Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988)
Rickman's first movie role, at the age of 41, had him playing a dapper German terrorist across Bruce Willis in the role of police officer John McClane. His portrayal of Gruber as a convincing villain with psychological depth rather than a caricature of evil leaves an indelible impression.
Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990)
Anthony Minghella's touching romantic-dramedy about the complicated emotions of those mourning a loss succeeds in part because of Rickman's sensitive portrayal of a dead cellist. While the cellist's girlfriend (Juliet Stevenson as Nina) is happy to have him back in her life as a ghost lover, his neediness annoys her. Rickman's performance earned him a nomination for Best Actor at the 1992 British Academy Film Awards.
Sheriff George of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)
His turn as wickedly funny sheriff brought on the laughs and left audiences in a love-hate relationship with the evil English ruler. For his delightful depiction of the nasty character, he won the award for Best Actor In A Supporting Role at the 1992 British Academy Film Awards.
Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Starring opposite Kate Winslet's Marianne Dashwood in Lee Ang's movie adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Rickman is in his element playing a character who appears cool on the exterior but is tender at heart. He was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the 1996 British Academy Film Awards.
Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series of films (2001 to 2011)
Rickman's nuanced performance as the master of potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry fleshed out the character's complex personality over eight films. A cold, cutting instructor in the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Rickman's Professor Snape is by the last instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (2011), a warm-blooded person capable of honour, compassion and fear.