Colin Firth

Colin Firth films and TV shows: 11 essential performances to stream now on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Posted by for Entertainment

From his iconic role as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice to his Oscar-winning turn in The King’s Speech, these are the best films and TV shows starring Colin Firth to stream right now.

If you’re a fan of the very British institution that is Colin Firth, then you will have undoubtedly wasted no time in watching HBO’s gripping new true crime drama The Staircase

Based on the real-life story of Michael Peterson, a North Carolina novelist and aspiring politician accused of murdering his wife Kathleen (played by Toni Collette), the series has captivated viewers with its hugely compelling whodunnit and brilliant, layered performances from its two leading stars.

But The Staircase is just the latest entry in a catalogue of outstanding performances from Colin Firth. Though he’s famous for playing a variety of stiff upper-lipped English gentleman in period dramas, the Oscar-winning actor can always be relied upon to switch it up in romcoms, thrillers, musicals and more when the opportunity arises.

With a decades-long career and a huge number of projects to his name, though, it can be tricky to figure out which of Firth’s films and TV roles are worth your time. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of his essential performances that you can stream right now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Now.

Take a look at just a few of our favourites…

Love Actually

Watching a re-run of beloved romcom Love Actually is now something of a Christmas tradition for many film lovers. Following 10 different storylines exploring different aspects of love, Firth won hearts as Jamie, a loveable, comically awkward writer who escapes to his cottage in France after discovering that his girlfriend is cheating on him with his brother. 

There, he meets Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), and despite being unable to speak a word of her language (and Aurélia being unable to understand him), Jamie falls in love. In a heartwarming turn of events, he begins learning Portuguese and then uses what little he has learned to propose to her — to which she answers yes in English. Who said love can’t conquer all?

Love Actually is now streaming on Netflix.

1917

Based on director Sam Mendes’ grandfather’s wartime stories, this epic Oscar-winning movie follows two young British soldiers, Lance Cpl Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Cpl Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who must cross No Man’s Land to deliver an important message about an attack that could save over a thousand of their fellow soldiers — including Blake’s brother.

Firth plays General Erinmore, the commander who gives Blake and Schofield their orders to undertake the perilous mission, and his performance is totally gripping. War films might be two-a-penny, but given the film scooped three awards at the Oscars and seven trophies at the Baftas, this blockbuster is definitely one to watch.

1917 is now streaming on Netflix.

Mamma Mia!

mamma mia
Stellan Skarsgård, Piers Brosnan and Colin Firth play Amanda Seyfried's potential fathers in the original Mamma Mia!

Who doesn’t love to see Colin Firth let loose in a lighter role? In the 2008 film adaptation of the popular stage musical, 20-year-old bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) prepares to have the wedding of her dreams on the picturesque Greek island of Kalokairi.

Things take an unexpected turn, however, when she reads her mother’s journal and discovers that her father could be one of three different men: Harry Bright (Colin Firth), Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan) or Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgard). Naturally, she decides to invite all three to the wedding, where chaos and hilarity ensues.

In case you were in any doubt of Firth’s never-ending talents, this colourful, madcap musical features the actor playing the guitar while performing Abba’s Our Last Summer. Trust us, it’s something you really need to see for yourself.

Mamma Mia! is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Colin Firth as Bill Haydon in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

As if a film with the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy and John Hurt wasn’t enough of a stellar line-up, this international spy thriller gives an added bonus by way of Firth’s presence in what critics have claimed is one of the best British spy movies ever made.

Based on John le Carré’s cold war espionage novel of the same name, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy follows a British agent (Oldman) who is brought out of retirement to root out a Soviet mole in the secret service in 1970s England. It’s a thrillingly tense cat-and-mouse mystery, and Firth’s turn as the suave, insouciant Bill Haydon, who may or may not have chosen to betray his country, does plenty to build suspicion.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is now streaming on Netflix.

