It’s no secret that Game of Thrones attracts some of the biggest and most versatile actors from all over the world. At the same time, they’ve also introduced fans to a crop of new, young actors who have grown with the show and blossomed beautifully. Plenty of cast members have gone on to star in great films — others, not so much.
While we don’t have room to list every great movie that features a Game of Thrones cast member (apologies to Ian Glenn and Rose Leslie for starters), we did put together a few of our favorites. Expect to encounter a season 6 SPOILERS if you’re not caught up as we take a look at the 15 Best Movies From The Game Of Thrones Cast.
15. Batman Begins: Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon)
Who doesn’t look back fondly on the time a little boy was protected by Gotham prosecutor Rachael Dawes and rescued by the Batman himself? Gleeson was adorable as the frightened child imperiled by yet another Gotham bad guy, after of course he had secured himself a nifty little Bat-gadget. Who knew that sweet little lad would grow up to be the scourge of the seven kingdoms? Probably not Batman, that’s for sure.
Batman Begins wasn’t Gleeson’s first movie with Christian Bale, nor was GoT his introduction to the destructive power of dragons. He appeared uncredited in the mediocre 2002 dragonfest Reign of Fire, which also featured Bale and Matthew McConaughey. Gleeson is taking a break from acting these days. Here’s hoping he’s not coming up with new ways to ruin Sansa’s day.
14. John Wick: Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy)
By the end of Game of Thrones season two, it’s clear that Theon Greyjoy is capable of deeds that are downright evil. Still, even Theon stopped short of stomping puppies to death just to teach someone a lesson.
Not so for Alfie Allen’s character in John Wick. Messing with Keanu Reeves in a revenge-based action movie is foolish enough. But man…you just don’t murder a man’s dog and expect him to be cool about it. John Wick features Alfie Allen as Iosef, a pampered little so and so who insists on repeatedly writing checks his butt can’t cash. Typecasting? Maybe. But he’s utterly believable as the skinny little weasel in serious need of an attitude adjustment.
13. The VVitch: Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn)
One of the best horror movies we’ve seen all year, The VVitch actually features two cast members from Game of Thrones. The father, William, is played by Ralph Ineson, who played Ironborn Dagmar Cleftjaw (the guy who bashed Theon in the head and gave him to Ramsay Bolton). Kate Dickie plays Katherine, the mom of the possibly doomed family.
Like her Game of Thrones counterpart, Lysa Arryn, Dickie plays a woman who is high-strung, controlling, way overprotective of her son, and insanely jealous of any woman she sees as more desirable or valuable than she. This marvelous Scottish actress can also be seen in the film Prometheus, and in the BBC series The Frankenstein Chronicles.
12. Citizen X: Max Von Sydow (Three-Eyed Raven)
This movie flew under the radar for a lot of people. Shame, that. Citizen X is a 1995 HBO original film that details the life and capture of Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatillo. Max Von Sydow (perhaps best known to American audiences as Ming the Merciless in 1980’s Flash Gordon) plays Bukhanovsky, the psychiatrist who attempts to secure Chikatillo’s confession.
One could argue that an abnormal psychologist is a suitable lead-in to playing the Three-Eyed Raven who helps super-warg Bran Stark find his place in the world. Fans love Sydow for his versatility, imposing screen presence, and his deep sonorous voice that almost exudes wisdom. It remains to be seen just how much of an impact his all-too-brief appearance on Thrones will have on Bran, though it should prove vital to the survival of Westeros in the war to come.
11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark)
On Game of Thrones, Catelyn Stark met one of the saddest and most gruesome ends of anyone in her ill-fated family after witnessing the death of her son, daughter-in-law, and future grandchild at the infamous Red Wedding. So fans might have expected her to be a bit more cheerful when she appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as Mrs. Granger. Nope. She mostly gets her memory erased by her daughter, Hermione, before the girl goes off to fight Voldemort with Harry and Ron.
In addition to playing Ned Stark’s wife/widow, Fairley has appeared on the TV show 24, and in films like In the Heart of the Sea, and Prometheus. Will we ever see her again on Game of Thrones? Readers of A Song of Ice and Fire still hold out hope.
10. The Great Muppet Caper: Diana Rigg (Lady Olenna Tyrell)
Diana Rigg has enjoyed an impressive career that spans more than six decades. She has carried her own TV series (The Avengers) and has been nominated for over two dozen of the iconic and impressive roles she’s played, but fans know her best as the Queen of Thorns. Lady Olenna Tyrell is easily one of the most fun characters to watch on Game of Thrones. Her acerbic wit and penchant for bluntness has made her a fan-favorite.
Fans of Rigg couldn’t help loving her over-the-top turn as Lady Holiday, Miss Piggy’s employer in the 1981 film The Great Muppet Caper. Foiled by her treacherous brother (Charles Grodin), Lady Holiday suspects Miss Piggy of involvement in the theft of the fabulous baseball diamond. It’s a wonderfully fun family movie in which, unlike Game of Thrones, almost everyone survives!
9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Gwendolyn Christie (Brienne of Tarth)
If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, you might want to take care of that as soon as you’re finished reading this list. You don’t even have to be a Star Wars fan to love it. All you need is two eyes and a desire to see something awesome. In this blockbuster of blockbusters, Gwendolyn Christie plays Captain Phasma, a highly memorable and imposing figure despite her precious little screen time.
