Top 10 Martin Freeman Performances

Credits: Ashley Bowman Sean Harris
Written by Richard Bush It may have taken a slog across the treacherous terrain of Middle-earth for him to break into the mainstream, but what a way to do it. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 performances by actor Martin Freeman. For this this list, we’re looking at the most entertaining, impactful and significant roles by British actor Martin Freeman, from both film and TV, but we’re not including small roles or cameos. Special thanks to our users radioactivebunnies, sarahjessicaparkerth, Thejoker77, Louiehs, Adele Wilkinson, Jedimperial96, Magnus Ingemann Skulstad and Ale Luna for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Martin Freeman Performances


It may have taken a slog across the treacherous terrain of Middle-earth for him to break into the mainstream, but what a way to do it. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 performances by actor Martin Freeman.

For this this list, we’re looking at the most entertaining, impactful and significant roles by British actor Martin Freeman, from both film and TV, but we’re not including small roles or cameos. Isn’t that right, Martin?

#10: John
“Love Actually” (2003)


Rom coms are often littered with complex love triangles and intertwined stories - and “Love Actually” is no different. However, the relationship between John and Judy is hardly what you’d call average. Posing as body doubles for sex scenes, they instantly hit it off, engaging in friendly chit chat whilst in the act. Although totally comfortable with each other naked, they struggle to break the awkward romantic tension when clothed. Freeman is as charming and awkward as ever, and his nervy mannerisms suit the position, perfectly.

#9: Gary Shaller
“The Good Night” (2007)


This film delivers a surprisingly insightful look at the balance between dreams and reality. Freeman plays a musician, who with his glory days behind him, has reverted to writing throwaway jingles. Underwhelmed with his career - and his failing marriage - he becomes obsessed with a woman he has been dreaming about, and tries to discover new ways to sleep for as long as possible. This leading performance strips away some of the self-deprecating comedy Freeman’s known for, and instead gives us a true-to-life, genuinely touching character who’s unhappy with the way his life’s turned out.

#8: Paul Maddens
“Nativity!” (2009)


To the frustration of organising a children’s play next, and Freeman’s role as a bitter, underachieving primary school teacher. A former wannabe actor and all-out hater of Christmas, Mr Maddens is tasked with putting together a Nativity play in order to compete against a rival school. Here, Freeman hangs up his usually sprightly boots to play a somewhat miserable, uptight cynic, but to hilarious ends. It may only be a family comedy, but he nails it. And let’s be honest, you can totally see him as a teacher.

#7: Various Roles
“Bruiser” (2000)


To a hidden gem next and Martin’s part in a sketch show written by the likes of David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Richard Ayoade and Ricky Gervais. Appearing in numerous skits where he plays the likes of a paranoid bloke who thinks people are always judging him, an unimpressed James Bond and a douchebag builder, this early gig gave the actor an opportunity to stretch his legs and refine his awkward, but bang on comic timing. Some of the series’ best sketches are all down to Freeman.

#6: Oliver Chamberlain
“The World's End” (2013)


People can change a lot after school, but some stay exactly the same. “The World’s End” sees a group of mates return to their hometown for what turns out to be an out of this world pub crawl. Freeman is front and centre in the mismatched rabble, playing the successful, but slightly out of touch, Bluetooth-headset sporting Oliver. The sensible, suit-and-tie persona is right up Freeman’s street, and similar to his role in “Nativity!”, he pulls off the boring, goody two shoes part eerily well.

#5: Arthur Dent
“The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” (2005)


To another extra-terrestrial outing and Freeman’s incredibly British take on surviving space - whilst wearing a dressing gown. As always, Freeman excels at playing the everyman, and when he winds up on an alien spacecraft with otherworldly beings, he does what any of us would do - he panics. Bouncing off an awesome supporting cast, including Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel and Mos Def, it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role.

#4: Tim Canterbury
“The Office” (2001-03)


For many of us, this was our first Freeman fix. A witty, likeable sales rep who’s too insecure to actually explore his own potential, Tim's probably the most relatable character in the show. The character’s real charm comes in his will-they-won't-they relationship with receptionist Dawn. Clearly infatuated but too self-conscious to ever do anything about it, it’s a classic office romance. Framed by the show's mockumentary format, the whole thing is exceptionally cringe, but realistic too. And Freeman cracks his fair share of jokes as well.

#3: Bilbo Baggins
“The Hobbit” Franchise (2012-14)


To an 'unexpected journey’ with an unlikely hero, as Freeman plays hobbit adventurer Bilbo Baggins in this “Lord of the Rings” prequel trilogy. Another average guy, sort of, who has greatest thrust upon him, Bilbo is initially recruited by Gandalf as a burglar. The three films ultimately act as a coming of age for the young, well 50-year-old, Bilbo, as he gains courage, learns how to fight and becomes fixated with a certain golden ring. And Freeman plays it effortlessly, with his trademark aloofness helping to define the tone of the trilogy.

#2: Lester Nygaard
“Fargo” (2014-)


Coming in at a close second is Freeman’s critically-acclaimed role in the first series of “Fargo”, a TV adaptation based on the Coen Brothers’ 1996 film. Lester is a weedy, down on his luck insurance salesman with a verbally-abusive wife, but when a deadly drifter breezes through town, everything changes. Unanimously praised for his performance, and earning a Primetime Emmy nomination, his character morphs throughout the series, ultimately becoming a bit of an antihero. And get a load of the accent.

#1: John Watson
“Sherlock” (2010-)


To the part Freeman was seemingly born to play - right hand man to the world famous Sherlock Holmes - in this highly-praised BBC Show. Alongside the self-proclaimed “high-functioning sociopath”, it’s vital for ex-army doctor Watson to be the composed voice of reason, playing devil’s advocate to Holmes’ usually wild ideas. And Freeman plays the straight-arrow flawlessly, nervously chiming in at the first sight of one of Holmes’ unpredictable methods. Allowing us to approach each case through the eyes of a normal person, Watson brings a sense of order to their wild adventures.
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