MCM: Gary Oldman


When it comes to historical biopics, not many actors can say they’ve gone from playing a punk rock icon to the man who lead Britain out of World War II. Gary Oldman’s breadth as an artist can sometimes be overshadowed by how frequently he’s played villains and dark characters, but that just adds to his complexity. Often recognized for his parts in the Batman and Harry Potter franchises, Oldman has a solid record in historical costume movies and TV where he started and returns.


Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986)

Gary Oldman, Sid and Nancy (1986)

Yep, I’m breaking my own rule about ‘it’s not historical if it happened while I lived.’ This movie was a big deal for me because I lived through it, and Gary Oldman’s performance is amazing.


Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

Gary Oldman, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

Infinitely funny!


Pop (as Maurice Escargot) in Henry & June (1990)

Gary Oldman, Henry & June (1990)

Just being a completist here!


Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991)

Gary Oldman, JFK (1991)

I’m not an Oliver Stone fan, but Oldman gives a credible performance.


Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), Gary Oldman as Count Dracula


Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

He goes from creepy to seductive and back.



Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved (1994)

Gary Oldman, Immortal Beloved (1994)

Capturing both the composer’s enigmatic love life and his artistic struggles.

Gary Oldman, Immortal Beloved (1994)


Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in The Scarlet Letter (1995)

The Scarlet Letter (1995)

Demi Moore was miscast in this film, but Gary Oldman was not.


Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series (2005-2011)

Gary Oldman, Harry Potter series (2005-2011)

Not historical, but y’all are gonna clamor for it. And, of course, I love him as Sirius Black.


Solomon in Red Riding Hood (2011)

Gary Oldman, Red Riding Hood (2011)

It’s a generically medieval fairy-tale setting and no, I haven’t seen the flick, but I really needed to include this photo of Gary Oldman in a purple velvet robe.

Gary Oldman, Red Riding Hood (2011)

Also, him on charging on a white horse.


Floyd Banner in Lawless (2012)

Gary Oldman, Lawless (2012)

Prohibition-era gangsters and boot-leggers.


General Mikhail Nesterov in Child 44 (2015)

Gary Oldman, Child 44 (2015)

A crime thriller in Stalin-era Soviet Union.


Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour (2017)

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (2017)

The World War II biopic coming out November 22.


Gary Oldman is also writing and directing a period film titled Flying Horse, which he’ll act in as well. The subject is photographer Eadweard Muybridge, famous for advances in motion capturing imagery in the 1870s. But around the same time, the photographer shot Harry Larkyns, a famous theater critic, due to a rumor that Larkyns had an affair with Muybridge’s wife, Flora. Juicy story for a historical flick!


What’s your favorite Gary Oldman historical costume movie?

15 Responses

  1. robintmp

    While I was pleased when his co-star in Sid and Nancy (Chloe Webb, IIRC?) got an Oscar nomination, I always thought Gary should have gotten one as well; the two of them were so good together that you really did get the sense that, as fucked up as they were, S&N really did love each other in their own warped way.

    Also, can’t forget the scene in Dracula where he bursts out of the box of Transylvanian earth bare-chested…I’m swooning just thinking about it! fans self

  2. Jenno

    Bram Stoker’s Dracula was one of, if not the first movie date I went on with my now-husband. I remember almost nothing of it except Oldman’s sinister giggle. In those pre-Internet days, my “Who IS this guy?” went unanswered. Immortal Beloved is one my all-time favorites, and a total poppy-fields movie for me (if I find it playing when I’m channel surfing, I stop and watch to the end no matter what else I had planned to accomplish). Such a great supporting cast of European actors, not to mention the score (!!!). And if that’s Oldman under the Churchill drag, I know who’s winning the Oscar for hair and makeup…wow!

  3. Stephani

    Damn he was hot back in the 90s! And he still is!
    Not one of his hotter characters, and true sci-fi/fantasy, and really very cheekily costumed–but I loved his portrayal of Zorg in The Fifth Element, which is hardly high art, but I find it delightful.

      • Lyn Robb

        Oh I don’t know, cheekily works for me. Glad you mentioned this film as I loved him in this (that whole choking on the cherry thing, sigh).

        I guess I’ll have to check out the Vampire movie. Vampiric orgasm sounds like a must-see…

        Oh and I guess as the rules got broken on this MCM — don’t forget his great “Gordon” in the Batman reboots.

        • Stephani

          Well yeah they were kinda cheeky too!
          If you can get past Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves (who didn’t do a terrible job, all told), it’s pretty good. Visually it’s gorgeous. And Oldman is delish!

  4. Thalia Richter

    Such a legend! Seeing Gary Oldman in Dracula is one of my oldest film movies because he was just so wild in the best way possible. Are you thinking of reviewing Alias Grace? I’ve been watching and it’s pretty good, but I’m pretty sure I’m seeing zippers on the backs of the gowns! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  5. Elessa Wylde

    One of the aspects of Gary Oldman’s performances is that he is an actor who completely transforms into the attributes of the character. His turn as Beethoven and Dracula are my favourites.

    I was surprised to learn in the credits after seeing the Batman movie on opening day that he was Jim Gordon. I didn’t recognise him at all.

  6. LadySlippers

    This man is a terrific actor and I’ve tried to hunt down some of his more obscure movies (including one he wrote & directed in). But he’s also had women accuse him of domestic violence which is obviously not a good thing.

  7. silveryrow

    I thought that here I’d be safe from the Gary-Oldman-as-Sirius-Black atrocity, but there we go. He’s undoubtedly a good actor, but he was terribly miscast there, and not just age-wise. I also don’t think he is or ever has been hot, just to really rile you all up…

    It’s going to have to be his cameo on Friends (it’s okay, most of the time he’s in a WWII uniform!), it’s very funny.

  8. Lily Lotus Rose

    Dracula–all the way. Gary’s hotness is inexplicable yet ever-present!