20 Ladies in Lavender
Judi Dench starred in the 2004 drama Ladies in Lavender as Ursula Widdington. She starred alongside Maggie Smith as her older sister Janet, who together discover a young man on the beach near their home in Cornwall. The two sisters take him in and care for him until they can reunite him with his family.
19 Shakespeare in Love
Judi Dench plays Queen Elizabeth in the Academy Award winning movie Shakespeare in Love. She is the monarch of England in the 16th century and provides reluctant approval for the marriage of her cousin, the Earl of Wessex, to Viola De Lesseps. She also serves as a mentor to both Viola and William Shakespeare, encouraging them to pursue their dreams.
18 The Cherry Orchard
In the movie 'The Cherry Orchard', Judi Dench played the character of Anya, the daughter of Madame Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevsky, a landowner. Her mother is an aging aristocratic lady, who returns from a trip to Paris to face the loss of her magnificent Cherry Orchard estate after a default on the mortgage.
17 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
In the film 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', Judi Dench portrayed Evelyn Greenslade, a recently widowed woman who embarks on a journey to India in search of adventure and self-discovery.
In the 1995 James Bond film 'GoldenEye', Judi Dench made her debut as M, the head of MI6, a role she would reprise in several subsequent Bond films. Dench's portrayal was groundbreaking, as she became the first female to take on the iconic role of Bond's boss.
15 He Who Rides a Tiger
In the film 'He Who Rides a Tiger', Judi Dench portrayed the character of Joanne, a woman who gets entangled in the life of a recently released convict, Billy, played by Tom Bell.
14 A Room with a View
Judi Dench played the role of Eleanor Lavish in the 1985 film 'A Room with a View', based on E.M. Forster's novel. As a bohemian novelist, Eleanor Lavish is a vibrant and eccentric character who becomes entangled in the romantic and social intricacies of the story.
13 Mrs Brown
In the film 'Mrs. Brown', Judi Dench portrayed Queen Victoria during the later years of her reign after the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert. Dench's performance was a tour de force, capturing the queen's profound grief, isolation, and eventual friendship with her Scottish servant, John Brown, played by Billy Connolly. Dench's ability to humanize one of history's most iconic monarchs made "Mrs. Brown" a poignant and memorable portrayal of Queen Victoria's life.
Judi Dench had a cameo role in the film 'Belfast', directed by Kenneth Branagh. In the film, she portrayed Granny, the grandmother of the main character Buddy, played by Jude Hill.
In the 2000 film 'Chocolat', Judi Dench portrayed Armande Voizin, a feisty and independent elderly woman living in a conservative French village. Her character forms a close bond with the film's protagonist, Vianne Rocher (played by Juliette Binoche), and becomes a symbol of liberation and self-discovery.
10 Jane Eyre
Judi Dench played the role of Mrs. Fairfax in the 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel 'Jane Eyre'. Mrs. Fairfax is the housekeeper at Thornfield Hall, where the enigmatic Mr. Rochester resides.
9 Notes on a Scandal
Notes on a Scandal is a 2006 drama/thriller film directed by Richard Eyre. Judi Dench stars as Barbara Covett, a strict and cynical teacher at a London school who becomes obsessed with a younger colleague, Sheba Hart (played by Cate Blanchett), who has an affair with a student.
8 84 Charing Cross Road
In the 1987 film '84 Charing Cross Road', Judi Dench played the character of Nora Doel, the wife of a London bookshop employee who corresponds with an American writer, played by Anne Bancroft. Dench's portrayal of Nora was poignant and endearing. She brought to life a woman whose life revolves around her family and the charming, antiquated bookshop.
7 Henry V
Judi Dench played the role of Mistress Quickly in Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Henry V'. Although her character is a supporting role, Dench's performance was a notable addition to the film. As Mistress Quickly, she exuded warmth and humor, providing a counterbalance to the film's intense and war-driven narrative.
In the film 'Philomena', Judi Dench portrayed the titular character, Philomena Lee, a real-life woman who embarks on a quest to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption decades earlier by the Catholic Church.
5 A Performance of Macbeth
Judi Dench played the role of Lady Macbeth in the film 'A Performance of Macbeth', a television adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragic play. Dench's portrayal of Lady Macbeth was nothing short of mesmerizing. She brought to life the character's ambition, ruthlessness, and descent into madness with a haunting intensity that left a lasting impact.
4 The Comedy of Errors
Judi Dench played the role of Adriana in the film adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'The Comedy of Errors'. Adriana is a central character in this comedy of mistaken identities. Dench's portrayal of Adriana, the wife of one of the twins at the heart of the confusion, was a tour de force of comedic talent and dramatic depth.
3 Pride & Prejudice
Judi Dench plays Lady Catherine de Bourgh in 'Pride and Prejudice'. Lady Catherine is a wealthy and influential woman who is determined to prevent the marriage of her nephew, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth Bennet. She visits Elizabeth to express her disapproval of the match and to warn her of the consequences of her refusal to obey her wishes.
In the film 'Skyfall', Judi Dench reprised her role as M, the head of MI6. Dench's portrayal was central to the film's plot as she faced scrutiny and criticism for her handling of a security breach.
Judi Dench played the character of M in the film 'Casino Royale'. As the head of MI6 and James Bond's boss, her role was pivotal in overseeing Bond's mission to thwart a terrorist financier.