10 Real-Life Knights Royally Misbehaving In Movies and TV

Patrick Stewart Joins a Legendary List of Knights Behaving Badly With Blunt Talk

by | August 21, 2015 | Comments

Requiring legendary levels of bravery, artistry, and intellect, being knighted by the British monarchy is no laughing matter. Some of the 20th century’s finest British talents of film, television, and stage have been honored as a Knight Bachelor for their contributions to the arts, but don’t you just love it when the good knights go bad? Their chivalry aside, many have proven keen to royally misbehaving now and again.

Look no further than Sir Patrick Stewart’s latest leading man gig: Walter Blunt in the Seth MacFarlane-produced Starz series, Blunt Talk. The trailer alone shows the British newsman indulging in sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, so the sky’s truly the limit for where this bad boy’s antics will take him upon the series’ August 22 premiere.

Below, we break down 10 knights who’ve taken a walk on the wild side as womanizers, mutants, dictators, and more.


SIR BOOZE-A-LOT

Knight: Sir Patrick Stewart

Year Knighted: Stewart was first honored by the British monarchy in 2001 when appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He was again honored at the 2010 New Year Honours when made a Knight Bachelor for his services to drama.

Royal Misbehavior: While Stewart’s 50-year stage and film career has seen him play any number of roles, he’s become best known for playing the virtuous leader (hat tip to Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Professor Xavier). That’s what makes his most recent outing as Walter Blunt on Blunt Talk such a thrill. As an English newscaster fresh to L.A., he plays a Brit-out-of-water with a penchant for booze, cocaine, and ladies of the night. It’s our fearless leader like we’ve never seen him before.

Where to see him next: Blunt Talk premieres on Starz this Saturday, August 22, at 9 p.m.


SIR LADIES MAN

Knight: Sir Michael Caine

Year Knighted: Queen Elizabeth II appointed Caine a Knight Bachelor in 2000 for his services to drama.

Royal Misbehavior: You can’t just go around ripping women’s hearts out like that! As the title character and unapologetic womanizer in Alfie, Caine jumps from one relationship — and bed — to the next, fathering children and ransacking the battlefield of love along the way. And when it all catches up to him and he decides to man-up and settle down, the good-looking Brit gets a dose of his own cold-hearted medicine. It doesn’t go down easy.

Where to see him next: The latter half of Caine’s career has seen him become a mainstay in Christopher Nolan’s epics, but he stars next in Youth, an aged buddy dramedy costarring Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda.


SIR PRISON BREAK

Knight: Sir Sean Connery

Year Knighted: After being nominated and then vetoed for knighthood in both 1997 and 1998, Connery was appointed Knight Bachelor in 2000 for his services to drama. He also holds to his name such distinctions as “Sexiest Man Alive” and “The Greatest Living Scot.”

Royal Misbehavior: Connery is criminally sexy as the historic James Bond, but in director Michael Bay’s 1996 blockbuster, The Rock, he plays a convicted baddie who’s turning over a new leaf. His character, John Mason, is the only prisoner to ever escape Alcatraz, and the FBI — led by Nicolas Cage’s Dr. Stanley Goodspeed — needs his help to infiltrate and terminate rogue Marines who’ve taken over the island.

Where to see him next: Connery, who turned 85 this week, has been largely inactive in Hollywood since his starring role in 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Might be time for a Bond marathon when Spectre hits this fall.


SIR MILKSHAKE-DRINKER

Knight: Sir Daniel Day-Lewis

Year Knighted: The three-time Academy Award winner was officially knighted by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in 2014 — one year after Dame Helen Mirren jokingly bestowed the honor at the 2013 Oscars.

Royal Misbehavior: As sociopathic antihero Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 masterpiece, There Will Be Blood, Day-Lewis is utterly unforgettable. Inspired by Upton Sinclair’s Oil!, Plainview is a soulless oil man warped by greed, rage, and lust. And Day-Lewis’ Oscar-winning turn is an undeniable tour de force. You’ll never look at milkshakes (or bowling pins) the same way again.

