10 Greatest Ever Portrayals of Moriarty


Professor James Moriarty might have only properly appeared in a single short story in the original Sherlock Holmes canon but he still made a big enough impression to follow his nemesis into the world of film and TV numerous times. It seems every adaptation of the great detective has to include the Napoleon of Crime as well, otherwise he is conspicuous for his absence. As such, there have been many a brilliant Moriarty over the years. Here are our top ten. Be warned, though, spoilers lie herein.


Honourable mention: Daniel Davis, Star Trek: The Next Generation


Edit: By popular demand, we are adding this sci-fi-themed Moriarty to our list. When android Data plays at being Sherlock Holmes in the virtual reality of the Enterprise’s holodeck, crewmember La Forge creates this A.I Moriarty for him to fight. However, things go awry and the mastermind breaks out into the real world to cause havoc.


10. Paul Freeman, Without A Clue


1988 comedy film Without A Clue sports a clever twist on the usual Sherlock Holmes status quo. In it, Dr Watson (Ben Kingsley) is the genius who hires an actor (Michael Caine) to play Sherlock Holmes so that he can solve crimes in incognito. Moriarty, however, is the real deal and Paul Freeman gives a fun, hissable performance in this underappeciated film.


NEXT PAGE: More of the nastiest Napoleons of Crime


11 thoughts on “10 Greatest Ever Portrayals of Moriarty

  1. I wonder how many people who voted here have actually seen the other actors play this role. I bet if they did they would understand that Scott did not play the character at all but just played the Joker from Batman under the guise of Professor Moriarty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Who else could take the top spot?” Really? If we need a good Joker, Andrew Scott’s your man. But for my Moriarty, I’m looking for a better class of criminal. Oh wait. BBC Sherlock ripped that line from the Nolan films, too. All we need now is the Batman theme song and the “Deer Stalker Symbol” on the roof of Scotland Yard.


  3. I think Scott’s version is rather impressive. The impact he had on the fandom was massive. He gave a different side to the sherlock series and gave it a much needed plot twist and villain. But that’s my opinion. I respect everyone else’s choice


  4. Henry Daniel & George Zucco were the only two that played Professor Moriority in the Rathbone & Nigel Bruce series. Seems you didn’t know that one !!!


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