Top 10 Gary Oldman Scenes

Credits: Richard Bush Sean Harris
Written by Richard Bush Good cop, bad cop, vampire, punk rocker. Quite the CV. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Gary Oldman scenes. For this list, we’ll be counting down the most memorable moments from the acting career of Gary Oldman - up to but not including Darkest Hour - from the outright emotional to the downright intense. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Gary Oldman Scenes


Good cop, bad cop, vampire, punk rocker. Quite the CV. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Gary Oldman scenes.

For this list, we’ll be counting down the most memorable moments from the acting career of Gary Oldman - up to but not including Darkest Hour - from the outright emotional to the downright intense.

#10: Hands Up
“State of Grace” (1990)

In what is an incredibly bleak film about gangsters, Gary Oldman’s Jackie Flannery supplies a few moments of comic relief, with this scene in particular being a hilarious highlight. Showing Sean Penn’s Terry Noonan his stashed decoy hands in the fridge, Flannery goes on to tell him how their fingerprints can be used to throw off the cops. But as he tries to explain himself, he can’t help but crack up. Teasing Terry with the hands, they both end up in bits.

#9: The Oswald Interview
“JFK” (1991)

Oldman gets a fair bit of screen time in 1991’s “JFK”, but we wanted to draw attention to this short interview snippet. Bombarded by journalists after being accused of assassinating Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald is questioned about his involvement. And Oldman’s likeness to him is uncanny - with familiar facial expressions and speech patterns that prove the actor clearly did his homework. And in 30 seconds or so, he totally sells us on the character. At a glance, you may be fooled into thinking it’s archive footage of the man himself.

#8: Karla
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (2011)

This multi-award winning espionage film isn’t the smash, grab, explosive spectacle you may expect, but its charm comes in its subtlety, with gripping moments littered throughout. One of which is Oldman’s Karla speech as George Smiley. Playing out more like a touching, theatrical monologue, Smiley relives an encounter with his nemesis - and the room seemingly disappears around him, with the camera fixed on his face, and his thoughts. A perfect example of exactly the right words, delivered by exactly the right actor.

#7: Product Demonstration
“The Fifth Element” (1997)

From serious to silly next, and Oldman’s outing as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, a futuristic villain with bad hair and an inferiority complex. In this scene, he’s showing off a new weapon of his own creation, the ZF-1 - a gun with more gadgets than a swiss army knife. And it’s the charismatic way in which Oldman plays it, clearly getting off on the ingenuity of his new invention, rambling on like a dastardly version of Q from James Bond. You’ve got to love that flame thrower.

#6: A Shave
“Bram Stoker's Dracula” (1992)

Floating around in classic vampire get-up could easily come off as a little cheesy, but Oldman manages to instill terror rather than farce. Take this scene for example. Walking in on Keanu Reeves’ Jonathan Harker whilst he’s shaving (let’s not talk about the accent), he instantly puts us all on edge, lurking behind him, straight razor in hand. The uncomfortable closeness, subtle hand gestures, and the slow, melodic accent - together with atmospheric lighting - is enough to send a chill up anyone’s spine.

#5: Apartment Raid
“Léon: The Professional” (1994)

To one of Oldman’s most sinister roles, and his part as corrupt, pill-popping DEA officer Norman Stansfield. Breezing into all of his scenes like a ticking time bomb, this raid on an apartment is by far the most destructive. Storming through, a room at a time, picking people off one by one, it’s not just that he’s killing people, it’s that he’s clearly enjoying it. And the weird thing is, we kind of love to hate him. There’s only a handful of actors who can pull that off.

#4: Domestic Life
“Sid and Nancy” (1986)

Although this 1986 film shows us key stages in the relationship between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, it’s the fly-on-the-wall moments that are most memorable. Thanks to the electric chemistry between Oldman and Chloe Webb, who play the tragic couple, watching them laugh, joke, bicker and moan at each other is intoxicating. This scene in particular is a rollercoaster of emotion, from jokes in the kitchen to physical violence in just a few seconds.

#3: Reason With a Tiger…
“Darkest Hour” (2017)

Bringing to life wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Oldman sports a fat suit and a stormy scowl as he dominates every second of screen time in this electric, Oscar-nominated performance. But this scene in particular gets our vote. With Lord Halifax looking to surrender to German forces, Churchill’s determination to persevere boils beneath the surface, as he winces and fidgets in his chair, until he can’t hold back anymore. And it’s all topped off with an angst-filled analogy.

#2: Drexl Negotiates
“True Romance” (1993)

Oldman’s take on the pimp Drexl in this crime flick, written by Tarantino, is proof that that he can be simultaneously hilarious and terrifying, and completely unrecognisable. When Christian Slater’s Clarence ventures into Drexl’s dingey crib, and ultimately threatens him, the scar-faced kingpin stays cool as ever, casually finishing off his meal. But don’t let the leopard print fool you - he’s one seriously scary dude. And after he’s done listening to what Clarence has got to say, he completely loses it. And we thought Dracula was frightening.

#1: Suicide Attempt
“Chattahoochee” (1989)

The fact that this film is based on the true story of war veteran Chris Calhoun, a soldier with post-traumatic stress syndrome, makes this scene all the more saddening. Attracting the attention of police officers and holding himself up in a house, the film starts with Oldman’s character Emmett, confused and scared, assessing his options. Ultimately deciding to commit suicide, the scene doesn't play up to typical blaze of glory Hollywood expectations. It’s unsensational, heart-breaking and truly difficult to watch.
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