Ray Winstone Top 10

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Ray Winstone is mostly known for his “hard man” roles, beginning with his role as Carlin in the 1979 film Scum. From Scum, Winstone went from strength to strength starring opposite Hollywood superstars such as Guy Pearce, Mel Gibson, Jack Nicholson to name a few. His latest film, THE GUNMAN, sees him supporting Sean Penn as Jim Terrier, the ex-hitman who is left juggling his need to atone for a violent past with the debilitating reality of post traumatic stress disorder, not to mention a number of attempts being made on his life. As THE GUNMAN is available on EST now, and arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms from 20th July, courtesy of Studio Canal, we take a look at 10 of Ray Winstone’s best performances on screen…


Eight years after fleeing the Congo following his assassination of that country’s minister of mining, former hitman Terrier (Sean Penn) is left juggling his need to atone for a violent past with the debilitating reality of post traumatic stress disorder. After an attempt is made on his life, Terrier flies to London to find out who wants him dead – and why. Winstone plays Stanley, his go-to fixer in London, who helps him flee to Barcelona undetected. Stanley has reservations about helping Jim out, fearing he is putting himself in danger too. And rightly so…

Sexy Beast (2001)

In Sexy Beast, perhaps Winstone’s most notable performance, he plays Gary, a retired gangster who gets pulled back into a life of crime when his old criminal friend Don Logan (Sir Ben Kingsley) shows up demanding assistance for one last job. Don wants Gary in on the job, and is less than pleased by Gary’s unwillingness to volunteer his services. What ensues is a battle of wills between the two men, with Don intimidating, prodding, and manipulating his onetime friend to get what he wants, forever changing the lives of those around him in the process.

The Proposition (2005)

John Hillcoat’s hard-edged Aussie western stars the great Ray Winstone as English lawman Captain Stanley, who apprehends a notorious outlaw, Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce), and his younger brother Mikey. However, the outlaw who Captain Stanley really wants is Charlie’s older brother Arthur. Therefore he gives Charlie an ultimatum: either find and kill Arthur or watch Mikey be hanged. The Proposition is a rare example in which Winstone plays authority. However, whilst Winstone typically lends himself to hard-man gangster roles, in The Proposition he plays a rigorous authoritarian perfectly with a harsh ruthlessness.

Edge of Darkness (2010)

Casino Royale‘s Martin Campbell returns to familiar territory with this adaptation of his own 1985 BBC miniseries. In Edge of Darkness Mel Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a homicide detective whose investigation into the murder of his political-activist daughter exposes layers of governmental conspiracies. In an otherwise routine thriller, Winstone’s arrogant, shady and mysterious performance as Darius Jedburgh, the operative sent to cover up the murder, is outstanding.

Scum (2006)

Alan Clarke’s drama, and Ray Winstone’s break-out lead performance, is brutal and depressing both in content and outlook on the British borstal system of the 70s. ‘Scum’ refers to the label slapped upon young-offender and reform-school inmate, Carlin (Winstone). When he isn’t being beaten up by the other boys, Ray is being beaten down by The System. He rebels against this treatment and becomes more vicious than any of his oppressors. Scum raised a young Winstone’s profile and helped him gain his now more notable “tough guy” persona. Who could forget the iconic scene in which Carlin places two snooker balls inside a sock and beats Banks and his cronies to within an inch of their lives!

The Departed (2006)

In this blockbuster ensemble starring Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson, Ray Winstone gives one of the most memorable supporting performance in any recent Martin Scorsese film. He plays Mr. French, a ruthless and dedicated henchman of Frank Costello (Nicholson), the head of an organised crime gang in Boston. Whilst Nicholson, Di Caprio and Damon are the centre of attention, it is impossible to talk about the Departed without reference to Mr French’s death. After French’s car crashes and catches fire, he knows he’s done for. Though rather than burn to death, French simply places a gun to his chin, utters “Fuck it”, and pulls the trigger.

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

This film has an all star cast including Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth the axe-wielding huntsman. Winstone’s one of eight dwarves though is most memorable because of his grittiness. Winstone plays a rough and tough dwarf with absolutely great hair and some awesome battle gear. He manages to turn an adorable little guy into a believably gutsy warrior which is impressive in itself.

Hugo (2011)

Ray Winstone stars in yet another Martin Scorsese film about the astonishing adventure of a resourceful boy whose goes on a quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father. Ray Winstone plays Uncle Claude and although he is only in the film for two minutes as an alcoholic watchmaker he does in two minutes what most actors can’t do in two hours.

The Sweeney (2012)

Tearing up the streets of London, The Sweeney is a stylish, exhilarating action thriller, proving sometimes you have to act like a criminal to catch a criminal. Winstone teams up with rapper Plan B aka Ben Drew for a big screen version of the ‘70s police drama The Sweeney (in which Winstone also made a brief appearance). Winstone plays legendary detective Jack Regan who has his own way of getting things done, and always gets results.

Noah (2014)

When God decides that mankind has become too sinful and must be wiped off the Earth, he chooses Noah (Russell Crowe), to build an ark large enough to hold his wife (Jennifer Connelly), adopted daughter (Emma Watson), sons (Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Leo McHughCarroll) and their wives — plus breeding pairs of every animal. When the task is completed, Noah and his family witness God’s wrath in the form of an apocalyptic flood.  Ray Winstone plays Tubal-cain, murderer of Noah’s father and antagonist of this biblical epic.


THE GUNMAN is available on EST from 13th July, and on Blu-Ray, DVD and Limited Edition Steelbook from 20th July, 2015, courtesy of Studio Canal

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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