Alec Guinness - A man who took refuge within his acting.by alexanderdavies-99382 | created - 7 months ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public
One of the most versatile actors in British acting history. Alec Guinness shall forever be remembered for his gallery of characters, via film and theatre. He achieved immense success after appearing in a variety of film roles - the Ealing comedies, adaptations of Charles Dickens, Star Wars amongst others. From the early 1960s, the actor began to focus more on the theatre. He was never interested in being regarded as a film star and was determined not to feel intimidated about returning to the stage. To sum up Alec Guinness's ability in general, one of his film directors Ronald Neame stated how Guinness was perfection in terms of theatre and film. In addition, acting presented him with the chance of taking refuge from who he really was.
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1. Oliver Twist (1948)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama
An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.
Alec Guinness is still the definitive Fagin. A highly memorable adaptation that achieves maximum effect in every way.
2. Great Expectations (1946)
Not Rated | 118 min | Adventure, Drama, Mystery
A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.
Only a small role but a good one.
3. The Ladykillers (1955)
Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Crime
Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians.
Guinness is marvellously ghoulish.
4. The Man in the White Suit (1951)
Approved | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi
An altruistic chemist invents a fabric which resists wear and stain as a boon to humanity, but big business and labor realize it must be suppressed for economic reasons.
Votes: 8,095 | Gross: $0.01M
A classic Ealing film.
5. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
Approved | 78 min | Comedy, Crime
A meek bank clerk who oversees the shipment of bullion joins with an eccentric neighbor to steal gold bars and smuggle them out of the country as miniature Eiffel Towers.
Perhaps Guinness should have won the Oscar for Best Actor?
6. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Not Rated | 106 min | Comedy, Crime
A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.
Guinness walks away with the whole film.
7. Last Holiday (1950)
Not Rated | 88 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
When a lonely, unappreciated farm equipment salesman discovers he has only a few weeks to live, he withdraws his savings for a final holiday at a "posh" resort.
Slight but quite moving comedy/drama.
8. The Promoter (1952)
Approved | 85 min | Comedy
A charming and ambitious young man finds many ways to raise himself through the ranks in business and social standing, some honest, some not quite so. If he can just manage to avoid a ... See full summary »
Highly enjoyable, with great performances.
9. The Horse's Mouth (1958)
Not Rated | 97 min | Comedy
A somewhat vulgar but dedicated painter searches for the perfect realization of his artistic vision, much to the chagrin of others.
Guinness is effectively cast against type.
10. The Detective (1954)
Approved | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Works of art are disappearing, stolen by a master thief, a master of disguise. Father Brown has two goals: to catch the thief and to save his soul.
Guinness's performance greatly compensates for a slightly shaky plot.
11. Tunes of Glory (1960)
Not Rated | 106 min | Drama
After World War II, a Highland Regiment's acting Commanding Officer, who rose from the ranks, is replaced by a peace-time Oxford-educated Commanding Officer, leading to a dramatic conflict between the two.
A change of pace for Guinness, he rises to the challenge tremendously.
12. The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
Approved | 188 min | Drama, History, War
The death of Marcus Aurelius leads to a succession crisis, in which the deceased emperor's son, Commodus, demonstrates that he is unwilling to let anything undermine his claim to the Roman Empire.
Votes: 7,546 | Gross: $4.75M
Film is bland and poorly plotted. Guinness is the only cast member worth seeing.
13. Damn the Defiant! (1962)
Approved | 101 min | Action, Drama, History
On the H.M.S. Defiant, during the French Revolutionary War, fair Captain Crawford is locked in a battle of wills against his cruel second-in-command Lieutenant Scott-Padget, whose heavy-handed command style pushes the crew to mutiny.
14. Our Man in Havana (1959)
Not Rated | 111 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Jim Wormold, who is a vacuum cleaner salesman, participates as an Agent in the British Secret Service. But he soon realizes that his plans by lying are going to get him into trouble.
Rather long and a bit ponderous but still good.
15. The Comedians (1967)
Approved | 150 min | Drama
A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti, under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.
Votes: 1,688 | Gross: $5.20M
Quite effective film but the plot is hard to follow and the ending is rushed and disappointing. Guinness takes the acting honours though.
16. Situation Hopeless -- But Not Serious (1965)
Not Rated | 97 min | Comedy, War
During WW2, a lonely German air-raid warden captures two downed American airmen and keeps them prisoner in his basement way past the end of the war.
17. The Swan (1956)
Approved | 104 min | Comedy, Romance, Drama
Princess Beatrice's days of enjoying the regal life are numbered unless her only daughter, Princess Alexandra, makes a good impression on a distant cousin when he pays a surprise visit to ... See full summary »
18. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
PG | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.
Votes: 1,137,299 | Gross: $322.74M
The disdain for "Star Wars" began not long after its release.
PG | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After the Rebels are brutally overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader.
Votes: 1,068,375 | Gross: $290.48M
20. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
PG | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
After a daring mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels dispatch to Endor to destroy the second Death Star. Meanwhile, Luke struggles to help Darth Vader back from the dark side without falling into the Emperor's trap.
