Alan Rickman was an actor exceptionally good at being bad. The villains he portrayed on the silver screen are not easily forgettable, and hardly anyone could match the subtle menace he could pack into a sentence, or even a word. His career is an object lesson for believing that an actor does not have to be in the leading role to be the centre of attention. When Rickman walked into the frame, everyone else just sort of faded into the shadows.

  1. Die Hard
    No Die Hard fan can get over Alan Rickman in the first of the hit film franchise. In the 1988 action thriller, Rickman set the bar so high as evil terrorist Hans Gruber, no following villain could reach in the sequels.

2. Truly Madly Deeply
In Truly Madly Deeply, as the dead cellist Jamie who cannot let go of his girlfriend, Rickman’s sensitive performance will haunt fans for ages. No one who saw the movie could figure out whether Jamie was just a figment of his fiancee’s imagination or actually real, which is just how director Anthony Minghella wanted it. Rickman’s tender portrayal captivated everyone.

3. Sense and Sensibility
Many Rickman fans would find it hard to picture him as a country gentleman, but he played the character to perfection in Ang Lee’s 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, critically appreciated as one of the best cinematic versions of the author’s works. In the star-studded cast of Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman held his own place. His Colonel Brandon was dignity personified.

4. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Besides Bryan Adams haunting melody, ‘(Everything I do) I do It For You’, and Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood American accent, movie fans will remember Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for Rickman’s hilarious turn as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Reportedly, he accepted the role on the condition he would be given free reign to interpret it as he saw fit. He proved he knew exactly what would work. No one could “call off Christmas” and draw out so much laughter as Rickman’s sheriff.

5. Harry Potter Series
For the legions of Harry Potter fans, Alan Rickman was Severus Snape. It could be no other way. In film after film in the Harry Potter franchise, Rickman continued to be the bad guy everyone loved. For any other actor, it would be hard to convey so much menace in a stare, but for Rickman it seemed effortless. No wonder fans poured out to pay tribute at Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station in London. If any villain deserved a tribute, Alan Rickman aka Severus Snape would be the man.