Gary Oldman's Birthday: His 20 Best Movies Ranked

Newsweek analyzes data from Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank Gary Oldman's 20 best movies.
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Gary Oldman's Birthday: His 20 Best Movies Ranked Newsweek

English actor Gary Oldman, who turns 61 today, is best known for his intense performances in movies such as JFK, Dracula, True Romance and Darkest Hour. Born in South London on March 21, 1958, Oldman wanted to be an actor from a young age. He left school at 16 and worked a range of jobs before securing a scholarship at an acting college.

He graduated in 1979 and soon established himself as one of the stars of the London stage. He also notched up a handful of well-received movie performances that further boosted his profile.

In 1986, he played Sid Vicious—the Sex Pistols' bassist who died of a drug overdose in 1979—in the acclaimed biopic Sid and Nancy, directed by Alex Cox. The following year, he played British playwright Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears. His performances were praised by legendary film critic Robert Ebert: "Like a few gifted actors, he is able to reinvent himself for every role. On the basis of these two movies, he is the best young British actor around."

Hollywood soon came calling and he played Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone's JFK and the blood-thirsty count in Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

In 1997, he made his directorial debut with gritty London drama Nil by Mouth. He was receiving plaudits across the board and it seemed a question of when, not if, Oldman would win his first Oscar. But fast-forward 20 years and no Oscar had materialized. Nor a Golden Globe.

Then, in 2018, what had once seemed inevitable and then all but impossible finally happened: Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour saw him sweep the Best Actor category at just about all the major awards ceremonies—Oscars, Globes, BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild and more.

Since then, Oldman's renaissance has continued. Later this year, he will star alongside Meryl Streep in Steven Soderbergh's The Laundromat, a Netflix movie about the Panama Papers. To celebrate Oldman's birthday, Newsweek has analyzed data from review aggregation websites Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb to rank his 20 best movies.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment