Ian Holm (1931-2020)

I came here to recommend this. The Sweet Hereafter is a marvelous film.

I’ll third The Sweet Hereafter as maybe being his best performance. He’s the lead in it, which is somewhat atypical both for him and for an elderly actor. He’s also great in another lowkey indie called Joe Gould’s Secret (directed by and starring Stanley Tucci) from the same era.

I’ll do you one better, I’d never heard of it before this thread.

The most iconic role for Ian Holm for me is Alien. Seeing his head with the white goop around it, hooked up with wires. RIP.

He was in many films I remember well, with iconic performances in several but I think all things considered his turn as Sam Mussabini in Chariots of Fire is my favorite. The scene in the bar where’s he’s not allowed to actually be at the Olympics but he watches the UK flag being raised is one that is burned into my memory, as is the later scene in that same bar where Ben Cross is sitting stunned after winning the Gold Medal.

His career, it’s amazing: great performances in Alien, Time Bandits, Henry V, Lord of the Rings, and I haven’t even seen several of the others folks here have mentioned.

If you haven’t seen The Big Night, it’s a gorgeous small film. Stanley Tucci, Tony Shaloub, Ian Holm, Isabella Rossellini, Allison Janney. Louis Prima music. And food! What more could you ask for?


He will always be Bilbo Baggins to me, but loved him in anything I saw him in, fantastic actor.

Though a few films I just saw he was in, I haven’t seen in so long I didn’t remember him in them (Time Bandits, Hamlet, From Hell).

This is one of my wife’s favorite movies. It is definitely a fun one, though it is also deeply weird in some ways.

Alien and Lord of the Rings are two of my favorite movies and I had no idea Ash was played by the same person who played Bilbo.

Holm was in so many things and great in them all. RIP. Had I to pick a favorite performance it would probably be The Sweet Hereafter.

By coincidence I watched Ratatouille with my daughter today, in which Ian Holm gives a great villain performance as the spiteful head chef. Reminiscent of that Napoleon performance!

He’s Jack the Ripper!

There are certain people that I would have loved to sit and chat over coffee with. Ian Holm was one of those people. Sorry to hear he’s gone.

The Sweet Hereafter followed by Big Night is a great double bill; after something heavy something light.

Its funny because I remember him the most for his reading of the LOTR series. My kids were young and they listened to it. I thought it was so spot on when he played Bilbo in the movie.

Do you mean the BBC 12hr radio version where he voices Frodo?
That was my first introduction to him and only MUCH later (I think while watching 5th Element), realized WHY his voice was so familiar.

I think I’ve listened to that series at least a dozen times, so for me he’ll always be Frodo and why it was so special to see him play Bilbo in the movie version.

I believe that is the version I am talking about. Unfortunately, we no longer have it after moving twice.

Which is on Prime, btw. I skipped through to my favorite scenes, since I’ve probably seen it a couple dozen times (I’d say it’s pretty close to my favorite movie).

That scene where Secondo says “You are nothing” and Holm gets very still and gives the line: “I’m a businessman. I’m anything I need to be at any time. Tell me, what exactly are you?” with a tiny ironic smile…mwah chef’s kiss.

I’m gonna watch it tonight!

Every time someone mentioned another movie I thought “yeah he was in that one too!” I had forgotten his role in The Fifth Element. I have Big Night on my list of shows that I want to watch sometime… Sounds like I’m watching it tonight!

Sad to see him gone but he left such an incredible body of work.