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Top 50 Film Characters

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People who added this item 374 Average listal rating (226 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.2
White Heat (1949)
Cody Jarrett portrayed by James Cagney



The perfect Freudian villain and more than a mere Speakeasy-Era Gangster. Jarrett has depth, creating the opportunity for some truly explosive scenes with his tempormental personality. Such a dispisable character, he creates a huge force when he is on screen.

Best Moment

The iconic final scene
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People who added this item 5884 Average listal rating (3757 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
Alex DeLarge portrayed by Malcolm McDowell



Such a vile human being, whom we come to love in such a twisted way only Kubrick could have done it. His rendtion of Singin' in the Rain will mean you never hear it the same again and his instantly recognisable attire makes him not only a good character but a representative of the film. Like an awful brand.

Best Moment

The rape 'centrepiece' of the film
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People who added this item 3920 Average listal rating (2486 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.5
Psycho (1960)
Norman Bates portrayed by Anthony Perkins



Freudian again, Bates is charmingly shy as well as daringly sinister;
(We all go a little mad sometimes). A mother obession creates a rich story in Hitchcock's most daring and most voyeristic thriller. A classic character in my favourite classic film.

Best Moment

When he is confronted by Sam Loomis
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People who added this item 6139 Average listal rating (4036 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
The Shining (1980)
Jack Torrance portrayed by Jack Nicholson

The angry tics. That menacing grin poking through the doorway. Jack fuckin' Nicholson. Some perfectly developed character scenes plus an actor of Nicholson's calibre is a recipe for a brilliant film personality. Scary yet darkly humourous, Torrance is a no holds barred villain.



Best Moment

The baseball bat on the stairway.
Most would say the scene pictured above but for pure acting and atmosphere, the scene on the stairs is unbeatable.
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People who added this item 2606 Average listal rating (1500 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Citizen Kane (1941)
Charles Foster Kane portrayed by Orson Welles



The richest and best told story of a man from childhood to death in any film ever. What would be a 3 hour film today was only 115 minutes in 1941, yet a satisfyingly deep story of a man changed by greed and power is told flawlessly.

Best Moment

Smashing up his room in a rage
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Indiana Jones portrayed by Harrison Ford




Badass, witty and he takes danger like a man..except for when it comes to snakes...and even then he shows them who is boss. His trademark look makes him arguably the most recognisable chararacter of all time, whilst his personality helps seal him as arguably the most iconic character ever to grace the big screen.

Best Moment

Calmly shooting a man with a sword
in
Raiders of the Lost Ark
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Dr. Strangelove portrayed by Peter Sellers



A wild haired, wild eyed madman. A perfect comedy character, with such a commanding screen presence you cannot wait until he is back on screen. Hell, the film is even named after him. Well, with such a great name, how could you not promote it in the title?

Best Moment

His uncontrollable hand making him Heil Hitler
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Darth Vader portrayed by David Prowse (body) and James Earl Jones (Voice)



The definitive baddie. Vader is a daunting villain, dressed head to toe in black with mighty strentth and a mighter voice. His heavy breathing is sinister and even has a part of John Williams' score reserved just for him, making his entrances even more grand.
When he turns against the dark side in Episode VI, the new depth is welcome, without nullifying the bad guy persona from the first two films.
Truly iconic.

Best Moment

Revealing his true identity to Luke
in
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
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Gollum/Smeagol voiced by Andy Serkis



The best CGI characterisation ever made? Adapting a believable looking Gollum from the novels was probably one of the hardest jobs of the trilogy but he looks flawless. Serkis' voice work is amazing, making the character that much more grotesque, whilst the split personality makes the character an interesting and unpredictable creature, as well as making room for a more likable side to an otherwise hateable beast.

Best Moment

Framing Frodo for eating the food supplies
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People who added this item 4525 Average listal rating (2781 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
Taxi Driver (1976)
Travis Bickle portrayed by Robert De Niro



The quintessential 'Anti-Hero' is found in De Niro's Travis Bickle, a fragile and lonely Vietnam War veteran. Often miscatergorised as a Villain, I like to see him as a kinder soul who just chooses the wrong way to handle a very murky problem.

Best Moment

His manic attack on the Pimps
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People who added this item 2696 Average listal rating (1672 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Freddy Kruger portrayed by Robert Englund



Before he became a cheesy comedy horror character Freddy was a ghastly, frightening man. Hell, even when he was cheesy it was tongue-in-cheek. I remember wanting to watch this for so long when I was a child and when my mum finally gave in, I was blown away. Not only by the film but by the character I had heard so much about, being a horror fan at a young age.

