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Patrick Stewart’s 10 Best Movies, Ranked


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Summary

  • Sir Patrick Stewart is a versatile actor who excels in embodying a variety of characters, effortlessly transitioning between roles.
  • Stewart’s performances in films like “The Prince of Egypt” and “X2: X-Men United” showcase his ability to bring depth and nuance to his characters, even in animated and superhero films.
  • Stewart’s portrayal of iconic characters such as Professor X in “Logan” and Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” demonstrate his charisma, emotional range, and ability to make the characters his own.

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Sir Patrick Stewart may be best known for playing Professor X and Jean-Luc Picard in recent years, but he has proven himself capable of embodying many great characters in the movies that best define his career. As with most British actors, Stewart has a background not only in theater, but also in television and film, and it’s for those films that he has become the most recognized. Within these performances, he has showcased the ability to play a myriad of parts and easily transitioned between taxing roles.

As such an iconic figure with a distinctive voice, Stewart may be easily recognized in the roles he takes on, but he is also able to disappear into his work so that the character is what shines. He got his start on the stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company in England and was quickly distinguished for his work in the theater. When he took on the role of Picard in the Star Trek revival, it was an interesting pivot for his career, but ultimately a successful one, as he was able to broaden his work and abilities.

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10 The Prince Of Egypt (1998)

As Pharaoh Seti

Stewart was able to flex his Shakespearean muscles in the role of Pharaoh Seti in The Prince of Egypt as he is a fearsome ruler who exercises his power and influence over those around him. Although it is not the largest role in the film, Stewart makes it memorable, and the shadow of this powerful father figure haunts Moses (Val Kilmer) for the rest of his life. He has an assertive presence in the film, which helps the audience understand why Moses was captivated by his teachings and beliefs for so long. The film is an excellent example of Stewart’s ability in voice work and his contribution to children’s media.

9 X2: X-Men United (2003)

As Charles Xavier

Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier aka Professor X in X2

X2: X-Men United

Release Date
May 2, 2003

Director
Bryan Singer

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
134 Minutes

Writers
Zak Penn , David Hayter , Bryan Singer

Budget
$110–125 Million

Distributor(s)
20th Century

Of the central X-Men franchise films from the early 2000s, X2 stands out because of Stewart’s prominent role as Charles Xavier aka Professor X. One of the best parts of the film is the chemistry that Stewart has with his friend turned nemesis, Magneto (Ian McKellen). The two actors play off each other beautifully, and the film develops their relationship, allowing Stewart’s performance to have additional depth.

In playing Professor X, an actor could easily let the history of the character do the work, or the fantastical elements of the movie carry the drama, but Stewart does neither. He portrays Professor X with all the weight and empathy as any other character. Even with the high stakes of world-ending villains around him, he treats the dynamics between characters with the same importance as if the film were an interpersonal drama.

8 Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind (Released: 1984) (English Dub: 2005)

As Lord Yupa

Lord Yupa in Nausicaa and The Valley of the Wind

Though there is some debate over how Studio Ghibli films should be watched; with subtitles or dubbed in English, Stewart’s voice as Lord Yupa is a fantastic performance. In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Lord Yupa is an important person in Nausicaä’s (Alison Lohman) life and illustrates the balance that a person can find with nature while also being capable of protecting themself. The role is an extension of the fatherly and mentor-like figure that Stewart has come to be known for, and this is only elevated by the setting and stakes of the film. Even within an unrecognizable world, Stewart makes Yupa a comforting and familiar presence.

7 The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

As Merlin

Patrick Stewart as Merlin in The Kid Who Would Be King

The Kid Who Would Be King

Release Date
January 25, 2019

Director
Joe Cornish

Cast
Rebecca Ferguson , Louis Ashbourne Serkis , Patrick Stewart , Nick Mohammed , Nathan Stewart-Jarrett , Dean Chaumoo , Tom Taylor , Angus Imrie , Rhianna Dorris , Denise Gough

Rating
PG

Runtime
120 minutes

Main Genre
Adventure

Writers
Joe Cornish

Budget
$59 million

In the recent adaptation of the Arthurian legends, The Kid Who Would Be King, Stewart plays Merlin, the great wizard who must set Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) on his quest for greatness. However, Stewart is only one-half of Merlin and sometimes is shown in a younger teenage form. This dichotomy is a reminder of the mystical origins of the story, and Stewart is the perfect choice to be a fading reminder of what the stories of King Arthur once were. Though the movie is a more child-friendly spin on the legends, Stewart is a highlight and connects the modern story with the age-old lessons of goodness and truth.

