Bernard Hill Movies and TV ShowsBernard Hill Movies and TV Shows

Bernard Hill, an English actor whose career goes back more than fifty years, has influenced television and movies tremendously. Hill passed on in 2024, at the age of 79. On the big screen and small screen, he is still remembered for his impeccable roles in diverse genres. Bernard Hill, who was fairly faithful to every character he took up in the 1980s, further played outstanding roles into his later years.

Hill came into limelight through his early roles such as playing the British working class icon Yosser, on the popular “Boys from the Blackstuff” TV series. Hill is well-recognized in the movie-making industry for his supporting roles such as Titanic, Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and many other movie successes. I just can’t seem to believe how many movies and TV shows Hill’s been in.

A Very Social Secretary (2005) as David Blunket:

He was a great actor who portrayed Blunkett in A Very Social Secretary. Hill was hilarious as Blunkett when the scandal surrounding his affair with a journalist from the United States became public. Hill was able to mimic Blunkett’s characteristics and mannerisms throughout the film.

A very social secretary was released in the same year that the BBC’s first series The Thick Of It. This was the perfect time for political satire.

The Bounty (1984) as William Cole:

They Bounty Was an epic British swashbuckler that starred Bernard Hill in a supporting role as Wiliam Coleman. Hill played the captain of a ship who decided to take action because he was too strict with his crew. He had a cast full of stars, including Anthony Hopkins, Mel Gibson, Laurence Olivier Daniel Day-Lewis. The Bounty portrayed the historical truth of a crew mutiny led by Royal Navy Lieutenant William Bligh.

Hill, who was the star of The Bounty’s impressive lineup of talented actors, stood in the spotlight as Cole became one of the ship’s most memorable crewmembers. the Bounty offers a thrilling and intelligent journey. This is just one version of the HMS Bounty’s mutiny. Clark Gable was a prominent star in some of the previous notable adaptations.

Shirley Valentine (1989) as Joe Bradshaw:

Shirley Valentine told the story of an unsatisfied wife who tried to bring back her childhood memories and rediscover life’s joy. Pauline Collins also starred in the role of Shirley. Bernard Hill hilariously portrayed her husband, Joe Bradshaw, and beautifully captured how, over time, a once-exciting romance can turn into dull domestic misery. Shirley felt that she and her family treated her in a servile manner. Hill’s portrayal was an excellent representation of the clueless man who didn’t give his wife what she needed in order to feel fulfilled.

Joe was upset that the dinner he had ordered wasn’t ready in time. Shirley then rethought their entire life together. Shirley Valentine began as a Willy Russell one-character piece. Hill and Shirley’s extended family added to this lesser-known, 1980s domestic drama. Shirley Valentine demonstrated Hill’s skill in playing subtler, everyday roles like Joe.

Great Expectations (1999) as Magwitch:

Bernard Hill has a distinguished career as a period actor. One of the best performances he ever gave was for BBC’s 1999 television adaptation of Great Expectations. Hill portrayed Magwitch in Charles Dickens’s novel. Magwitch was Pip’s benefactor, and he changed Pip’s perspective on the world. Magwitch was responsible for much of Great Expectation’s plot, even though he wasn’t onscreen during most of it.

Hill’s performance as Magwitch was one of the best. There have been a number of adaptations to Great Expectations. Great Expectations was a BBC Dickens production that set a high bar for future BBC Dickens productions. Hill was the star of the film, but his appearances were the most thrilling part.

Gandhi (1982) as Sergeant Putnam:

Bernard Hill’s first film role was that of Sergeant Putnam (Richard Attenborough) in his fantastic biopic Gandhi. Hill had a small part in Gandhi. However, this was his debut in a major production and marked the start of his career. Hill’s part in Gandhi opened doors for him to take on bigger roles, as Gandhi became a highly acclaimed movie that received eight Academy Awards, among them Best Picture. His career would continue to grow throughout the 1990s.

Ben Kingsley, who played Mahatma Gandhi and was a non-violent resister, appeared in Gandhi. It also included a cast of characters such as Hill, Sergeant Putnam, etc. Gandhi was Attenborough’s biggest film in 1982 and a true must-see for its strong emotional impact. Gandhi has also been widely applauded in India. At the time it was released, Gandhi became India’s most popular foreign film.