Best Moment

His eerie entrance at the beginning of the film
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People who added this item 4007 Average listal rating (2420 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.3
HAL 9000 voiced by Douglas Rains



A powerful allegory for the growing, almost dangerous use of technology, that is all the more apt 42 years later. However, it can also be noted that HAL, albeit evil, is the most human character of them all. Not only does he play such a pivitol role in the representation of technology, but also in the representation of the very people that made him: Human Beings.

Best Moment

His Shutdown
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People who added this item 3660 Average listal rating (2143 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.5
Colenel Kurtz portrayed by Marlon Brando



An enigma wrapped in an epic war film, Kurtz's screen presence is long awaited. When it arrives, whilst short, it is without a doubt worth it. In a film peppered with a range of great characters, Kurtz tops them all.

Best Moment

The voice recording on the radio played to Willard at the start. Chilling.

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People who added this item 8149 Average listal rating (5197 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.9
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Jules Winnfield portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson



The funniest character of the film, with all of the best lines. With his 70's afro and charisma, Jules is one of the most entertaining characters of all Tarantino characters. In fact, one of the most entertaining characters of all time.

Best Moment

Brett's Apartment
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People who added this item 952 Average listal rating (613 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.3
Phyllis Dietrichson portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck



A character of pure manipulative evil, the term Femme Fatale can not be said without thinking of the magnificent villain that is Phyllis. She set the standard for all such characters to be judged by. Her stiff locks are now seen less as a bad costume mistake that Billy Wilder passed off as deliberate and more of an iconic attribute.

Best Moment

Introduced to the film, looking glamourous at the top of a staircase.
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People who added this item 4108 Average listal rating (2675 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.2
Walter Sobchak portrayed by John Goodman



The best Coen Brothers creation by far. A welcome edition to an already colourful film of characters, Walter comes out on top as the most hilarious and strangely likeable character.

Best Moment

Smashing up a car with a golf club in a fit of rage
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People who added this item 980 Average listal rating (565 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.9
Frankenstein (1931)
Frankenstein's Monster portayed by Boris Karloff



Mary Shelley's idea of a man made out of parts of corpses is a frightening concept and this is capitalised by Karloff's daunting stature and heavy set make-up that has since become so iconic. Only here, the monster has a much more innocent nature. Never has audience sympathy been so well achieved in a film.

Best Moment

At the lake with the little girl
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People who added this item 3145 Average listal rating (1822 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.5
Casablanca (1942)
Rick Blaine portrayed by Humphrey Bogart



Rick appeals to the cynicist in me and as one of the most famous 'glass half empty' characters, Blaine is a very human character, with just enough Hollywood glamour to make him appealing but not enough to make him unreal.

Best Moment

Denying help to a frantic criminal, stating with the perfect amount of coolness
'I stick my neck out for nobody'
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People who added this item 1599 Average listal rating (884 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Nosferatu (1922)
Graf Orlock portrayed by Max Schreck



The most horrifying Dracula ever committed to the screen and he isn't even an official version of Bram Stoker's classic antagonist. In fact, Orlock is more like the Dracula in the novel (primarily ugly) than most official adaptions make him out to be (sophsiticated and good looking), except perhaps Francis Ford Coppola's adaption. Orlock, with his rigid posture, long claws and rat like teeth rather than Bat like fangs, is infinitely more scary than any other subsequent adaption. This is further accentuated through the German Expressionist style and the fact the film itself is silent and as a result, more atmospheric.

Best Moment

Orlock stares wildly at Hutter's house from his window
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People who added this item 6316 Average listal rating (4262 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.6
Hannibal Lecter portrayed by Anthony Hopkins



A charmingly well spoken maniac, Lecter's considerable knowledge makes him a threatening villain. His sophistication and calm demeanor works in his favour, often tricking those trying to keep him locked up. With classic lines and the iconic mask, Lecter is a villain impossible to forget.

Best Moment

The unnerving Ambulance scene
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Baby Jane Hudson portrayed by Bette Davis



The true crazy bitch of cinema, keeping her disabled sister locked up in their shared house. Baby Jane is such a twisted, deluded individual who plasters herself with make-up. Davis is immersed in the character and as the film goes on, so are we. Fantastic.

