Alan Rickman died today, and it feels like movies won’t ever be the same. I can’t imagine that anything about the following list is unique. If you poll 1oo people around my age and asked them what their favorite Alan Rickman movies are, you’ll probably get a very similar list, and yet, I feel compelled to make it anyway.
All of the following movies were influential to my childhood/teen years, and I love them greatly.
Die Hard (1988)
I don’t remember when I first saw Die Hard. I’m sure it wasn’t when I was six, but it was probably by the time I was 12 and keenly interested in the roles of Bruce Willis thanks to late exposure to Look Who’s Talking. And while Willis may be the backbone of my Die Hard love, It wouldn’t have been the same without Rickman’s Hans Gruber.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
I don’t care that Kevin Costner can’t do an English accent, this is my favorite Robin Hood movie, perhaps only second to the Disney cartoon I grew up with. Perhaps. And sure, some of that is because of Christian Slater and a Bryan Adams song, but most of it is for Alan Rickman, who had a fine line to walk as a smarmy nasty villain while also being responsible for some of the funniest, most memorable lines of the film.
I’ve never been a religious person, and even “spiritual” — the phrase of my generation — is a tenuous claim. But there are a few times in life when I can say I was closest to either of those things, and one of them, unlikely as it may be, was after seeing this irreverent Kevin Smith film about two fallen angels trying to get back into Heaven. The whys and hows of that could have been utterly confusing coming from anyone other than Alan Rickman, who served as exposition fairy, spiritual guide, father figure and grumpy assistant to/voice of God all rolled into one stylish Metatron.
If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to be spoiled, stop this clip after the Mexican restaurant.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Growing up, I was more of a Star Wars kid, but I liked Star Trek, and I loved the idea of working in television, so this movie about actors from a space show called on to save a group of aliens who built their society around said show was right up my alley. And while it was a true ensemble cast of great people, I loved Rickman’s Alexander Dane, who was just so done with but trapped in his role of Dr. Lazarus. If you want to talk personal journeys, his character probably got the biggest one, and it was glorious.
Of course, Alan Rickman has an extensive body of work that goes far beyond these mostly popcorn flicks, but these are the ones that introduced me to one of my favorite actors and will always have a special place in my heart.
Rest in peace, sir. You’ll be missed.
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