MCM: Paul Bettany


My mention of A Knight’s Tale in last week’s post made me realize we haven’t featured Paul Bettany yet for our Man Candy Monday spotlight. So, here he is! Enjoy!


Sharpe (1997)

Paul Bettany plays William of Orange, in whose employ Richard Sharpe finds himself.


Bent (1997)

Based on a 1979 play of the same name, the film deals with homosexuality in late-1930s Berlin after the Nazi takeover. Paul Bettany’s role is relatively small.


The Land Girls (1998)

Paul Bettany plays the love interest of one of the three central female characters who meet after joining the Women’s Land Army in World War Two.


Coming Home (1998)

Paul Bettany plays Edward Carey-Lewis, the ill-fated brother of the central character Loveday.


David Copperfield (2000)

Paul Bettany plays James Steerforth, the friend of David Copperfield who ends up causing a scandal with tragic consequences.


A Knight’s Tale (2001)

Paul Bettany plays Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the only characters I actually really enjoyed in this flick without any qualifications.


A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Paul Bettany plays John Nash’s college roommate.


The Heart of Me (2002)

A love triangle between two sisters in a poshy interwar drama. Paul Bettany plays the husband of Olivia William’s character who falls in love with her free spirited Bohemian sister, played by Helena Bonham Carter.


The Reckoning (2002)

Paul Bettany plays a priest who gets wrapped up in the aftermath of a murdered young boy. It sounds a lot like the same territory The Advocate covered, except, unlike the older movie, it got mediocre reviews.


Dogville (2003)

Paul Bettany’s character, Tom, sounds like a right asshole. And allegedly, the experience of filming with Lars von Trier was nothing short of shitty. I’m not sure if it’s worth the watch or not, so if you’ve seen it, weigh in in the comments!


Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Paul Bettany is the ship’s doctor, frustrated naturalist, and best friend of Captain Aubrey.


The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Paul Bettany plays an abusive father to a willful teenage girl living in rural South Carolina in the mid-1960s.


The Young Victoria (2009)

The “young and dreamy” take on Lord Melbourne, Victoria’s first Prime Minister and sort-of father figure.


Creation (2009)

Paul Bettany is Charles Darwin in this biopic, staring opposite Jennifer Connolly.


Legend (2015)

One of these days I’ll get around to reviewing this surprisingly enjoyable (and thoroughly effed up) film, in which Tom Hardy plays dual roles as Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Paul Bettany has an uncredited role as Charlie Richardson, the leader of a rival gang operating in the same area of London as the Kray twins.


Journey’s End (2017)

WWI drama about life in the trenches at the front line, based on the play written by R.C. Sherriff.


What’s your favorite historical costume movie or TV role played by Paul Bettany?

13 Responses

  1. Natasha Rubin

    Perfect timing, since the WandaVision trailer just dropped!

    I’ve liked Bettany in pretty much everything I’ve seen him in. I think it’s a pity most of these are either more minor roles or lesser-known movies. He could absolutely play the lead in more classic period flicks.

  2. Colleen S.

    I loved him in Master and Commander. I love that movie in general, but Paul is great.

  3. Nzie

    I am also on team Master & Commander. It’s a great movie (with a gorgeous score), and while I have seen a few others of these, the only other one on this list which immediately brings him to mind is A Beautiful Mind (nice job on the caption for that, by the way…). Otherwise, I forget all the men in Young Victoria and delight in Emily Blunt, and even Sharpe’s War, which I haven’t seen.. well I was distracted by Sean Bean. Apologies to Mr. Bettany, who is in fact a talented and enjoyable actor.

    The WandaVision trailer was interesting–looks like some costumes may be FF eligible, but also they’re kind of fantasy-ish. We’ll see!

  4. Frannie Germeshausen

    If we stumble on Master and Commander when surfing around during Saturday lunch, the rest of the afternoon is lost. We love that movie, and I love the doctor!

  5. Al Don

    I love him as an actor. I can’t stand A Knight’s Tale (2001), despite loving most of the cast, and actually disagree with the faint praise it’s been given. I thought Master and Commander (2003) was great and appreciate that the internet is reevaluating it. Does Gangster No. 1 (2000) fall outside of your time frame? I was looking forward to it, but having seen it, must admit it was unfortunately paint-by-numbers for British gangster flicks.

    I have seen Dogville (2003). It has novel staging and well done performances, but it does fall into the category of disturbing/emotionally wrecking films. It is done for a purpose and shows craftsmanship so it doesn’t fall into exploitative films or ones with nothing to them but controversy. I’d say it’s mid-tier on disturbing, alongside movies such as Man Bites Dog (1992) or The Piano Teacher (2001), but not as bad as the eerily believable The War Zone (1999). So it really depends on how well you handle those types of movies. I’d also highly advise against reading anything about it. The whole point is not knowing these things going in and discovering them as they occur.

  6. Liza Jane

    I was a reader of the Patrick O’Brien books loooong before the Master and Commander movie was made. I’m here to tell you that Dr. Maturin in the film is astronomically far in a physical sense from the literary character, but I DON’T CARE. Because Paul Bettany.

  7. M.E. Lawrence

    I wouldn’t mind a Frock Flickers’ take on “Creation,” which I found enjoyable and fairly accurate re. Charles and Emma Darwin (Bettany and his wife Jennifer Connelly). I can’t speak to the costuming, but I don’t remember thinking, “OMG, hair down on a grown-up female!” or whatever; the production values in general felt right.

  8. Coco

    The thing I remember most about The Reckoning (which I believe I watched under its alternate title ‘Morality Play’) is that a young Tom Hardy, now usually cast as a macho man, plays a member of a traveling theatre troupe considered so pretty that he is given all the women’s roles.

  9. Fiona

    I always thought he would have been a good Henry De Tamble from The Time Traveĺlers Wife or even Reacher

  10. Leo

    I watched Dogville once many years ago. I mostly remember the minimalist staging, a couple of the horrible things that happen to the main character and the ending. I don’t think I’d ever choose to watch it again i recall there being a fairly bleak/miserable feel to it overall

  11. Lily Lotus Rose

    Oh, yes, he is yummy! Faves: 1. Master and Commander 2. The Reckoning 3. A Knight’s Tale. I’m loving those looks from Sharpe and The Young Victoria…gotta watch those now!

  12. Ari

    Um, he texted with Johnny Depp about sexually assaulting Amber Heard’s dead body? Why the heck is he on your blog at all? Three years ago you mercilessly ripped Carey Mulligan to shreds for the crime of being boring but this actual awful man gets a pass from you? He is a terrible person but he is a man I guess so you just ignore that fact?