Alan Rickman: an actor with the power to turn good screenwriting into great movies

It is with a sad and heavy heart that the world said goodbye this morning to acting great Alan Rickman, who will forever be best known for movies like Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, and the Harry Potter film franchise. After I heard the news of his passing, I was trying to remember what was the first movie I ever saw Alan Rickman in. There were so many that I remember him from that I had to consult his profile on IMDB.

Scrolling to the bottom of the list, I found it: Sense and Sensibility.

I might have felt embarrassed that Sense and Sensibility was the first time I saw a film with Alan Rickman in it (all the way in 1995, seven years after Die Hard), but I immediately loved him. No matter what role he played in whatever film, he always brought the level of the writing up 10-fold. He easily gave poise, charisma, and humanity to every character he embodied for a space of two hours.

The roles of Hans Gruber and Severus Snape are perhaps the most well-known of all of his roles. In anyone else's hands, Hans Gruber, the villain of Die Hard, in particular had the potential to be flat and just a typical bad guy. But, in Alan Rickman's hands, Hans Gruber became a real human being with internal conflicts and self-doubt. He did the same for Professor Snape. No one could have brought Snape's character fully to life and added nuance to his every line quite like Alan Rickman.

Alan Rickman is one of those beloved actors who will always be irreplaceable. We will forever miss his instantly recognizable voice, his dry and humorous delivery, impeccable timing, and looks of utter (and awesome) disdain.

We love you, Mr. Rickman. We wish you could have stayed just a little longer. Kind goodbye, sir.


Updated: a previous version of this post incorrectly credited Mr. Rickman with being in a different Robin Hood movie than he was; rather, he was in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.