Malcolm McDowell is a national treasure, an English actor who has starred in everything from genre movies and TV shows to classical and historical feature films and dramas. Along the way, he has proven to be as versatile as anyone to step foot in Hollywood. He has received honors by the Golden Globes, Saturn Awards, and critics' associations.
McDowell has also branched out and made his name as a video game voice actor, with his most notable roles being in games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and God of War III, helping a new era of fans discover how great he really is. With a career that has spanned over 50 years, here is a look at 10 awesome Malcolm McDowell roles you might have forgotten about.
10 MICK TRAVIS, IF....
Just over 50 years ago, Malcolm McDowell set the world on fire with his performance in the Lindsay Anderson British drama film if.... This was not only his first major film role but also one of his most acclaimed, giving him a huge level to reach over the rest of his career. The movie is a satire of English public schools.
McDowell portrays Mick Travis, a non-conformist that is persecuted by upperclassmen prefects and eventually leads to a horrifying conclusion that is no less than all-out war between conformists and non-conformists. The movie won the Palme d'Or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. McDowell reprised the role of Mick Travis in two more movies -- O Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital.
9 ALEX DELARGE, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
While many people might consider it ridiculous to think anyone would forget about A Clockwork Orange, the fact is there is an entire generation of film lovers who have yet to discover this landmark film that will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021. This movie follows if... in telling the story of people involved in the war between conformists and non-conformists.
In this movie, McDowell portrays Alex, the leader of a gang who rapes, robs, and brutalizes anyone they want without any thought of the consequences. Alex is arrested for his crimes and "rehabilitated" through brainwashing, where he then finds himself the victim without a way to fight back. This is one of Stanley Kubrick's most important films and remains one every movie fan needs to see.
8 CALIGULA, CALIGULA
In 1979, Malcolm McDowell went way back in time to tell the story of the Roman Emperor Caligula. This movie was highly controversial when it came out as it was produced by Bob Guccione, the founder of the adult magazine Penthouse and he wanted to make this an explicit adult film with major stars and he got some big names for the movie including McDowell, Peter O'Toole, and Helen Mirren.
The movie, originally directed as a political satire that showed that absolute power corrupts, was turned int the editing room into a film that was a borderline pornographic drama. However, over time, Caligula became a cult classic and both O'Toole and McDowell received praise for their performances.
7 H.G. WELLS, TIME AFTER TIME
The same year that McDowell appeared in Caligula, he also took on the role of another legendary historical figure -- this one science fiction legend H.G. Wells. The movie is Nicholas Meyer's Time After Time and McDowell portrayed Wells in a work of fiction that supposes he created his own time machine, which was then stolen and used by Jack the Ripper.
When the machine returns, Wells uses it to give chase. The movie is another satire about the degradation of society, as the Ripper tells Wells that the world is pleasing to him now because he is an amateur compared to the horrors existing in the world in 1979. In the end, Wells returns and the movie reveals his time travel allowed his sci-fi to have a futuristic feel to it. McDowell was nominated for a Saturn Award for his performance.
6 PAUL GALLIER, CAT PEOPLE
In 1982, Malcolm McDowell went straight to genre horror when he appeared in the erotic horror film Cat People. This movie was a remake of the classic horror film of the same name by producer Val Lawton and starred Nastassja Kinski just a few short years after her breakout in Tess.
McDowell stars as Paul, the orphaned brother of Kinski's Irene, and the two are actually werecat people. Paul knows what they are and has become a serial killer. They turn into werecats when they have sex with a human and can only revert when they kill another human. The movie is a product of its time but remains a cult classic.
5 DR. TOLIAN SORAN, STAR TREK GENERATIONS
In 1994, Malcolm McDowell joined the Star Trek franchise when he appeared as Dr. Tolian Soran in Star Trek: Generations. In this movie, which brought together Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek series and Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, McDowell is the villain of the story.
Soran wants to return the energy ribbon of the Nexus but ends up on the losing end of the battle between two of the greatest Starfleet captains of all-time. In Star Trek history, Soran holds the distinction of being the man who actually killed Captain Kirk, something many people before him unsuccessfully attempted. In some fun trivia, McDowell later portrayed Mister Rourke on Fantasy Island, the same role that Ricardo Montalban portrayed before him. Montalban was also a former Star Trek movie villain.
4 KESSLEE, TANK GIRL
If any comic book movie deserves cult classic status, it is Tank Girl. Based on a cult classic comic book series, the film was released in 1995 and starred Lori Petty. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic Australia, like a really messed up version of Mad Max but with Petty as the title character teaming with Naomi Watts' Jet Girl to battle supersoldiers in a company called Water & Power.
McDowell stars as Kesslee, the leader of the evil corporation. Tank Girl received bad reviews and was a box office flop, but had a long life thanks to its cult following and feminist themes that have allowed it to build a steady fanbase since its release.
3 MARCUS KANE, DOOMSDAY
In 2002, an exciting new director broke out with the great horror movie Dog Soldiers, one of the best werewolf movies of the past two decades. He followed that up with the masterful horror movie The Descent and has since made his name by directing some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones, including "Blackwater."
While he is at a low right now after his most recent movie, Hellboy, was a critical and commercial failure, he made a sci-fi apocalyptic movie in between called Doomsday. Malcolm McDowell was along for the ride as Marcus Kane, a former scientist turned sadistic feudal lord with an entire army under his leadership.
2 DR. SAMUEL LOOMIS, HALLOWEEN
In 2007, Rob Zombie released the polarizing Halloween remake, re-imagining the entire original story for a new generation. Most of the movie stuck to the original story but with a new dynamic and some added twists. Malcolm McDowell portrayed Dr. Sam Loomis, played by Donald Pleasence in the original movie.
Loomis got more of a role in this movie as Zombie chose to start the movie from an earlier point to make it a slight prequel as well. In this movie, Loomis is a child psychologist who worked with Michael since the start. By the second movie, Loomis turned into a self-promoting opportunist, a nice twist on the original character.
1 PROFESSOR LOMBARDI, BOOK OF ELI
Interestingly, despite being a character with some importance in the movie, Malcolm McDowell was not credited at the end of the post-apocalyptic Book of Eli. The movie, which starred Denzel Washington as a wanderer who has a brail book that everyone wants to get their hands on.
McDowell plays Professor Lombardi, a curator that is the guardians of the secrets and wants to teach the world about the society that they lost. It is to Lombardi that Eli dictates the book so they can recreate it for the masses. He is a leader who can help try to rebuild the world into a more structured society after the final credits roll.