American Film

The great Laurence Olivier died 25 years ago this month. Considered the finest stage actor of his generation, Olivier's film career spanned nearly 60 years and included classics like REBECCA (1940), THE ENTERTAINER (1960) and SLEUTH (1972). His film portrayals of HAMLET and HENRY V earned him Academy Awards® before the Academy recognized him for his body of work in 1979. This excerpt from his book, "On Acting," appeared in the November 1986 issue of American Film. Here, among other things, he takes a critical look back at his "snooty" attitude toward film as a young man, offers a beat-by-beat description of his screen appearance as Shakespeare's "Richard III," blasts method actors and defends his choice of supporting roles in modern films. We pause to remember one of the 20th century's giants of the screen.