Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes



Brilliant, awkward, cold, Benedict Cumberbatch’s narcissistic Holmes has set the gold standard for crime drama heroes, but the world’s most famous super-sleuth has had many faces. 

You can go ahead and group us in with the “Cumberbitches.” The legions of self-labeled female Benedict Cumberbatch fans caught on early to the English actor’s rising star. Already a British TV staple before his breakout as the hatted super-sleuth in the BBC series (kicking it old school on PBS over here), Cumberbatch has gone on to appear in The Hobbit, been nominated for an Oscar in The Imitation Game and stars in the new Whitey Bulger flick, Black Mass, alongside Johnny Depp. But it was him at his cheekbones-to- cut-diamonds icy best in the modern-day Sherlock that got us onto his bandwagon. After trying to kill him off, the Brits finally bucked their habit of canceling shows (See: The Office, The IT Crowd) to bring Holmes and Watson (Martin Freeman) back for a Christmas special later this year. Elementary. 

A First Look at the Sherlock Special

© YouTube/PBS 

But the world’s most famous detective has had many faces over the years. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, he is one of the “most portrayed movie characters” in history, with over 70 actors playing the part in over 200 films. Here are some of the most iconic portrayals of the super-sleuth. 

Basil Rathbone 

The South African born English actor was the first “real” face of Sherlock Holmes on the silver screen, playing the character in 14 films between 1939 and 1947. The actor would later find it difficult to shake the association with the famous deerstalker cap and Inverness cape as a result of this. 

The Hound of Baskervilles (1939)

© YouTube 

Peter Cushing 

The character was given the Hammer touch in 1959’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Horror legend Peter Cushing took on the mantle of Sherlock Holmes in the first ever Sherlock film to be filmed in color. He went on to play the detective in a number of films and a TV adaptation. 

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

© YouTube/CinemaTerrorDotCom

Robert Downey Jr. 

The Iron Man picked up the pipe and indulged in narcotics of all kinds for 2009’s Hollywood blockbuster and its sequel in 2011. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the films brought a touch of humor and action to the character in a way only Downey Jr. and the British director could. 

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

© YouTube/MovieClipsTrailerVault

Ian Mckellen 

This refreshingly new twist on the tale sees Ian McKellen portray a 93-year-old Holmes, living out his days in retirement and struggling to recall the details of his final case while his mind begins to deteriorate. 

Mr. Holmes (2015)

© YouTube/RoadSideFlix

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