Happy Birthday Timothy Dalton & Gary Oldman – 5 Fave Roles of two of my favorite British thespians

It’s a double birthday special folks!

It’s been ages since I’ve done a birthday post. The last one I did was nearly a year ago was for Gabriel Byrne! Well, today happens to be the birthday of TWO of my favorite British thespians, Timothy Dalton and Gary Oldman! Born on March 21, fourteen years apart. Both are extremely talented, known for playing diverse roles convincingly, yet neither one has won an Oscar (what a travesty!). At least Oldman was nominated once for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Interestingly enough, both of them have played a British spy, though James Bond and George Smiley are on two opposite spectrum in terms of realism, though Dalton did strive to make Bond as grounded as possible.

So for this post, I’d like to celebrate their birthdays by posting five favorite roles from each actor. I’m throwing in TV miniseries as well for good measure.

Dalton67NAME: Timothy Peter Dalton
BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1946 (Age: 67)
HEIGHT: 6’2″
EDUCATION: Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London
Colwyn Bay, Wales, United Kingdom

Personal Quote [on playing Bond]:

“You can’t relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify with a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle. Real courage is knowing what faces you and knowing how to face it.”


James Bond, The Living Daylights & Licence To Kill

Yes this one is entirely predictable, but can you blame me? I’ll always be a card-carrying member of the Dalton-Best-Bond brigade and make no apologies for it. I admire his dedication to the role, his determination to keep Ian Fleming’s vision in his portrayal, and ultimately, his top notch portrayal. I think the fact that he’s so grossly underrated makes me like him more. I think his fans care more about this than he does, he always comes across like he couldn’t care less what people thinks, naturally his Bond is the same way. I love his defiant remark after deliberately disobeying his boss’ order in The Living Daylights:

“Stuff my orders! I only kill professionals. That girl didn’t know one end of a rifle from the other. Go ahead. Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I’ll thank him for it.”


Nevile Sinclair, The Rocketeer

If one looks up ‘charming villain,’ Mr. Sinclair’s face ought to pop up. He’s the quintessential seductive bad boy with delusions of grandeur. He’s channeling classic swashbuckling movie star Errol Flynn here and his performance is just so spot on. Effortlessly stealing the spotlight for the supposed lead actor Billy Campbell, really with a villain like Sinclair, who needed a hero?


Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre

The fact that Dalton could convincingly play someone who couldn’t be more different from each other is a testament of his incredible versatility. This is another role where a bunch of thespians have brought into life, but Dalton’s version remains my favorite. He showed such vulnerability as the ultimate Byronic hero with mercurial moods. I love that the 1983 Jane Eyre version stayed true to Charlotte Brontë’s novel, as Dalton delivered the lines so perfectly and with so much emotion. The proposal scene remains one of my favorite scenes of all time, in fact, I rewatched parts of it over the weekend and fell in love with his Rochester all over again. I’ve done a tribute of his performance in this post, so I invite you to check out some of the clips from that miniseries.


Eddie Myers – Framed

TVminiFRAMEDdvdcoverThis 1992 British TV miniseries is so massively underrated you’d be lucky if you could even find the proper dvd to watch it! The only one available in the US is the Americanized version which is edited down to about half of the 4-hour version. I couldn’t even find any photos of him in that role, only this from the dvd cover but with him sporting that wet shirt, I’d think that’d suffice, don’t you? 😉

Dalton played a con-man turned informant in this crime thriller.Though production quality is far from stellar, I love the manipulation game between his character Eddie Myers and a young, ambitious police officer played by David Morrissey. You’ll be amused to see a very young Penelope Cruz in a small role as Dalton’s lover. There’s an exhilarating heist scene towards the end of the series that shows Dalton’s Bond-esque action prowess.

Someone made this clip on Youtube that’ll give you an idea what the show looks like:

Simon Skinner, Hot Fuzz

Dalton seems to enjoy playing bad boys. He relished at the opportunity to play a slimy supermarket owner, playing up the creep factor to the fullest, complete with thin, black mustache! Who says Dalton can’t be funny, his comic timing here is excellent! His super villain Simon Skinner paired with Simon Pegg as super cop Nicholas Angel adds up to massive hilarity, everything in this movie is intentionally over-the-top, but it works! He seemed to have a lot of fun with the role here, and he lights up the screen every time he came on screen.