The English Patient

The English Patient
Colin Firth in The English Patient
Based on Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient tells the story of a severely burned man, Laszlo de Almásy (Ralph Fiennes), who is being cared for by a French-Canadian nurse (Juliette Binoche) in a ruined Italian monastery towards the end of the second world war.

Another patient in the makeshift hospital, David Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), questions the desperately wounded man about his story, and through flashbacks, it is revealed that the ‘English patient’ had an affair with a married Englishwoman, Katharine (Kristin Scott Thomas), while undertaking his work mapping the African landscape. 

Colin Firth, meanwhile, plays the supporting role of jealous Geoffrey Clifton, Katharine’s husband. There are stellar performances all around, which explains why it scooped nine Academy Awards, five Baftas and two Golden Globes.

The English Patient is now streaming on Now.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones's Diary: Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth
No decent round-up of romcoms, or indeed any round-up of Colin Firth’s best roles, could be compiled without one of the most popular and well-loved movies of all time: Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Based on Helen Fielding’s much-loved novel of the same name – which was itself inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice – the film follows thirty-something Bridget (Renée Zellweger), who decides to take control of her life at the start of the new year by starting a diary. 

Firth, of course, plays the insufferable Mark Darcy, who goes head-to-head with the slippery Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) in an attempt to win Bridget’s affections. And despite a terrible first impression in which he criticises Bridget’s dress sense and smoking habit, he turns over a fresh page pretty successfully. Who could forget that heartwarming line: “I like you just the way you are”?

Bridget Jones’s Diary is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Fact: Colin Firth makes a dapper action hero. 

In this entertaining take on the spy genre, Firth plays suave secret agent Harry Hart, who recruits a street kid named Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton) as his mentee. Together, they must take down twisted tech billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) before he can unleash a global threat to humanity.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is now streaming on Disney+.

Supernova

Supernova: Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth.
Supernova: Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth

Any film that sees Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci team up together is a definite must-watch, and heartbreaking romantic drama Supernova is no exception.

The film follows musician Sam (Firth) and novelist Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners of 20 years who embark on a roadtrip around England in a camper van to visit old friends, family and places from their past. The beauty of their countryside adventure comes with a gut-wrenching motive: Tusker has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and the pair want to make the most of the precious time they have together.

Over the course of the couple’s trip, two secrets come to light: firstly, that Tusker has lost the ability to write, and secondly, that he plans to commit suicide before his dementia becomes too severe. It’s powerful, emotional and both Firth and Tucci prove exactly why they’re Hollywood legends as they depict the realities of love and loss.

Supernova is available to rent on Amazon Prime now.

The King’s Speech

The King's Speech
The King's Speech: Colin Firth as King George VI

One of the most iconic performances of his career, Firth’s marvellous portrait of a new king struggling to overcome a speech impediment earned him Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

Based on the true story of Prince Albert, The King’s Speech follows Queen Elizabeth’s father, known as ‘Bertie’ to his family and close friends, who reluctantly assumes the throne as King George VI after his brother King Edward VIII abdicates. Plagued by a debilitating stammer, Bertie’s wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) hires an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to coach her husband. Through a set of unconventional techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war. 

The King’s Speech is now streaming on Netflix.

Pride And Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice.
Colin Firth as Mr Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride And Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Colin Firth’s role as the dashing Mr Darcy in the BBC’s phenomenally successful 1995 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice secured his status as a British heart-throb. 

The classic Regency romance follows Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) and the stern, pompous Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth) who butt heads despite being drawn to each other. The eight-part series was faithful to Austen’s novel of the same name, although it did take creative license with a now iconic scene involving Firth, a lake and a wet shirt. It was the role that launched Firth’s acting career, and one which firmly remains embedded in the national consciousness today.

Pride And Prejudice is available to rent on Amazon Prime now.

Images: Getty; Rex; Studiocanal; Allstar/Working Title; Twentieth Century Fox

Share this article

Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.