Film characters that have left a lasting impression on the minds of film enthusiasts
Film characters that have left a lasting impression on the minds of film enthusiasts
Updated on August 25, 2022 18:24 PM by Ella Bina
Without characters, movies would be nothing – they would be abstract shots of locations and landscapes.
Even though some movie roles are merely functional, the best ones can change how a film is viewed – offering complex morals, motivating personal growth, standing up to the odds, fighting for what is right as stalwart heroes, or causing mayhem as villains and antiheroes.
Your votes for the best movie characters of all time were in the thousands when Empire asked you to do so.
There are so many memorable characters in movies – the beautiful, the powerful, the heroic, the despicable, the funny, and the downright barking, that are the most iconic characters ever to appear on the screen. Here is the definitive, reader-voted list.
It is no secret that cinema is all about characters. Fans will connect with the characters more profoundly if they are relatable and well-portrayed. The actors make characters memorable in no small way. Without them, many of the greatest characters would be merely a footnote in cinema history. Maybe not even that.
Our favorite iconic movies, their characters, and more specifically, the actors who brought those characters to life, may be different for all of us. In our opinion, at least a few Hollywood film characters were best left alone and not recast among the thousands of portrayals.
In 1972, Marlon Brando immortalized Mario Puzo's mysterious literary character in the Godfather film. An Italian Mafia family living in contemporary New York City, Vito Corleone is an enigmatic crime boss, the don, who belongs to the Corleone family. In the novel, Don Vito is presented as dangerous to those who cross him but deeply caring to his family members, especially his youngest son, Michael.
De Niro brilliantly portrays the character's rise from humble beginnings after he arrived in New York City as a refugee in the second film. Vito Corleone became one of the greatest movie characters of all time through the exceptionally well-acted performances of both Brando and De Niro.
In addition to being one of the greatest fictional spies of all time, Ian Fleming's creation has become an icon in pop culture. Known commonly as MI6, James Bond works as a naval commander for the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). With Dr. No (1962), he first appeared on the big screen as the iconic agent and most recently as the 007 agents in No Time to Die (2021).
His secret service code is 007, and he is portrayed as the best of all 00 (Double O) agents. The spy film franchise, as a whole, is among the highest-grossing franchises of all time.
In addition to using innovative gadgets, one-liners, and adventures worldwide, the character is noteworthy for his unique gadgets, one-liners, and adventures. Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig have all played Bond in some form.
As a creation of George Lucas, Han Solo has become one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars franchise. Solo is not a superhero or Force-sensitive, but his personality, similar to a space cowboy's, has made him one of the fan's favorite characters.
Solo, a small-time smuggler who joins the fight against the Empire, is described as street-smart and fiercely loyal to his friends.
His famous friendship with Chewbacca as a Wookie copilot made him a legendary fighter pilot. In addition, as the story progresses, Solo becomes the husband of Princess Leia and the father of Ben Solo, or Kylo Ren. In all films except Solo, Alden Ehrenreich played Han Solo's young self.
Although one of the most famous characters in literature and film, Harry Potter is an acclaimed British writer's creation. In Potter, a young male wizard from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his friends fights a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort, protecting both the wizarding and human worlds.
All the Potter films starred Daniel Radcliffe as the title character. A total of 12 Academy Awards were nominated for the eight films that starred Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
In his movies, Indiana Jones is portrayed as a 1930s archaeologist who embarks on a series of adventures when the world is about to enter World War II. He is a creation of George Lucas, one of the toughest movie characters ever.
In addition to being witty and knowledgeable, Jones has been known for protecting powerful artifacts from falling into the wrong hands by using his bullwhip to escape tricky situations.
Even though the first three films were released in the 1980s, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth and to date the last, was released in 2008. As well as being set in the 1950s, it is Harrison Ford's only appearance in the franchise set in that decade.
A film titled Indian Jones is in the works, as per reports. Harrison Ford starred in all four Indiana Jones adventures, directed by Steven Spielberg. James Mangold will be directing the film without Lucas or Spielberg involved. Ford will return as the protagonist.
A key reason for the tremendous success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise was Captain Jack Sparrow's charismatic personality. There is no denying that Sparrow is one of the greatest movie characters ever. He is both comical and thrilling as a pirate lord. Johnny Depp played Sparrow in all movies.