Phasma and Brienne are as different as they are alike. Really. They both have a strong sense of morality and duty. But while Brienne fights for what’s righteous and good, Phasma fights for the Empire (that’s bad). Fans have been told to expect more of Phasma in subsequent films. Let’s hope that’s true.
8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister)
Charles Dance is well known for his work in period pieces, probably because he looks and sounds as if he comes from a different time. Sometimes it’s the future, like his physician character from Alien 3. But in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, he’s the father of wayward and marriageable daughters in the midst of an 1800s-style undead uprising.
Patriarchs Mr. Bennet and Tywin Lannister are similar characters in that they both place a high importance on the survival of the family. Both men also took great pains to ensure that their children were prepared for the world they live in — whether through education, well-arranged marriages, or a valyrian steel sword.
7. Captain America The First Avenger: Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell)
Everybody wants to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s not so surprising when big name actors show up in tiny roles. Natalie Dormer was already well-known for her turn as Anne Boleyn on The Tudors when she signed on to appear in Captain America: The First Avenger. Her role was relatively small, especially when compared to her dynamo performance as Queen Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones.
Not surprisingly, Dormer played a coquettish flirt with her eye on Steve Rogers. Who can blame her? He’s dreamy! Ms. Dormer has also appeared as the budding filmmaker Cressida in The Hunger Games series, and will be seen in the upcoming Patient Zero.
6. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: Sean Bean (Eddard Stark)
When fans hear that Sean Bean has been cast in something, the next question is invariably, “Cool, how do you think he’ll die in it?” That’s not just happenstance. It’s because Bean dies in his screen appearances more often than not. It’s why even non-readers pretty much assumed Ned Stark was doomed, and why Boromir was destined never to make it out of Rivendale alive. Fans loved the noble Boromir almost as much as they adored the steadfastly loyal Eddard Stark. That’s why fans were so devastated when both characters met their doom in violent and infuriating ways.
5. Testament of Youth: Kit Harrington (Jon Snow)
The actor who plays old know-nothing himself, Kit Harrington hasn’t had what one would call an illustrious film career — not yet anyway. But his stand-out film would have to be Testament of Youth, based on the biography of Vera Brittain, a woman who left Oxford to become a nurse during World War I. Kit Harrington plays her fiancée as part of a stellar ensemble cast that includes Red Dragon’s Emily Watson, Dominic West, and Agent Peggy Carter herself: Hayley Atwell.
4. Mama: Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister)
Nicolaj Coster-Waldau is more than just a great Danish actor with a pretty face. He’s also an accomplished writer and director, and the son of a librarian — so we know he knows the value of a good book. He’s also got a varied screen resume that includes action movies, romantic dramas, and even horror films. We’ve seen him in Nightwatch, Black Hawk Down, Oblivion, and the small but impactful Mama shines the brightest.
In Mama, Coster-Waldau plays twins (one a selfish jerk, the other pretty nice) coping with young daughters and a mysterious and possibly vengeful ghost hell bent on possessing them. While he considers Jaime Lannister a terrific role, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau is always interested in trying something new.
3. Dom Hemmingway: Emilia Clarke (Daeneris Targaryan)
Another Game of Thrones headliner that hasn’t had much luck choosing movie roles, Emilia Clarke is best known for flops like Terminator Genisys (where she played Sarah Connor) or tiny fun roles like voicing Zoidberg’s girlfriend on Futurama. Probably her best movie appearance is as Jude Law’s estranged daughter (that seems like it shouldn’t even work mathematically) in Dom Hemmingway. Fans of safe-cracking mafia stories, or those who are intrigued by the threat of characters losing their man-parts, will enjoy this film, which also stars Richard E Grant and Kerry Condon (from HBO’s Rome). Part drama, part comedy, it appeals to the sort of fan who laughs at over-the-top violence and loves an ironic ending.
2. 300: Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister)
The second Game of Thrones cast member on this list to have played Sarah Connor, Lena Headey has enjoyed a long and varied career in film. Even before she took on the role of Cersei Lannister, Headey had a penchant for playing the kind of strong women fans love to hate and hate to love.
In 300, Lena Headey plays Gorgo, the Queen of Sparta. Nice work if you can get it. Her role was much expanded from that in Frank Miller’s comic series, which is a creative non-fiction piece on the Peloponnesian War — specifically the Battle of Thermopylae. Outside of Greece, Headey has also appeared in The Purge, The Jungle Book, Remains of the Day, and the nightmarishly terrible The Brothers Grimm. Shame!
1. The Station Agent: Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister)
Peter Dinklage is a household name today. But in the days before Tyrion Lannister, Dinklage was best known for his breakout role in 2003’s The Station Agent. It’s a beautiful drama that also features Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale as three strangers who slowly become friends while each coping with their own personal losses. Plus, they chase trains while filming them.
Dinklage plays Finbar, a character as dramatically different from the Lannisters as possible. If you want to see Dinklage using his natural speaking voice, but don’t want to involve the X-Men, Q-Bert, or Underdog, definitely make it a point to see The Station Agent.
Did we leave out the best flicks from your favorite GoT cast member? Let us know in the comments.