Like many of our favorites, Dame Judi Dench is a classically trained actor who has honed her skills at the Royal Shakespeare Company before and between being featured in countless costume dramas (and playing “M” in the James Bond films from 1995-2012). Dench has an wicked sense of humor, noted for her cheeky tattoos and her habit of embroidering sayings like “You are a cunt” and “You are a fucking shit” between shoots on film sets. Currently in her 80s, she shows no sign of slowing down, with three historical costume movies out in 2017. She has been and continues to be completely awesome, so let’s revel in our womancrush with some of her fabulous historical roles over the years!
Katherine, Princess of France in An Age of Kings (1960)
Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1968)
Viola in Twelfth Night (1969)
Sadie in Love in a Cold Climate (1980)
Mme. Ranevsky in The Cherry Orchard (1981)
Amy O’Connell in Waste (1985)
Eleanor Lavish in A Room With a View (1985)
Mrs. Beaver in A Handful of Dust (1988)
Mistress Nell Quickly in Henry V (1989)
Hecuba in Hamlet (1996)
Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown (1997)
Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Arabella in Tea With Mussolini (1999)
Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Countess of Roussillion in All’s Well That Ends Well (2003)
Lady Catherine de Bourg in Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Mrs. Laura Henderson in Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)
Miss Matty Jenkyns in Cranford and Return to Cranford (2007-2009)
Madame de Montreuil in Madame de Sade (2009)
Mrs. Fairfax in Jane Eyre (2011)
Society Lady in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Dame Sybil Thorndike in My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Annie Hoover in J. Edgar (2011)
Cecily, Duchess of York in The Hollow Crown – Richard III (2016)
Abbess in Tulip Fever (2017)
Queen Victoria in Victoria and Abdul (2017)
Princess Dragomiroff in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
And lastly, you simply must appreciate Dame Judy ‘J to the D’ Dench rapping with Lethal Bizzle. STAY DENCH!
What’s your favorite Judi Dench historical costume movie or TV role?
wonderful wonderful wonderful. She’s amazing [and still gorgeous]
Love that clip.
I want to be her when I grow up!
PS: You’re a bit hard on that pig in 2005 P&P. Contrary to some people I could name, he played his part with conviction!
You forgot Ladies in Lavender. There we get both Dame Judi AND Dame Maggie! 😍 It’s set post WWI but before WWII although tensions are heating up again. Costumes are good, solid, nothing flashy or out of character.
Oh gosh, asking me to pick a favourite role is like asking me to pick a favourite dark chocolate — lots of delicious choices. I’m actually going to pick Philomenia which isn’t exactly playing by the rules but who cares? 😉Rules Shmools. LOL She brought an amazing vulnerability and innocence to her character that made the movie work. But that’s what she does, doesn’t she? She’s riveting in almost every performance I’ve seen her in, an absolute treasure.
Dame Judi was also one of the stars in an earlier version of “PARADE’S END”.
I agree with LadySlippers. Dame Judi brings an élan to her projects. I love them all. But if I’m forced to choose one, I’m choosing three. Queens Elizabeth & Victoria and Lady Bracknell. (Well actually 4). She dominates the stage or film she’s in. All eyes are on her and ears are glued to her utterances.
I’m told she is fond of corpsing (gag real).
We have a copy of that Midsummer Night and yes, she wears little more than green body paint.
She is so wonderfully still beautiful and preserved. It’s like witchcraft.
Mrs. Henderson Presents is one of my top ten favorite movies.
People think I am strange when I say that.
My favourite is a play, I think done for TV. I ran it as wardrobe mistress at the Other Place – 1977 “Macbeth” – she was, of course, Lady M. I have a photo of her in costume with my then 6 month old son!
Glad for the Cranford shout-out. That’s such a lovely series.
That is HILARIOUS. But is she the first lobster? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9chdp8izEtk
How can I possibly choose? I love her in everything, but especially as Matty Jenkyns in Cranford and as Eleanor Lavish in Room with a View. And she was by far the best part of the 2005 P&P!
Oh, Madame de Sade! Probably the worst play I’ve ever endured (if there’d been an interval we’d have left…) but the costumes were simply gorgeous. It’s impossible to pick a favourite role, she’s always fabulous!
Dame Judi’s range is incredible. Whether she’s playing, sweet, gentle, Miss Matty or ice blooded M she is utterly convincing.