Depp's critically lauded performance helped Sparrow become a pop culture icon among kids and adults. Sparrow is portrayed as an intelligent and sometimes treacherous character who uses his brains to get out of tough situations, making him one of the book's most memorable characters.
It is not just the East Indian Company's forces and other nations' armies seeking him, but also ruthless supernatural entities such as Blackbeard, Captain Salazar, and Captain Davy Jones. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Anthony De La Torre plays a young Jack Sparrow.
Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are the main characters in The Matrix film franchise. The Wachowskis created them and portrayed them by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, respectively. The film franchise is renowned for its great action sequences and spectacular special effects.
This technique has been used to keep humans trapped in a simulated reality by machines creating the Matrix. Film-making, philosophy, religion, and science have all been impacted tremendously by their cultural impact.
Many of the movie's scenes have inspired GIFs, and parody scenes, such as the ones where Neo dodges bullets and Trinity escapes pursuers on the highway.
Besides the two, other characters like Morpheus, portrayed by Laurence Fishburne, and Agent Smith, portrayed by Hugo Weaving, are equally popular. The Matrix (1999) won four Academy Awards, while the rest of the franchise's films have been critical and commercial successes.
This list of the best movie characters would not be complete without Bride. Uma Thurman was a dangerous assassin who attempted to kill her and her unborn child in the form of a single storyline split into two films. Her character has become iconic because she appears in a single storyline divided into two films.
With depictions of extreme violence and breathtaking action scenes, Quentin Tarantino brought depth to the character in his style. Her powerful performance made Thurman's portrayal of the Bride one of the most recognizable in film history, as did the yellow tracksuit she wore in the two films.
Rose and Jack
The tragic fate that Jack Dawson and Rose encountered during their innocent love story made them one of the most beloved movie couples in history. Director James Cameron weaves an excellent romantic story against the backdrop of the Titanic sinking in 1912.
Rose is an aristocratic adolescent who falls in love with Jack, an artist on board the ship.
Rose, who feels suffocated in her world, finds Jack's freewheeling lifestyle appealing. Tragically, the Titanic sinks shortly after. Despite its commercial and critical failure, Titanic has become one of the world's highest-grossing films, with over USD 2 billion in lifetime earnings since its release to equal the record set by Ben-Hur (1959).
As Miranda Priestly, Miranda is portrayed as a demanding boss of a famous fashion magazine and is also a walking fashion encyclopedia. The film is based on the 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada.
Priestly is portrayed as a strict adolescent with a strict demeanor who causes problems for her young personal assistant, Andy (Anne Hathaway). Streep won Best Actress in the film, which David Frankel directed.
The Terminator (T-800)
Film fans worldwide know that the Terminator is an icon of pop culture. In the film, Arnold Schwarzenegger portrays the Terminator as a time-traveling machine intended to kill John Connor so he will not become the resistance's leader. Schwarzenegger's performance as Terminator made him one of the greatest movie characters of all time.
As a result of his performance, Terminator was adapted to comic books, video games, and merchandise beyond the big screen, especially his machine-like dialogue delivery, including "I'll be back."
This Terminator model was created by James Cameron and first appeared in The Terminator (1984) as the main antagonist sent to kill Sarah Connor, John's future mother.
A young John Connor is being threatened by the shape-shifting T-1000 Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), a Terminator trying to kill him. Every subsequent film in the long-running franchise featured Schwarzenegger as the T-800 Terminator.
The Man With No Name
In the 'Dollars trilogy,' a single story is the common thread connecting all three movies — The Man With No Name, played by screen legend Clint Eastwood. Though each film stands on its own, the common thread connecting them is the character The Man With No Name.
Designed by Sergio Leone, all three spaghetti westerns are considered among the greatest in movie history. However, the last is universally regarded as the best among them all. For Eastwood, this fictional character in The Man With No Name is one of the best performances in his career.
The Man With No Name is an antihero with conflicting morals who wanders the Wild West. He does not speak much, but his skill with a gun is almost unmatched. It has been so popular for decades that the character has inspired everything from outfits to comic books.