Richard Attenborough Tribute: Intro

Richard Attenborough Tribute: Intro


A Tribute by Jarrod Emerson

Just over two years ago, on August 24, 2014, Sir Richard Attenborough passed away. A few days shy of his 91st birthday, he left behind an incredible cinematic legacy. I first became aware of Attenborough at the age of six watching him in Jurassic Park. At that time I was far too young know or care about Attenborough’s  impressive decades-long career. It was only as I matured and expanded my movie viewing beyond what my adolescent self, that I became aware of his immense talent.

Born August 29, 1923, in Cambridge, England, Richard Attenborough was passionate about the performing arts from an early age. Educated at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Attenborough began acting professionally in 1942. Over the next several decades, he played a variety of roles on both stage and film, becoming one of England’s most acclaimed character actors.

However, Attenborough explored a whole new angle of his talent when he turned to directing films in the late 1960s. As versatile behind the camera as he was in front of it, Attenborough the director dabbled in many different genres—ranging from musicals (A Chorus Line) to horror (Magic) to drama, but his passion was in politics—past and present. Attenborough perhaps best embodied this passion in his Academy Award winning biopic of Mohandas Gandhi. His apartheid-themed Cry Freedom was filmed during the midst of Apartheid. What history professors do in lecture halls, Attenborough did with celluloid.

Few filmmakers have relentlessly tackled such powerful stories with the conviction and fervor of Attenborough. His numerous contributions to cinema have left a permanent impression on the world.

The following eight films show the best of Attenborough as both an actor and director:


  1. BRIGHTON ROCK (1947)
  2. THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963)
  3. 10 RILLINGTON PLACE (1971)
  4. JURASSIC PARK (1993)


  1. MAGIC (1978)
  2. GANDHI (1982)
  3. CRY FREEDOM (1987)
  4. CHAPLIN (1992)



While there are many talented filmmakers in this world, few use their talent to speak about important topics as passionately as Richard Attenborough.

© Jarrod Emerson (12/12/16) FF2 Media