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We lost one of the absolute greats today, when word came that Alan Rickman had passed away from cancer. His career on film lasted less than 30 years, but it includes some of the greatest and most memorable movie roles in that time. Even if the movie itself wasn't that great, Rickman was nearly always stellar. He was scary, and dangerous, and many times so completely hilarious. We’re going to miss him. At least, we have these movies, so we won’t ever forget.
5. Marvin the Paranoid Android, The Hitchhikers Guide to the GalaxyHitchhikers Guide, as a film, is nearly forgotten. If there’s any reason you remember this one fondly it’s because of Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin. He was a robot with a brain the size of a planet. He was so smart that hanging out with other life forms was utterly depressing. Rickman was actually one of the best at deadpan comic delivery. It’s one of the things we’ll miss the most.
4. Alexander Dane, Galaxy QuestAnother science fiction comic role? Apparently he was just really good at it. As Alexander Dane Alan Rickman played the Shakespearean actor who had found himself most fondly remembered for a silly television role. He hated it. And it was hilarious. Rickman was great at playing the smartest guy in the room as a comic role, because we all bought the idea that he was the smartest guy in the room. By Grabnar’s Hammer, we will miss you.
3. The Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood: Prince of ThievesRobin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a pretty silly movie. One gets the impression that Alan Rickman realized this fact early and used it as a license to have the time of his life. He’s so cartoonishly evil and over the top that he’s a joy to watch. Robin Hood has nothing on Alan Rickman. He stole this movie from the hero.
2. Hans Gruber, Die HardThe first time you likely saw Alan Rickman in a movie was actually the first time he ever was. He marched on to the screen in Die Hard and instantly looked like he belonged there. We see his ability to play the bad guy, we see his ability to be funny. It’s all there encapsulated in a single role. We knew then that Rickman was going to be great. We had no idea how great.
1. Severus Snape, The Harry Potter SeriesWas there really another place to end this list? Alan Rickman entered immortality when he was cast in the role of Severus Snape and he was the single greatest choice made throughout the series. Unlike his character from Galaxy Quest, Rickman had no problem being forever associated with this series. He loved it as much as the fans did. Nobody else could have played the role so perfectly through every single film. Nobody else is going to make us cry the next time we watch it.