Best Moment

Dead Rat is served
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People who added this item 791 Average listal rating (474 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8
Don De Lope Aguirre portrayed by Klaus Kinski



A ruthless character, fascinating to watch unravel. Kinski's steely-eyed portrayal of the egotisical explorer arguably resembles his own fiery personality. That is perhaps why the performance is so captivating and as a result, so is the character.

Best Moment

His final line
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People who added this item 1720 Average listal rating (1064 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 8.5
Modern Times (1936)
The Tramp portrayed by Charles Chaplin



Loveable slapstick character. Arguably the finest, or at least most iconic, export from the silent era. Chaplin's Tramp goes through good situations, bad situations and sad situations whilst always remaining as upbeat as he can. His optimism and child-like attitude is endearing.

Best Moment

The final scene of City Lights
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People who added this item 3885 Average listal rating (2374 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.3
Scarface (1983)
Tony Montana portrayed by Al Pacino



Whilst I prefer the 1932 original over Brian DePalma's worthy update, the leading character is certainly stronger. A sexist, drug addled, violent, ruthless criminal, Montana is the perfect embodiment of Greed and the corrupt power of the American Dream.

Best Moment

I told you, no fucking kids!
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People who added this item 2481 Average listal rating (1524 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Platoon (1986)
Sergeant Barnes portrayed by Tom Berenger



Horrendously violent with a lack of morals...but why? Is he just another victim of the war? His best moment below would certainly back this up. Tempormental, his character perfectly suits the chaos of the Vietnam war, unflinchingly shown by Oliver Stone.

Best Moment

Private Chris Taylor finds him in a state of quiet reflection.
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People who added this item 1973 Average listal rating (1299 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Misery (1990)
Annie Wilkes portrayed by Kathy Bates



Possibly the best female villain of all time. Her adoring, doting front slowly slips to reveal a menacing psychosis that Bates portrays of so convincingly. One of the most suspenseful films of all time, Wilkes's presence is ominous and threatening, making you feel like you are her captive too.

Best Moment

The sledgehammer scene, need I say more?
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People who added this item 5157 Average listal rating (3469 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
The Terminator a.k.a T-800 portrayed by Arnold Schwarznegger



Arnie shows how to be a badass robot almost effortlessly. Only 15 lines in the first film but each is delivered so that it can be savoured. When he says I'll be back you better believe it. His change of character from bad in the first film to good in the second doesn't ruin the films because each side to his character is equally entertaining.

Best Moment

Reloading a Shotgun one handed whilst riding a motorbike
in
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
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People who added this item 2084 Average listal rating (1285 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.6
George Bailey portrayed by James Stewart



George Bailey is one of the kindest and most genuine film characters ever created. His plight feels like your plight. His experiences make you think twice about your life, making you wonder 'what would it be like if I never existed?'. A classic character from a classic film, who is easy to connect to.

Best Moment

On the bridge

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People who added this item 5913 Average listal rating (3688 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 9.2
The Godfather (1972)
Vito Corleone portrayed by Marlon Brando



Now revered as the quintessential Mafia Don, Vito Corleone is the most famous character from one of the most widely acclaimed films of all time. With his jowels and hard-to-decipher style of speaking, he isn't just a 2D character; he is a person.

Best Moment

Identifying the body of his murdered son, Sonny
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Frank Drebin portrayed by Leslie Nielson



Nielson is a joy to watch as Frank Drebin, with comedy timing down to a tee. His incompetent antics are pure comedy gold, leaving the audience to wonder why the hell he hasn't been fired. He is so bumbling, he couldn't even stop OJ Simpson!

Best Moment

Getting in the back of learner driver car, of all vehicles, when trying to chase a bad guy.

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People who added this item 4247 Average listal rating (2714 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.7
R.P McMurphy portrayed by Jack Nicholson



An energetic, anti-establishment personality incarcerated in a mental institution is never a good idea. Indeed, spearks fly when McMurphy clashes with the bullying head nurse. An entertaining, neo-tragic character brought to life by Nicholson and director Milos Foreman's skillful direction.

Best Moment

Playing basketball on Chief Bromdon's shoulders
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People who added this item 1968 Average listal rating (1296 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Evil Dead (1981)
Ash Williams portrayed by Bruce Campbell



Ash is the everyman hero of Sam Raimi's groundbreaking horror series. Subverting the 'last girl standing' theory, he is the perfect antidote to the well-worn innocent virgin witnessed in films such as Halloween and Friday the 13th. A true horror icon.

