Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins is considered to be one of the greatest living actors. His pure natural talent combined with his relentless commitment to every role he steps into is what makes the actor so unforgettable. Hopkins has reached a certain level of respect and acclaim in the world of cinema that people will go and see films just because the Welsh actor is in it.
Over the years, the now 84-year-old actor has gotten the chance to play some truly iconic parts. Of course, his most referenced work is the masterpiece that is The Silence of the Lambs. The last movie in history to win all Big Five Oscars, this epic 1991 thriller/horror that Hopkins starred in, alongside Jodie Foster, won him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. His portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lector is unsettling, terrifying, and overall brilliant. Most recently, Hopkins starred in the 2020 drama The Father alongside fellow Oscar winner Olivia Colman. He gives an emotional and heartbreaking performance as an elderly man battling dementia and the sometimes tragic circumstances of old age. Hopkins’ performance would ultimately lead him to win his second Academy Award for Best Actor. There are so many great Anthony Hopkins movies — here are the best of them, ranked.
8 The Elephant Man
In 1980 Anthony Hopkins starred as Dr. Frederic Treves alongside John Hurt in the historical drama, The Elephant Man. The film is based on the true story of a man named John Merrick who suffered from a congenital disorder and uses his disfigurement to earn his living. Dr. Fredric Treves finds Merrick at a show and urges him to teach London about his condition and grace the world with his compassionate soul. The Elephant Man was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture.
7 The World’s Fastest Indian
Anthony Hopkins is known for starring in dark dramas and period pieces, but The World’s Fastest Indian is one of his more lighthearted movie that everyone should see. This true story based on passion and determination may not be as critically acclaimed as the actor’s other films, but Hopkins still gives a great performance as Burt Munro, who is attempting to break a world record with his prized possession, his classic Indian motorcycle.
6 Meet Joe Black
Meet Joe Black is perhaps Anthony Hopkins’ most underrated film. He plays William Parrish, a successful businessman who, right before his 65th birthday, is approached by the spirit of death who has recently taken human form in a man that just passed away. William is trying to process this encounter and come to terms with his fate, while also realizing that his daughter, Susan, has fallen in love with death, as she previously knew the man whose body he is in. Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, and Claire Forlani give great performances in this three-hour romance/fantasy.
5 Red Dragon
Red Dragon is a psychological thriller wherein Anthony Hopkins plays his most iconic character of all time Dr. Hannibal Lector. Dr. Lector has made many film appearances, but was first introduced to cinema in the classic 1991 thriller/horror Silence of the Lambs. In this movie, the talented Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, and Emily Watson give brilliant performances alongside Hopkins. Red Dragon is definitely a fan favorite, and while critics may not have given it a huge amount of praise, audiences raved about and recommended the very suspenseful and gripping film.
4 The Two Popes
Fernando Meirelles’ The Two Popes was one of the most acclaimed and talked-about films of 2019. Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins star as Pope Francis and Pope Benedict, respectively, in this drama/comedy about the two Popes who attempt to come together and pave a future for the Catholic Church. The film received an 89% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and earned three Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor (for Pryce), Best Supporting Actor (for Hopkins), and Best Adapted Screenplay.
3 The Remains of the Day
Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson are incredible and critically acclaimed actors. When the two starred in The Remains of the Day, their on-screen chemistry was undeniable, and their performances were the best parts of this film. Based on loyalty, morals, and grappling with past mistakes, this drama/romance is very emotional work. Like many of Hopkins’ films, The Academy showed a great appreciation for the project, giving The Remains of the Day eight Oscar nominations including Best Actor (for Hopkins), Best Actress (for Thompson), and Best Picture.
2 The Father
The Father is Anthony Hopkins’ most recent work and, even at the age of 80 years old, is truly one of the actor’s best performances. Hopkins received his second Academy Award win for Best Actor in 2021 for his portrayal of Anthony, a man suffering from dementia and refusing to believe what old age is doing to him. Olivia Colman also gives a great performance as Anthony’s daughter Anne, who does all she can to help her father during this turning point in his life. The movie primarily takes place in Anthony’s home and leans heavily on the natural talent of Hopkins and Colman.
1 Silence of the Lambs
By far the best Anthony Hopkins performance is that of Dr. Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins and Jodie Foster star in the 1991 thriller/horror that is often times referred to as one of the greatest movies ever made. There are so many revolutionary aspects of filmmaking involved in Silence of the Lambs that are specific to this individual film and its director Jonathan Demme. Both Hopkins and Foster won their first Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress for their brilliant performances in addition to the film winning Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. This incredible movie is one of a kind and a film you can watch a hundred times and get something new out of it each time.