First entering the entertainment scene in 1960, Terence Stamp is an accomplished thespian who can hop into any role and deliver a chameleon-like performance. Judging by the trailer for the impending Last Night in Soho, the actor is about to deliver a performance of an equal caliber.
Stamp has starred in plenty of projects in a lead role but is unafraid to take on a strong supporting role. Regardless of screentime, Terence Stamp is a welcome presence in any cast list. Equally comfortable playing the hero and villain, like in Last Night in Soho, Stamp has an intimidating presence and a steely gaze that’s near irreplaceable.
10 Ludwig Beck In Valkyrie (2008) – 7.1
Stamp plays Generaloberst (colonel general) Ludwig Beck. Had Hitler’s assassination gone through, Beck would have had the best chance at the presidential role. He played a crucial role in the plot (of the film and against Hitler), with Stamp turning in an empathic performance as a man fed up with a tyrannical leader.
9 Willie Parker In The Hit (1984) – 7.1
While watching thrillers to prepare for Last Night in Soho, The Hit would be a worthy watch. The film’s cast is formidable, featuring such legends as John Hurt and Tim Roth.
Stamp stars as Willie Parker, a London gangster who cuts a deal with the police to rat out his cohorts. Hurt and Roth star as Braddock and Myron, two hitmen hired by the boss that Parker helped put in prison. Stamp’s main purpose in the film is to hammer home the theme of death just being a part of life.
8 Francis Troy In Far From The Madding Crowd (1967) – 7.2
Based on the classic 1874 book by Thomas Hardy, the epic period drama Far from the Madding Crowd featured Stamp and Julie Christie in the lead roles. The plot follows Bathsheba Everdene (Christie), a woman who has recently inherited a substantial estate.
Stamp plays one of three suitors who enter the picture to win Everdene’s hand and land. As Francis Troy, a cavalry sergeant with an overbearing demeanor, Stamp brings in just the right mixture of charm and intimidation. His ultimate fate feels somewhat well-deserved in the viewer’s eyes.
7 The Visitor In Teorema (1968) – 7.2
Teorema (Theorem in the UK) follows The Stranger (Stamp’s unnamed lead role) as he changes the lives of a Milanese bourgeois family.
In this allegorical film, The Stranger begins to seduce each member of the bourgeois family: the maid, the son, the mother, the daughter, and the father. While doing so, he stops the maid from taking her own life, helps the son with his anxiety, eliminates the childhood innocence of the daughter, brings passion back into the life of the mother, and comforts the ill father. Once The Stranger leaves, each member of the family finds themselves operating in a way unfamiliar to them.
6 Wall Street (1987) – 7.4
This classic Oliver Stone film is Michael Douglas’ film through and through, but Stamp delivers a heartbreaking supporting performance. The plot of Wall Street primarily follows Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) as he works his way into the inner circle of Gordon Gekko (Douglas), a Wall Street power player.
Stamp plays the role of Sir Larry Wildman, one of Gekko’s competitors whom Fox is ordered to follow. Wildman is in the running to purchase a major steel company, a transaction which Gekko makes far more difficult and expensive. Once Fox realizes Gekko’s duplicitous nature, he teams up with Wildman to bring his former hero down.
5 Freddie Clegg In The Collector (1965) – 7.5
The Collector, a British-American psychological horror film from the mid-’60s. Stamp effectively plays the title role of the collector, named Freddie Clegg, a dangerous young man who stalks a comparably-aged art student.
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium. Stamp did not receive a nomination for his role as Clegg, but his performance was lauded as being suitably creepy and intimidating.
4 Bernadette Bassenger In The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert (1994) – 7.5
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was an early ’90s film featuring Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce as two drag queens who traverse the Australian Outback with a transgender woman (Stamp).
As Bernadette Bassenger, Stamp turns in a sensitive performance that was frequently referred to as the best of the bunch. Bassenger has been in the same job for a long time and is experiencing something similar to a mid-life crisis. Fortunately, she receives a happy ending in the form of love in a healthy relationship.
3 General Zod In Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980) – 7.6
As General Zod, Terence Stamp actually appeared in two movies. However, his role in Superman was fairly limited. In the superior Superman II (particularly Richard Donner’s cut), it’s the villain’s time to shine.
Zod is arguably Stamp’s most well-known role, turning in a remarkably sinister performance that at least matches the energy brought by Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor. He seems intelligent and strong enough to actually bring down the Man of Steel. Part of this is the writing, but most of it is the gravitas the actor brings to the role.
2 Giacomo Paradisi In His Dark Materials (2020) – 7.9
Stamp had a role in one episode of His Dark Materials Season 2, the adaptation of the same book series (which had initially been adapted as the film The Golden Compass).
The actor portrayed Giacomo Paradisi, the possessor of the subtle knife (a blade capable of slicing through the lines separating worlds within the multiverse). Unfortunately, Paradisi took his own life at the end of the episode, resulting in Stamp becoming a one-and-done guest star of His Dark Materials.
1 Billy Budd In Billy Budd (1962) – 7.9
Based on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Stamp plays the eponymous role, which netted him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Budd is a young, optimistic crewman who is initially dismissed by his shipmates. Things aren’t much better with master-of-arms John Claggart, who plans to frame Budd for a planned mutiny. When Budd accidentally kills Claggart, he seals his fate. It’s a heartbreaking end for a loveable character.