10 Best Tim Roth Roles
A British actor with an incredible knack for American accents, actor Tim Roth has managed to make a name for himself in both the United Kingdom and the United States throughout his decades upon decades as an actor. Known for his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino as well as his turn as Dr. Cal Lightman on the FOX television show Lie to Me, Roth remains an important part of films on both sides of the pond. No stranger to the silver screen or the big screen, Roth has racked up over one hundred acting credits since 1982. Since then, the actor has established himself as a true acting powerhouse, giving lasting performance after lasting performance no matter what the size of the role may be. For this reason, Roth has racked up all kinds of stellar credits.
Twin Peaks: The Return
Released twenty-five years after the 1992 prequel film Fire Walk with Me, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return proved to be worth every second of that decade-and-a-half wait. Sprawling and masterful, the eighteen-part series blurs the line between film and television more than any other project and strengthened the already-captivating grip of Twin Peaks. Tim Roth gets to play a great character named Hutch in five episodes: he’s a Wendy’s-obsessed hitman who, alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh, gets to have a lot of fun throughout his run.
The film that solidified Quentin Tarantino’s status as one of the best auteurs of our time, Pulp Fiction puts Tim Roth in the role of Pumpkin. He’s one of the most integral parts of this collaborative effort, joining the likes of John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bruce Willis to create what is considered by many to be one of the best films ever made. Roth is extremely lucky and absolutely deserving of this honor.
His first collaboration with Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs once again puts Roth in a key role. Playing Mr. Orange alongside Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, and Steve Buscemi, Roth and Reservoir Dogs as a whole remains incredibly memorable. Pulp Fiction might be more beloved, but Reservoir Dogs set the stage for it — Roth is definitely to thank.
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
Peter Greenway’s 1989 film sees Tim Roth playing Mitchel in a movie about an abusive criminal, his wife, and a regular at their restaurant. Michael Gambon and Helen Mirren are two of the most recognizable and important British actors working today, and Tim Roth is one of the most underrated — it’s electrifying to see them all share the screen. It’s a gritty crime-drama, something Roth is certainly no stranger to.
The Legend of 1900
An Italian drama directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, The Legend of 1900 is based on a famous monologue and tells the story of a baby who grows into a musical prodigy without ever stepping foot on dry land. Born on a boat and spending the remainder of his life there, the man named 1900 hones his skills as a trumpet and piano player. Roth transforms himself into a musical genius, making the audience believe he really is 1900.
The Hateful Eight
Roth’s most recent collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight is the director’s second Western but his third time working with Roth. It’s impressive in its own right, but the film really shines as each actor gets their turn to deliver stellar monologues before the whole thing turns south. Here’s hoping Roth continues to work with Tarantino for the rest of their respective careers.
Director Ava DuVernay’s electrifying account of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic struggle to earn voting rights for Black Americans, punctuated by a march from Selma to Montgomery, is a triumph in every sense of the word. Roth plays real-life governor George Wallace, one part of a great cast that helped guide the film toward a Best Picture nomination from the Academy Awards. Not to mention, the film is another example of Roth’s impeccable accent work.
Made in Britain
Roth’s first on-screen role was a made-for-TV movie called Made in Britain. All the way back in 1982, Roth was still able to prove himself as a force to be reckoned with. From this film forward, Roth continued to nail performance after performance. As a stage-setter, Made in Britain raised the bar higher than most debut roles.
More of a bit performance than anything else, The Hit sees Roth playing a character named Myron in a film about two hitmen on their way to Paris to witness the execution of their former mobster boss. Director Stephen Frears is quintessentially British, so it’s fitting to see Roth showing up in this dysfunctional road movie.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
A unique take on Hamlet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead sees two minor characters from Shakespeare’s classic play debate the differences between predestination and free will — coincidental, considering the two are destined to play the same roles and face the same fates over and over as long as Hamlet continues to be produced on stages and screens. Roth plays Guildenstern, proving to be endlessly watchable.
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