Perhaps one of the most famous Spanish personalities of all time, Antonio Banderas began his acting career after his soccer dreams were shattered when he broke his foot at the age of 14. Acting was a difficult battle for him, some of his earliest stage performances landing him in jail due to the political censorship of the time. At the age of 19, he moved to Madrid and waited tables, as well as taking the occasional modeling job while trying to make it as an actor. Fortunately, he would eventually gain international attention from his performance in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” and he would capture American audiences with the release of “The Mambo King” in 1992. Today, he is known as one of the most handsome Hollywood actors and has even caused a bit of a buzz, providing the voice-over for the bee in the Nasonex allergy commercials. While his early years may have been a struggle, he is one of the most sought-after actors of this day and age.
If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen of Antonio Banderas and would like to see some more of his movies, or if you’ve never seen him before and are curious as to what all the hype is about, be sure to check out some of these unforgettable Antonio Banderas roles. Whether you enjoy drama, action, comedy or horror, chances are you’ll find an Antonio Banderas movie to love.
10 Top Antonio Banderas Movies To Enjoy
Néstor Castillo in “The Mambo Kings,” 1992: This was Antonio’s Hollywood debut, playing the part of Néstor Castillo in the tale of two Cuban brothers, who flee to America in hopes of making it big as musicians. At the time, Antonio did not speak English and so he had to learn his lines phonetically as they went along. The end result is a beautiful movie and a very touching and deep role for Banderas.
Miguel Álvarez in “Philadelphia,” 1993: Playing the role of boyfriend to Andrew Beckett (Tom Cruise), Miguel is a very thoughtful and believable lover. His role in this movie is not overly large, but it’s an excellent supporting role for the talented Banderas and portrays a very kind and adoring individual. Combined with the sheer force and message in this film, it makes for an unforgettable role and unforgettable movie. If you enjoy a good drama, this is a must-see.
Armand in “Interview With the Vampire,” 1994: According to the books, “The Vampire Chronicles, Armand was always described as a young boy with reddish colored curls and slender fingers, not unlike Cupid. Of course, Spanish-born Antonio Banderas did not fit this description, but it didn’t stop them from casting him as the ringleader of the Theatre des Vampires. Once Anne Rice fans got over the initial shock and outrage from seeing Armand represented so, most agreed that he actually did an exceptional job as the 500-year old vampire.
El Mariachi in “Desperado,” 1995: If you enjoy a good action/thriller with a sexy hunk in the lead, chances are you’ll love Desperado. The acting on this movie isn’t all that deep, but it does have a lot of great action and visual effects. It definitely leaves you wanting more and eager to watch more Antonio Banderas, hence why it makes the list.
Miguel Bain in “Assassins,” 1995: This is another great choice for people who love action films, and Antonio Banderas does not disappoint as competitive assassin, Miguel Bain. What happens when different assassins are sent out after the same mark? Let’s just say it’s a great movie with a lot of good twist and turns…and it co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Julianne Moore.
Che in “Evita,” 1996: Playing the role of Narrator, Che, Antonio Banderas not only has proven his acting abilities, but also his ability to sing. Starring opposite Madonna and Johnathan Pryce, Banderas shines in this adaptation based on the life of Eva Perón.
Alejandro Murrieta/Zorro in “The Mask of Zorro,” 1998: What’s better than a mixture of swashbuckling action and comedy? Not much! When you add the likes of Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones to this swashbuckler movie, you have the makings for a very enjoyable evening, kicked back with your bucket of popcorn. Definitely a must-see for anyone’s list.
Peasant in “Gladiator,” 2000: Amusingly, I have to include this as one of Antonio Banderas’ best roles, simply because of the sheer humor behind it. When Ridley Scott, the director, approached Banderas and offered him a role as an extra in “Gladiator,” Antonio Banderas agreed, but demanded no less than $50,000 for his appearance in the film. Scott agreed to pay out the money and, because of this, Antonio Banderas now holds the World’s Record for the highest-paid extra to ever appear in a movie.
Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rašīd ibn Hammād in “The 13th Warrior,” 1999: Who is this man with this incredibly long name? In truth, he was a Arab writer and traveler from the 10th century, who is believed to be the earliest person to ever provide a written description of the Vikings. In “The 13th Warrior,” his tales are tied into the epic, “Beowolf.” If you love an action film with beautiful scenes, this is your movie. The role isn’t too in-depth, however. I enjoy it for the cinematography and Antonio, as always, brings something extra to the role.
Puss In Boots in “Shrek 2,” 2004: Banderas has often joked about how much he hates “the cat,” due to the fact that people always make such a fuss over how cute and adorable Puss In Boots is and how he was popular and loved before “the cat” came along. Antonio can’t complain too loudly, however, as the cat continues to rake in the dough – He will be doing the voice of Puss In Boots in the upcoming spin-off “Puss in Boots: The Story of an Ogre Killer,” scheduled to be released in 2011.
If you’ve seen all of the above-listed movies and you’re still hungry for more, never fear! Antonio Banderas stars in the latest Woody Allen movie, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” scheduled for release later this month.
http://www.imbd.com – Information on movies and Antonio Banderas
http://www.theantoniobanderas.com/ – Further biographical information