With the sad passing of one of this countries best-loved and best actors, Bob Hoskins, as a tribute I present my top ten of his film roles. It won’t include the excellent Pennies From Heaven or, for that matter, On The Move, as these were TV shows but a collection of his finest hours and a top three that can automatically be predicted because, let’s face it, these three films were him at his finest. He will be sadly and greatly missed.
10. Brazil (1984)
Terry Gilliam’s 1984-esque surreal comedy had Hoskins as mechanic Spoor, a man with a terrifying grin who gives Jonathan Pryce’s Sam a pretty hard time when they turn up to fix his cooling system. Not a massive role for Hoskins but as they say, there aren’t small roles, just small actors.
9. Made In Dagenham (2010)
Feel-good British comedy drama centring around sexual discrimination in the famous car factory in the 1960’s. Hoskins played union rep Albert Passingham, a loveable foreman that suited his persona well.
8. 24 7: Twenty-Four Seven (1997)
Hoskins championed the work of director Shane Meadows and starred in his first two films, A Room For Romeo Brass and this, his debut, a tale of a local community in tatters with the youth running amok. Hoskins plays Alan Darcy, a man with a vision to change the lives of these youngsters by open a boxing club and forming a tight bond with them.
7. Nixon (1995)
While Anthony Hopkins played the lead in Oliver Stone’s biopic of the controversial president, Hopkins almost walked off with the whole picture as FBI supremo J. Edgar Hoover, proving even in a cast of extraordinary actors, he wasn’t just there for the cash.
6. Last Orders (2001)
A small-scale British drama dripping with class as Hoskins is joined by buddy Michael Caine, Long Good Friday co-star Helen Mirren and a host of other first-rate British actors in a simple tale of friends reunited after a death. Simple story tale with more than just a punch or two from the acting greats.
5. The Honorary Consul (1983)
A dark, steamy thriller based on a novel by Graham Greene that earned both Hoskins and co-star Michael Caine BAFTA nominations, in a tale of a plot to kidnap a diplomat while two men fall for the same woman. Richard Gere also starred in this oft-forgotten film with Hoskins as a crocked Colonel.
4. Felicia’s Journey (1999)
One of Hoskins’ most challenging roles as a gentle caterer who befriends a young girl, not knowing that he has a very dark and dangerous secret. Atom Egoyan’s dark drama has a superb performance from Elaine Cassidy as Felicia and Hoskins on top form as the man with a hidden past.
3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Not only a technical masterpiece with live action and animation seamlessly joined together but an excellent performance from Hoskins who spend most of his time acting opposite nothing and making us believe there was something there. Robert Zemeckis’ inventive comedy still stands up well after all these years.
2. The Long Good Friday (1980)
The film that put Hoskins on the map. A terrific British gangster movie with the actor as Harold, a man trying to make a deal with the Americans in regenerating the Docklands but meeting some dangerous opposition. Not only was Hoskins as scary as hell, the final shot in the car is one of the finest performances ever, without him saying a word.
1. Mona Lisa (1986)
A film that broke my heart, thanks to Hoskins’ impossibly brilliant performance as George, a man just out of prison, drawn into a sleazy underbelly of porn and prostitution as he chauffeurs around Simone. Hoskins’ mix of brutal and naivety is so well-balanced that by the end, you cannot help but cry. Unforgettable and proof, if it was needed, of how extraordinary he was as an actor.