'The Remains of the Day'

Anthony Hopkins
, who turned 73 this past New Year's Eve, has enjoyed a diverse and enviable acting career, a testament to his exceptional talent. Equally effective playing a contemporary serial killer or the perfect English gentleman in period films, Hopkins is always compelling, without, it often seems, breaking a sweat. His natural elegance and smooth, commanding delivery have served him very well, whether they're employed for sophistication or for chills.

Most moviegoers, of course, know him as Dr. Hannibal Lecter -- one of the all-time great movie villains. The role won him a Best Actor Oscar in 1992 for 'The Silence of the Lambs' (though he was only on screen for 16 minutes), and he'd later reprise Lecter for 'Hannibal' (2001) and 'Red Dragon' (2002).

This Friday he stars in Mikael Håfström's 'The Rite' as a Jesuit priest who's an expert in exorcism. It's the latest of the actor's many forays to the dark side. As far back as the '70s he starred in horror films both solid ('Magic') and not ('Audrey Rose'); more recently he appeared in the underwhelming 'The Wolfman.'