Prince Barin – Flash Gordon

He kind of looks like Errol Flyn here again didn’t he? I’m surprised he hasn’t actually played Robin Hood in his career! I used to have such a huge crush on him as a kid, and I had no idea who his name was and that he was going to be Bond, I was like ‘who’s that dark haired prince??’ It’s another case where I couldn’t care less for the hero, I thought Flash Gordon looked like a blond Ashton Kutcher!


Oldman55NAME: Leonard Gary Oldman
BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1958 (Age: 55)
HEIGHT: 5’10”
EDUCATION: Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom

Personal Quote [on playing George Smiley]:

“George is a man of few words. He doesn’t need the karate and the fast car and the gun. That’s what makes George dangerous, is the fact that he does blend in and he disappears. He’s the one to watch. He’s the leopard camouflaged by the jungle, ready to pounce, so its nice to play someone like that. He operates from a very unseemly passive position.”


Norman Stansfield, The Professionals

As the pill-popping corrupt DEA agent, Oldman was psychotic perfection. He’s the quintessential dirty cop, practically an evil incarnate in the way he tormented Leon and Mathilda. Yet he’s still mesmerizing to watch as the character’s so driven by his madness. It’s the kind of performance that made your skin crawl, but one you won’t soon forget.


James Gordon, Nolan’s Batman Trilogy

It’s interesting that Christopher Nolan turned to an actor with a knack for playing bad guys for the role of a wholly decent cop, the only one left in the entire Gotham. It’s brilliant casting as another actor might make the character a boring decent cop, but not so with Oldman, Gordon is an intriguing character as the sole policeman the hero could trust, with his own share of dilemma as he’s torn between his loyalty to the force and his sincere desire to serve the city and its people. It helps that he’s got a great rapport with Christian Bale, too. Gordon made the role his own as he got to do more with the role than in previous films, complete with fun one liners. “I have to get me one of those,” he quipped as Batman rode away in his awesome Tumbler!


George Smiley, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Finally Oldman’s got an Oscar nomination! He could’ve easily nabbed at least several nods for his earlier roles. It’s another transformative role like he did as Ludwig Von Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, where he’s practically unrecognizable playing a much older character. It’s what I’d call the anti-Norman Stansfield as there’s nothing over the top about his understated performance as the cool, composed and astute British spy. He’s NOT a super spy mind you, just a very good one and his grounded performance worked as he anchored the whole film. Even amongst a stellar British cast, Oldman still stands out far and above the rest.


Count Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Dracula

When Fogs asked about favorite movie monster this past week, I immediately thought of Oldman’s role in as as Count Dracula. He’s a monster to be sure, but yet he’s quite romantic with an elegant swagger, plus he’s got such scorching chemistry with Winona Ryder. He’s seductive yet utterly terrifying prince of darkness that it could easily be one of the best Dracula ever. He looks good in period garb as well, ok so maybe the princess Leia hairdo is a bit tough for anyone to pull off, but I like his long, dark, wavy locks under that top hat.


Sirius Black, Harry Potter series

I was torn between putting Beethoven or Sirius here as I love both performances. I do love the father/son relationship between Sirius and Harry and also because there’s a dualism in him. We don’t know whether he’s a good or bad guy, perhaps both, and an antihero is always an interesting character. He’s sporting that long, dark, wavy locks again that suits him so well. Of course what he did to save Harry in the Deathly Hallows made me like him more. It’s no surprise he’s one of my top 10 favorite Harry Potter characters.



Beethoven, Immortal Beloved

This seemed a tailor-made role for Oldman, playing a mad musical genius. It’s a travesty that Oldman wasn’t nominated here as he not only transformed himself physically for the role, he also captured the composer’s inner turmoil, passion and madness. The scenes of him going deaf is heart-wrenching, it’s as if we could feel his world turning silent.


Check out my previous individual tribute post for each:

Timothy Dalton Birthday Tribute  |  Chat-worthy Thespian – Gary Oldman

Well, it’s your turn to wish them a happy birthday! Now, what’s YOUR favorite role from each actor?

