RIP Richard Attenborough: His 5 Essential Films

Legendary British actor and director Richard Attenborough died yesterday. He was 90 years old.
Contemporary audiences are likely most familiar with Attenborough for his role as Dr. John Hammond in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park. But, Attenborough's storied career reaches all the way back to 1942, when he made his film debut in the war film Which We Serve. From there, he would build a diverse filmography as both an actor and a director.
Attenborough starred in over 70 films, including Doctor Doolittle and The Sand Pebbles, both of which earned him Golden Globe Awards for best supporting actor.
In the later stage of his career, Attenborough reinvented himself as a director and became known for his award-friendly biopics. He tackled the stories of Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill in Chaplin and Young Winston respectively. It was Attenborough's 1982 Mohandas Gandhi biopic, however, that transformed him into an elite director. Gandhi, which starred Ben Kingsley in the title role, went on to win a whopping eight Academy Awards, including one for best picture and best director.
After receiving a knighthood in 1976, Attenborough was made a baron in 1993 thanks not only to his legendary film career, but his role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador as well. To commemorate the screen legend, we've assembled a list of his five most essential works, both behind and in front of the camera.
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Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Jurassic Park
Steven Spielberg introduced Attenborough to a whole new generation of filmgoers, when he cast him as the visionary industrialist Dr. John Hammond in this landmark dino blockbuster. "Welcome to Jurassic Park," indeed.
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Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Miracle on 34th Street
Very few actors could pull off a character as beloved and iconic as Kris Kringle himself. But, in this modern retelling of this 1947 classic, Attenborough almost convinced us that Santa really does exist. Mara Wilson, his co-star in the film tweeted "Sir Richard Attenborough was the only Santa Claus I ever believed in," after his death. Amen Mara, amen.
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Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
It was Richard Attenborough's lifelong dream to bring the story of the legendary Indian spiritual leader to the big screen, and that reverence for the material is evident in every frame. The film went on to win an Oscar for best picture, and Attenborough picked one up for best director. Despite never appearing in the film, Gandhi might be his most enduring work ever.
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Photo courtesy of United Artists.
The Great Escape
Attenborough joined Steve McQueen and James Garner as a British officer who masterminds the titular plan in this classic thriller about a group of POW's who flee a Nazi prison.
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Photo Courtesy of Charter Film Productions.
Brighton Rock
Yes, the same man who played Santa Claus also played the violent sociopath Pinkie Brown in this classic adaptation of Graham Greene's seminal meditation on good and evil.