Where to see him next: Day-Lewis has been on hiatus since snagging his third Oscar for portraying Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 release, Lincoln. Another of his Oscar performances, My Left Foot, is currently streaming on Netflix.


SIR HANNIBAL

Knight: Sir Anthony Hopkins

Year Knighted: Queen Elizabeth II appointed Hopkins as a Knight Bachelor in 1993 for his contributions to the arts.

Royal Misbehavior: Few villains are as immediately memorable — or quotable — as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Hopkins took home the 1991 Oscar for his Silence of the Lambs role. To this day, he sends chills down our spine with his master intellect and observational prowess — and, of course, his unyielding insistence on snacking on human flesh. No matter how decadent the wine and accompanying hors d’oeuvres, when he says he’s having a friend for dinner, run for it.

Where to see him next: Hopkins has a pair of action-thrillers in the wings: Collide with costars Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones, and Solace with Colin Farrell — and will star in the upcoming HBO series Westworld, premiering in 2016. 


SIR VICIOUS

Knight: Sir Derek Jacobi

Year Knighted: Jacobi’s royally representing more than just the United Kingdom as a Knight of the arts. He was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1985, and a Knight Bachelor for services to drama in 1994. Between these distinctions, however, Denmark scooped him up to honor him as a Knight First Class of the Order of Dannebrog in 1989.

Royal Misbehavior: His role as Alexander Corvinus in Underworld: Evolution may have him fraternizing with the undead, but as Stuart Bixby in the British sitcom Vicious, Jacobi goes for Ian McKellen’s throat with the practiced grace of a vampire. Witnessing these two long-time partners get catty and queeny with each other is a schadenfreude-fueled delight, but we’d never want to get caught in the crossfire.

Where to see him next: Season two of Vicious premieres this Sunday on PBS. Also, see Sir Jacobi’s kingly turn in the Certified Fresh film Cinderella when it comes to DVD on September 15.


SIR SARUMAN

Knight: Sir Christopher Lee

Year Knighted: Lee was made a Knight Bachelor in 2009 for his services to drama and charity. Thoughtfully enough, Prince Charles allowed Lee to remain standing when knighted due to the difficulty the 87-year-old had kneeling.

Royal Misbehavior: The late, great Lee made a livelihood out of playing the villain — he is perhaps the most famous Count Dracula ever, bringing him to the big screen a whopping nine times. But audiences today will likely recognize him for his work later on in both the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings franchises. As Saruman in the latter, he aligned himself with Sauron and waged war on Middle Earth, betraying his old friend, Gandalf, and eventually paying the ultimate price.

Where to see him next: Sir Christopher Lee died at age 93 on June 7, 2015. Look for his final film, the U.K. indie Angels in Notting Hill, coming soon to a film festival near you.


SIR V FOR VILLAIN

Knight: Sir John Hurt

Year Knighted: Surprisingly, the longtime actor was just appointed a Bachelor Knight this year in the 2015 New Year Honours for his service to drama. In 2004, he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Royal Misbehavior: No stranger to futuristic dystopias, Hurt played protagonist Winston Smith in the 1984 adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. In tackling the genre again in 2005, he opted for the dark side. As Adam Sutler in James McTeigue’s adaptation of V for Vendetta, he played a Hitler-inspired fascist dictator and the direct antagonist to our unlikely heroes, Evey and V.

Where to see him next: You can catch Hurt later this year as Tom, the boss-man in Sky Atlantic’s The Last Panthers, a TV biopic of famed heist masters The Pink Panthers.


SIR MIND-F#@%

Knight: Sir Ben Kingsley

Year Knighted: Kingsley was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2002. Rumor has it, he insists on “Sir” preceding his name ever since.

Royal Misbehavior: Kingsley has proven over the years that he can dabble with both the good and the bad (performances don’t get more benevolent than his Academy Award-winning take on Mohandas Gandhi). But as Dr. Cawley in Martin Scorsese’s 2010 psychological thriller, Shutter Island, he oozes malice. Cawley’s icy demeanor with his patients is less about professional boundaries and more indicative of his heartlessness towards their well-being. It’s a calculated, slow-burning performance, and one that stands out in this Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer.

