I liked seeing him in movies.
One of my favorite movies of Hoskins' is British crime thriller The Long Good Friday (1980). It was one of his first chances at playing a leading man and he just knocks it out of the park. Helen Mirren co-stars, in case you need a secondary reason to check it out.
A couple years ago I watched this Burt Lancaster/Peter O'Toole movie Zulu Dawn (1979). It was an okay-ish movie, but by far my favorite parts were with Hoskins' character of C.S.M. Williams and his interactions with Pvt. Williams (no relation). Also, Hoskins could grow a really strong beard.
Hollywood Theatre, here in Portland, OR, to be exact), something I've always wanted to do, as it is one of my all-time favorites. Hoskins has a relatively small role in the film, only showing up in a couple scenes, but his charmingly gruff persona helps sell the slightly threatening bureaucracy of the movie. Check out this clip from his first appearance in the film, complete with unnecessary subtitles:
Hoskins would earn an Oscar nomination for his role in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986) and would win Best Actor awards from the BAFTAs, The Golden Globes, and the Cannes Film Festival, part of which can be seen after this movie trailer (it should be noted that this trailer really undersells how great this movie actually is):
Like most people in my age range, I first became aware of Bob Hoskins through his interactions with a cartoon rabbit. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems odd that two years after widespread critical acclaim for Mona Lisa that he would star in something like Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), but I'm glad he did. Eddie Valiant is awesome.
Hoskins would continue acting alongside incredibly cartoonish co-stars, starring opposite Cher in Mermaids (1990). Actually, other than that snarky joke I really don't have anything to say about the movie. I know I rented it on video back when it came out, but I don't recall anything about it, or really even why I rented it in the first place. I just wanted an excuse to post this picture of a shirtless Hoskins in bed with Cher, a Pepsi, and some pretzels:
Of course, most infamously Hoskins starred as Mario in Super Mario Bros (1993), widely considered to be a very, very bad movie. Yet another movie I know I rented but don't recall anything about, at least not specifically (I do recall that it was bad). Hoskins considered it to be the worst movie he ever made. For my money, it's no worse than Hook (1991).
Proving you can really never figure Hollywood out, two years after the Super Mario Bomb, Hoskins would star in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), playing J. Edgar Hoover.
I liked Bob Hoskins a lot. It's sad he's gone. In remembrance I'll probably rewatch The Long Good Friday and also check out Luc Besson's Unleashed (2005), one that I had always meant to see.
Good stuff over at The BBC and The AV Club.
Also, here's more kind words from CNN and The NY Times.
Oops. Another shirtless Hoskins pic. How'd that get here?