MCM: Iain Glen


Iain Glen! This shockingly handsome and impressively talented Scottish actor was included in our roundup of Game of Thrones hotties. However, I barely touched on his frock flick resume in that post, and since then, I’m shocked by just how many projects he’s turned up in — and how many older films and TV series included him. Let’s appreciate Mr. Glen!


Mountains of the Moon (1990)

British explorers “discover” the source of the Nile. Glen plays real-life English explorer and British Indian Army officer John Hanning Speke.

1990 Mountains of the Moon



1990 Mountains of the Moon



Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

As Hamlet in this film, based on a play, that fleshes out (ha ha) two minor characters from the Shakespeare play.

1990 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Open doublet, natch… but I see a codpiece!


Fools of Fortune (1990)

A Protestant family is caught up in the conflict between the British Army and the IRA during the Irish War of Independence. Glen plays “Willie Quinton.”

1990 Fools of Fortune



Wives and Daughters (1999)

In what is (to me) the first of his many hot yet creepy roles, Glen plays Mr. Preston, who lurks around ominously holding “something” over Cynthia.

Wives & Daughters (1999)

He’s SO hot that it’s hard not to root for him.

Wives & Daughters (1999)

But he does “controlling and slightly overbearing” so well that you know something is off.

Wives & Daughters (1999)

Looking good in a cravat!


The Wyvern Mystery (2000)

As “Charles” in this TV movie adaptation of a Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1869 “sensation” (pre-melodrama, pre-Gothic) novel.

2000 The Wyvern Mystery

Everyone looks reasonably Regency.

2000 The Wyvern Mystery

Drama! Pathos!


The Soul Keeper (2002)

A film loosely based on the life of Russian psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein, including her arelationship with Carl Jung (Glen).

2002 The Soul Keeper

He looks suitably scientific.


Song for a Raggy Boy (2003)

Set in late 1930s Irelandat a cruel Irish reformatory. Glen plays the sadistic priest who runs the place.

2003 Song for a Raggy Boy

Impeccably evil.


Spy Sorge (2003)

A Japanese film about real-life German spy Richard Sorge (Glen), who worked for the Soviet Army in Japan.


Courtesy Everett Collection


Kidnapped (2005)

A BBC adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, which is set just after the Scottish Jacobite Rising of 1745. Glen plays real-life soldier Alan Breck Stewart.

2005 Kidnapped

Looking appropriately mid-18th century… although let’s style that hair, please.


Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Glen plays Richard the Lionheart, king of England, in this story set in Jerusalem during the Crusades.


2005 Kingdom of Heaven

I don’t know armor, but I’m convinced!


Man to Man (2005)

Set in 1860, two Victorian scientists working in Africa begin to doubt their mission. Glen plays “Alexander Auchinleck.”

2005 Man to Man

Oooo I love that beard on him!


The Last Legion (2007)

An action movie that combines real history (Romans in Britain) with legend (King Arthur). Glen plays Roman general/politician Orestes.

2007 The Last Legion

The hair is starting to go, but he pulls it off well.


The Relief of Belsen (2007)

A TV movie about the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by the British army in 1945. You know I want to watch this!

2007 The Relief of Belsen

What I hope is a serious take on a serious topic.


City of Vice (2008)

Real-life author Henry Fielding and his brother John (Glen) battle to create a police force in 18th century Britain. Sarah hated it!

City of Vice

I’m assuming John must be blind.

City of Vice (2008)

I’m VERY confused about the strap?

City of Vice (2008)

Uh oh, tarts!


Into the Storm (2009)

As King George VI in this Churchill-focused World War II drama.

2009 Into the Storm

Glen does early/mid 20th century SO well.


Pope Joan (2009)

An adaptation of a novel about a legendary (i.e. probably not real) medieval female pope. Glen plays Joan’s father.

2009 Pope Joan

Look, it’s the dung ages!


The Diary of Anne Frank (2009)

Glen plays Otto Frank, father of famed diarist Anne, whose family must go into hiding in World War II Amsterdam.

2009 The Diary of Anne Frank

With Tamsin Greig, who I love!

2009 The Diary of Anne Frank


Downton Abbey (2011)

As Sir Richard Carlisle, new money newspaper magnate who tries to blackmail Mary into marrying him.

2011 Downton Abbey Iain Glen

He’s so alluring, yet so icky in this role!

2011 Downton Abbey Iain Glen


The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, Part 2 (2012)

Glen plays the Earl of Warwick in this Shakespeare adaptation.

2012 The Hollow Crown- Henry IV, Part 2

Lots of chains-of-office!

2012 The Hollow Crown- Henry IV, Part 2

Nice use of fur.


Borgia (2013)

As Dominican friar Savonarola, famous for leading the Bonfire of the Vanities in Renaissance Florence.

2013 Borgia

He shoulda been in the OTHER Borgia series!


Breathless (2013)

Set in a 1960s hospital, staff are performing secret abortions.

2013 Breathless

Again, doing mid-20th century so well! (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE

2013 Breathless

Great sweater vest, great trousers.


Poirot: Elephants Can Remember (2013)

As Dr. David Willoughby in this episode of the 1930s-set Agatha Christie murder mystery series.

2013 Poirot- Elephants Can Remember


Ripper Street (2013)

Glen plays “Colonel Madoc Faulkner” in one episode of this TV series set in just-post-Jack-the-Ripper London.

2013 Ripper Street

I was thinking those were literal pitchforks, but they’re guns.

2013 Ripper Street

Oooo, Game of Thrones castmate (Jerome Flynn) alert!


The Red Tent (2014)

As Jacob in some #BiblicalShit

2014 The Red Tent

Sackcloth and ashes!

2014 The Red Tent

I’m questioning her hair.


