12 Historical Figures Who Were Portrayed by Different Actors, and We Can’t Decide Who Did It Better

year ago

Every actor has their own unique acting style, so the same character may look totally different when played by different actors. Thanks to their efforts, a legendary king, for example, may become a masculine macho-man or a fearful scoundrel. We found 12 historical figures who were played by different actors, and now we can’t decide whose interpretation was better.

Queen Victoria

Her Majesty has become a movie character many times. One of the most romantic pictures about her is The Story of Vickie, which starred a 16-year-old Romy Schneider. Victoria here is a pretty, smart, curious, and sensitive girl who falls in love with her future husband.

Judi Dench portrayed Queen Victoria twice. First, she starred in the 1997 movie, Mrs. Brown, where Victoria is mourning her late husband, and her servant, Mr. John Brown, who adores her, brings her back to life, but their relationship also brings forth scandal and turmoil.

Second, Dench played Her Majesty in the movie Victoria & Abdul. In the film, Victoria is shown as a woman with an iron will who becomes more humane after making friends with a young Indian man.

In 2009, The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt, entered theaters. The movie tells the story of the heiress to the throne, who had to fight her relatives for the right to be independent and make her own decisions. And Prince Albert, who is deeply in love with her, supports her in these endeavors.

Vincent van Gogh

The life of the famous painter has become a source of inspiration for multiple moviemakers. The first movie about Vincent van Gogh, Lust for Life, was released in 1956, in which the starring role was played by Kirk Douglas. His character is a brilliant but tortured artist. His obsession with art combined with his mental disease makes his life unhappy and full of hardships and failed relationships.

In 2010, the TV movie, Painted with Words, starring Benedict Cumberbatch was released. All of the movie’s dialogue was sourced from van Gogh’s own words. As a result, the film showed us a portrait of a refined, civilized but tortured man.

In the 2018 movie, At Eternity’s Gate, van Gogh was played by Willem Dafoe. This character is also mentally exhausted, but is distinguished by a philosophical view of the world.


In the 1992 movie, The Return of Casanova, the passionate Italian was played by Alain Delon. His character isn’t young anymore, and his amorous adventures are a thing of the past, but he still can’t admit it.

The 2005 movie, Casanova, starred the late Heath Ledger. It’s a funny comedy about the legendary seducer who falls in love with a girl who is not impressed with his charm.

Queen Gorgo

The story about the 300 Spartans has been adapted to the big screen twice. The first movie was released in 1962, where King Leonidas’s wife was played by Anna Synodinou. This part is rather small, and the queen is depicted as a loyal spouse to the famous king.

In 2006, another movie about the Spartan men entered theaters, where Gorgo was portrayed by Lena Headey. The queen here is much more influential. For example, she tries to persuade the Spartan Council to send reinforcements to aid the 300.

Coco Chanel

In 2009, audiences were lucky enough to watch 2 movies about this famous fashion designer. The movie, Coco Before Chanel, stars Audrey Tautou, and her character is a young girl who’s searching for her way to the top.

The movie, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, starring Anna Mouglalis, tells the story of the creation of the iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume. It also reveals the relationship between these 2 talented people.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie’s biography was first adapted to the big screen in 1943. In the movie, Madame Curie, the title role is played by Greer Garson. The legendary chemist is shown as a charming student who conquers the heart of the experienced physicist and sworn bachelor, Pierre Curie.

In the 2019 movie, Radioactive, the story revolves around Curie’s invention. The woman is portrayed by Rosamund Pike.

Henry V

Henry V was one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, so it’s no wonder why he is so popular among moviemakers. Kenneth Branagh directed one of the first movies about this English king, and he also appeared in the starring role. The movie’s title is Henry V, and some viewers believe that this is the best film about the king’s life.

In 2012, the story of Henry V was reflected in the fourth episode of the TV series, The Hollow Crown. The king was portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, and his character is bold and beautiful. He is open, emotional, and humane.

In 2019, the movie, The King, starring Timothée Chalamet was released. This brilliant actor managed to show the king as a sad boy who tries to hide his feelings and emotions under the mask of gloomy sternness.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII, who was married 6 times, has become a character of many movies. Charles Laughton, for example, played the king twice, in the 1933 movie, The Private Life of Henry VIII, and in the film, Young Bess, which saw the light 20 years later. His performance in the first movie even earned him an Oscar. His version of Henry was humane and a bit mischievous.

British actor Keith Michell also played the infamous king twice, in the series The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. His Henry turned out to be exactly like we are used to thinking of him, cruel and imperious.

Eric Bana’s Henry VIII in the 2008 movie, The Other Boleyn Girl, has become one of the most memorable portrayals. We remember him as an attractive and passionate man.

Elizabeth Báthory

Elizabeth Báthory is remembered in history as the Bloody Countess. Her story has been adapted to the screen a few times. In the movie, The Brothers Grimm, Báthory was used as a prototype for the evil queen who lured young girls and killed them to stay young. She was played by Monica Bellucci.

In 2008, the movie drama, Bathory: Countess of Blood, starring Anna Friel was released. The moviemakers tried to convey the real historical events and showed Báthory as a noblewoman whose family had great influence in the region where they lived. She became a victim of neighbors’ intrigue, and most evidence against her was fabricated.

Marguerite de Valois

The tragic story of the queen was first adapted to the screen in 1944. Marguerite de Valois was portrayed by the French star, Jeanne Moreau, who showed her character as a beautiful and sensual woman.

In 1994, Isabelle Adjani took on the role of Marguerite de Valois. She managed to dig deeper into the character, revealing the tragedy of the Queen of Navarre.

Nikola Tesla

In the series, Sanctuary (2008-2011), the role of Nikola Tesla was played by Jonathon Young. It’s interesting that Tesla here is a vampire.

In 2020, the biography movie, Tesla, starring Ethan Hawke was released. The story revolves around the scientist’s inventions.


Despite the fact that Alexander the Great’s life was full of fascinating events, there are not that many movies about him. The 2 most famous ones are Alexander the Great (1956) and Oliver Stone’s Alexander (2004). And one of the main characters in both films is Alexander’s mother, Olympias.

In the first film, the queen was played by Danielle Darrieux. Her character is a strong and charismatic woman who uses her family, her own beauty, and intrigue to rise to power.

In Oliver Stone’s movie, Olympias (Angelina Jolie) is shown in a similar way. She’s a strong and ambitious woman who wants power and uses intrigue and her son to get it. Here, Alexander knows nothing about his mother’s conspiracy against his father, Philip of Macedonia. This way, the director wanted to show that Alexander wasn’t responsible for his father’s death, making Olympias the only culprit.


Get notifications
Lucky you! This thread is empty,
which means you've got dibs on the first comment.
Go for it!

Related Reads