She’s So Dench: Judi Dench’s Most Notable Roles Every Cinema Lover Should Know About

Date February 19, 2018

Judi Dench is a well-known British actress who gained popularity for her many stage roles and for her work in television and cinema industry. Over the years, she established herself as one of the most compelling British theatre performers as well as achieved a great success on TV. Her debut was in 1957 where she played Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Royal Court.

At 77, she was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, which makes her gradually lose her sight. She said it's already so bad that she can only see the outlines of faces in front of her, and other people have to read scripts to her because this is the only way she can learn her lines.

I can’t read scripts anymore because of the trouble with my eyes. And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story.

But she is hopeful that the recent treatment for the condition - which her mother was also affected by - will help stop the progressive decline of her sight.

Let’s remember the actresses’ best roles.

1. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2011)

© The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) / Twentieth Century Fox

This comedy-drama has a handful of stars, including Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Celia Imrie, who play a group of British pensioners who decided to move to a retirement hotel in India, run by Dev Patel's character Sonny. The film became a surprise box-office hit and was ranked as one of the highest-grossing releases of the year. For her role, Dench got nominated for Golden Globe Awards and was called a "resilient marvel" by critics.

2. "Mrs. Brown" (1997)

© Mrs Brown / BBC Scotland

© Mrs Brown / BBC Scotland

This was Dench’s first starring film where she played Queen Victoria. The story follows Victoria's relationship with her personal servant John Brown. The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997. For her performance, Judi received universal acclaim by critics and got BAFTA award, as well as nomination for her first Academy Award in the Best Actress category.

3. "Shakespeare in Love" (1998)

© Shakespeare in Love (1998) / Universal Pictures

© Shakespeare in Love (1998) / Universal Pictures

In a romantic comedy-drama Shakespeare in Love, telling a story about a love affair between playwright William Shakespeare and the daughter of a wealthy merchant, Viola de Lesseps, Dench portrays Queen Elizabeth I. This is the role that got her winning both the Academy Award and the BAFTA Award.

4. "Casino Royale" (2006)

© Casino Royale (2006) / Columbia Pictures

Dench was the only cast member who was carried through from the Brosnan James Bond era to Daniel Craig’s debut. She played M, an MI6 chief. The film got positive reviews from critics and was ranked as one of the highest-grossing James Bond films ever released.

5. "Notes on a Scandal" (2006)

© Notes on a Scandal (2006) / Fox Searchlight Pictures

© Notes on a Scandal (2006) / Fox Searchlight Pictures

In Notes on a Scandal, Dench played alongside Cate Blanchett as a London teacher with a fondness for vulnerable women. The film is an adaption from the 2003 novel of the same name by Zoë Heller, which Dench is a big fan of. The critics called the main actresses "perhaps the most impressive acting duo in any film of 2006. Dench and Blanchett are magnificent.

6. "Cranford" (2007-2010)

© Cranford (2007-) / BBC

© Cranford (2007-) / BBC

Cranford is a British TV series adapted from three novellas by Elizabeth Gaskell, published between 1849 and 1858. The story is set in the 1840s and revolves around the town's single and widowed middle-class women. Judi Dench plays Matilda "Matty" Jenkyns for which she was nominated for Golden Globe Awards, British Academy Television Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.

7. "Philomena" (2013)

© Philomena (2013) / The Weinstein Company

Philomena was inspired by a true story of a woman looking for the son which the Catholic Church took from her a half-century before. The film was screened at the 70th Venice International Film Festival and received many positive reviews from critics. The Times called Dench’s acting her triumph and was surprised by the warmth she was radiating from the screen. Subsequently, the actress was nominated for many big awards, including Academy Award, for which she was nominated for the seventh time.

In her extensive career, Judi went through many auditions, some of them were good, some of them were bad. Dench shared her worst audition story on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

We hope that this astonishing actress will continue to please us with her awe-inspiring performances.