09/10/2014 09:32 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Colin Firth! The Actor's Great Movie Moments

It is said that the truly great actors can disappear into a role. And that's the case with Colin Firth. Ever since he burst onto the screen in the 1984 prep school drama Another Country, he has been devoted to stretching his acting chops. "I would rather five people knew my work and thought it was good work than five million knew me and were indifferent," the Oscar-winning actor told the Sunday Telegraph in 2000.

To that end, Firth has played the dreamy Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, an arrogant aristocrat in Shakespeare in Love, the legendary Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer in Girl with a Pearl Earring, a fuddy-duddy barrister in Bridget Jones's Diary, and a sparkly dancing ABBA-singing dude in Mamma Mia! And he won an Oscar as George VI with a serious speech impediment in the King's Speech. But those are just a few of his many, many roles. (Next month he stars as Nicole Kidman's charming-yet-seemingly-evil husband in the thriller, Before I Go To Sleep.)

To celebrate his 54th birthday, click on this Parade story to see some of Colin Firth's great movie moments.