Today we lost one of Britain’s finest actors in Alan Rickman, the villain everyone loved to hate in Die Hard, Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves and, of course, Harry Potter, in his career-defining role as the inscrutable Severus Snape. He played the character in eight films over the course of 10 years – from 2001 to 2011 – and was spellbinding in every scene he was in. Look back at his best moments below…
The Philosopher’s Stone – 2001
1. Rickman’s first proper scene as Snape is this, in which he summons all the contempt he can for Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter. His RADA-taught enunciation caresses every line he speaks – “I can teach you how to bewitch the mind,” he riffs, “and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death.”
2. In this next clip, Snape confronts the whimpering Professor Quirrell, whom he realises is the one committing minor crimes for Voldemort. Snape never gets credit for it, but he was the only one actually looking out for the Philosopher’s Stone.
Also, Rickman’s diction for the phrase “where your loyalties lie” is a note-perfect blend of menace and grace.
The Chamber Of Secrets – 2002
3. He’s proper pissed off here – his emotional tenor rarely reaches this height – as you can hear from the way he delivers the line, “Were you in Slytherin and your fate rested with me, the both of you would be on the train home. Tonight.”
His newspaper flourish is killer villain material, too.
4. He’s good at saying “Expelliarmus” for the first time in the films and making everyone remember what the word is – but he’s also good at doing an uber-dramatic 180.
This is the uber-dramatic 180, in case you missed it.
The Prizoner Of Azkaban – 2004
5. Comedy? Yep, he nails that too. Here he is playing a fear-preying Boggart, being forced by Neville Longbottom into Longbottom’s grandmother’s clothes, and cringing at the laughter.
6. “Turn to page 394”.
7. Usually so silky smooth, you can see him burrowing back into his old teenage angst as he confronts his former bullies, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
The Goblet Of Fire – 2005
8. When you want someone to shut up and do their homework, Snape’s your guy.
9. This deleted scene is set during the Yule Ball and is basically about Bulgarian magical school headmaster, Igor Karkaroff, being scared of Voldemort’s return. It has Snape doing four things:
A. Dashing through the snow.
B. Stopping teens from getting off in carriages.
C. Stripping points from Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.
D. Intimidating a fellow Death Eater.
10. “Don’t. Lie. To me.” Remixes have been of this clip. Many, many remixes.
The Order Of The Phoenix – 2007
11. Here Rickman does a perfect portrayal of discomfort as he fields Professor Dolores Umbridge’s questions about why he’s still not Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher.
12. “Life isn’t fair.”
The Half-Blood Prince – 2009
13. His double agent powers are put to the test here, but Snape has no trouble keeping a straight face as he makes the unbreakable vow to Draco Malfoy’s mother to kill Dumbledore.
14. McLaggen voms all over Snape’s (presumably shiny snakeskin) boots. He’s less than amused.
15. When Harry and Dumbledore are away fetching the locket Horcrux from a distant cave, Malfoy is preparing to kill him (he’s getting up from an infirmary bed after being cut up by Harry) and Snape is mentally preparing to do the same. This scene was deleted, perhaps to prevent spoiling the final film for fans who hadn’t read the books – in which it’s revealed Snape didn’t really want to hurt Dumble-D.
16. Here he kills Dumbledore in one of the most memorable scenes of the series.
17. “I’m the Half Blood Prince”. Of course he is.
The Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2 – 2010-11
18. Here as headmaster of Hogwarts, he addresses his students (or subjects) to maintain his facade as Voldemort’s reliable insider. “Equally guilty” is a good line – and the fight with Professor McGonagall isn’t bad either.
19. “You’ve been raising him like a pig for slaughter,” he tells Dumbledore in this outraged flashback sequence. Full of sympathy for Harry, would you believe it.
20. Perhaps the best of the lot is this behind-the-scenes video, which shows Rickman playing Snape during his fight with Professor McGonagall. At one point he hits the camera boom with his wand – the pair wield them like swords, though – and drops it. His reaction, “Oh”, is terribly English, and the room breaks into warm, gentle laughter.
The Snape Story 2001- 2011
21. Some fans think the film is better without any of the other characters at all, and have cut all of the above into a single half-hour film. Watch it below.