• Ellis Barthorpe

Ranking the roles of Ralph Fiennes

The 5 best roles of the actor Ralph Fiennes chosen by Ellis Barthorpe.

Ralph Fiennes Actor Bio

  • Full name | Ralph Nathaniel Twiselton-Wykeham-Fiennes

  • Born | 1962 (Ipswich, England)

  • Films Appeared in | 68 films

  • Oscar Nominations | 2 (Schindler's List, The English Patient)

  • BAFTA Nominations | 4 (The English Patient, The End of the Affair, The Constant Gardener, The Grand Budapest Hotel)

  • BAFTA Wins | 1 (Schindler's List)

  • Golden Globe Nominations | 5 (Schindler's List, The English Patient, Bernard and Doris, The Duchess, The Grand Budapest Hotel)

5. Victor Quartermaine

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit

Fiennes' performance in this instant Aardman classic is almost unrecognisable. When surrounded by other fantastic vocal performances such as Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Kay and of course Peter Sallis, it would seem easy to forget the villainous character, but Fiennes made it so memorable. There's an incredible comedic undertone to the money-grabbing rabbit killer, and that is majoratively down to Mr Fiennes.

4. Amon Göth

Schindler's List

Fiennes is a tremendous character actor and in his most villainous role as Amon Göth, there are little people who wouldn't despise him I'm sure. To be such a likeable actor and make an audience truly dislike you is a real testament to one's craftsmanship. He received a deserved Oscar nomination for his performance here, telling a true story with so much respect, but so much grit...phenomenal.


3. Monsieur Gustave H.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson is a tremendous auteur and Ralph Fiennes adapted to his style so well whilst playing the lead role in The Grand Budapest Hotel. His chemistry with Tony Revolori is excellent and although stern with him, Fiennes shows a clear affection to Zero Moustafa that resonates with an audience in such a peculiar way. The fact that Fiennes wasn't nominated for best actor for his role here is a real crime, he is exceptional.

2. Harry Waters

In Bruges

Although yes, another villain on Ralph Nathaniel Twiselton-Wykeham-Fiennes' lineup of Evil Knievels, this one relies so heavily on the comedic balance. This cockney character is hilarious and matches Colin Farrell's performance beautifully. What makes it such a brilliant performance is that you can tell that Harry Waters is a big deal, he just has a very dry British wit about him that makes the character even more loveable. This balance of comedy to menace is a difficult balance to find, but Fiennes as always is stellar, and finds that balance seamlessly.

1. Lord Voldemort

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows part 1 and part 2

It's no coincidence that four out of five of the characters included on this list are villains. When you have an actor like Ralph Fiennes who remaps his image, posture and all such in between to create a character, it's no wonder he keeps being cast as the antagonist. And Lord Voldemort is the most iconic of his portrayals. That ghoulish yet elegant performance is truly transforming and the way that Fiennes lowers his voice both in tone and volume makes for a menacing figure. Every hero has to have a compelling villain to stand opposite: Luke Skywalker has Darth Vader; Batman has The Joker; and Harry Potter has Lord 'Tom Riddle' Voldemort. And of all of these villainous foes, Ralph Fiennes' performance is truly one of the best.

The Dig and the future for Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes' next on screen performance will come as self-taught archaeologist and astronomer Basil Brown in upcoming Netflix film The Dig. In the film, directed by Simon Stone, Brown helps excavate burial mounds on a wealthy widow's estate. But upon their dig, they make a historic discovery. The film seems to be a different change of pace for Fiennes and one of the first older characters for the actor to be playing.

Past this, Fiennes will appear in the delayed films No Time to Die, reprising his role as M, and in The King's Man as the Duke of Oxford. Both films are expected to receive a great reception at the box office and will make 2021 a big year for Ralph Fiennes, with three films already including him in the cast list. Plus The Forgiven, directed by John Michael McDonagh is currently in production expecting to see Fiennes in one of the leading roles.

He is an outstanding actor, and I believe his best performance is yet to come; but for now, when we plunge into yet another lockdown, it is a perfect time to watch, reflect on and revisit the films that have made him so loved, and so incredibly mesmerising.

The Dig out 29th of January on Netflix

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