Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Strong, Mark (1963-)


Main image of Strong, Mark (1963-)

Born Marco Salussolia in London in August 1963 (his father was Italian and his mother Austrian), Mark Strong has alternated between stage, television and film with ease and consistent excellence . After training at the Bristol Old Vic, he made some distinctive early appearances in television programmes such as Inspector Morse (Carlton, 1990) and Hanif Kurieshi's The Buddha of Suburbia (BBC, 1993). However, his most notable appearance came in the landmark series Our Friends In The North (BBC, 1996), when, as the failed rock star turned successful businessman Tosker, he managed to add gravitas and interest to what was perhaps the most conventional character.

A fine, self-effacing performance as Mr Knightley (opposite Kate Beckinsale) in Emma (ITV, 1996) was a highlight, as was his charming turn as Colin Firth's similarly football-obsessed best friend in the film of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch (d. David Evans, 1997). He was highly effective in an extended cameo in István Szabó's epic Sunshine (Germany/Austria/Canada/Hungary, 1999), and a wonderful Oblonsky in the television version of Anna Karenina (Channel 4, 2000). There was the occasional misstep, such as Mike Figgis' virtually incomprehensible Hotel (UK/Italy, 2001) or Thomas Vinterberg's overblown It's All About Love (USA/Japan/UK, 2003), but his choices have tended to be in intelligent, credible mainstream projects, such as his Duke of Norfolk in Henry VIII (Granada, 2003.) A stage highlight came when he played Orsino and Astrov in Sam Mendes' swansong productions at the Donmar Warehouse of Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya.

His finest performance to date came with a rare lead role, that of the gay, ruthless but charismatic gangster Harry Starks in the crime drama The Long Firm (BBC, 2004), which earned him a well-deserved BAFTA nomination. His performance in Revolver (France/UK, d. Guy Ritchie, 2005) was widely regarded as the film's sole strong feature, and cameos in Oliver Twist (UK/Czech Republic/France/Italy, d. Roman Polanski, 2005) and Syriana (US, d. Stephen Gaghan, 2005) have strengthened his growing reputation as a successful, versatile international actor.

Alexander Larman

More information


From the BFI's filmographic database

Related media

Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Century (1993)Century (1993)

1900-set drama about a young medic's disturbing discovery

Thumbnail image of Buddha of Suburbia, The (1993)Buddha of Suburbia, The (1993)

Hanif Kureishi's ambitious Anglo-Asian rights-of-passage drama

Thumbnail image of Jane Austen's Emma (1996)Jane Austen's Emma (1996)

Lavish version of Austen's keenest novel

Thumbnail image of Our Friends in the North (1996)Our Friends in the North (1996)

Epic portrait of four Newcastle friends, spanning the 1960s to the 1990s

Thumbnail image of Prime Suspect (1991-2006)Prime Suspect (1991-2006)

A female detective confronts tough cases and prejudiced colleagues

Related collections

Related people and organisations