“Acting is the best job in the world”

The Boar remembers Bob Hoskins, a greatly loved and talented actor, who, after battling pneumonia, passed away at the age of 71 on Tuesday 29th of April. Hoskins rose to prominence after winning a BAFTA award and being nominated for an Oscar in 1987 after starring in Mona Lisa, in which he acted alongside Sir Michael Caine and Robbie Coltrane. However, he was best known for his roles in The Long Good Friday (1980) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). 
The writers of Boar Film have teamed up to write about their most memorable Hoskins’ roles. 


Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday (1980)


Harold Shand stands aboard a luxury yacht as it gently passes by the London Docklands, an area the wannabe legitimate businessman is hoping to re-develop. He boldly claims, “Our country isn’t an island anymore. We’re a leading European state.” With that, the Yuppie was born. And so was an icon. John Mackenzie’s 1980 crime classic is arguably the definitive Bob Hoskins performance. It was the film that established the ferocity of Hoskins as a character actor. Yet at the same time, Hoskins manages to craft a character that is deserving of our affection, despite his sadistic and brutal nature. The film itself stands as one of the finest examples of the British Crime genre, but it is Hoskins performance which makes the film truly memorable. Shand is the epitome of the self-made man, a boy from the East End who has worked his way to significant power and influence through questionable means and methods. He is such a wonderfully developed character, and much of the credit has to be assigned to Hoskins who is at once utterly captivating, funny, and terrifying in equal measure. It is this film that demonstrates exactly why Hoskins is a talent Britain can be proud of, and why he is one that we will sorely miss.

Andrew Gaudion


Spoor in  Brazil (1985)


Bob Hoskins certainly isn’t the star of Brazil, or even the biggest name in the cast, but the somewhat unusual choice to cast him as a despondent engineer turned brutal police state enforcer allows the true horror of the films message to be realised. Essentially cast as the opposite to DeNiro’s Tuttle, the rebellion leading plumber, Hoskins is introduced at first as a man who simply needs to much paperwork done to be able to help our hero, a feeling we are all too familiar with of getting what we want done being blocked by the sheer volume of bureaucracy against it. Later in the film, Hoskins’ character takes a dark turn as through a combination of bad luck and sheer spite, he leaves Jonathan Price’s Sam without a home, with too much paperwork now being what prevents Sam from stopping this from happening. Here the film’s terror is realised as we see the totalitarian dystopia run not through brutal efficiency, but middle managers and forms. Without giving away too much, Hoskins’ characters eventual demise is one of the most wince-inducing in sci-fi without a drop of blood on sceen, a grotesque end form a grotesque satire.

Patrick Gill


George in Mona Lisa (1986)


Mona Lisa‘s imperfect hero George – a hardened and racist ex-con with an unlikely but entirely convincing soft spot for the ‘thin black tart’ he works as a chauffeur for – is a role that seems handmade for Bob Hoskins: a role might never have been more perfectly built for the actor playing it. George is suitably hard and threatening for a London gangster, but many actors can pull the mean machine act off just as well as Hoskins does. What makes this particular malefactor stand tall, despite his iconic small stature, is the manner with which Hoskins sells him to us as a hopeless romantic without ever relieving his concrete demeanour of its brutish hard-heartedness. He might move the spectator to tears just as quickly as he could strike fear into them.
 Mona Lisa is as dark and violent as any neo-noir ever made, but invites a far less detached viewing than typical pulp fare. It’s  a beautifully honest portrayal of love made impossible by insurmountable circumstances. Neil Jordan’s film owes each of these dual successes to its exceptionally earnest lead performance, for which Hoskins won Best Actor at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, as well as an award at Cannes and an Academy Award nomination.
Jacob Mier
Smee in Hook (1990)
With a career as varied and as long as Bob Hoskins’s, it is difficult to pick out my favourite role of his. He has done such astounding work, any one answer would be disingenuous. I can, however, confidently recall the first time I saw him on-screen – as the surprisingly lovable Smee in Steven Spielberg’s Hook. Here was an actor taking what was essentially a bit part and filling it with the same passion and enthusiasm you would expect from a lead. It was neither over-acted nor phoned in; Smee was, in many ways, the best performance amidst a very gifted cast. As a child, my impression was of liking someone – a pirate, a baddie – who I expected to root against. I think that is a nice embodiment of how someone who seemed so unassuming had so much talent.
Ibtisam Ahmed
Mario Mario in Super Mario Bros. (1993)
At a time of tragedy and remembrance it isn’t tactful to muse on the failures of the deceased, but Bob Hoskins’ role in 1993’s Super Mario Bros. feels like an exception One of the first “oh my god what have they done? This is unfathomably rubbish!” videogame adaptations (and there have since been many), Super Mario Bros. sees Hoskins go a little bit Michael Caine, cashing in his celebrated name for a quick buck as the older of the titular siblings. Except he’s actually pretty good. Hoskins brings his trademark physicality, unique personality and a surprising lightness of comedic touch to proceedings, buoying an otherwise unintelligible orgy of awful. An adequate actor can impress with a great script. It takes a formidable performer to dance with an impenetrably juvenile plot, a character named King Koopa and Dennis Hooper using the scenery as his own personal three course meal, yet still emerge beloved. Surviving this turkey may just be the crowning achievement in Hoskins’ résumé. Rest easy Bobbo.
Daniel Kelly


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