I will fully admit that my love of Christopher Plummer stems 100% from his Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. The guy is dapper as all get out, and I love the cranky hardline character who is softened by luuuuuuv (and musical numbers) but still noble and patriotic. Of course, Plummer has been in many other films and TV shows, many of them historical! So let’s give him a little love.
Little Moon of Alban (1958)
An Irish nurse falls in love with an English soldier (Plummer) during World War I.
Wind Across the Everglades (1958)
About bird conservation in early 20th century Florida. Plummer plays “Walt Murdock” in his first leading film role.
A Doll’s House (1959)
A TV movie adaptation of the 1879 Ibsen play.
The Prisoner of Zenda (1961)
A late 19th century-set story about an Englishman who impersonates his cousin, the king of a fictional European country.
Cyrano de Bergerac (1962)
A TV movie adaptation of the famous 17th century-set play.
Hamlet at Elsinore (1964)
A TV movie adaptation of the Shakespeare play, filmed at the Danish castle (Elsinore) in which the story is set.
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
As Roman Emperor Commodus in this story about the decline of the Roman empire.
The Sound of Music (1965)
If this needs introduction, we can’t be friends. Ok, ok, as the singing Captain von Trapp in this musical set during the very beginning of World War II in Austria.
Triple Cross (1966)
Based on a real-life British double agent, Eddie Chapman (Plummer), during World War II.
The Night of the Generals (1967)
A murder mystery that jumps between World War II (in which Plummer plays Field Marshal Erwin Rommel) and the 1960s.
Oedipus the King (1968)
As Oedipus in the ancient Greek tragedy.
Battle of Britain (1969)
A film about, shockingly, the Battle of Britain during World War II. Plummer plays a squadron leader in the Royal Canadian Air Force (side note, Plummer is Canadian!).
Lock Up Your Daughters! (1969)
Based on a 1959 stage musical that is itself based on a 1730 Henry Fielding comedy (“Rape Upon Rape” – yeah, we can’t use that title). I SO WANT TO SEE THIS, if only because Plummer plays “Lord Foppington,” which is just about the best name EVER.
The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969)
Based on a play, Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro goes to the Inca Empire (modern day Peru), where he gets to know Inca leader Atahualpa (Plummer in brownface – NOT OKAY). Plummer had played Pizarro in the stage version, which is much more appropriate casting. Because I am weird, I actually tried to watch this last week, but the Amazon copy is SUPER low quality, I quickly discovered there were no women’s costumes to evaluate, and while I think it may have been an early attempt at a slightly more nuanced view of indigenous Americans, it’s very obviously Of It’s Time.
As the Duke of Wellington in this story of the famous Napoleonic War battle.
Conduct Unbecoming (1975)
1880s, British India, a woman accuses a soldier of trying to rape her. Plummer plays “Major Wimbourne.”
The Assassination at Sarajevo (1975)
As Archduke Franz Ferdinand in this film about the beginning of World War I.
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
As author Rudyard Kipling in this story of two British soldiers on the lam in India, and who are mistaken by the locals for a god and a king (because non-Western people are credulous, right? < sarcasm).
Aces High (1976)
A week amongst an air force squadron in World War I. Plummer plays a British captain.
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
As King Herod Antipas in this TV miniseries about Jesus.
Silver Blaze (1977)
As Sherlock Holmes in this TV movie.
Hanover Street (1979)
As the husband of a woman who falls in love with an American pilot during World War II.
Murder by Decree (1979)
As Sherlock Holmes in this feature film.
As Sir John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada, in a TV movie about Métis (indigenous Canadian) leader Louis Riel.
Somewhere in Time (1980)
As the manager of Jane Seymour‘s actress character in this Edwardian-set time traveling romance.
As Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt fortune and father of Gloria Vanderbilt.
The Thorn Birds (1982)
I don’t quite understand exactly how this works, but the books on which this is based tells the story of an Australian family from 1915-69. Apparently at some point a woman falls in love with a priest. Plummer plays an archbishop, who I can only guess Doesn’t Approve.
The Scarlet and the Black (1983)
As German Colonel Herbert Kappler in this TV biopic about Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a real-life Irish Catholic priest who saved thousands of Jews and escaped Allied POWs in Rome.
An adaptation of a Danielle Steele novel about a woman traveling between France and America at the outbreak of World War II. Plummer plays “Armand DeVilliers.”
The Boy in Blue (1986)
As the businessman backing late 19th-century competitive rower Ned Hanlan (played by Nicolas Cage, and let me tell you, Google image this. It’s worth your while).
A Hazard of Hearts (1987)
As the father of Helena Bonham Carter‘s Regency-era heroine, who gambles away his daughter’s hand in marriage and fortune.
A Ghost in Monte Carlo (1990)
An adaptation of a Barbara Cartland novel set in late 19th century Monaco. Plummer plays (Russian?) “Grand Duke Ivan.”
Young Catherine (1991)
As Sir Charles Williams, British ambassador to Russia who advises a young Catherine the Great.
Malcolm X (1992)
As the racist chaplain of the prison in which Malcolm X is imprisoned.
WAIT THERE IS A NAZI-RELATED MOVIE I HAVEN’T SEEN? It’s only available in crappy quality on YouTube! Shakes tiny fist! I shall be undeterred!
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
As the creepy and rich Uncle Ralph Nickleby in this feature film Dickens adaptation.
As Aristotle, tutor to the young Alexander the Great, in this dumpster fire of a movie.
The New World (2005)
As real-life Captain Christopher Newport in this story of the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
Caesar and Cleopatra (2009)
A filmed version of the Shakespeare play as performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
The Last Station (2009)
As Leo Tolstoy in this film about the last few months of the Russian author’s life.
The Tempest (2010)
Another filmed version of a Stratford Shakespeare Theatre production.
As actor John Barrymore, who is trying to raise funds to revive his 1920 Broadway hit Richard III. Plummer won a Tony for the stage version of this.
The Exception (2016)
As the deposed German Kaiser Wilhelm II, living in exile in the Netherlands as World War II begins.
As Charles Dickens’ fictional Ebenezer Scrooge, manifested in front of the author himself.
Cliffs of Freedom (2019)
Per Wikipedia, “The film is a story of an ill-fated romance between a young Greek village girl and a conflicted Turkish officer during the dawn of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.” Plummer plays “Thanasis.”
What’s your favorite of Christopher Plummer’s historical roles?