Wolf Hall (2015) as Duke of Norfolk:

Bernard Hill played the Duke of Norfolk in Wolf Hall’s first series on BBC history drama. This was the most important role of his late career. The fictional biography is a retelling of Hilary Mantel’s books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. It follows Thomas Crowell’s rise to prominence under King Henry VIII. Wolf Hall was a huge success when released. Its incredible attention to detail brought Mantel’s novels to life.

Hill was one of the most memorable supporting characters of the series. This is a remarkable feat, especially amongst such a huge cast of minor roles. Mark Rylance’s and Damien Lewis’ performances as Thomas Cromwell, and Henry VIII were both impressive. The second season of Wolf Hall, starring Timothy Spall in Hill’s place, is currently in production. He must live up to Hill’s high standards.

True Crime (1999) as Warden Luther Plunkitt:

Clint Eastwood’s true crime is a mystery that explores a reporter who has become overly ambitious in his quest to discover evidence that will prove the innocence of a condemned death row prisoner as an execution threat looms large. Bernard Hill’s performance as Prison Guard Luther Plunkitt was outstanding. He began to doubt that the criminal killer had committed the crime. True Crime is a Clint Eastwood forgotten movie with many moving pieces as the truth slowly emerged.

Hill along with other well-known actors such as James Woods Lucy Liu Michael McKean and others helped True Crime anchor an incredible cast of talent. Plunkett’s discovery that Steve Everett was telling the true story (Eastwood), added tension to this thriller as it grew closer to its execution. With a slow build toward its grand conclusion, True Crime was an excellent character-driven race-against-the-clock style story.

Boys From The Blackstuff (1982) as Yosser Hughes:

Bernard Hill made his television debut in Alan Bleasdale’s drama serial Boys from the Blackstuff. The Blackstuff is a very relevant show at the moment of its release. Five unemployed men would do almost anything to obtain a position in Thatcher’s Britain. Hill’s portrayal was a powerful one and became the topic of conversation following the show’s release.

Yosser Hughes was an icon for Thatcherite Britain of the 1980s. In his famous catchphrase, “gizza-job,” he joked about the problem of mass unemployment. Hill was brilliant in portraying Yosser’s mental illness, which was brought to the brink of madness when his family and job were lost. Hill’s part summed up Britain’s gloomy mood during that time and those working-class boys who were no longer valued by society.

Titanic (1997) as Captain Edward John Smith:

One of the greatest roles of Bernard Hill is reflected in his role in James Cameron’s Titanic, where he plays a real historical person, Captain Edward John Smith. Hill imagined the tragic death of Smith on the sunken ship, especially since the voyage on the Titanic was for him the last ascent before retirement. The episode of his departure to the wheelhouse, Smith’s acceptance of his fate is one of the best for Hill in Titanic aspect.

Ultimately, though, as the highest-grossing movie of all time prior to being out grossed by Cameron’s next movie, Avatar, the factors that led to the highest-ever box office taking were the stellar ensemble of side characters such as Hill and Kathy Bates and the eleven Academy Awards; however, the movie was just a momentous cinematic extravaganza with the most visually stunning special effects at the time for a history lesson. Nevertheless, Hill’s role as an officer going down with the ship was truly moving and memorable.

The Lord Of The Rings (2001 – 2003) as Théoden:

Bernard Hill’s biggest role was his extraordinary role as King Theoden of Rohan in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Theoden starred in The Two Towers and The Return of the King, and was a key ally in the war against Saruman and Sauron. While Hill portrayed Theoden with powerful charisma and genuine emotional depth as he led the Rohirrim in the Battle of the Pelenor Empire and was the most important warrior to fight valiantly and die in battle

Hill’s role as Theoden was one of the most underrated roles in all of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he really excelled in every scene he was in. From crying for his son Theodred to giving a rousing speech, Hill put his all into Theoden’s portrayal, and it showed a strong commitment to the part. In a career spanning more than 50 years, roles like Theoden’s have contributed to Hill’s impressive legacy and lasting impact on film and television.

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