Gary Oldman, Or GTFO: 10 Quintessential Gary Oldman Roles

By Gabe Toro and Sean O'Connell 2014-07-15 05:22:40discussion comments
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This week, the too-chatty Gary Oldman stars in Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes. It's yet another role for him in a big blockbuster where he's asked to make something out of not much. His family gone, his civilization destroyed, all he has is a rage against his new ape overlords. He brings strength as well as grief to this part, infusing a stock villain character with pathos and a masculine tragedy.

Oldman's been bringing dimension to movies for decades now, however. And despite what he's said in the past, he's really no snob, bouncing back and forth between smaller and bigger films. At this point, the guy's done everything, so when we decided to break his career down into 10 standout performances, we really struggled to weed out the great stuff from the almost-as-great material. We also decided to spice it up with five roles from Oldman's smaller films, and five from his bigger, more well-known efforts.

True Romance
True Romance
Oldman Plays: Drexl Spivey

Why It's Quintessential Oldman: Because Oldman requires just one scene to own an entire movie. Well, fake dreadlocks, a lower baritone to his voice and juicy Quentin Tarantino dialogue is all Gary Oldman needs in his single scene to steal True Romance away from the incredibly colorful cast of characters populating Tony Scott’s black comedy. Oldman plays a Detroit pimp – because, of course – who holds the "rights" to Alabama (Patricia Arquette). He meets his maker early on in the picture, ordered to be assassinated by an Elvis Presley apparition – because, of course. But Oldman somehow casts a long shadow over an ensemble that includes noted scene-stealers Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt and Val Kilmer (playing The King). Hollywood has spent years trying to figure out how best to use Gary Oldman, a versatile British anomaly who seems comfortable in the most uncomfortable of skins. True Romance reminded the industry that trying to pigeonhole Oldman as any particular type is fruitless. He’s good at everything because he can play anything.
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