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The List: Christopher Plummer’s best movies

- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2011

It's hard to believe that the man who soothed movie audiences with "Edelweiss" is still making films. At 81, Christopher Plummer continues to work hard. The Tony Award-winning actor will narrate "Henry V" with the New York Philharmonic, which will perform the Oscar-nominated score by Sir William Walton at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on Sept 17.

Born in Toronto, Mr. Plummer is listed at No. 200 on's all-time best-actor rankings. He co-stars in the highly anticipated "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," due out in December. This week the List looks at Mr. Plummer's top 10 movies.

  • 10. Battle of Britain (1969) — In this all-star cast, Mr. Plummer plays a Canadian fighter pilot, Squadron Leader Colin Harvey. Because Mr. Plummer is Canadian, he asked for his character's RAF uniform to display the "Canada" shoulder patches.
  • 9. Return of the Pink Panther (1975) — Mr. Plummer replaced David Niven in the cast as Sir Charles Lytton, a retired cat burglar.
  • 8. Syriana (2005) — Playing another ruthless character, Mr. Plummer is the head of the big law firm representing an oil company with interest in the Middle East.
  • 7. Twelve Monkeys (1995) — Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt dominate this film, but Mr. Plummer makes an impact as a prominent scientist obsessed with animal rights. Jeffrey Goines (Pitt) is his diabolical offspring.
  • 6. Waterloo (1970) — In one of the most spectacular war movies made, Mr. Plummer stars as the aristocratic Duke of Wellington, who takes on Napoleon, played brilliantly by Rod Steiger.
  • 5. Up (2009) — In this Pixar children's film that adults loved, Mr. Plummer is the voice of adventurer Charles Muntz. The story contains the perfect mix of action and comedy.
  • 4. A Beautiful Mind (2001) — In this acclaimed role, Mr. Plummer plays the kindly, capable psychiatrist Dr. Rosen in Ron Howard's Academy Award-winning film.
  • 3. The Last Station (2010) — Mr. Plummer received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of deteriorating author Leo Tolstoy but lost the best-supporting-actor Oscar to Christoph Waltz in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino war film "Inglourious Basterds."
  • 2. The Insider (1999) — Mr. Plummer won numerous accolades and awards for the part of television journalist Mike Wallace in Michael Mann's Oscar-nominated film.
  • 1. The Sound of Music (1965) — Of all his films, Mr. Plummer remains best known for his portrayal of Captain von Trapp, a role he reportedly disliked playing and referred to as "humorless and one-dimensional." While the part catapulted Mr. Plummer to stardom, he would often call the film "The Sound of Mucus." He declined to appear at the 40th reunion of the cast but did relent and on Oct. 28, 2010, appeared at the 45th reunion when the full cast appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Bonus material: Mr. Plummer has had his fair share of terrible parts. One of his worst roles was playing Chang, the Klingon general in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) in which he wore a Fu Manchu mustache and an eye patch. Chang is an avid fan of William Shakespeare, whom he frequently quotes, which is ironic, because Mr. Plummer has played most of the lead Shakespearean roles onstage, from "Hamlet" to "Henry V."

Compiled by John Haydon, whose first big crush was Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta von Trapp in "The Sound of Music."

Sources: Wikipedia, Associated Press and The Washington Times.

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