Happy birthday to Robert Downey, Jr! Sure, today, everyone knows him as Tony “Iron Man” Stark, but some of us knew him way back when he was playing historical characters like Charlie Chaplin. Let’s give a little love to this multi-faceted actor on his b-day.
Chaplin (1992) – Charlie Chaplin
In this epic biography, Downey gives far more than just a Little Tramp impersonation. He shows how Chaplin’s comedy was born from trauma and how his life was filled with chaos, even to the end.
Richard III (1995) – Lord Rivers
Everything about Ian McKellen’s Shakespearean adaption set in a fascist 1930s England is brilliant, but it’s a wonderful move to have Queen Elizabeth and her brother played by Americans — Annette Bening and Robert Downey Jr., respectively — so they are seen as outsiders.
Restoration (1995) – Robert Merivel
You really have to listen to our podcast about this movie to appreciate our full adoration of Robert Downey Jr. in 17th-century lace and feathers. Just do it.
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) – Joe Wershba
Downey’s roles in historical costume films have become smaller and infrequent, alas. Here, he portrayed an award-winning CBS journalist who worked with Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s.
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) – Lionel Sweeney
Full of very fanciful imagery, this movie about mid 20th-century photographer Diane Arubus (played by Nicole Kidman) invented a love interest (played by Robert Downey Jr.) and told a strange and emotional story.
Sherlock Holmes (2009) & Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) – Sherlock Holmes
I’m sorry, we’re not fans of this steampunk-y franchise. But Robert Downey Jr. is still awfully cute!
Do you prefer Robert Downey Jr. in action flicks or historical costume movies?
I always wanted Robert Downey Jr. to play Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities
Considering the way his father reared him, it’s amazing he lived to grow up at all, let alone become the man that he has. I haven’t seen some of his work, so “Restoration” still remains my fave.
I’d like Restoration a lot better without Meg Ryan.
I thought she was surprisingly non-painful in Restoration!