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Roth, Tim (1961-)

Actor, Director

Main image of Roth, Tim (1961-)

The stubbly pinch-faced Tim Roth, who first wished to be a sculptor and trained at Camberwell School of Art, can be one of the most alarming people in films and US director Quentin Tarantino has exploited his dangerous persona in Reservoir Dogs (US, 1992) and Pulp Fiction (US, 1994). Exposure in such films, both widely popular and cultish, has made Roth a very bankable actor.

His career is now essentially an international one, but his early appearances were in such well-regarded British films as Stephen Frears' The Hit (1984), for which he received a BAFTA nomination, as a hitman-in-the-making, A World Apart (UK/Zimbabwe, d. Chris Menges, 1987) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (UK/France, d. Peter Greenaway, 1989). But his most significant British work is as director of The War Zone (UK/Italy, 1999), a devastating account of a family ripped apart by incest. It is a hard film to watch but its unswerving honesty repays the effort, and it has won awards at several film festivals.

Since then, he has filmed all over the place and, even in the failed US comedy, Lucky Numbers (US, d. Nora Ephron, 2000), he is mesmerisingly watchable as a dodgy barman. He won a BAFTA (and an Oscar nomination) for his performance in Rob Roy (d. Michael Caton-Jones, 1995).

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Hit, The (1984)Hit, The (1984)

Spanish-set thriller about a supergrass 'escorted' home to face the music

Thumbnail image of Made in Britain (1983)Made in Britain (1983)

Tim Roth's incendiary debut as an intelligent but nihilistic skinhead

Thumbnail image of Meantime (1983)Meantime (1983)

Memorably bleak Mike Leigh film about feuding East London families

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Thumbnail image of Clarke, Alan (1935-1990)Clarke, Alan (1935-1990)

Director, Writer, Producer