high praise from critics.

Hopkins plays Burt Munro, who in 1967 takes his refurbished Indian motorcycle to the American Salt Flats in an attempt to break the land speed world record.

A far cry from roles as far-reaching Presidents or psychopathic doctors, Hopkins nevertheless takes on the whimsical role with tremendous enthusiasm.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 89%

9. Amistad

PA:Press Association

Anthony Hopkins argues the case in Amistad[/caption]

Steven Spielberg’s 1997 drama centres around La Amistad, a slave ship which is overrun by its prisoners en route from Cuba to America.

Hopkins plays former US President John Quincy Adams, helping to exonerate the slaves in an ensuing court case.

Amistad gained significant praise for its accurate and emotional adaptation of the era of slavery.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 79%

10. Magic

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Anthony Hopkins with ‘Fats’ the dummy and Sir Richard Attenborough, at a reception for Magic[/caption]

Magic may have the lowest audience rating in this list, but it certainly makes up for its score with originality and pure, twisted terror.

Hopkins takes on the role of Charles “Corky” Withers, a troubled ventriloquist who becomes a servant of his own dummy – ‘Fats’.

Directed by Richard Attenborough in 1978, Magic led to Hopkins’ nominations for Best Actor at both the Golden Globes and Baftas.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Rating: 64%

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