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The 10 best Anthony Hopkins movies, ranked

He's known for Hannibal Lecter, but Anthony Hopkins is an all time great in other roles.

Anthony Hopkins
Gordon Correll / Flickr

Anthony Hopkins is one of the most respected and celebrated actors to have ever lived. From historical figures to fictional serial killers, Hopkins has an undeniable grasp of the pulse of his characters’ personas. He sinks his teeth into the meat of a role, delivering his lines with a punch and his facial expressions with subtlety and vitality. Even in his 80s, the actor has turned in some of the best performances of his career. A late bloomer, the best Anthony Hopkins movies have come in his middle age. These are the best Anthony Hopkins movies of all time to stream on Netflix, Max, and more!

10. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

10. Thor: Ragnarok
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett
Directed by Taika Waititi

Thor: Ragnarok feels different from other Marvel movies. The third film in the Chris Hemsworth series incorporates a much lighter tone while also creating a sense of dread. Hopkins plays Odin, the king of Asgard, for the third time in as many movies. His chemistry with Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston stands out, as does his ability to seamlessly play a supporting character in a superhero movie series, something other esteemed actors might not always enjoy taking on. Hopkins’ willingness to try franchise work and prestige films alike separated him from his peers of the 1980s and onwards.

9. Nixon (1995)

9. Nixon
Genre Drama, History
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe
Directed by Oliver Stone

Richard Nixon started his political career with a bang and flamed out in an equally disastrous manner. Anthony Hopkins plays political figures so often it must feel like a normal Tuesday every time he steps into the role of a president or an ancient royal. This biopic, directed by Oliver Stone, captures many of the tumultuous events of Nixon’s presidency and the fallout from Watergate. Hopkins received another Academy Award nomination for this role, but the movie didn’t do well financially at the time and has slipped through the cracks since the 1990s. Time for a rewatch!   

8. Magic (1978)

8. Magic
Genre Drama, Horror, Thriller
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith
Directed by Richard Attenborough

Long before Anthony Hopkins took the horror world by storm with Silence of the Lambs, he gave a precursor to his greatness in the genre with Magic. A movie about a ventriloquist with a creepy doll who eventually becomes more lifelike than anyone could have ever imagined, Magic is perfect for horror season and for any fan of movies like Child’s Play. A hint of romance in the film adds to the atmosphere and intrigue. This is one of Hopkins’ earliest roles that received adulation.

7. Howards End (1992)

7. Howards End
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins
Directed by James Ivory

Howards End features many of the most decorated actors of the 1990s, such as Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter, next to Anthony Hopkins in a classical story of British culture and familial relationships. The movie is based on the book of the same name by E. M. Forster. Hopkins once again proves he fits next to anyone, either as a lead actor or a supporting one, although Thompson is the one who got the Oscar love.

6. The Two Popes (2019)

6. The Two Popes
Genre Drama, Comedy, History
Stars Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins, Juan Minujín
Directed by Fernando Meirelles

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce verbally spar and bond in this movie about Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. Even if you don’t like films about religion or the Catholic Church, The Two Popes gives an enthralling and fascinating look at the politics and the inner importance of the Vatican in the scheme of European culture. The Pope will always be one of the most influential voices in the world, and the movie makes sure audiences understand how this position and the people who occupy it feel while in office. 

5. The Lion in Winter (1968)

5. The Lion in Winter
Genre Drama, History
Stars Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins
Directed by Anthony Harvey

Seeing Anthony Hopkins in his early 30s feels weird, so take a time travel machine back to 1968 and see the legend in his earliest acting days in The Lion in the Winter. Hopkins plays Richard, one of the sons of King Henry II, who is vying for position as the next monarch in 1100s England. Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole combined with Hopkins for some of the best talent ever put on screen in the 1960s. This is a true historical fiction classic.

4. The Remains of the Day (1993)

4. The Remains of the Day
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, James Fox
Directed by James Ivory

Anthony Hopkins plays opposite of Emma Thompson yet again in The Remains of the Day. Hopkins plays a butler who undergoes an epiphany after the person he served for years dies. He must evaluate his own moral code and what the value of his life is when considering the views of his former master. Hopkins received an Academy Award nomination for this role.

3. The Elephant Man (1980)

3. The Elephant Man
Genre Drama, History
Stars Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
Directed by David Lynch

The Elephant Man is an unforgettable and dramatic story about the life of Joseph Merrick, a man who lived his entire life with birth defects that limited his ability to live a fulfilling life. Hopkins plays Frederick Treves, the doctor who helps audiences see Merrick’s heart and humanity, letting audiences into the soul of a man who deserved much better treatment than being put in circuses and sideshows.

2. The Father (2020)

2. The Father
Genre Drama
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss
Directed by Florian Zeller

Anthony Hopkins won his second Academy Award for his mesmerizing performance as an older man living with dementia. The Father gives a voice to elderly people all over the world and asks the audience to listen and learn. Olivia Colman also deserves praise for her turn as Hopkins’ character’s struggling daughter.

1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

1. The Silence of the Lambs
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn
Directed by Jonathan Demme

There’s no doubt that Hannibal Lecter is the most iconic character in Anthony Hopkins’ repertoire. The Silence of the Lambs feels different from other horror movies. With little to no special effects and a more psychological feel to the horror than modern movies in the genre, Hopkins is perhaps the person we remember most when the credits roll. A special shoutout should be given to Jodie Foster for playing one of the most heroic female protagonists ever. Many other actors have tried to play the cannibalistic killer, but Hopkins’ performance feels that much more real.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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