63 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Timothy Dalton & Gary Oldman – 5 Fave Roles of two of my favorite British thespians

  1. I haven’t seen Dalton in much (I’ve seen parts of his Bond movies but never the whole thing), but I was really impressed with him in The Lion in Winter. It was his first film I believe and he plays the king of France very convincingly. First you think he’s not much of a threat, but by the end you realize how slimey and devious he can be. It’s a great performance and he holds his own against an amazing cast of Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn, and Anthony Hopkins (also in his first movie).
    I love Gary Oldman! I’ve seen him in a lot more stuff. I really liked him as Sirius Black, also one of my favorite Potter characters. When I saw Air Force One for the first time I couldn’t even tell it was the same actor!
    Happy Birthday to both, that’s awesome they’re on the same day. Great post!!

    1. Oh Lion in Winter is a great film, good one indeed. That’d warrant an honorable mention, how could I’ve forgotten about that one! Yes he’s able to hold his own against thespians like O’Toole and Hepburn, and he’s only in his mid 20s! I wish he had the same career as Hopkins, I mean it could be by his own choice that he’d rather do more theater work but I’d love to see Dalton in more movie roles. You must watch his Bond films in its entirety, he’s just brilliant!

      Oldman is sooo versatile. I like how different each role is from the next. I should rewatch Air Force One again one of these days, never seen it properly.

  2. Wow! Timothy Dalton is 67? I didn’t realize he was quite that old. As for Oldman, you mentioned all of my favorite roles of his. I do want to throw in Air Force One. He was a lot of fun in it! Good stuff Ruth!

    1. He looks pretty good for his age I think, he’s still got that piercing eyes and that lean body. Seems like people like Oldman as a bad guy, I think Air Force One would get some more mentions here 😀

  3. PrairieGirl

    I 100% agree with all five of TDs roles, those are certainly his very best. Did you know I’ve seen all five twice? ;-D. And I could watch all of them a third time too. Happy Birthday to both TD and GO.

    1. WOW, that’s awesome that you’ve seen ’em all twice. I really should’ve included his role in Scarlet as well, sooo hunky!! It’s amazing that he could be my grandpa but I still find him sexy, ahah.

      1. PrairieGirl

        Ah, ha… I’ve only seen Scarlet once, but certainly would see it again too. Some may disagree, but he’s the next best thing to Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.

  4. So glad to see Sirius Black from my favorite Harry Potter film (still), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He was wonderful in that role. Great celebratory post, Ruth. Well done.

    1. Yay, glad to hear Michael! Yes, that might be my fave Potter movie too. Great to see him amongst other stellar Brits! So how about Dalton? What’s your fave role, is it Bond? 😉

      1. You mean outside of Mr. Pricklepants (Toy Story 3)? Hmm… probably his Neville Sinclair in ‘The Rocketeer’. He channeled an evil Errol Flynn like nobody’s business in that film.

        1. Mr Pricklepants!! Yes, he’s part of one of my fave trilogies ever, if only he had a bigger role there though. Yes, Neville Sinclair is brilliant, I watch Rocketeer mainly for him, ahah.

  5. Ted S.

    Wow Dalton is almost 70 years old! I couldn’t believe it, of course I love him as Bond and yes he’s definitely the star in The Rocketeer, one of the few action films where I was cheering for the villain instead of the hero.

    I somehow thought Oldman is older than Dalton, he’s great in every role he’s in, even though I thought he was a bit over the top in The Professional. I’ll throw in another character that I thought he’s great playing it, Drexl in True Romance.

    1. Yeah, he looks pretty good for his age. Poor Billy Campbell just couldn’t compare to him. Oh if only he’d do more movie roles. I should think he’d be perfect as Jor El, I mean he looked more like Henry Cavill than Crowe and certainly could match his screen presence!

      Ah I knew True Romance would get a mention for Oldman, but I just can’t knock down any of the five roles I’ve chosen here.

  6. My word, I actually put Oldman down as older than Dalton! I haven’t seen Dalton much outside of Bond but I love him in Hot Fuzz, he’s brilliant in that. As for Oldman, you just know what you’re going to get with him, always puts in a great performance. Great piece as always Ruth.