Where to see him next: Kingsley always has a stacked slate of projects. He just starred as Ay in Tut, a new miniseries on Spike TV, and can be seen in the film Learning to Drive, which opens in limited release this weekend.


SIR MAGNETO

Knight: Sir Ian McKellen

Year Knighted: The list of British honors for McKellen have been stacking up for the better part of three decades. In 1979, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1991, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to the performing arts. And McKellen followed that up with an appointment as Companion of Honour for services to drama in 2008.

Royal Misbehavior: Sure, he’s famed for bringing J. R. R. Tolkien’s beloved Gandalf to life in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, but the indomitable voice and presence needed for Gandalf also served McKellen well when tackling Erik Lehnsherr (A.K.A. Magneto) for the live-action X-Men franchise. His ability to wreck havoc with the wave of his hand — remember that bridge scene in X-Men: The Last Stand? — is simply terrifying. And that Mystique-assisted prison break from X2 is still bait to make any fanboy geek-out.

Where to see him next: McKellen can be caught in theaters now as Sherlock Holmes in Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes. He also plays the comically snide Freddie Thornhill alongside another knight, Sir Derek Jacobi (who once played Hitler, no less), in showrunner Gary Janetti’s Viciouswhich returns for a second season on PBS this Sunday.

  • Dr. Evil’s Brother’s Evil Twin

    The Knights are doing well for themselves. All really good roles. All really good actors.

    • Far Alien

      they only got knighthoods because they were really good actors and played really good roles. Ian McKellen was an incredible theater actor before he got big blockbuster movie roles.

      • Justin Shim

        Anthony Hopkins did a fair bit of Shakespeare before coming to the US.

  • Sol

    Ben Kingsley did one good film, Ghandi, which was partly fictional. Thereafter, once he got his Sir, he became insufferable! Me? If I met him I would not kneel, I’d just say, ‘Benny, get out of my way, you silly snob!’

  • Sol

    So many actors getting knighthoods when it is so easy to be a good actor. Whereas deserving intellectuals, surgeons, businessmen/women, nurses, doctors, writers, painters, film directors, dancers, community workers & sculptor knighthoods & damehoods are so few & far between! How insular our Monarchy is in reality!!!

