MCM: David Thewlis


David Thewlis is one of those actors that is in just about everything, from modern gritty TV crime dramas to blockbuster films like the Harry Potter franchise. But he’s also got an impressive list of costume flicks to his name, so let’s take a look!


The Singing Detective (1986)

As far as I can tell, this is his only part in the episode, as one of a group of singing soldiers ogling a woman in a train car.


Little Dorrit (1987)

Crappy image, but proof that he’s in it!


The Trial (1993)

Remember when Kyle MacLachlan was a whole thing in the mid-’90s?


Black Beauty (1994)

One of several adaptations of the classic novel about a horse and his people in the late 1800s.


Dandelion Dead (1994)

A crime drama based on a true story about a solicitor who was tried and hanged for the murder of his wife and the attempted murder of his business rival. Thewlis plays said business rival.


Total Eclipse (1995)

Thewlis plays Paul Verlaine, French poet and love interest to Arthur Rimbaud (played Leonardo Di Caprio).


Restoration (1995)

I don’t know about you, but I think this is one of his hottest roles. Something about that mid-17th century look really suits him.


DragonHeart (1996)

I remember not hating this movie back when it first came out, but that was 25 years ago and I’m wondering if I would feel the same about it now.


Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

Thewlis plays Peter Aufschnaiter, mountaineer, cartographer, and companion to Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) as they escape an internment camp in India and wind up spending, well, seven years in Tibet.


Gangster No. 1 (2000)

A film starring the ridiculously gorgeous Paul Bettany, told in flashbacks to the 1960s. David Thewlis plays Freddie Mays, a London gangster who recruits Bettany’s character as an enforcer.


Timeline (2003)

I am pretty sure I saw this movie back in the day. Either that, or one of a dozen exactly like it. David Thewlis’ character doesn’t get to go back in time, but I just need you all to see the Ye Olde Mid-evil happening here.


Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

This is a gorgeous film with A LOT OF ISSUES. One of these days I will get around to reviewing it, but until then, have another snippet, this time of David Thewlis as The Hospitaler.


The New World (2005)

Seen here with the late, great Christopher Plummer in yet another gorgeous-but-issues historical film.


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008)

Pretty sure you can’t be a working male actor in the the UK without being contractually obligated to play a Nazi officer at least once during your career.


Anonymous (2011)

“Dumb but pretty” was the hot take from Trystan. David Thewlis plays William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster.


War Horse (2011)

Another war film about a horse with David Thewlis in it, and I’m sorry, I just can’t get excited about any of it.


Queen & Country (2014)

I had no idea that this was a sequel to “Hope & Glory,” which I loved as a kid. Gonna have to hunt this down and watch it!


Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

I haven’t seen this, not sure I will … Unless someone in the comments says it’s worth watching.


The Theory of Everything (2014)

I watched this and enjoyed it, but never got around to reviewing it for some reason. Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in the 1950s; David Thewlis plays Dennis W. Sciama, Hawking’s Ph.D. supervisor at Cambridge.


Macbeth (2015)

Another film I am perpetually dragging my feet on watching, despite the fact that it’s filled with actors I like, and has interesting (though highly inaccurate) costumes.


Legend (2015)

There is no good explanation as to why I loved this movie as much as I did, except it’s really just that good. Biopic of the Kray Twins, with Tom Hardy playing both Ronnie and Reggie, and David Thewlis as Leslie Payne, Reg’s partner and legal mastermind.


An Inspector Calls (2015)

David Thewlis plays Inspector Goole, a mysterious visitor to a wealthy family in the wake of a recent suicide of a local girl. Costumes by Amy Roberts, who has designed for most of the current crop of BBC historical dramas out there.


Wonder Woman (2017)

Seemingly harmless, but actually a god in disguise. Thewlis plays Ares, Wonder Woman’s arch nemesis in the reboot.


