Alan Rickman or Charles Dance?

This is Alan Rickman.

Whether you know him as the villain from Die Hard, Snape from Harry Potter, or a Spock wannabe in Galaxy Quest, he’s a pretty awesome guy. Even when he’s cheating on Emma Thompson in Love Actually, he’s still incredibly smooth.

This is Charles Dance.

You probably know him as Tywin Lannister. I’m a little more old-school and I think of him as Mr. Benedict from The Last Action Hero and Sardo Numspa from The Golden Child, two irredeemably bad movies that for some reason I love to watch.

Both actors are oily Brits who are known for their cold, calculating style and dry wit. The question I have for you today is, who’s better?

Take a look at the evidence:


Alan Rickman was the premiere villain in the late 1980s and 1990s. He literally defined the Eurotrash villain stereotype with Die Hard. His droll delivery and ultracool look made even the good guys envious. And let’s face facts, the guy looks ultracool in everything. That’s why Buckler pointed out this meme to me:

It’s so true. The guy looks cool with a dumb latex face mask on. There is no amount of goofy that can make this guy not look cool. And the voice is sheer, unadulterated evil.


And yet, I’d argue that Charles Dance is better, in a “we try harder” kind of way. There’s a story about Charles Dance and his involvement in Last Action Hero. The filmmakers actually wanted Alan Rickman for the role but couldn’t afford him. So, when Charles Dance showed up for work on the first day, it was in a T-Shirt that said “I’m cheaper than Alan Rickman.” Gotta love a guy who can laugh at himself. And in case you only know him as Tywin, here’s a picture of him looking pretty darn cool in that film.

Charles Dance made a career out of being more over the top than anyone else, and it shows in his work. I can imagine how much fun he must have had on Game of Thrones. This is a show full of memorable deaths and it’s hard to imagine one more perfectly suited to the character.

There’s also the rather unfortunate matter of how Alan Rickman passed away, leaving Charles Dance free to keep building his amazing resumé.

Why choose?

I would say, the best option would be a movie where Charles Dance and Alan Rickman teamed up, with Gary Oldman thrown in for good measure. I know that’s off the table, as Rickman would have to commute a very long distance, but it’s fun to imagine. Think of it as The Expendables with classic villains instead of heroes. They could bring in the great Sonny Chiba as well, and maybe even the fabulous Terence Stamp. I would pay double to see that sort of a movie, wouldn’t you?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.