Tag Cloud

MTV festivals pirates of the caribbean HBO IFC Films Reality elevated horror Marvel Studios Film cancelled TV shows Hallmark APB Character Guide child's play worst A&E Animation Nominations movies best Martial Arts fast and furious Mindy Kaling Polls and Games sitcom Musicals Syfy SundanceTV dogs comics crime thriller Extras aliens Marvel Television spanish 72 Emmy Awards Mary Tyler Moore VH1 foreign black ABC Teen die hard Christmas joker adventure National Geographic critics comic books The CW Tubi documentary NBC Discovery Channel Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt PaleyFest trailers TruTV Calendar Winners 24 frames spanish language cooking rt archives Columbia Pictures Arrowverse video halloween tv australia Interview crossover period drama Rocky cops CW Seed CBS dceu Sundance Now Disney Channel Ghostbusters SXSW Peacock Marvel cancelled Red Carpet RT History LGBTQ Disney streaming service psycho spain Disney Plus Elton John TBS sequel Trophy Talk OWN psychological thriller fresh TV Land Certified Fresh TCA Winter 2020 zombie classics Fox News Holidays Creative Arts Emmys FOX stop motion talk show Holiday twilight Sundance TV 2015 Superheroes Video Games all-time cars USA women The Witch science fiction Black Mirror miniseries Turner Classic Movies dramedy composers MSNBC festival Masterpiece 71st Emmy Awards binge Ellie Kemper E3 Rocketman Turner true crime archives DC Universe Oscars Britbox Showtime canceled TV shows jamie lee curtis TNT news Apple TV+ BBC One Pet Sematary FX dragons discovery Fantasy halloween versus nfl Academy Awards cats TCA 2017 Film Festival PBS YouTube Red animated Mudbound WarnerMedia Walt Disney Pictures Ovation GoT AMC Amazon Studios Shudder The Purge french scorecard BET hist Photos Amazon Prime children's TV romance ITV latino Sneak Peek Schedule Comedy Superheroe anime Warner Bros. Starz Disney Adult Swim obituary Nickelodeon Captain marvel worst movies travel italian streaming breaking bad cinemax ESPN hollywood Western anthology slashers Black History Month San Diego Comic-Con zero dark thirty hispanic strong female leads CBS All Access 21st Century Fox Tumblr Esquire mutant serial killer sag awards Baby Yoda X-Men BAFTA History comedies video on demand franchise spider-man facebook First Reviews DC streaming service Tarantino Tomatazos CMT Emmy Nominations Horror Podcast GIFs 2020 spy thriller Rock james bond Trivia Universal films docudrama supernatural Pixar mockumentary vampires TV TV renewals jurassic park Logo Endgame comiccon game of thrones golden globe awards YA cults LGBT blockbuster Freeform crime drama space theme song Summer New York Comic Con dc canceled directors Spectrum Originals screen actors guild boxoffice Fall TV Set visit 99% free movies Election satire TIFF ghosts MCU stoner Trailer Musical laika Pride Month FXX spinoff screenings casting WGN Anna Paquin adaptation TCA Awards Toys Mystery Funimation kids Chernobyl Lucasfilm The Academy south america Lifetime Christmas movies thriller President Brie Larson Disney+ Disney Plus biography Best and Worst Lionsgate E! Biopics sequels green book TCA series Valentine's Day Super Bowl christmas movies FX on Hulu game show Apple TV Plus Food Network 007 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina universal monsters 20th Century Fox indiana jones tv talk Thanksgiving The Walking Dead 2019 Apple IFC Hallmark Christmas movies NYCC award winner Mary Poppins Returns witnail superhero CNN harry potter Pirates rom-coms Rom-Com Family cancelled television political drama Lifetime golden globes ABC Family Countdown Comics on TV Alien romantic comedy Pop asian-american Avengers cancelled TV series Paramount Plus Crackle criterion Star Trek doctor who finale historical drama japanese USA Network Shondaland a nightmare on elm street The Walt Disney Company TLC ratings 4/20 war Women's History Month Epix TCM Winter TV unscripted Sci-Fi documentaries toronto Quiz Comic Book cartoon GLAAD teaser Reality Competition American Society of Cinematographers HBO Go Classic Film Amazon Awards Paramount movie richard e. Grant BBC America Opinion transformers Pop TV Cosplay police drama technology Netflix werewolf Music PlayStation reviews Year in Review mission: impossible parents Mary poppins DGA SDCC Watching Series Marathons Amazon Prime Video Binge Guide Country Cartoon Network 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Grammys Sony Pictures independent 2018 Vudu revenge VOD 45 venice Spring TV BET Awards toy story indie medical drama comic television A24 chucky what to watch scary movies Spike name the review ABC Signature YouTube Premium boxing robots Song of Ice and Fire renewed TV shows sports emmy awards Star Wars DC Comics Hear Us Out politics Kids & Family RT21 2017 Television Critics Association Nat Geo TV One natural history dark blaxploitation DirecTV Action See It Skip It Infographic ViacomCBS stand-up comedy Acorn TV rotten movies we love social media VICE First Look football deadpool HBO Max singing competition Dark Horse Comics El Rey Netflix Christmas movies Crunchyroll Heroines Comedy Central batman nbcuniversal Paramount Network zombies reboot Cannes Awards Tour nature Writers Guild of America OneApp Travel Channel YouTube concert Drama Sundance crime justice league Premiere Dates diversity The Arrangement quibi Hulu Bravo rotten ID Box Office Television Academy BBC Stephen King book remakes Emmys Fox Searchlight disaster 2016 based on movie