10 Most Popular Movie Characters Ever

Monday, December 6 by Tom Gordon

The 10 most popular movie characters ever seems to divide its cast into cinema heroes and villains, without many folks in the middle. But that makes sense, since the roles we respond to the most are the ones representing good and evil and doing so with a little style. And if there are some who seem to straddle that line, as you'll see below, that makes them all the more fascinating.  See how this list of the 10 most popular movie characters ever lines up with your list.

  1. Indiana Jones. The hat. The whip. The theme music. If you can excuse the fourt Indiana Jones film as a well-intentioned effort to get the band back together for one last show, Harrison Ford as the ass-kicking archaeologist may be the most popular movie character ever. Every guy who has seen "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" has at some moment imagined himself punching Nazis and finding treasure with a hot chick at his side.
  2. Rick Blaine. Played by Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca," Rick runs a gin joint in an African city where the French and the Nazis are vying for control in the early days of World War II. That he would give up Ingrid Bergman because it was the right thing to do for "the cause" tells you everything you need to know about Rick, his priorities and his eternally broken heart.
  3. Darth Vader. Sure, Luke, Han, Chewie, Yoda and the gang had their moments. But the man in black was so cool he became a movie icon and really, all six movies were ultimately about his rise, fall and rise again, and not the planet-hopping heroics of Obi-Wan and Luke.
  4. Holly Golightly. Played by the beautiful Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Holly Golightly became a movie icon that sparked a wave of young women leaving the countryside and suburbs of Middle America for a chance to look and act as glamorous as Miss Golightly in New York City. You need a date movie? Here you go.
  5. Dorothy Gale. Teenager Judy Garland became a star as the Kansas kid with a dog in "The Wizard of Oz." Her ruby slippers are on display at the Smithsonian Institute and she may have uttered one of the most repeated lines in movie history, "I don't think we're in Kansas any more."
  6. Michael Corleone. The conflicted son of Vito Corleone and the centerpiece of the three "Godfather" movies, Michael (Al Pacino) was sympathetic and ruthless all at the same time. You felt his pain when betrayed by his family and his never-ending struggle to reconcile his desire to be one of the good guys with his family blood that would never let that happen.
  7. James Bond. The main character in the most successful movie franchise in history not featuring young wizards or Jedis, English superspy James Bond has survived changes in actors and mixed critical reaction since the early 1960's. He has been and remains the epitome of the tough, cool movie hero.
  8. Hannibal Lecter. By far the creepiest and scariest of the 10 most popular movie characters ever, Hannibal Lecter may also be the most intriguing villain in the history of the movies, too.
  9. Rocky Balboa. The ultimate underdog, Rocky came to symbolize the value of just going "the distance," win or lose. The purity of the original "Rocky" got continually watered down through the many sequels, but when someone mentions the name "Rocky" in connection with a longshot, you know they're talking about the character Sylvester Stallone created on paper and brought to life on the screen.
  10. E.T. He didn't say much, but this Steven Spielberg creation is one of the most beloved movie characters ever. Plus, he could make a bike fly. How cool is that?
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