10 Greatest Movie Characters

Friday, January 28 by Romilly West

Whether likable, unlikable, or some shade in-between, the 10 greatest movie characters are people who pull you right into their stories. Movie characters are great when their roles are written and acted so masterfully that after you see the movie, the characters feel like people you know in real life.

  1. Clarice Starling from “Silence of the Lambs.” Clarice is an ambitious FBI trainee who's pulled into the hunt for Buffalo Bill, a vicious serial killer. To get help, she forges an odd bond with Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist-turned-cannibal. In her quest to prove herself, Clarice shows courage not only outwardly but also in facing her inner demons.
  2. Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Atticus Finch, a widower with two children whom he loves dearly, is decent, kind and upstanding. He's a moral compass not only for his young children but also for the town in which he lives, making him one of the greatest movie characters of all time.
  3. Rick Blaine from “Casablanca.” A jaded bar owner, Rick says, “I stick my neck out for no one.” That changes when Ilsa, the woman who broke his heart, re-enters his life. In an act worthy of one of the greatest movie characters of all time, he sacrifices a future with Ilsa so that she and her husband can continue their fight against the Nazis.
  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius from “Gladiator.” A beloved Roman general, Maximus leads armies to victory. But when the Emperor of Rome is slain by his scheming son, Maximus's wife and child are killed, and he's sold into slavery as a gladiator. Despite his pain, Maximus acts heroically to kill the usurper and rid Rome of tyranny.
  5. Margo Channing from “All About Eve.” Margo, a famous theater actress, can be moody, but she has a warm, loving heart. One of the greatest movie characters of all time, she's nobody's fool. She can see through Eve, an ambitious young actress who tries to use her as a stepping-stone to fame.
  6. Josey Wales from “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” Josey Wales, one of the greatest movie characters, is a farmer whose family is murdered by Union jayhawkers. Josey fights back and becomes a wanted man. Though he's tough, he's kind, and he gathers around him a group of friends. He's protective, however, and doesn't want anyone hurt because of associating with him.
  7. Marge Gunderson from “Fargo.” One of the nicest police chiefs to grace the silver screen, Marge is also one of the smartest. As stout-hearted as she is polite, Marge doesn't flinch from going after the psycho who's feeding his partner into a wood chipper. And all this, while she's nine months pregnant.
  8. Yuri Zhivago from “Dr. Zhivago.” Yuri Zhivago is a Russian poet and doctor who gets caught up in the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution. One of the greatest movie characters and also one of the most complicated, Yuri is a moral man who yearns to do the right thing. His Achilles' heel is his difficulty figuring out where his loyalties should lie.
  9. Karen Blixen from “Out of Africa.” “Out of Africa” is based on the life of Karen Blixen, author, who lived from 1885 to 1962. The movie concerns her efforts to maintain a coffee farm in Africa. Karen Blixen, independent and unconventional, demonstrates great strength and sensitivity throughout the trials she endures.
  10. Edward Scissorhands from “Edward Scissorhands.” One of the greatest movie characters, Edward Scissorhands epitomizes the nonconformist. The movie, inspired by “Frankenstein,” chronicles how suburbia reacts to the strange-looking but kind-hearted Edward. Despite the fearsome scissor blades on his hands, he only uses them to spread kindness and create beauty.
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COMMENTS

  1. January 28, 2011 2:51 am

    Kaptan36

    Seriously? Edward Scissorhands? How is Heath Ledger’s Joker not on there. This list is terrible.


  2. January 28, 2011 2:51 am

    Kaptan36

    Seriously? Edward Scissorhands? How is Heath Ledger’s Joker not on there. This list is terrible.


  3. January 28, 2011 2:51 am

    Kaptan36

    And the dude from Gladiator? Really? How about Ferris Bueller? Ron Burgundy? Jay & Silent Bob?


  4. January 28, 2011 2:51 am

    Kaptan36

    And the dude from Gladiator? Really? How about Ferris Bueller? Ron Burgundy? Jay & Silent Bob?