MCM: Aidan Quinn


Snark Week was fabulous, but it’s over! To help us all through that painful transition, let us take comfort in the fact that there are beautiful men in historical costume movies and TV series — like Aidan Quinn. He hasn’t been as active lately, but he’s apparently “having a moment” playing Teddy Roosevelt. And I ALWAYS love his pretty, pretty eyes. So, please to enjoy!


The Mission (1986)

A Jesuit missionary works in eighteenth-century Paraguay. Quinn plays Robert de Niro’s younger brother, and there are romantic entanglements.

1986 The Mission


1986 The Mission


Crusoe (1988)

Quinn plays the famous fictional character, stranded on a desert island — although this production resets the action to first decade of the 19th century.

1988 Crusoe



Avalon (1990)

The story of several generations of a Polish/Jewish immigrant family from the 1910s through the 1950s. Quinn plays a second-generation immigrant who assimilates in the 1940s.

1990 Avalon

Love them high-waisted trousers!


The Playboys (1992)

Set in the 1950s, and about an unwed young mother whose life is transformed with the arrival of a troupe of actors to her Irish village. Quinn plays Tom, one of the actors.

1992 The Playboys

With Albert Finney.


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Did you remember Quinn was in this? He plays the Arctic explorer who comes across the mysterious Victor Frankenstein, bookending the flashback story.

1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein


Legends of the Fall (1994)

Fork in the eye time! A family is torn apart when a woman arrives to marry one of three brothers in World War I Montana. Quinn plays eldest brother Alfred.

Legends of the Fall 1994

He’s a Good Guy(TM).

Legends of the Fall

Hence the boater!


Haunted (1995)

Quinn plays an American parapsychologist who goes to an English country house to help out the family, including Kate Beckinsale, with possible ghosts in 1928.

1995 Haunted


1995 Haunted

That’s a great jacket on Beckinsale!


The Stars Fell on Henrietta (1995)

Quinn plays a small town Texas man who is told has oil on his land in the early 20th century.

1995 The Stars Fell on Henrietta

Let’s hope he occasionally cleans up?


Michael Collins (1996)

The biopic about Irish revolutionary, soldier, and politician Michael Collins; Quinn plays Harry Boland, an Irish republican politician who served as President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood from 1919 to 1920.

1996 Michael Collins

A line up of nice suits? Just ignore Julia Roberts.


Forbidden Territory: Stanley’s Search for Livingstone (1997)

As journalist Henry Morton Stanley, who famously searched central Africa for missionary/explorer David Livingstone in 1871.

1997 Forbidden Territory- Stanley's Search for Livingstone

A guy in a pith helmet. | (Photo by Bob D’Amico /Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

1997 Forbidden Territory- Stanley's Search for Livingstone

That’s Nigel Hawthorne as Livingstone (Photo by Bob D’Amico /Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

1997 Forbidden Territory- Stanley's Search for Livingstone

With (I think) his fiancé.


Songcatcher (2000)

A charming movie about a musicologist (Janet McTeer) researching and collecting Appalachian folk music in the mountains of western North Carolina in 1907; she gets entangled with a local musician (Quinn).

Songcatcher (2000) 2000 Songcatcher


The Prince and the Pauper (2000)

A TV movie adaptation of the Mark Twain Tudor-set story. Quinn plays “Sir Miles Hendon,” who cares for Edward, Prince of Wales (in disguise).

2000 The Prince and the Pauper

It’s not BAD?

2000 The Prince and the Pauper

Better with a hat, but what’s that jacket fabric??


Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor (2003)

As General Benedict Arnold, famed for switching sides during the American Revolution.

2003 Benedict Arnold- A Question of Honor

Looks like they clipped on a ponytail to his modern hairdo. | Courtesy Everett Collection

2003 Benedict Arnold- A Question of Honor

Not loving her lace. | Copyright: imago/EntertainmentPictures


Song for a Raggy Boy (2003)

Late 1930s Ireland, Quinn plays a newly arrived teacher at a cruel Irish reformatory.

2003 Song for a Raggy Boy


Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2003)

About a real-life famous golfer (zzzz). Quinn plays another real-life golfer, Harry Vardon.

2004 Bobby Jones- Stroke of Genius

I can only find this behind-the-scenes shot.


Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)

As real-life Senator/Representative Henry L. Dawes, who worked to assimilate Native Americans in the 1880s.

2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

He looks very presidential.

2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

LOVE this!


Jonah Hex (2010)

Upgrading to president Ulysses S. Grant, a minor role in this DC comics/post-Civil War action movie.

2010 Jonah Hex

I buy it!


The American Guest (2021)

Another presidential role, this time as former president Theodore Roosevelt.

2021 The American Guest

Great White Man exploring the wilderness — I’m hoping this is a comedy?

2021 The American Guest

With Dana Delaney as Edith Roosevelt.


Do you have fond memories of Aidan Quinn?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

12 Responses

  1. Jillian

    I don’t know if this counts, but he was also in an episode of American Playhouse, an anthology series on PBS. He played Chris Keller in ‘All My Sons’, based on the Arthur Miller play, from the series American Playhouse

  2. mmcquown

    Wow! I didn’t realise Quinn had done so many historicals. Fave is Haunted, because it’s one of those sneaky ones that gets you when you’re not looking, and was the first time I saw Kate Beckinsale.

  3. Lynelle

    There aren’t really any fabulous costumes but he did play a lawyer in Evelyn (2002) in 1955 Dublin.

  4. EA Gorman

    Thank you for mentioning his eyes. Such a lovely shade of blue, and so expressive.

  5. jane gardiner

    doesn’t meet current rules, but I just know Desperately Seeking Susan is going to be a top resource for historical fashion fairly soon . . . I was a kid then, and it already feels like a completely different world !

  6. Rochelle

    Love him in Avalon, love him in The Playboys, love him in Songcatcher (and hell, for good measure, love him in Elementary and Practical Magic). Just love him!

  7. Nzie

    Hm, some of these look like I should put them on my (increasingly long) list. I didn’t remember him being in The Mission, but his presence is relatively brief. That said, it’s a truly wonderful film, with one of the most beautiful scores. The film I recall him most from is Looking for Richard, where he has the part of the future Henry VII in some of the staged readings (it’s a great documentary about how actors approach Shakespeare–also highly recommend).

    Also, looking at his face approximately 20 times in a row now, does he not look quite a lot like Mikhail Baryshnikov? I know the accent differences might’ve been challenging, but it’s almost criminal they don’t seem to have been cast as relatives in anything. (Of course Baryshnikov being primarily a dancer could also be part of it, but gosh they look so similar!)

  8. Aleko

    That Tudor gown looks suspiciously like a repurposed institutional blanket – youth hostel, army barracks, that kind of thing.

  9. Lily Lotus Rose

    Like someone else said, I didn’t realize he had so many historical film credits. He is a good actor and sooo easy on the eyes. And yes, like you, I think his are soo beautiful and mesmerizing. Aside from his looks, I like his voice too. Good MCM choice!