Richard Attenborough — A life in cinema

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By Samyukta Maindarkar | dna Webdesk

Acclaimed Oscar-winning British actor and film director Lord Richard Attenborough died on Sunday at the age of 90.

In a career spanning six decades, Attenborough rose to become one of the greats of British cinema.

Also Read: The life and times of Oscar-winning cinema legend Richard Attenborough

Here is a look at some of Attenborough’s most famous films:

In Which We Serve (1942)
Richard Attenborough made his debut in the 1942 World War 2 film In Which We Serve, in which he plays a terrified young sailor who deserts.

Brighton Rock (1947)
In Brighton Rock, Attenborough plays Pinkie Brown, a a teenaged hoodlum and murderer, in the film adaption of Graham Greene’s novel of the same name.

I’m All Right Jack (1959)
In this British comedy, a satire of Britain’s industrial life in the 1950s, Attenborough plays a company owner who has to deal with workers going on strike, led by another British film great, Peter Sellers.

The Angry Silence (1960)
In The Angry Silence, which he also produced, Attenborough plays a factory worker who refuses to go on strike and is ostracised by other workers for his decision.

The League of Gentlemen (1960)
Attenborough plays a former army man who joins a group of other army men who are out to perform a big bank robbery. The film is based on the 1958 novel of the same name written by British author John Boland.

The Great Escape (1963)
In one of his most famous roles, Attenborough plays RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett “Big X”, who masterminds a mass escape from a Nazi German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. The story is based on real life events and people, and on the book The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill.

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
Attenborough plays a navigator and one of a group of men who struggle to survive their plane’s emergency landing in the Sahara desert. The group races against time to build a new aircraft out of the wreckage of their plane as their water reserves begin to run out.

The Sand Pebbles (1966)
Set in 1920s China, The Sand Pebbles stars Attenborough as a US Navy crew member of a gunboat, the USS San Pablo which sails up the Yangtze river. This is his second performance with Steve McQueen after The Great Escape.

10 Rillington Place (1971)
In his second role as a negative character, Attenborough stars as British serial killer John Christie, who murdered at least eight women in London in the 1950s. The film’s title 10 Rillington Place is the address of the Notting Hill apartment where the crimes were committed.

Jurassic Park (1993)
In this science fiction film by director Steven Spielberg, based on the novel by Michael Crichton, Attenborough plays John Hammond, entrepreneur and the founder of Jurassic Park, a theme park on a private island to exhibit cloned dinosaurs.

Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
In this remake of the original 1947 film, Attenborough stars as Kris Kringle, a man who plays a department store Santa Claus in New York.

Attenborough also appeared in supporting roles in some notable films, such as an English ambassador in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996), and as Sir William Cecil in Shekhar Kapur’s acclaimed 1998 film Elizabeth.

Hamlet (1996)

Elizabeth (1998)

But more than any other film, Attenborough is perhaps best known for the 1982 film Gandhi, which he directed. The film won eight Oscar awards.

Here is the video of Attenborough’s speech at the 1983 Oscars, where the film won Best Picture, and he won Best Director.


*Originally published on on August 25, 2014