Keira Knightley

Last updated on the 20 July 2024 by Maeve

keira knightley headshot
Mini Biography

Born: 26 March 1985, Teddington, London, England.

Keira Knightley comes from a family with a strong background in the entertainment industry. Her father, Will Knightley, is an actor, and her mother, Sharman Macdonald, is a playwright. Growing up in such a creative environment, Knightley developed a passion for acting at a young age and showed natural talent from the start.

Keira Knightley’s early life was marked by a keen interest in the arts and a determination to pursue a career in acting. At the age of six, she requested an agent and began attending auditions. Her first significant role came in 1995 when she appeared in the television film “Innocent Lies”, leading Knightley to make her feature film debut in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999) in a small role. 

Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham
Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra in Bend It Like Beckham

In 2002, she achieved widespread recognition and critical acclaim for her role as Juliet in the romantic comedy “Bend It Like Beckham.” This marked the beginning of a successful acting career that would solidify Knightley as one of the most talented and sought-after actresses of her generation.

Throughout her career, Knightley has delivered memorable performances in a wide range of genres. Some of her most notable film credits include “Pride & Prejudice” (2005), for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, “Atonement” (2007), “The Imitation Game” (2014), and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series, in which she portrayed Elizabeth Swann.

Still from Doctor Zhivago with Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley in Doctor Zhivago

In addition to her work in film, Knightley has also ventured into television, taking on roles in projects such as “Doctor Zhivago” (2002) and “Neverland” (2011).

Outside of her acting career, Knightley is known for her advocacy work on various social and political issues. She has been a vocal supporter of women’s rights and gender equality, using her platform to raise awareness and promote positive change. In her personal life, Knightley is married to musician James Righton, and the couple share two children together.


Suggested viewing


Atonement (2007)

Atonement poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.8

In 1935 England, a young girl named Briony falsely accuses her sister’s lover, Robbie, of a crime he didn’t commit. As the consequences of her actions ripple through their lives, the story explores themes of guilt, forgiveness and the lifelong quest for atonement in the face of devastating consequences.

Top cast: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, Juno Temple, Benedict Cumberbatch, Harriet Walter.


The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.9

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing leads a team of codebreakers to decipher the German Enigma machine’s complex codes. Their groundbreaking work at Bletchley Park helps shorten the war and save countless lives, but Turing’s personal struggles with identity and society’s intolerance create a tragic and poignant narrative.

Top cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, Charles Dance, Mark Strong, James Northcott.


The Duchess (2008)

The Duchess

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.9

Based on the true story of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the film explores her turbulent life in 18th-century England. As she traverses societal expectations, political intrigue, and a loveless marriage, Georgiana’s quest for personal freedom and happiness reveals the sacrifices and consequences of living within a rigid aristocratic society.

Top cast: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell, Simon McBurney, Aidan McArdle, John Shrapnel, Alistair Petrie.


Doctor Zhivago (2002)

Doctor Zhivago poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.3

Set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution and World War I, Doctor Zhivago follows the life of poet and physician Yuri Zhivago. Caught between his love for two women and the political upheaval of the time, Zhivago’s personal journey intertwines with the sweeping historical events that shape his world.

Top cast: Hans Matheson, Keira Knightley, Sam Neill, Bill Paterson, Celia Imrie, Maryam d’Abo, Anne-Marie Duff, Alexandra Maria Lara, Kris Marshall.

Alternative version

Doctor Zhivago


Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Pride & Prejudice

Bftv 9.0  / IMDb 7.8

19th-century England, the Bennett sisters navigate the societal expectations of their time. When the charming Mr. Bingley and his brooding friend Mr. Darcy enter their lives, a tale of love, misunderstandings, and personal growth unfolds. Jane Austen’s classic novel explores themes of class, marriage and the power of overcoming prejudice.

Top cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Rosamund Pike, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Carey Mulligan, Talulah Riley, Tom Hollander.

External link – Pride & Prejudice (2005) at Period Drama Stills


Anna Karenina (2012)

Anna Karenina poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.6

In 19th-century Russia, Anna Karenina, a married aristocrat, embarks on a passionate affair with the dashing Count Vronsky. As their illicit love affair unfolds, it disrupts the social order and triggers a chain of events that leads to heartbreak, societal judgment, and ultimately, consequences for all involved.

Top cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Matthew Macfadyen, Eric MacLennan, Kelly Macdonald, Theo Morrissey, Cecily Morrissey, Freya Galpin, Octavia Morrissey.

Alternative version

Helen McCrory Anna Karenina poster


Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Bend It Like Beckham poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.7

Jess, a British-Indian teenager, yearns to play football despite her traditional Sikh family’s disapproval. She joins a local women’s team, facing cultural expectations, gender stereotypes, and her own internal conflicts. This heartwarming comedy-drama explores themes of identity, following dreams and breaking barriers both on and off the field.

Top cast: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan, Frank Harper, Juliet Stevenson, Ameet Chana, Archie Panjabi.


The Edge of Love (2008)

The Edge of Love poster

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.1

Set during World War II, the film follows the intertwined lives of poet Dylan Thomas, his wife Caitlin, their childhood friend Vera, and soldier William. As their relationships evolve, they grapple with love, jealousy, passion and the haunting effects of war, leading to a dramatic and emotionally charged narrative.

Top cast: Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Cillian Murphy, Lisa Stansfield, Richard Dillane, Anne Lambton, Alastair Mackenzie, Camilla Rutherford.


Keira Knightley full filmography @ Wikipedia
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