Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd has been a mainstay of historical dramas for the last two decades. His conventional good looks and solid acting skills have earned him a decent ration of leading male characters over the years. So, let’s take a look at some of his historical roles!
Before Aidan Turner went shirtless, there was wild-haired, cravated Ioan Gruffudd as Ross Poldark.
He played John Gray, one of Oscar Wilde’s lovers, in the film adaptation of the Irish playwright’s life.
Ioan played the young 5th Officer of the Titanic, who plucked Rose from the icy Atlantic on that fateful night.
Horatio Hornblower series (1998-2003)
The long-running series based on the Horatio Hornblower books. I’ve never watched any of them, since movies about ships aren’t usually my jam, but I hear they’re pretty good.
Ioan stars as the protagonist, Pip, who falls in love with a girl far above his station and has to come to grips with the fact that he is not who he thinks he is. Dickensian romance at its most tortured.
Solomon & Gaenor (1999)
A love story between an Orthodox Jewish man and a Gentile woman in the early years of the 20th century, with absolutely zero chance of a happy ending. You have been warned.
Another Life (2001)
Based on the true story of Edith Thompson and Fredrick Bywaters, a couple caught up in an adulterous relationship that leads to murder. Ioan Gruffudd plays Bywaters.
The Forsyte Saga (2002-2003)
Despite the lavish costumes, I have gone on the record on this blog more than once about the fact that I cannot stand The Forsyte Saga. Just something about the sprawling plot and unlikable characters all swapping partners with one another…
King Arthur (2004)
Gruffudd plays Lancelot in this completely a-historical fantasy film, but I know that if I didn’t include it, someone would be upset with me in the comments.
Gruffudd plays William Wilberforce in this film about Wilberforce’s campaign against slavery in the 18th century.
The Secret of Moonacre (2008)
Another fantasy film that has just enough historical veneer that if I didn’t include it on this list, one of you would be cranky about it.
The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box (2013)
Someone tell me if this film is worth watching, because I have no idea.
The Professor and the Madman (2019)
A film starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, with a bunch of other famous actors, including Ioan Gruffudd. I remember seeing it pop up in previews and thinking it looked interesting, but I still haven’t seen it.
What’s your favorite historical Ioan Gruffudd film? Share it with us in the comments!