Rowan Atkinson is one of the world’s most adored comedians, whether he is playing a droll time-traveling Blackadder or a fussy jeweler with a propensity for overzealous gift-wrapping. He is also a prolific film actor, with roles such as Johnny English, a pastiche of James Bond.
From comedic supporting roles to the larger comedies that made him a global sensation, here are the 5 greatest films starring Rowan Atkinson.
1. The Witches (2008)
After the end of Blackadder, Rowan Atkinson took on a few more roles. Among them were a few movies that showcased his physical comedy talents.
One of those movies was The Witches, a movie that followed a seven-year-old boy and his Norwegian grandmother as they fought to stop a coven of child-hating witches. The film is a highly enjoyable movie that proves Atkinson can do much more than bumbling around as the mute Mr Bean.
He also provided voice work for The Lion King, voicing Zazu, the hornbill and right-hand man of Mufasa (James Earl Jones). That movie was part of a Disney renaissance that saw the studio produce some of its most popular films. The movie was a massive success. It earned more than $246 million worldwide. It also stars a star-studded cast including Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy and Alan Rickman.
2. The King’s Speech (2010)
Rowan Atkinson has made a name for himself on British TV and with the cult film Mr Bean, but his range of movies goes much wider than that. He’s also played a verbally bumbling vicar in Four Weddings and a Funeral, voiced the red-billed hornbill Zazu in Disney’s The Lion King, and has appeared in a variety of other comedies, including Keeping Mum and Rat Race.
The King’s Speech is an Oscar-winning drama that explores what it must be like to suffer from a stammer. It features Colin Firth as the Duke of York, who spends a fortune trying to get a speech therapist to help him. This is one of Atkinson’s most important performances to date. Despite being a dramatic film, it’s still funny in parts. It’s a must-watch.
3. The Best Man (2008)
The Best Man is the story of a wedding that brings together old college friends. Taye Diggs stars as Harper Stewart, a commitment-shy writer whose new book centers on his relationships with his buddies, including Lance (Morris Chestnut) and Jordan (Nia Long).
The movie was an important one for its time as it was filmed before the US Supreme Court struck down bans on same-sex marriages. The film also starred several prominent Black actors and had a largely Black crew.
Lee says The Best Man gave a chance to many actors who wouldn’t normally be cast in non-stereotypical roles. He cites Terrence Howard, who plays acerbic Quentin, as someone who “broke out.” Other notables in the cast include Regina Hall and Michael Jeter. John Gromada composed the music.
4. The Last King of Scotland (2011)
Rowan Atkinson is a true cultural icon when it comes to British comedy. His bumbling mute buffoon persona from Mr Bean has earned him worldwide fame and millions of viewers. His acting skills have also led him to star in movies that make millions at the box office.
He was one of the key elements in the acclaimed romantic comedy film Four Weddings and a Funeral. He also wears a robe and collar as the reverend in Keeping Mum, where his character is obsessed with crafting the perfect sermon.
After his work on Mr Bean, Atkinson took a turn for the dramatic in Johnny English. He plays a dimwitted spy with an unfounded level of confidence in this spoof of James Bond. He stars alongside Natalie Imbruglia and John Malkovich. Atkinson’s face can crinkle with compassion or harden into an implacable wall of determination with ease.
5. The Invisible Man (2013)
After a successful stint on Not the Nine O’Clock News, Atkinson began taking on starring roles in television and movies. His distinct brand of physical comedy made him a household name with his trademark facial contortions.
In 1995, he teamed up with Blackadder writer Ben Elton to star as Raymond Fowler in policing sitcom The Thin Blue Line. The funny repelis film spawned two sequels, and Atkinson’s performance continues to shine in the role today.
After the end of the show, audiences waited for more from the bumbling British secret agent. Luckily, Mr. Bean got another movie in the form of the hilarious Bean’s Holiday. The movie grossed over $251.2 million at the box office. It also starred Emma de Caunes and Willem Dafoe. Hopefully, the next Bean film will be equally as good!