Votes: 874,676 | Gross: $309.13M
21. Cromwell (1970)
G | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History
Oliver Cromwell can no longer tolerate King Charles' policies, and the self-interest of the ruling class, and leads a civil war to install Parliament as the ultimate ruler of England.
Very good as Cromwell in an ordinary film.
22. A Passage to India (1984)
PG | 164 min | Adventure, Drama, History
Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.
Votes: 15,794 | Gross: $27.19M
23. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War
After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. camp commander, a British Colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors, while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.
Votes: 188,528 | Gross: $44.91M
Deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actor. Guinness is the one to remember.
24. Malta Story (1953)
97 min | Drama, History, War
In World War II, the island of Malta, strategically located and vital to supply lines in the Mediterranean Sea, is fiercely attacked by the Germans, but staunchly defended by the British.
25. The Prisoner (1955)
Not Rated | 91 min | Drama
A Cardinal is arrested for treason against the state. As a Prince of his church, and a popular hero of this people, for his resistance against the Nazis during the war, and afterward his ... See full summary »
The two leads make this film adaptation work from beginning to end. Quite a disturbing piece.
26. The Mudlark (1950)
Approved | 99 min | Drama
In 1875 London, young Wheeler (who lives by scavenging) finds a cameo of Queen Victoria, which he thinks so beautiful, he risks his life to save it. Possessed of a desire to see the Queen, ... See full summary »
27. Hotel Paradiso (1966)
98 min | Comedy
Monsieur Feydeau has writer's block, and he needs a new play. But he takes an opportunity to observe the upper class of 1900 Paris, Monsieur Boniface with a domineering wife, and the ... See full summary »
28. All at Sea (1957)
Unrated | 87 min | Comedy
A seasick sea Captain commands an amusement pier despite local opposition.
Disappointing for the most part. A good cast gone to waste.
29. The Captain's Paradise (1953)
Approved | 94 min | Comedy, Romance
The Captain of a ferry boat between the restricted British colony in Gibraltar and Spanish Morocco has a woman of differing appeal and temperament in each port.
Not much substance to the story but Guinness keeps one watching.
30. The Scapegoat (1959)
Unrated | 91 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
An English schoolteacher meets his lookalike, a French count; and unwillingly swaps identities with him.
Confusingly plotted but interesting to see Guinness and Bette Davis share scenes together.
31. A Majority of One (1961)
Approved | 156 min | Comedy, Family, Drama
A gentle love story about a Japanese businessman and widower, and a Brooklyn widow. But before a happy ending can ensue, they must learn again the lessons of tolerance, kindness, and forgiveness.
32. The Quiller Memorandum (1966)
Approved | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate.
33. To Paris with Love (1955)
Not Rated | 78 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A middle-aged widower takes his son on a trip to Paris, where they try to find wives for each other.
34. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Approved | 228 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.
Votes: 246,781 | Gross: $44.82M
35. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)
TV-14 | 290 min | Drama, Thriller
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6's echelons.
Guinness is George Smiley personified.
36. Smiley's People (1982)
360 min | Drama, Mystery
The murder of a Soviet defector forces his old handler, British spymaster George Smiley, out of retirement. His investigation leads to an old nemesis, the Soviet spymaster known only as Karla. This will be their final dance.
37. Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973)
PG | 108 min | Biography, Drama, History
A dramatization based on eye witness accounts of Hitler's final days in an underground bunker, his military henchmen, and his stormy relationship with Eva Braun.
38. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
PG-13 | 197 min | Drama, Romance, War
The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during World War I and then the October Revolution.
Votes: 65,169 | Gross: $111.72M
40. Edwin (1984 TV Movie)
90 min | Drama
Touching comedy about a high court judge, now retired to his English countryside home, who resolves to end years of suspicion about his wife's fidelity and the true paternity of their son.
41. Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972)
PG | 121 min | Biography, Drama, History
This is a dramatization of events in the life of St. Francis of Assisi from before his conversion experience through his audience with the pope, including his friendship with St. Clare.
42. Raise the Titanic (1980)
PG | 115 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
To obtain a supply of a rare mineral, a ship raising operation is conducted for the only known source, the R.M.S. Titanic.
Votes: 3,627 | Gross: $14.82M
44. Little Dorrit (1987)
G | 357 min | Drama, Romance
Arthur Clennam returns to London after working abroad for many years with his now deceased father. Almost at once he becomes involved in the problems of his mother's seamstress Amy Dorrit ... See full summary »
Votes: 961 | Gross: $1.03M
45. Lovesick (1983)
PG | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
A psychiatrist, who falls in love with a patient, is visited by the spirit of Sigmund Freud, who gives him advice on how to handle it.
Votes: 698 | Gross: $10.17M
46. Scrooge (1970)
G | 113 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
A musical retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about an old bitter miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
48. Caesar and Cleopatra (1976 TV Movie)
75 min | Drama
Julius Caesar's arrival in Egypt proves to be more than interesting to the beautiful Cleopatra, ambitious sister to the boy pharaoh.
49. Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980 TV Movie)
103 min | Drama, Family, Romance