Top 10 Ralph Fiennes Performances

Few actors have the expertise or the depth to play such diverse characters in such radically different movies! This actor has played everything from a drunk butler, to a mafia boss, three generations of Jewish men, a serial killer, Nazi and dark wizard. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our top 10 favorite Ralph Fiennes performances.
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Top 10: Ralph Fiennes Performances

He may be “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” just don’t call him “Ralph.” Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite Ralph Fiennes performances.

Number 10: Bernard Lafferty (Bernard and Doris)


Kicking off our list is Fiennes’ role as the self-destructive butler of the world’s richest woman. In a tale loosely inspired by actual events, Fiennes masterfully plays a gay neurotic who is dealing with alcohol addiction. Meanwhile, he also forms an unlikely bond with his boss the tobacco heiress, who comes to trust him with her billion-dollar estate.

Number 9: Harry Waters (In Bruges)


In this dark comedy crime film, Fiennes plays a gangster with principles. After sending two hit men to carry out a job in Bruges, he instructs one to kill the other, before he himself is forced to finish the job. This role provides Fiennes with incredible lines, and lets him play a likeable, albeit grumpy, villain who refuses to hold a shootout around a pregnant lady.

Number 8: Ignatz Sonnenschein/Adam Sors/Ivan Sors (Sunshine)


This epic historical drama has Fiennes playing three different generations of men within a Jewish family during the lead-up to World War II. Fiennes transitions from a successful lawyer to his son, who converts to Catholicism, to his son, who is forced to witness his father die in a concentration camp. Each role reveals new and more interesting emotions for the actor, including an insatiable lust for revenge.

Number 7: Justin Quayle (The Constant Gardener)


In one of his most subtle and most exciting screen performances, Fiennes plays a British diplomat whose outspoken humanitarian wife is brutally murdered. On a mission to uncover the truth behind her death, he travels to three continents to uproot a conspiracy involving big business. Romantic flashbacks aside, we get to see Fiennes transform from an unimposing pacifist to an unstoppable force.

Number 6: Charles Van Doren (Quiz Show)


Set in the late 1950s, this film is centered on a quiz show that encourages its annoying champ to take a dive. Fiennes walks in as the handsome and charming college professor to replace him as the star. But soon, he begins to struggle with his ethics when he is fed the questions in advance. Fiennes gives a beautiful performance in this morality tale that resonates far beyond the era in which it is set.

Number 5: The Tooth Fairy/Francis Dolarhyde (Red Dragon)


In this prequel to “Silence of the Lambs,” Fiennes plays a schizophrenic who kills during the full moon as a result of his alternate personality called “The Great Red Dragon.” His incredibly haunting performance in this film even rivals that of Sir Anthony Hopkins’ and Hannibal Lecter.

Number 4: Lenny Nero (Strange Days)


Fiennes plays a former cop turned sleazy hustler and black market dealer in this cult-favorite role. He may be selling illegal bootleg recordings of people’s experiences, but this cyberpunk morality tale features the actor in the role of an antihero with ethics. Fiennes also gives us a pretty convincing American accent and entertaining gunplay.

Number 3: Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List)


Before he portrayed a Jew swept away by war, Fiennes convincingly played a heartless and calculating Nazi SS officer assigned to build and run a German concentration camp. Oskar Schindler befriends him in order to keep the officer’s deadly suspicions at bay, but it only increases his worries. Fiennes brings history to life with terrifying malice and unthinkable cruelty, and earned an Oscar nomination in the process.

Number 2: Count László Almásy (The English Patient)


Coming in a close second is Fiennes’ role as a man so critically burnt; he can only be identified by his accent. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the film sees a romance bloom between the English Patient and the Canadian nurse who refuses to leave his side. Slowly but surely, the film reveals the character’s past, and proves that even while he’s bandaged, Fiennes is an actor capable of earning himself an Academy Award nomination.

Number 1: Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter)


Taking top honors on our list is Fiennes’ part as the Dark Lord, and archenemy of Harry Potter. As this warped villain, he grips fans of all ages with his diabolical obsession with blood purity and conquering both the wizarding and muggle worlds. While the character was inspired by such real-life monsters as Hitler, You-Know-Who is brought to life by an actor who completely loses himself in the portrayal of this evil force.

With so many terrific roles, we’re sure we’ve missed a few: what’s your favorite Ralph Fiennes performance?
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