Best Moment

Groovy!
in
Evil Dead II
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People who added this item 1634 Average listal rating (1030 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
Sal Naturile portrayed by John Cazale



Based on the real life character, Sal is made to appear more unassuming and naive in the film. In terms of storytelling, it works tremendously. He is also portrayed as an older character, rather than an 18 year old like the real Sal. Cazale brings a sense of warmth to the character and the audience genuinely empathise with him.

Best Moment

Sonny asks what country Sal wants to visit, to which he replies Wyoming.
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People who added this item 465 Average listal rating (295 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Harvey (1950)
Elwood P. Dowd portrayed by James Stewart



An eccentric man, Elwood P. Dowd is quite possibly insane, allowing for some very funny, very strange scenes. This film, channelled through Dowd, pulls the audience into questioning their own belief in what is real and is far more philosophical than it would first appear. Also, my full praise to Stewart, who handles a very diffiuclt role; acting out one half of a conversation with an imaginary entity is hard to make so convincing but Stewart pulls it off flawlessly.

Best Moment

Dowd tells the story of how he met Harvey
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People who added this item 862 Average listal rating (512 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Dracula (1931)
Renfield portrayed by Dwight Frye

Renfield, the best character of the novel, is also the best character of this classic (although largely inaccurate) adaption. His lunitic laugh and mannerisms creates a darkly comic air around him, adding some comic, camp relief to the brilliant Universal masterpiece.



Best Moment

Whenever he does his sinister laugh
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People who added this item 508 Average listal rating (281 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
Get Carter (1971)
Jack Carter portrayed by Michael Caine



One of the best Brit characters of all time, Jack Carter is a truly iconic, truly brilliant character. Like an unstoppable force, Carter avenges his dead brother. He has a Shotgun but he much prefers to beat people to death with it. A gritty character in a gritty film, it is the perfect anthesis to swinging 60's England.

Best Moment

Standing naked with a Shotgun on the street
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People who added this item 1181 Average listal rating (665 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Stanley Kowalski portrayed by Marlon Brando



A brutal beast, Kowalski is a vile human being. However, at times you can't help but agree with his morals, although this is always contradicted by his methods of enforcing them.

Best Moment

Stellaaa!
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People who added this item 457 Average listal rating (265 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Robert Dupea portrayed by Jack Nicholson



A flawed man and ultimately human. Bob Rafelson in no way attemps to gloss over Dupea and what we see is what we get. Not even Nicholson's star status could get in the way of the character, since at that point he was still waiting for his major breakthrough.

Best Moment

Talking to his father who has suffered a stroke
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People who added this item 2064 Average listal rating (1304 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Fly (1986)
Seth Brundle portrayed by Jeff Goldblum



The tranformation of Seth Brundle is fascinating to watch in itself but this is further capitalised by the fact he is actually likeable. With his tics and fast talking manner he is an interesting person, well, before he becomes a hideous creature, then he is an interesting Fly...

Best Moment

Putting more and more sugar into his tea whilst maintaining a conversation as if nothing is happening.
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People who added this item 3489 Average listal rating (2145 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
Rain Man (1988)
Raymond Babbitt portrayed by Dustin Hoffman



Hoffman has played a lot of great characters and Raymond Babbitt is easily the best. In a heartwarming story, his brother Charlie learns to love the brother he barely knew and begins to understand Raymond's autism first hand. With several interesting scenarios and some fantastic dialogue, Babbitt is bealievable and, most importantly, likeable.

Best Moment

Counting the toothpicks
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People who added this item 2720 Average listal rating (1551 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8
Magnolia (1999)
Officer Jim Kurring portrayed by John C. Reilly



Jim Kurring is a lonely police officer and most definitelty the most likeable character of the film and one whom you can empathise with the most. In a 3 hour film full of richly illistrated characters, Kurring is ulitmately the most realistic.

Best Moment

Talking to a streetwise young boy
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People who added this item 4450 Average listal rating (3017 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.5
Alien (1979)
Ellen Ripley portrayed by Sigourney Weaver



The quintessential feminist icon of cinema, Ellen Ripley outshines the men in both Alien and Aliens, representing true female strength and will power. Ripley is not just an excellent character, but an important one in the world of cinema

Best Moment

Get away from her, you bitch!
in
Aliens
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People who added this item 1694 Average listal rating (896 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Eraserhead (1977)
Henry Spencer portrayed by Jack Nance



The ultimate surrealistic character. Immeadiately recognised as an offbeat character by his wild hair and puzzled expressions, he is famous for his look but memorable for his importance in the grand scheme of things within the film. He effectively the eyes of the film, appearing in almost every scene and as a result, what he goes through, we go through.

