Anthony Hopkins’ 10 Most Overlooked Roles

Anthony Hopkins is famous for his turn as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, but that's not to say that it is his only memorable role.

Sir Anthony Hopkins’ 50 years long acting career has had more than a handful of iconic performances, but with his towering and Oscar-winning role as Hannibal Lecter looming over his career, it’s easy for audiences to forget the other 85 movies Hopkins took part in.

Often considered one of the best actors of his generation, Hopkins has maintained a steady flow of award-winning performances, starting off his seventh decade in the business strong with his eighth Golden Globe nomination for his role in Florian Zeller’s The Father. With such a large back catalog of performances, it’s easy to overlook some, but, with an actor this talented, it’s safe to say there’s more than a handful of truly great performances fans might be missing.

10 The Elephant Man

Anthony Hopkins portrays Frederick Treves, a doctor who takes pity on the horrifically disfigured John Merrick throughout his short life. Directed by surrealist David Lynch, it remains one of the director’s more straightforward films, with a steady structure and real heart, but still one of his best.

Mostly forgotten by the moviegoing public, and possibly overlooked due to John Hurt’s amazing performance is John Merrick, Anthony Hopkins heartbreaking and supremely empathetic performance is one of his career-best.

9 Hitchcock

In one of the actor’s most transformative roles, he plays real-life director Alfred Hitchcock, widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.

With such a specific look and mannerisms, it would be incredibly easy for a lesser actor to fall into caricature, but Hopkins manages to put on the director’s famous voice and cadence of speaking without losing the humanity behind the man that few have seen.

8 Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation of Dracula is already underrated enough to warrant its own discussion, but Hopkins’ performance, along with his iconic voice for the narration, acts as the perfect foil to Gary Oldman’s terrifying and eccentric performance as Count Dracula.

The movie’s mixed reviews and seemingly weak lead performance from Keanu Reeves lead this horror gem, along with Hopkin’s killer performance, to be mostly ignored. However, fans of the actor and gothic horror will find this film to be a pleasant surprise.

7 Surviving Picasso

While not a critical darling, this story of the famous artist’s infamous relationships, and abuses, is surely not as bad as critics in 1996 thought. With James Ivory’s typically lovely and romantic direction, the film is unusually effective for a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.

With Hopkins acting off of Julianne Moore and Natascha McElhone, he gets the opportunity to deliver an understated performance that may have been given more praise if the film was daring enough to really go after the demons of the famous painter.

6 Magic

Another terrifying performance by a man who seems to deliver them in his sleep, this largely forgotten Richard Attenborough thriller about Corky, a failed magician on the verge of losing his mind, and his ventriloquist dummy Fats, who doesn’t approve of his new relationship.

An early performance with a surprisingly young-looking Hopkins, Magic gives Hopkins the chance to give a fun and exceedingly creepy performance in a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

5 Howard’s End

One of James Ivory’s absolute best, this Edwardian drama finds its distinguished cast of actors, including Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Vanessa Redgrave, all turning in iconic performances. However, it’s Hopkins’s role as the straight-faced Henry Wilcox that deserves a re-evaluation after being ignored by pretty much every awards ceremony in favor of his equally talented costars.

4 The Lion In Winter

Astonishingly his first performance in a feature film, Hopkins gets the opportunity to act opposite Katherine Hepburn, widely considered to be one of the greatest actors of all time, at the height of her notoriety in a performance that would earn her a third Oscar win.

That’s not to overlook his other costar, Peter O’Toole, a seven-time Oscar nominee also regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time. Clearly, this film was a sign of things to come for the young actor.

3 84 Charing Cross Road

This 1987 British drama finds Anne Bancroft starting a long-distance relationship with a book store owner based in London, Anthony Hopkins. While never actually meeting, the film follows them through their lives and hardships all while maintaining their correspondence.

A slight, sweet drama that takes place during WWII, the film finds two great actors the chance to turn in subtle performances only reserved for films like this. Guaranteed to pull at the heartstrings, it’s a rare chance for Hopkins to portray a more sensitive side.


The second film in Oliver Stone’s American Presidency series, Nixon acts as another chance for Hopkins to show his chameleonic acting abilities as the titular president.

Though it granted Hopkins another Oscar nomination, the film bombed at the box office and went on to be mainly forgotten by the filmgoing public, especially after Frost/Nixon and Frank Langella’s Oscar-nominated performance. However, for fans of Stone and political thrillers, it’s an absolute much watch, even if just for Hopkins alone.

1 The Bounty

This chance to see Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Daniel Day-Lewis, Mel Gibson, and Liam Neeson all in one movie is both completely underrated and a must-watch for lovers of historical dramas.

Another film forgotten due to its box office underperformance, this lively drama is an exciting opportunity to witness some great actors on screen together before their real breakthroughs, except for Olivier who was already a legend by the time he signed on to this film.

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