Liam Neeson's best films include Schindler's List and Kinsey

Liam Neeson, left, and Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List. Picture: Supplied
Liam Neeson, left, and Ben Kingsley in Schindler's List. Picture: Supplied

Schindler's List (1993): The multi-Oscar-winning film adapted from Tom Keneally's Schindler's Ark was based on a true story. Neeson played Oskar Schindler, a German factory owner who shielded his Jewish workforce from the Nazis. Reputedly among the actors interested in playing Schindler were Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty and, somewhat incongruously, Mel Gibson. Director Steven Spielberg went with Neeson, he told The New York Times, because the actor "was the closest in my experience of what Schindler was like, charm, the way women love him, his strength". The lesser-known Neeson also would not have brought the same star baggage as the other actors.

Taken (2008): Not that Neeson had been idle beforehand, but this was the film that really launched the actor into his latter-day action-hero persona. Bryan Mills, a retired CIA man has - in the oft-quoted speech - "a very particular set of skills" - and uses them to rescue his kidnapped daughter. It was followed by two sequels in 2012 and 2014 along similar lines, suggesting that being in the Mills family is about as carefree as being a Kennedy.

Love Actually (2003): Neeson got to show a lighter, more tender side as one of the characters in this bittersweet ensemble romantic comedy set in the lead-up to Christmas. In a poignant subplot, he plays recently widowed Daniel, who tries to help his young stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) through a crush the boy has on an American classmate.

Kinsey (2004): Neeson rocked a bow tie as the real-life Dr Alfred Kinsey, who in the 1940s was a pioneer in the field of research into human sexuality. Kinsey is depicted as being obsessive and tactless and not above using his staff and his family as subjects. His methodology and results were controversial and shocking but paved the way for further study and law reform.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005): As well as being an action man, Neeson has a sideline in Mystical Authority Figures With Gravitas - Zeus in Clash of the Titans, Star Wars, et al. Here's one of those films, in which he is heard but not seen. Neeson provides the voice of Aslan, the lion who represents Jesus Christ in C.S. Lewis's story.

This story Schindler tops list of actor's roles first appeared on The Canberra Times.