Best Moment

His expression in the scene used for the poster
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Ron Burgandy portrayed by Will Ferrell



One of the funniest and most exaggerated characters of all time, the hyperbolism of Ron Burgandy's character makes for golden comedy. In a film like this, over-acting doesn't exist, since it is only there to accentuate the true slapstick gravitas of the characters.

Best Moment

The 'Glass Case of Emotion' scene
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People who added this item 8337 Average listal rating (5265 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9
Edward Scissorhands portrayed by Johnny Depp



Burton's Neo-Frankenstein is by far the best of his many creations. The sensitive and soft spoken Edward gains our sympathy right from the start and we watch and love his character through the entire film, always caring about what happens to him.

Best Moment

Accidentally popping the waterbed with his blades
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People who added this item 1794 Average listal rating (1062 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.3
Cosmo Brown portrayed by Donald O' Connor



His rubber faced expressions and witty one liners, as well as masterful song and dance routines (Make 'em Laugh is a musical masterpiece in itself) make Cosmo one of the finest characters to emerge from the Golden Age of Hollywood escapism.

Best Moment

Make 'em Laugh
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People who added this item 1095 Average listal rating (724 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
Child's Play (1988)
Chucky voiced by Brad Dourif



Who knew dolls could be so sinister? Chucky was a creepy character before he became the devilishly funny villain of the Spin-off sequels Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky and is a true pseudo-slasher icon. His transformation over the years is fascinating and is a great character in both his grotesquely evil and grotesquely funny incarnations.

Best Moment

Suffocating a man from behind in the backseat of a car
in
Child's Play 2
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People who added this item 232 Average listal rating (136 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
High Sierra (1941)
Roy Earle portrayed by Humphrey Bogart



The antithesis to the immoral Gangsters seen in Crime films of the day such as Little Caesar, Scarface and The Public Enemy, Roy Earle is a moral and sophisticated man with a notable conscience and a big heart. After a few misteps, we see him rapidily become a villain in the eyes of the public, against his will. A gangster we care for, he unfortunately still succumbs to the old Hollywood procedure of killing the wrong-doer in Gangster films. However, in this it has an even greater effect due to his prior character development.
The character that catapulted Bogart to stardom, it would be his last film where he was only the second billed on the poster.

Best Moment

Pointing out star signs to Velma
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People who added this item 1456 Average listal rating (902 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
Dirty Harry (1971)
Dirty Harry Callahan portrayed by Clint Eastwood



The eponymous character is one of ice cool charm and unflinching badassery. His name isn't Dirty Harry for no reason; his unconventional ways of tracking criminal Scorpio is inevitably violent and all the more entertaining and gripping.

Best Moment

Jumping onto the top of the bus from a bridge
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People who added this item 2451 Average listal rating (1478 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Frank N. Furter portrayed by Tim Curry



This surreal cult classic, boasts an amazing character in the form of Frank N. Furter. The transvestite scientist with a great singing voice, he is an iconic piece of fantastic characterisation. There is more to him that meets the eye and the ambiguity surrounding him certainly heightens the enjoyment of this masterpiece.

Best Moment

His extravagent song and dance number, Sweet Transvestite, that he introduces himself with.
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Note:

Please don't recommend other characters to put on here. The reason being, I probably haven't seen those films, or I just felt there were more worthy characters to put on the list instead. Feel free to comment on who you agree and disagree with but when I watch more and more films as the months go by, I may update it myself. I don't intend this to be a rude note. I'm just stating that you will be wasting your time telling me characters to put on the list, since for now, my mind is made up :)

Also, don't worry about spoilers. Any spoilers have been blacked out. However, if you do not wish to know anything about the films you have not yet seen, I advise you not to read my notes. Not that I give anything away, I just mention certain aspects of the plot and character.

Regarding characters who appear in more than one film, such as sequels. Most of the time, I have chosen the first film of a series as a representative. Pictures and Best Moments may be taken from other films in the series.

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Comments

Posted: 6 years, 9 months ago at Nov 19 13:05
Would never expected to see Officer Jim on here. But that makes me like it! Good list all around!
Posted: 6 years, 9 months ago at Nov 19 13:24
Good list. The ones I've seen, I agree with.

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