Sir Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis (born April 29, 1957) is a retired English actor. One of the most respected actors of his generation, he has also been hailed as one of the greatest actors in cinematic history. His numerous awards include three Academy Awards for Best Actor, making him the only male actor to have three wins in that category and one of only three male actors to win three Oscars. He also won four BAFTA Awards for Best Actor, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. In June 2014, Day-Lewis received a knighthood for services to drama.
Born and raised in London, Day-Lewis excelled on stage at the National Youth Theatre before being accepted at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which he attended for three years. Despite his traditional training at the Bristol Old Vic, he is considered a method actor, known for his constant devotion to and research of his roles. Displaying a “mercurial intensity”, he would often remain completely in character throughout the shooting schedules of his films, even to the point of adversely affecting his health. He is one of the most selective actors in the film industry, having starred in only six films since 1998, with as many as five years between roles. Protective of his private life, he rarely gives interviews, and makes very few public appearances.
Day-Lewis had an uncredited role in John Schlesinger’s Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971). His first credited film role was in Richard Attenborough’s Academy Award winning epic Gandhi (1982), starring Ben Kingsley in the title role (it also featured John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills, and Martin Sheen). He then appeared in The Bounty (1984), with Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, and Liam Neeson.
Day-Lewis starred in Stephen Frears‘s My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), his first critically acclaimed role, and gained further public notice with James Ivory‘s A Room with a View (1985), with Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Maggie Smith, and Judi Dench. He then assumed leading man status with Philip Kaufman’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), with Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin; and Michael Mann‘s The Last of the Mohicans (1992), with Madeline Stowe and Wes Studi.
His performance in Jim Sheridan‘s My Left Foot (1989) saw him receive his first Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Actor (his co-star Brenda Fricker was also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress). He would gain another Academy Award nomination for In the Name of the Father (1993), with Emma Thompson and Pete Postlethwaite. Following his performance in Sheridan’s The Boxer (1997), with Emily Watson and Brian Cox, Day-Lewis retired from acting for three years, taking up a new profession as an apprentice shoe-maker in Italy.
He returned to acting in 2000 to be in Martin Scorsese‘s Gangs of New York (2002), with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, and Brendan Gleeson; it would gain him another Oscar nomination. He won Academy Awards and BAFTAs again for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s There Will Be Blood (2007), with Paul Dano and Ciarán Hinds; and Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln (2012), with Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones. Day-Lewis announced his retirement following the completion of Phantom Thread (2017), in which he earned another Academy Award nomination.
Other notable roles include Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993), with Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder and Miriam Margolyes; The Crucible (1996), with Ryder, Paul Scofield, and Joan Allen; The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005), directed by his wife Rebecca Miller, and co-starring Catherine Keener, Jason Lee, and Beau Bridges; and Nine (2009), with Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Fergie, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and Sophia Loren.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) – directed by John Schlesinger – uncredited
- Gandhi (1982) – directed by Richard Attenborough
- The Bounty (1984) – directed by Roger Donaldson
- My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) – directed by Stephen Frears
- A Room with a View (1985) – directed by James Ivory
- Nanou (1986) – directed by Conny Templeman
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) – directed by Philip Kaufman
- Stars and Bars (1988) – directed by Pat O’Connor
- My Left Foot (1989) – directed by Jim Sheridan
- Eversmile, New Jersey (1989) – directed by Carlos Sorín
- The Last of the Mohicans (1992) – directed by Michael Mann
- The Age of Innocence (1993) – directed by Martin Scorsese
- In the Name of the Father (1993) – directed by Jim Sheridan
- The Crucible (1996) – directed by Nicholas Hytner
- The Boxer (1997) – directed by Jim Sheridan
- Gangs of New York (2002)* – directed by Martin Scorsese
- The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005) – Rebecca Miller
- There Will Be Blood (2007) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
- Nine (2009) – directed by Rob Marshall
- Lincoln (2012) – directed by Steven Spielberg
- Phantom Thread (2017) – directed by Paul Thomas Anderson