British Actors You Should Know: Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield in the 2017 biopic Breathe  (Photo Credit: Laurie Sparham / Bleecker Street | Participant Media)

In honor of July 4th, that most American of holidays, I thought it would be fitting to feature an actor with strong ties to the States in our British Actors You Should Know series. 

Andrew Garfield was born in Los Angeles to an English mother and an American-ish father (the elder Mr. Garfield was born in the US to English parents of Eastern European descent). Garfield's family moved from California to England when he was three years old and he was raised in Epsom, Surrey. He has dual citizenship and, as you are about to see in this sampling of roles, he seems more than comfortable switching from one continent (and accent) to another.

At only 34 years old, Garfield’s career has been impressive in its variety, not only in terms of roles, but also in the range of mediums, be it stage, television or film. 

Boy A  (2007)

Garfield won a Best Actor TV BAFTA for his starring role as Jack Burridge, a young man newly released from a juvenile prison for after a long and possibly unjust sentence. He’s given a new identity and relocated to allow him a fresh start. Just as he begins to adjust to the world outside, Jack’s old life catches up to him in brutal fashion.


Doctor Who  (2007)

Garfield featured in a two-episode arc ("The Daleks in Manhattan" and "The Evolution of the Daleks") during the third seeason of David Tennant's Tenth Doctor era. He played Frank, a Tennessee native who moved north during the Great Depression in hopes of finding construction work in Manhattan. He joins forces with the Doctor and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) as they fight to halt the Final Experiment and defeat the Daleks.


Lions for Lambs  (2007)

Though the film received poor reviews, Garfield’s Hollywood debut paired him in scenes with movie legend Robert Redford. He portrayed a bright but disenchanted political science student whom his professor tries to challenge and re-engage.


Red Riding: The Year of Our Lord 1974  (2009)

In the first installment of this TV mini-series, Garfield played Eddie Dunford, a tenacious yet naïve cub reporter investigating a series of murdered or missing girls in Yorkshire.

Despite torture at the hands of corrupt police officers, Eddie frantically pursues the truth before being pulled into the cycle of secrets and violence himself.


Never Let Me Go  (2010)

Set in an alternate reality dystopian England, Garfield co-stars alongside Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley as lifelong friends who discover the true purpose behind their outwardly idyllic boarding school upbringing. Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, it’s a haunting and poignant story of love, jealousy and dashed hopes.


The Social Network  (2010)

Garfield received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for this supporting role as Harvard student and co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin.

In the film, Saverin sues his former business partner Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) for unfairly diluting his shares in the social networking website, an act he sees ultimatley as a betrayal of their friendship.


The Amazing Spider-Man  (2012 & 2014)

Garfield achieved international fame when he was cast as the new Spider-Man in 2012. A fan of the webbed superhero from childhood, this was a dream role for Andrew. He played Peter Parker and his crime fighting alter-ego in two films with co-stars who included Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Rhys Ifans, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan.


Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

In this historical drama, Garfield played World War II Army medic Desmond Doss, the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. He received an  Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for portraying the heroic conscientious objector who saved the lives of seventy-five soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa.  


Angels in America  (2017 & 2018)

Finally, there is Garfield’s role as Prior Walter, an AIDS-stricken gay man, in the revival of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize winning play, Angels in America

The production started in London at the National Theatre in 2017 before transferring to Broadway in 2018. Garfield won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play and in his acceptance speech said, “It is the profound privilege of my life to play Prior Walter in Angels in America’ because he represents the purest spirit of humanity, and especially that of the LGBTQ community.”


Do you have a favorite Andrew Garfield performance? Share the love for this talented British-American actor in the comments below!