7 Best Rowan Atkinson Movies
Rowan Atkinson is a talented comedic actor. His gift as a physical comedian is on clear display in any of his performances as the clumsy mute Mr. Bean. Yet his work extends far beyond the mere physical. In another one of the most definitive performances of his career, Zazu in The Lion King, he offered only his voice. His versatility is nearly unmatched in his genre. Comedy or otherwise—though it is mostly comedy, of course—below are his seven best films to date.
The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King was a key part of the Disney renaissance, a period during the late 1980s and early 1990s of resurging interest in hand-drawn animation produced by the company after decades of declining popularity. Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick), the titular would-be lion king struggles to accept his fate. Atkinson gives voice to the aforementioned Zazu, a hornbill and right-hand man to Simba’s father Mufasa (James Earl Jones), the sitting king. It is a beautifully-animated loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Atkinson’s Mr. Bean gain prominence in the television show which bore his name and ran from 1990 to 1995. The character made his silver screen debut two years following the show’s end with Bean. The character is mute, lazy and clumsy. His comedic style is reminiscent of the silent-era clowns—Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin. Mr. Bean is transferred from his position as caretaker of a prestigious British art gallery to a more modest museum in Los Angeles. It doesn’t take long before he causes chaos in his new position.
Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007)
The follow-up film to Bean, Mr. Bean’s Holiday takes its name from the 1953 comedy Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, directed by and starring Jacques Tati, another one of Atkinson’s inspirations in the creation of Mr. Bean. In the funny film, the titular character wins a trip to Cannes, France. Hilarious antics ensue as he struggles to reunite a father and a son and encounters a snooty film director (Willem Dafoe).
Love Actually (2003)
Over the years, Richard Curtis has solidified his role as one of the foremost British romance writers. No single film contributed to that legacy more than the widely-beloved Love Actually. The film tells a series of sprawling, interconnected stories of love during the Christmas season. Among the cast are the likes of Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman and Bill Nighy. Atkinson plays the somewhat small but key role of Rufus, a jewelry salesman.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Four Weddings and a Funeral is another British romantic classic penned by Richard Curtis. A British man named Charles (Hugh Grant) is dating an American woman named Carrie (Andie MacDowell). Together, the duo embark upon the titular five events, hoping it will enlighten them on whether or not to continue their love affair. Atkinson for his part plays Father Gerald, a priest and arguably the funniest character in the film.
Johnny English (2003)
After Mr. Bean, Atkinson is perhaps best known for his performances as Johnny English. English is a parody of James Bond, a dim-witted spy with an unfounded level of confidence. He works for the fictional MI7. When every other member of the agency is killed, only Johnny English can prevent the Crown Jewels from being stolen. Starring the likes of John Malkovich and singer/songwriter Natalie Imbruglia, it is an enjoyably goofy film.
Johnny English Reborn (2011)
Eight years after Johnny English, Atkinson et al. returned with Johnny English Reborn. The bumbling, well-meaning MI7 agent must come out of hiding and once again prove his worth after he makes a grave misstep. Along with Atkinson in the eponymous role, the funny film also features a star-studded cast of Rosamund Pike, Gillian Anderson and a rising Daniel Kaluuya prior to his performances in Sicario, Get Out and Black Panther.