The Mercy (2017)

David Thewlis plays Rodney Hallworth, a journalist-turned-publicist who represents Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) in his ill-fated bid to compete in the Golden Globe Race in 1969.


Barkskins (2020-)

17th-century New France. Costumes look … eh. That’s all I’ve got right now. Anyone watching it? Is it any good?


What are your favorite films featuring David Thewlis? Share them with us in the comments!

18 Responses

  1. LadySlippers

    I intensely did not like War Horse, so in my mind, you’ve prevented a waste of a few hours.

    I like Thewlis as an actor. He’s versatile and brings an interesting twist to many of his characters.

    • susan l eiffert

      I have a strong interest in WWl and was sorely disappointed in War Horse.

  2. Boxermom

    Yes to Wonder Woman! I remember being delighted to see him; I had no idea he was in it. I also loved him in Kingdom of Heaven, as the enigmatic Hospitaler. Was he an angel? The director’s cut makes it a wee bit more clear. Cheers!

  3. Hooley

    Barkskins was incoherent, but Thewlis, Aneurin Barnard, Marcia Gay Harden, and Zach McClenon rocked. I enjoyed the plot line that it sucked to be a woman in the New World, especially if you were penniless and brought over to be married to whatever goon picked you. Tallulah Haddon as Melisande was particularly striking as a woman who manipulated things try to make her life less crappy.

  4. Thora Sharptooth

    I thought Timeline was dreadful, but that’s because I was so disappointed with how badly the script butchered the book which I really enjoyed rather than because of anything to do with Thewlis.

    I agree that 17th century llook suits him; I’ll have to look for Restoration.

    It’s always amused me that he shares a name with an SCA founder.

    • Boxermom

      Restoration is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99. I’m going to watch it tonight. :)

  5. Michael McQuown

    Restoration is one of my faves. Barkskins was interesting….but seemed to end rather inconclusively. I thought the wardrobe was pretty good, though.

  6. Al Don

    I love him as an actor. My favorite role of his is a modern one: Mike Leigh’s Naked (1993).

    I thought Timeline was utter wank. If you make a movie about time travel to the past it should at least feel like… the past. I thought Kingdom of Heaven had serviceable visuals, but a lot of historical and plot issues and a wooden lead.

    The 2015 Macbeth I’d say is worth one watch, but for me the only thing recommending it is the cinematography. The performances are drained of subtext; the whole thing is spoken in a daze. I know the play well enough to anticipate the next line but if I didn’t, I imagine I’d be missing a lot of the intent. I think it seriously suffers in comparison to the adaptations by Polanski, Welles, and Kurosawa.

  7. Kathryn MacLennan

    Although Anonymous truly is one of the dumbest movies ever, it is so damn pretty! I resisted watching it for years and broke down after seeing a snippet with some of those beautiful costumes. I also sort of respect the fact that they doubled down on the conspiracy theories. One just wasn’t enough for them! They had to cover all of the dumb conspiracy theories!

    • Samantha Baker

      Love your blog!
      Barkskins is amazing, but it seems we will only he blessed with one season. No one has picked it up to continue. If you watch it, a warning, HUGE cliffhanger. But one of the best series I have ever watched- ever.

    • Rowan

      I agree. An Inspector Calls is one of those productions where the story sticks with you after watching. Really well done all around.

  8. Charity

    DragonHeart is still campy and hilarious to this day. “Oh, good lord,” the knight says as he pulls a rotten arm out of the dragon’s teeth, “it’s Sir Eglamore!” XD

  9. Lily Lotus Rose

    David Thewlis is always good, even when he’s in a bad film. I feel like I’ve seen half of these and want to see the other half. Even though it’s goofy and the costumes are ye old timey, Timeline is my favorite here. Trigger warning: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a very, very difficult Holocaust movie; the novel was also very, very difficult.

  10. Richard Stephens

    Love David Thesis. The latest production of Macbeth was cheap and committed the sin of being boring, which the play is not.