The 7 Most Moral Characters Ever On Film

Wednesday, April 4 by Joseph Gibson

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Sometimes it seems like morality is dead. It can seem like everybody is just looking out for number one, and nobody has anything but their own immediate gratification in mind. But these seven movie characters strike a blow for morality every time you fire up their DVDs. Here are seven of the most moral characters ever on film.

Atticus Finch, "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Gregory Peck's southern patriarch is probably the best example there is of a moral character on film. He is not only an ideal portrait of fatherhood, but a shining example of the ideals associated with the practice of law. In the movie, Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman, and fights against the majority of the town's racial prejudices in order to do it. Here's a famous line from the movie that sums up what Finch is about: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

Peter Parker, "Spider-Man"

Being a super-hero is often portrayed as being all fun and games. Some kid gets cool powers and proceeds to stomp all over town and get the girl. But in the world of "Spider-Man," being a super-hero means risking your neck for an often-indifferent populace just because it's the right thing to do, and even giving up personal relationships for the sake of the greater good. Pretty lame, right? Thank God he's got a cool suit.

Tom Joad, "The Grapes of Wrath"

Another iconic portrait of morality in an unjust world, Tom Joad is famously played by Henry Fonda in John Ford's adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel. While far from perfect (he begins the movie just having finished a prison sentence for killing a man in a bar fight), Joad tends to see through various political smokescreens and lands on the way humans should have a right to be treated. His famous speech toward the end of the movie is a great example of caring for one's fellow man.

Juror No. 8, "12 Angry Men"

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	Henry Fonda again, this time as the only juror in the legal thriller "12 Angry Men" who seems to understand the purpose of the <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/justice-818/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>justice</a> system. He's just one member of a jury, but he's the only person who doesn't rush to a snap judgment to convict the young man on trial and send him to the electric chair.</p>
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	<strong><span data-scayt_word=Ip Man, "Ip Man"

The man whose name is a legend in China for training Bruce Lee is also the protagonist of two excellent action movies starring Donnie Yen as Ip. What distinguishes these movies from the pack of martial arts movies out there is the main character-a pacifistic martial artist who only fights when it's the last available resort. The fact that he's the best fighter in the world means he has little to prove, but Yen's portrayal of Ip Man is the closest thing to Atticus Finch

Frank Capra's 1939 film shows what might happen if one idealistic outsider got the chance to bring about real change in a political machine that's paralyzed by corruption and complacency (total science fiction, right??). Smith refuses to let his lack of experience make him subject to intimidation by his more "learned" colleagues, and ends up filibustering for hours and hours on end in order to fight for what he believes in.

Will Kane, "High Noon"

Gary Cooper's Sheriff Will Kane is about to retire and go on a honeymoon with his gorgeous wife (played by Grace Kelly no less). But he sticks around town because Frank Miller is coming back, and the only person who can stop him from running amuck is Will Kane. The tense minutes leading up to the final showdown are a great depiction of a man doing what's right because no one else will.