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Hoskins, Bob (1942-)


Main image of Hoskins, Bob (1942-)

A short and stocky character star whose physical attributes have not been a barrier to his considerable success in films, Bob Hoskins first appeared on screen in 1972. By the late 1970s he had achieved a starring role in Dennis Potter's TV series Pennies from Heaven (BBC, 1978), and his portrayal of Harold Shand in the cult crime film, The Long Good Friday (d. John Mackenzie, 1979), had already demonstrated the malleability of his talent.

Despite his strong Cockney accent, he spent the 1980s playing anything from New York gangster Owney Madden in The Cotton Club (US, d. Francis Coppola, 1984), to George, the hard man with a soft centre in Mona Lisa (d. Neil Jordan, 1986), or the object of Maggie Smith's tragic affection in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (d. Jack Clayton, 1987).

Though also in international box-office hits like Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US, d. Robert Zemeckis, 1988), and Hook (US, d. Steven Spielberg, 1991), Hoskins often works in low-budget local films like TwentyFourSeven (d. Shane Meadows, 1997), in which he shines as the inspirational Alan Darcy.

Whether playing a serial killer (in Felicia's Journey (UK/Canada, d. Atom Egoyan, 1999)) or a famous politician (uncannily like Khrushchev in Enemy at the Gates (UK/Germany/US/Ireland, d. Jean-Jacques Annaud, 2001)), he is a compelling film presence.

Melinda Hildebrandt, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Brazil (1985)Brazil (1985)

Terry Gilliam's pessimistic but dazzling vision of a future Britain

Thumbnail image of Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The (1987)Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The (1987)

Maggie Smith gives an acting masterclass as a lonely Irish spinster

Thumbnail image of Long Good Friday, The (1979)Long Good Friday, The (1979)

Bob Hoskins dazzles in the defining gangster film of the turn of the '80s

Thumbnail image of Mona Lisa (1986)Mona Lisa (1986)

Neil Jordan's unlikely romance set in a vicious world of pimps and prostitutes

Thumbnail image of Pink Floyd The Wall (1982)Pink Floyd The Wall (1982)

Alan Parker and Gerald Scarfe's visualisation of the epic concept album

Thumbnail image of TwentyFourSeven (1997)TwentyFourSeven (1997)

Drama with Bob Hoskins trying to give Midlands teenagers self-respect

Thumbnail image of Othello (1981)Othello (1981)

Controversial BBC adaptation with Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins

Thumbnail image of Pennies From Heaven (1978)Pennies From Heaven (1978)

Groundbreaking TV masterpiece that made a star of Bob Hoskins

Thumbnail image of Shoulder To Shoulder (1974)Shoulder To Shoulder (1974)

Dramatisation of the struggle for women's suffrage

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