Actors

17 Actors Who Have Played Richard III  

Celebrity Lists
3.3k views 17 items

A number of highly recognizable actors have risen to the challenge of portraying the title character in William Shakespeare’s Richard III. As this list of actors who played Richard III proves, there's nothing like a difficult character to inspire a great performance.

By many historical accounts, King Richard III was a malicious tyrant. Whatever he was really like, he's certainly a villain in Shakespeare’s play. He’s a tyrant capable of ferocious evil, one who uses Machiavellian power to assume the throne. Most of the stars who played Richard III in film and on stage relied heavily on his evil nature in their portrayals. And why not? Shakespeare’s Richard III was a true villain.

Sir Laurence Olivier dug into the egotistical side of the King in 1955’s Richard III. Olivier also directed and produced the film, in which he delivers his monologues straight to the camera. Benedict Cumberbatch holds the honor of being the only direct descendant of Richard III to portray him. He's Richard's third cousin, 16 times removed, and he played the King in The Hollow Crown in May 2016.

Which of these famous actors who have played Richard III did it best? Take a look at this list, and share your thoughts in the comment section.

Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 17 Actors Who Have Played Richard III
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Al Pacino portrayed Richard III in a documentary he directed, Looking for Richard, in 1996.

Age: 78

Birthplace: East Harlem, New York City, New York, United States of America

More Al Pacino

#14 of 267 on The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #8 of 1160 on The Best Actors in Film History featuring The Best Al Pacino Movies 16 Crazy-Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Al Pacino

see more on Al Pacino
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 17 Actors Who Have Played Richard III
Photo: @TheaterHistory/via Twitter

Denzel Washington took on the role of Richard III on Broadway in 1990.

Age: 64

Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States of America

More Denzel Washington

#12 of 285 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #6 of 267 on The Best (Male) Actors Working Today featuring The Best Denzel Washington Movies The Greatest Characters Played by Denzel Washington, Ranked

see more on Denzel Washington
Kevin Spacey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 17 Actors Who Have Played Richard III
Photo: Millmaine Entertainment Marketing/via YouTube

Kevin Spacey played Richard III in a Sam Mendes-directed stage version of Shakespeare's play in 2011.

Age: 59

Birthplace: South Orange, New Jersey, United States of America

More Kevin Spacey

#19 of 267 on The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #54 of 1160 on The Best Actors in Film History featuring The Best Kevin Spacey Movies The Greatest Characters Played by Kevin Spacey, Ranked

see more on Kevin Spacey
Benedict Cumberbatch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 17 Actors Who Have Played Richard III
Photo: BBC2

Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed Richard III in The Hollow Crown in May 2016.

Age: 39

Birthplace: London, England

More Benedict Cumberbatch

#61 of 285 on The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #37 of 267 on The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #30 of 339 on The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting) featuring The Best Benedict Cumberbatch Movies

see more on Benedict Cumberbatch