    1. Yeah, I think Dalton still looks like someone in early 60s. He’s still got the dashing good looks with his piercing green eyes. I love his role in Hot Fuzz, I think he was personally offered by Edgar Wright and Pegg/Frost as they’re all big fans of his as Bond. He seemed to really enjoy playing a slimy villain, ahah.

      Oldman is such a reliable actor, he’s got such a diverse resume.

  7. Awesome post! I had no idea Dalton played Mr. Rochester!
    Oldman really should have an Oscar already for Leon, he was incredible in this one. Loved his Sirius and Gordon too, people always praise Heath Ledger but I thought Oldman was the second best performance in the movie, he played a true good hero.

    1. Yes Dalton certainly did, and he’s still my favorite Rochester even after Fassy did that role. He does tortured soul so well, I just turned to mush every time I watch that scene of him holding Jane after waiting in front of her room for hours … it’s just sooo heart-wrenching.

      Yes indeed!! I think Oldman was just so instrumental in the Batman films, absolutely. People naturally like the villain but I’m glad Nolan got an actor to play a good guy in such a compelling way.

  8. I know you love the guy Ruth, but I’ve never really been a fan of Dalton. He was an okay bond but other than that I struggle to think of him in memorable role.

    I’m also shocked that there is no mention for Gary Oldman as Drexl in True Romance. That’s my favourite of his. I would also mention his on-edge character from State of Grace. Oldman is a chameleon and I’m a massive admirer.

    1. Ahah, yes I realize that Mark. That’s ok, we can agree to disagree on Dalton. For me, there isn’t a role where he’s NOT memorable as I could never take my eyes off him 😉

      As for Oldman, well I think people are gonna have different favorite roles of his because he’s just that versatile. Have you seen all five of his roles here btw? Just curious.

    2. Ted S.

      Nice mention of State of Grace there Mark, pretty underrated gangster film from the early 90s. I thought Oldman over act his role just a bit, but he seems to do that every time he plays a villain back in those days. Loved him as Drexl, again over the top acting but fits the part.

  9. Hi, Ruth and company:

    Great cinematic choices for Timothy Daltion. Always seem to prefer him as a bad guy, nemesis or heavy. Lot of depth in that direction.

    Oldman first caught my eye playing Sid Vicious in “Sid and Nancy’ back in the late eighties. What sold me on his chameleon ability was his slimy, bad toothed, dread locked pimp, Drexel Spivey in ‘True Romance’.

    His Jim Gordon fit like a glove. And he was the only possible choice to pick up Sir Alec Guinness’ mantle as George Smiley.

    1. FUNK

      Hello Jack, and your spot on with Oldman as George Smiley, be nice to see a few more come out for us to watch, in like a 3 part series something like they’ve done with the BBC Sherlock series, but I doubt that will happen.

      1. Hi, Funk:

        The BBC did a TV miniseries of “Tinker, Tailor…” and “Smiley’s People” in the 1980s. Skipping over the middle story in the trilogy, “The Honorable Schoolboy” that was centered mostly around Saigon. And focused on reporter/stringer, Jerry Westerby (Joss Ackland), The powers that be decided that filming around Saigon would be too expensive and forced the skip.

        So, history could repeat itself. With Studio Canal opting to avoid Saigon altogether.

    2. Hello Jack! Glad to see your avatar back once again. I love Dalton in both good and bad guy roles, he excels in both.

      I still to see Sid and Nancy, surprised that role didn’t get much mentions here. As someone who’s seen the original Tinker Tailor, glad to hear that Oldman was more than up to the task to fill the shoes of Sir Guinness!

  10. FUNK

    wow great post, when I first saw spot for “The Professionals” before I knew this was a Oldman post, I went like holy crap, your doing one on on the 60’s western which is one of my favorites..

      1. FUNK

        Hi Ruth, and greetings from the land of the morning calm.
        The Professionals is a classic western that hit the big screen in 1966, starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Jack Palance, Woody Strode, Robert Ryan and Claudia Cardinale, if you into westerns somewhat, give this one a shot. Jack Palance shines in this one, and the banter between Lancaster and Marvin is pretty good to. Worth a look see.

