It’s hard to believe that the charming but nerdy, suave yet awkward Hugh Grant turns 60 today. As a present to both him and you, we’re marking his birthday by celebrating his six most memorable films since he burst onto the international stage over 25 years ago.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Landing the gig after Alan Rickman was considered too old for the part, Hugh Grant became a worldwide star after appearing as the eternal bachelor Charles in this surprise smash-hit.
The first of Grant’s five-film rom-com run with writer Richard Curtis became the highest-grossing British movie in history upon its release, despite both Wet Wet Wet’s chart-topping 'Love Is All Around' and that Elizabeth Hurley dress from the London premiere attempting to steal the limelight.
Chronicling the will-they-won’t-they romance between Charles and Andie MacDowell’s Carrie, Four Weddings cemented Grant's vulnerable, comedic charisma and dashing looks that would become the hallmark of his career.
Notting Hill (1999)
Reprising the dynamic of a lovingly bumbling English gentleman’s romance with an American beauty, Notting Hill saw Julia Roberts' Hollywood superstar Anna Scott falling for Grant’s lowly London bookshop owner, William Thacker.
While its most enduring legacy is Roberts’ often-memed “I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy” line, the past two decades have seen Notting Hill solidify its reputation as being one of cinema’s most beloved romantic comedies thanks to her and Grant’s starry-eyed portrayals.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Grant struck gold with writer Richard Curtis once again in this acclaimed adaptation of Helen Fielding’s hit novel. This time, the actor played sleazeball Daniel Cleaver, one of two men – the other being Colin Firth's haughty Mark Darcy – battling for the affections of Renée Zellweger’s titular character.
Referring to Bridget by her surname like some kind of sinister Victorian schoolteacher, Cleaver displayed all of Grant's suave and satirical edge with the vulnerability chiseled off, leaving a cunning and deceptive scoundrel.
Though, as his ungainly fistfight with Firth’s Darcy proved, Cleaver still couldn't entirely shake off Grant’s affableness.
Love Actually (2003)
Stealing the show in Curtis’s ensemble piece that’s become a Christmas staple, Grant managed to upstage the likes of Alan Rickman and sparring buddy Colin Firth doing what he does best.
Whether it was standing up to bullying US President Billy Bob Thornton or singing Christmas carols, Grant’s performance as Prime Minister David accentuated all of his natural courteousness and graceful bumbling, and was the perfect accompaniment to love interest Martine McCutcheon’s bubbly Natalie.
And who could forget his hilarious dance to The Pointer Sisters' ‘Jump (For My Love)’ before coolly dealing with being rumbled in statesman-like fashion?
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)
Dropping the lovable foppish English heartthrob demeanour for a cutlass, galleon and luxurious clay beard, Grant cut an altogether different yet familiar protagonist in this Aardman Animations adventure.
In his attempts to win the prestigious Pirate of the Year Award and save his pet parrot (actually a dodo) Polly, the Pirate Captain exhibited all the characteristics that have made Hugh Grant such a recognisable leading man.
His personality and waggishness shone through as he faced off against Charles Darwin (David Tennant) and villainous Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton), with the kind of storytelling and humour for kids of all ages that Aardman director Peter Lord is known for.
Paddington 2 (2017)
Gaining critical appreciation for dialling up the hammy, pantomime villainy to 11 is no easy feat, yet somehow Grant managed it in this flawless sequel to the cherished live-action animation – still the best-reviewed movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes.
Getting a BAFTA nod for his turn as actor Phoenix Buchanan, Grant clearly relished every minute of the character's attempts to turn his floundering career around at the expense of the innocent, furry hero, calling it his favourite role to date.
After Buchanan had received his comeuppance for framing poor Paddington, the actor again stole the show during the closing credits by leading his pink-clad prison inmates in a ludicrous musical number.
Let us know your favourite Hugh Grant film by leaving us a comment on Twitter.