My Cousin Rachel (2017)

Glen is the godfather to the main character of this 1840s-set suspenseful drama.

2017 My Cousin Rachel


2017 My Cousin Rachel



Mrs. Wilson (2018)

Once again, if you haven’t seen this based-on-a-true-story account of a 1960s widow who discovers her deceased husband (Glen) is not all he seemed — WATCH IT!!

2018 Mrs. Wilson

(C) WP Films Ltd. – Photographer: Steffan Hill

2018 Mrs. Wilson

With Ruth Wilson in a flashback scene.


The Windermere Children (2020)

A story about the real-life camp set up care for and help integrate child survivors of the Holocaust. Glen plays “Jock Lawrence.”

2020 The Windermere Children



Okay, ASIDE FROM GAME OF THRONES, what’s your favorite Iain Glen frock flick role?

21 Responses

  1. spanielpatter14

    Iain Glen, the Lord of the Cheekbones…I could look at him and listen to his lovely accent all day. I remember him best in Game of Thrones; but in I kept wishing that he hadn’t been a control-freak blackmailer in Downton Abbey so Mary might have fallen for him.

  2. Boxermom

    Not a Frock Flick, but I love him as the slimy (but hot) villain in Tomb Raider. I tried watching The Red Tent, but ZZZZZZZZ. :)

    • SarahV

      He was sooooooooooooooooooooooo hot in Tomb Raider. (also featuring a mostly naked, ripply, toned a faceted diamond, young Daniel Craig)

  3. Aleko

    To be fair re his hair in Kidnapped, Alan Breck spends pretty much the entire book fleeing through Highland bogs and heather in the rain, so any ‘styling’ would be highly implausible!

    As for The Red Tent, there was an ancient Egyptian hairstyle that had all the hair coming down on the side of the face in a big fat lock or very loose braid, and I think that may be what they’re getting at here. I’m not saying it’s great, but they did at least look at a picture of something that was around in period:

    • Kelly

      I loved Adam Bede–and I think that’s where he met his future wife, Susannah (Jane Bennet) Harker, who played Adam’s eventual love interest, Dinah.

  4. Roxana

    He seems to have made a career out of handsome villains. I remember him as Preston in Wives and Daughters. I kind of wondered what Cynthia had against him!

  5. Gwen

    Hmmm, I have a picture of Ser Friendzone hanging in my cubicle now. He’s yummy.

  6. M.E. Lawrence

    Wait till you see Glen as Captain Hook in the upcoming fantasy drama, “The Lost Girls.” Not a costume film, sadly, but his Hook, who inhabits the dream life of Wendy Darling’s granddaughter, is a sexually menacing dandy in flamboyant suits. Great cast, with four generations of Darling women: Vanessa Redgrave plays the original Wendy, and Joely Richardson is her missing daughter.

    • Mary

      Whoa, that sounds AMAZING. Captain Hook is pretty much my kryptonite. See also, Jason Isaacs.

      • Boxermom

        Jason Isaacs – yes please! His Colonel Tavington in The Patriot is despicable, but smoking hot. :)

  7. M.E. Lawrence

    Iain is a dashing Hook in the forthcoming fantasy-drama, “The Lost Girls,” about the original Wendy and her descendants. Not a costume film, unfortunately, but his Hook rocks flamboyant Edwardian-style 3-piece suits.

    • M.E. Lawrence

      P.S. Sorry to have posted twice about “The Lost Girls”; the first comment seemed to have been lost or discarded.

  8. Lily Lotus Rose

    Ok, now on to answering your question…. First of all, I’ve seen him in a fair amount of these films but didn’t register him. Wow! So, of the Frock Flick roles I registered him in, his role in Downton Abbey was my fave. He was soooo delicious and perfect as that character. Other stuff 1: The picture of him as the priest is made 1,000 times creepier by him framed standing in front of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He just looks soo malicious there. 2: His earliest pics, especially from Mountains of the Moon, give me Hugo Speer vibes. I never realized how much they favor each other (or at least, used to) until now. 3. He looks completely transformed as Otto Frank. Great MCM choice. I want to dive into many of the films now!

  9. Al Don

    I thought Mountains of the Moon (1990) was a very interesting true story. But man, the days of Patrick Bergin as a leading man. We had it good with him.

  10. Mary

    Well, you’ve created my new next-to-watch list right here! He has such a timeless face, and the sort of gaze intensity that just mmm mmmm mmmm mmmmm

  11. cdal14

    Hi Kendra! Love your article, Iain does wear a lot of great costumes throughout his career. My personal favorite is the yellow goldie shirt that he wears on GOT, it’s iconic for me!

    There’s a Discord server specifically for Iain Glen fans. We do talk about the many costumes that he wears and we also talk about his work in general! It’s just a fun and friendly place to chat about how much we love him. If you don’t mind me posting, here is the link:


  12. Lynne Connolly

    About the black band in City of Vice (which I really enjoyed!). John Fielding (later Sir John) was blind, and he used to wear a black band over his eyes to emphasize it especially when he was in court.
    A lot of blind people in Georgian Britain used to wear the black band, especially if their sight was useless, but they still had problems with light leakage. Here’s a portrait of Edward Rushton, founder of the Royal Liverpool School For The Blind with a similar black band.

  13. SarahV

    When I tell people that The Mountains of the Moon is one of my most favorite movies, I get weird looks. First of all, young Iain Glenn. I mean, just look at him. Then you have manly oh manly Patrick Bergin, at the peak of manliness. Then you have the magnificent Fiona Shaw (the calculating Caroline from Killing Eve, but perhaps unfortunately probably best known for being Harry Potter’s bitchy Aunt Petunia) is Patrick’s love interest.

    However – the movie is simmering with sexual tensions between the two male leads, and that one scene (the tent scene). Well. It just needs to be seen.