[The Social Opportunist] Top Ten – Movie Characters (Part #2)

Written by Phil June 04, 2012

Well, at least they LOOK like the right characters...

In order to help me compile this top ten list, I had to look up a collection of lists from other bloggers in order to jog my movie memory, just in case I was forgetting some truly epic movie characters. There were plenty of characters on these lists that had no interest in putting on this list, the most prominent example being Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) from Fight Club. I know that there are going to be plenty of people out there that will hate me for that comment, but for me, Durden wasn’t one of my all-time favourites. There’s no doubt that Fight Club was a spectacular movie, but if the character didn’t immediately make me jump up in praise each time I saw his name on another list of movie characters, I just wouldn’t feel right putting him on my list. I’ve always been one to go against the grain, and this is just another example of that. Sorry to all the movie buffs out there! Now that that’s out of the way…

Click here to visit Part 1 of this list. Just to remind everyone of numbers 6-10 before getting into the “best of the best:”

10. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) – The Shining

9. Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective & Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

8. Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) – Juno

7. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) – Iron Man 1 & 2, The Avengers

6. Gandalf (Ian McKellan) – Lord of the Rings I, II & III

Now for my top movie characters of all time! Enjoy!

5.  Wall-E (Ben Burtt) – Wall-E

Wall-E (Wall-E)

This character is impressive given the simple fact that, while not even being a human, he is able to convey so much emotion through only a few, digitally created words. I’ve never felt so much sympathy or such a strong connection to a character that really was nothing more than the result of a little animated creativity. Wall-E was driven entirely by its title character, a lonely (and slightly clumsy) trash-compacting robot doomed to spend his existence cleaning up an Earth that we, as humans, had previously destroyed. Even just writing this brings me back to the first time I saw the trailer for this movie and was immediately smitten with the little robot known as Wall-E. As animated movies become more and more real, I’m sure there will be plenty more characters that will catch my attention like Wall-E did. However, the fact remains that Wall-E did it first, and therefore deserves a place on this list!

4. The Joker (Heath Ledger) – The Dark Knight

The Joker (The Dark Knight)

I know this list probably doesn’t do a great job of representing this, but I am someone who certainly enjoys a good movie villain. It doesn’t get much better than Heath Ledger’s The Joker from The Dark Knight. When you can completely forget which actor you’re watching because they are so immersed in the character they are playing, you know that you’re in for a great ride. Ledger successfully portrayed a comic book madman with inspired lunacy and a complete lack of humanity. He redefined the character of a Joker in a way that I thought would have been impossible, considering it was a character so entrenched in superhero culture (and one that had been done before by the great Jack Nicholson). Ledger’s Joker made us all forget what we thought we knew about superhero villains. It truly is too bad that he won’t be able to reprise the role in future films, but at least we have The Dark Knight as a lasting representation of Ledger’s acting genius.

3. The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) – Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2

The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill: Vol. 1)

Before the Kill Bill series, I really was not a huge fan of the statuesque Uma Thurman. But these movies, with all of the plot-jumping and truly unique content characteristic of a Quentin Tarantino film, made me respect the actress more than ever. The character of the Bride (or Beatrix Kiddo, as we later find out) was a deeply conflicted yet kick-ass woman on the hunt for blood and revenge. Thurman was able to perfectly represent this with a certain cartoony, sometimes comical presence that made the movie difficult not to watch. She successfully played the character’s various personas to a tee: first as a martial arts-driven assassin, then as a jilted lover and finally as a mourning and betrayed mother. In fact, she could effectively portray all of these personas in unison, making her search for revenge ever more believable. I was really hoping there would have been a part 3 to the Kill Bill series, but alas, I will have to make due with what Tarantino gave me.

2. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) – Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2, 3 & 4

Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)

This has got to be one of the most memorable, likable and intriguing movie characters to all of film history. When I first saw Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, there was nothing in that movie that impressed me more than Johnny Depp’s flamboyant and opportunistic pirate Jack Sparrow. For a character that seemed to be perpetually drunk or on some form of heavy drug, there was no way that you could pull your attention from him. Every line and every movement was perfectly executed, creating a character that has remained viable for four films to date! I was never able to distinguish the nature of this character however. Whether he was a villain or a hero is truly a mystery to me, as there is evidence to support both theories. However, that really doesn’t matter. Whatever light you may view Jack Sparrow in, there is no doubt that the character has captured our attention (and will hopefully continue to do so for years to come).

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And my number one movie character of all time is…

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1. James Bond (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Bronsan & Daniel Craig) – Various Films

James Bond (Various Films)

There really has been no other character that I can think of that has survived the test of time quite like James Bond. While my favourite James Bond has to be Pierce Bronsan, I felt the need to recognize all the actors who have played the iconic character throughout the years, as they each brought something unique and special to the role. The suave and gentlemanly British spy has been gracing our screens since 1962, when Dr. No was first released as a feature film. Watching Bond take on villain after villain (and bed woman after woman) has given me some of my most favourite movie moments to date. While Daniel Craig’s version of the character is a little rougher and further from his true persona, he was still good enough to represent a successful addition to the brood of actors that currently listed 007 on their filmographies. The only thing to do now is wait for Skyfall (the 23rd installmaent) to hit theatres!

Well folks, there you have it! That is my complete list of the top ten movie characters of all time. Whether you agree or disagree with my choices, I think we can all recognize the importance that a good character plays in the overall success of any movie.

Check out this and other posts on The Social Opportunist!

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