  11. happy birthday Dalton and Oldman 🙂

    Dalton looks younger than his age! I haven’t seen much of his movies, from your list I have only seen Hot Fuzz

    I like Oldman more because he has evilish look 😉

    1. Dalton definitely ages well. I think he’s one of those men who still looks good even if he lost all his hair. His piercing eyes are still so striking.

      Ahah, evilish look? I don’t know if that’s a compliment, I think he’s a nice guy in real life.

  12. Your honorable mentions are my favorites, I think. Happy birthday to both of these talented men, though! I have GOT to get on the ball and see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. 🙂

    1. Oh, so you love Prince Barin? Awesome! I’m seriously considering buying the Blu-ray just to gawk at him, ahah. You should give TTSS, the cast is stellar!

      1. I love Flash Gordon, period, end of discussion. It’s one of the greatest cult classics ever. And Dalton is pretty great too.

        Dying to see TTSS, it just has to make its way up in the Netflix queue. Maybe I’ll bump it! 🙂

  13. Can’t say I’m a fan of Dalton as I don’t think I’ve seen any of his movies (sorry) but totally agree with your picks for Oldman. I love him in those roles, especially his deranged turn in Léon. So over-the-top in a fantastic way.

    1. Well you must rectify the situation Fernando. You should watch The Rocketeer and his two Bond flicks pronto 😀

      Oldman is great in everything, lots of his roles end up being memorable because he played them.

  14. Smiley! Sirius! Inspector Gordon! Oh how I love Gary Oldman – and I’ve been dying to see him in Dracula for ages too. I am also DYING to see that adaptation of Jane Eyre you have up there. I re-watched the Cary Fukunaga film the other day, and it was just as beautiful as when I saw it for the first time…oh, two years ago!

    1. Hi Ruth! You should see Dracula and Immortal Beloved, a must for Oldman fan. Oooh, you MUST see the 1983 version of JE just to see Dalton as Rochester. I like the Fukunaga version but it left me wanting, I still prefer Dalton’s version in the role.

    1. Thanks Eric, I love both actors and only just realized they share the same birthday, so naturally I had to do a double b’day post 😀

  15. Indeed surprising that Gary Oldman has not won an Oscar, and only been nominated once by Academy. For me he should have been recognized for Dracula (1992). There’s still time on his side!
    Just saw Hot Fuzz the other day, in anticipation of The World’s End (2013). Didn’t expect to see Dalton in that!
    A belated Happy Birthday to both men 🙂

    1. It’s a travesty isn’t it? I think he was nominated for The Contender but didn’t win (how ironic given the title of the film). True, there’s still time on his side so hopefully he’ll get one eventually.

      What did you think of Hot Fuzz? Did you enjoy it?

  16. Really like both of these actors. For me Dalton’s best role is definitely Simon Skinner in Hot Fuzz, campy and great fun.

    And yes – when is Gary Oldman going to win that Oscar.

    1. I think Skinner shows that Dalton could be downright hilarious, but to me he can do any role in any genre, either action (Bond) or romance (Rochester), he delivers 😀 Let’s hope what you said about Oldman comes true!

  17. Susan Martin

    Hi Ruth! You left out Gary Oldman’s two best roles: As sid in Sid and Nancy, and as the creepy pimp in True Romance (which would be in my top 5 greatest movies ever).

    1. Hi Susan! How’re you doin’ girl? Those are good choices, but I haven’t seen Sid & Nancy and only parts of True Romance. Oldman is great in so many roles though, so versatile.

    1. Hey thanks Alex! Glad you like my picks. He certainly is versatile, yet he’s got a certain acting *style* that I like. I wish he’d get more leading roles in the future!

  18. Nice post, Ruth! I’ve only seen Dalton as Bond and Simon Skinner, so I can’t argue with those. 😉 Interesting Oldman lineup. Glad to Stansfield made it, and James Gordon is probably his most underrated performance.

    Favorite Dalton role: Bond
    Favorite Oldman role: Jackie Flannery (in State of Grace)

    1. Thanks Josh! I really need to see State of Grace now, a few people have mentioned that. You’re right Gordon gets overlooked as it’s in a superhero franchise but Oldman gave a great performance there, he definitely elevated the role.

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