Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch turns 40 on Tuesday 19 July Neilson Barnard / Getty

Benedict Cumberbatch turns 40 today (19 July) and to help him celebrate hitting the milestone, IBTimes UK is having a nostalgic look back at his career in movies. Just in case you wanted to watch one of the Oscar-nominated actor's films to honour the day, of course.

With a filmography so vast the Brit has covered romance, drama, sci-fi and straight-up fantasy, there's certainly something for everyone. First up...

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness
Cumberbatch channelled his villainous side in sci-fi sequel Star Trek Into Darkness back in 2013 Paramount Pictures

Known for spreading his career across all genres, Cumberbatch tried his hand at sci-fi in 2013 with Star Trek Into Darkness. The sequel sees him play Khan, a one-man weapon hell-bent on mass destruction whom Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the members aboard the USS Enterprise vow to stop.

Surprisingly emotional for a film like this, as the team find themselves in a dangerous chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew. Can he beat the almighty Khan? You'll have to watch and see.

12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave
The British actor gave an Oscar-worthy performance in Steve McQueen's heartbreaking but hopeful biopic 12 Years A Slave. Just a pity he wasn't nominated... Entertainment One / Summit Entertainment

Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning biographical drama 12 Years A Slave depicts the heartbreaking story of Solomon Northup, a black born-free carpenter and musician, living peacefully in New York, when he is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south. With his clothes and identity stripped, he moves from plantation to plantation, between two very differently-minded slavers, desperately clinging on to his dignity and hope that one day, he will return to his wife and children.

Cumberbatch's character is probably one of the most complex of the film: a seemingly compassionate slaver. One the audience can't help but like as he praises Solomon, rewards him with his own fiddle and even saves his life. But he is a slaver, and you somehow can't forgive him for that fact.


Sherlock is arguably Cumberbatch's most well-known role... Luckily, it's one of his best too! Robert Viglasky / BBC

For all of the big screen pictures he's been in, Cumberbatch's most recognisable role is arguably Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series of the same name. Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories, each episode focuses on a different case that our modern-day Holmes, brilliantly played by Cumberbatch, has to solve.

Throughout his investigations, he is helped by his flatmate and loyal friend, Dr John Watson (Martin Freeman), who has returned from military service in Afghanistan with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Throughout, thanks to Watson's blog documenting their adventures, Holmes becomes somewhat of a reluctant celebrity with the press reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Leading to both ordinary people and the British government asking for his help on many interesting cases.

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game
Cumberbatch earned his first, and so far, only Oscar nomination for his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game StudioCanal

Cumberbatch's performance as real-life mathematician and analyst Alan Turing earned the British actor his first (and so far, only) Academy Award nomination in 2015 and it was certainly deserved. Directed by Morten Tyldum, the film centres around the specific point in Turing's career when he is brought in by the government to work at Bletchley Park during the Second World Ward, charged with leading a brilliant team of codebreakers at the top-secret Code and Cipher School there.

Their task? To break the code of Enigma, which, as the MI6 has explained to the geniuses, allows the Germans to attack British and American shipping, leading to famine and the loss of life. But Turing's past sometimes makes him want to work independently, much to the dismay of his team.

The Hobbit Trilogy

Cumberbatch lent his voice to two computer-generated characters in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Trilogy: Necromancer and Smaug Warner Bros. Pictures

When it comes to Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies, Cumberbatch didn't just play one role, he played two... and boy, were they very different despite both lending themselves to voice acting rather than actually appearing on screen. In the first instalment of the trilogy, he plays Necromancer, the spirit form of Sauron the Dark Lord, and vengeful dragon Smaug.

His presence is greatest in the aptly named second film, The Desolation Of Smaug, which sees Thorin and the rest of the dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Cumberbatch's beast. Something that might help them? The fact that Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring...