May 29, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – When different actors play the same part, who comes out on top?
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – When different actors play the same part, who comes out on top?

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the slick thriller starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley and Kenneth Branagh, comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (June 2nd). The film, which is also directed by Branagh, sees Pine’s Ryan join the CIA and suddenly find himself at the centre of a huge terrorist plot that could bring down the whole US economy. Scary stuff!

Star Trek star Pine is actually the fourth actor to take on the mantle of playing Jack Ryan, the kickass CIA analyst created by multi-million selling author Tom Clancy. He was first brought to life by Alec Baldwin in 1990 in The Hunt For Red October before Harrison Ford stepped into the role in Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger. After a little break, Ben Affleck took on the mantle in 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears, leaving a 12-year gap between flicks, before Pine took the baton.

Chris Pine certainly holds his own in the film, which is a real thrill-ride (you can read our full review here). The film did get us thinking though, which actors have taken on the same iconic roles? And who played them best? So we ran the rule over them and the results are below…


James Bond

The ultimate in this regard. An ageless character who’s gone through more reinventions than David Bowie, he’s been on screen for 50 years and, in last year’s Skyfall, never looked more vital and alive. But who played him best…


How Many Films?

23 in all. 24 if you count the first Casino Royale, almost no one does.


How Many Actors…

Six. Sean Connery took the role six times, George Lazenby just the once, Roger Moore got seven goes, Timothy Dalton just two, Pierce Brosnan got four and so far Daniel Craig has three to his name.


Who comes out on Top...

Connery is the most iconic, but for our money we’ve never had a better Bond than Daniel Craig. He’s intense, brooding and exudes so much danger.


Sherlock Holmes

The world’s most famous detective, the most iconic pipe smoker, the super sleuth, he’s been on screen thousands of times, but who played him best?


How many films?

So. Many. There were nine silent films between 1900 and 1929, then 14 films starring the great Basil Rathbone, so far two films directed by Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jnr with the pipe and scarf and seven other films with various actors in the leading role. This doesn’t take into account TV shows either, and there’s been a fair few of those…


How many actors?

It’s actually impossible to calculate, especially as he’s appeared in so many other series/films as a guest character, but it’s well into the thousands.


Who comes out on Top…

Robert Downey Jnr has been a revelation, but you can’t look past the great Basil Rathbone, the man’s performance is just iconic.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Kenneth Branagh


Hannibal Lecter

Introduced to the world in 1981 in Thomas Harris’s novel Red Dragon, the brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer is now back on our screens in the acclaimed TV series Hannibal. But he has a rich history on the silver screen too…


How many films?

Five in all, 1986’s Manhunter, 1991’s The Silence Of The Lambs, 2001’s Hannibal and 2007’s Hannibal Rising.


How many actors?

Four, but in an odd order. Brian Cox was the first to don the strait jacket in the 1986 adaptation of Manhunter, but Anthony Hopkins took over for the much acclaimed The Silence Of The Lambs and later Hannibal and Red Dragon. An attempted resurrection took place in 2007 with Gaspard Ulliel in Hannibal Rising, which also saw Aaron Thomas play Lecter as a young man.


Who comes out on Top…

If there’s debate in most of these, there’s none in this case, it’s Anthony Hopkins, he’s creepy, he’s captivating and he’s got the Oscar to prove it.




The Dark Knight one of the world’s famous characters and a fair few actors have donned that famous suit. But who did the best?


How many films?

10, two in the 1940s during the character’s first run on TV, a stand alone film in 1966, four between 1989 and 1997, then Christopher Nolan’s trio of films in the noughties.


How many actors?

Lewis Wilson was the first to take the role in 1943, with Robert Lowery following in 1949. Adam West, who also starred in the much loved TV series, played the character again in 1966 in a standalone movie. Tim Burton then cast Michael Keaton in the role for 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns, he was replaced by Val Kilmer for 1995’s Batman Returns, who in turn gave way to George Clooney for 1997’s Batman & Robin.

After an eight year gap, Christian Bale beat out high profile competition from the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy Crudup and Joshua Jackson to take the part in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, which he then followed with The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.


Who comes out on Top?

Michael Keaton made the character cool again and there’s a real zany charm to Adam West’s time in the cape, but the character’s finest hours have been with Christian Bale. Ben Affleck, who has been cast in Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice, has a lot to live up to.


Philip Marlowe

Raymond Carver’s iconic detective has been played by some of Hollywood’s most legendary leading men, but who is top dog?


How many films?

10, sadly nothing since 1978, but some brilliant films before that, including 1946’s incredible The Big Sleep and 1969’s Marlowe.


How many actors?

Eight, including the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Robert Montgomery and Dick Powell, all with varying degrees of suave and success. Marlowe is a wisecracking, cynical, hard-drinking sleuth, but one with a soft underbelly of thoughtfulness and sophisticated, hence some of the best actors of their generations have grabbed the role with both hands.


Who comes out on top?

It has to Humph doesn’t it? His performance in The Big Sleep just drips cool and sophisticated.


Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (June 2nd) and is available to be pre-ordered from hmv stores now.

More Articles

View All