Peter O’Toole was one of the greatest actors of stage and screen to have ever lived. The man was brilliant and unforgettable and there will never be another like him. Here are five films that feature some of his best and most outrageous roles throughout the years. Enjoy and remember that while we may never see his kind again, his work remains and his legacy will never be forgotten.
1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, dir. David Lean)
This is absolutely one of the greatest performances on screen in one of the truly best films ever made. Peter O’Toole is incredible in this masterpiece film. This is the one that will go down in history as the definitive role of Peter O’Toole’s career and it is completely deserving of praise.
2. Lord Jim (1965, dir. Richard Brooks)
An incredible picture and story of a man obsessively working to prove himself after being discredited as a coward in the British Navy. It’s a noble role and worthy of respect. O’Toole’s work is refined and does great justice to the character in Joseph Conrad’s classic novel.
3. Caligula (1979, dir. Bob Guccione)
Caligula is entirely Malcolm McDowell’s show, but for the little amount of time that Peter O’Toole plays Tiberius in the film, an unsettling and disturbing veil is cast over the picture. Tiberius is a demented monster and O’Toole embodies that manic evil masterfully. He is leperous and truly gross and his absolute hatred for Caligula is vile as he constantly berates and placates him. It’s an incredible performance and as uncomfortable as it gets.
4. The Stunt Man (1980, dir. Richard Rush)
Peter O’Toole plays a sadistic director who puts his cast and crew in harms way at every turn. Steve Railsback is a convict on the run who mistakenly stumbles on set and becomes the lead in a chaotic war picture. The animosity between these two on screen is palpable and makes for a very memorable battle of wits.
5. The Ruling Class (1972, dir. Peter Medak)
By far one of the greatest schizophrenic characters in history, O’Toole brings his best in The Ruling Class playing the Earl of Gurney who goes from being Jesus Christ to Jack the Ripper. The film is absolute madness and it is a true highlight of an incredible career.