6 Green Room (2015)

As Darcy Banker

Green Room

Release Date
April 15, 2016

Director
Jeremy Saulnier

Rating
R

Runtime
95 minutes

Writers
Jeremy Saulnier

Budget
$5 million

Studio(s)
A24

Stewart was terrified of his own character in Green Room, but the chilling Darcy is not the only aspect of the film to be feared. The high-adrenaline film follows a punk band that performs at a neo-Nazi-owned bar and is then held hostage and hunted down after witnessing a murder. Darcy is the mastermind behind the violent and gory events of the film. He is a cool and meticulous presence in the film, making his actions all the more horrifying. The irredeemable man was a departure for Stewart, but he makes an excellent villain. Neither the audience nor the characters question his resolve and thirst for blood.

5 The Lion In Winter (2003)

As King Henry II

Patrick Stewart as Henry II and Glenn Close as Eleanor in The Lion in Winter 2003

The Lion in Winter might have been made for television, but it has the performances and prestige of any great film adaptation of a stage play. Stewart plays King Henry II in the wake of the death of his oldest son, as he must bring his family together to choose a new successor. Like any great play, the heart of The Lion in Winter is the family dynamics and small interpersonal struggles that play out under the surface of great decisions of state and country.

Stewart perfectly embodies a man who is simply an aging father but is seen as a mythic figure of divine power and might. The way he handles the pressure and feels the weight of his decisions is subtle but effective. Though not his best performance in a stage play adaptation, it is a highlight that should not be forgotten.

As Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: First Contact. Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

There are many examples of Stewart’s performance as Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek franchise, but Star Trek: First Contact is his best. The film is one of the most effective in the franchise because of Stewart’s emotional performance, and the lore that it adds to the canon of the stories. Within the plot, Picard and his crew must prevent the Borg, an alien race, from stopping the human race from making their “first contact” with alien life.

Although the film involves time travel and intricate scientific plot points, it’s Picard’s journey to heal himself and come to terms with his history with the Borg that makes the film so compelling. Through his performance, the greater narrative of humanity’s evolution and life among the stars. Additionally, the film has been credited as a major step for the films of the franchise to carry more cinematic weight, and not feel like special episodes of the television series.

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3 A Christmas Carol (1999)

As Ebenezer Scrooge

Patrick Stewart in A Christmas Carol

It seems that Stewart cannot escape playing iconic characters in adaptations of famous works, but he is always able to make the part his own and bring something new to the table. This is the case in the 1999 iteration of A Christmas Carol in which Stewart portrays the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge. Having a strong actor play Scrooge is a vital part of any adaptation of the story, as the audience spends the entire narrative with him.

His journey from cold-hearted to filled with joy and empathy must be believable. Luckily, Stewart is the perfect person for this task. He’s charismatic enough to make the story worth watching, and harsh enough to make his redemption exciting. Through his work, this edition of the story is one of the best.

2 Logan (2017)

As Charles Xavier

Wolverine looking after Professor X in Logan

Logan

Release Date
March 3, 2017

Rating
R

Runtime
137 Minutes

Budget
$97–127 million

Studio(s)
20th Century , Marvel

Distributor(s)
20th Century

The Professor X that the audience meets in Logan is quite different from the one that had come to be known in the previous films of the franchise. That’s because Logan is a different kind of superhero narrative, and Stewart’s Professor X is a prime example of how to play an ailing figure of strength. In the film, Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is caring for Xavier, a reversal of the dynamic they had many years ago.

Both Stewart and Jackman represent different points in the timeline of a fading hero, and each takes different approaches to dealing with it. Though he still retains his mutant abilities, Professor X suffers from dementia, and Stewart encapsulates this difficult position with delicacy and grace. The film is a bittersweet and fitting farewell to Stewart’s Xavier, and nothing less would be expected after so many years of beautifully creating the character.

1 Hamlet (2009)

As Claudius

Stewart and David Tennant came together in a filmed version of the stage adaptation of Hamlet that they performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Stewart plays Claudius, Hamlet’s (Tennant) uncle, and the central villain of the play. The adaptation modernizes the familiar story, but each member of the cast is faithful to the words and sentiments expressed by Shakespeare in the original. Though Tennant has the most to do as the titular Hamlet, his performance would not be half as impactful without Stewart’s work. He plagues Hamlet and is in complete control of the situation. In his greatest role, Stewart embodies a perfect villain.

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