There are some movie characters so well written that they never fade from a cinephile’s memory. Here are our favorites of all time!
The Coolest Movie Characters in the History of Film
Sometimes, a writer creates a character so memorable that they stay with us long after the film they were in had debuted and been welcomed into the hallowed halls of vintage cinema. There are some characters that we remember from when we were so young that our memories were only just beginning to form; for me, it was Falkor from The Neverending Story. These characters that we love can be so important that they form part of our identity or alter the way that we see or perceive things on a permanent basis. From dramatic moments in casino movies, to thrilling chases, to heart warming romances…these scenes and moments would be nothing without the characters that bring them to life.
Join us as we go through our list of some of the best characters ever created. From villains to heroes, from characters first written in books to cartoon animals and fairytale creatures, these are the characters that helped steer and fuel our love of film.
Holly Golightly – Breakfast At Tiffany’s
At first glance, Holly is your typical, big-city socialite. She dresses exquisitely, sleeps half the day and is always arriving home at odd hours, throws lavish parties, and never misses a beat. Holly is an incredibly well-written character (by Truman Capote) to begin with, but there is no other actress who could have brought her to life the way that Audrey Hepburn did. Holly unfolds gradually as the film progresses, shedding layer after layer of her surface appearances and revealing a tender, wounded heart underneath. She’s inspired generations of women and will never, ever be forgotten. Though many female characters have been based on her, she will never be replicated.
Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction
Though you might not immediately recognize the name, there’s no way that anyone who has ever watched Pulp Fiction would forget Samuel L. Jackson’s profanity-spewing, quick- recovering, hand-cannon-wielding character. Tarantino is an incredible writer who brings unique but still relatable characters to life on screen in every single one of his films. Jules Winnfield is employed by a very bad man, Marsellus Wallace, to make sure that things go as they’re supposed to. When a boxer fails to throw a fight that Wallace was gambling on, he sends Jules and his partner, Vincent Vega, to find the boxer. It’s Jules’ attitude, and then remarkably quick turnaround, that make him truly memorable as a character. A hard, streetsmart man is enticed out of his work as a hitman and into the wide world, and Jackson plays it all perfectly.
Lisbeth Salander – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth is a character with more layers than your average onion. Originally written by author Stieg Larsson, she’s punk to the core, and her incredibly difficult and often violent life has led her to trust no one but herself. She’s a hacker, employed by corporate giants and paid well. She winds up joining forces with disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist when the pair are hired by a reclusive millionaire to find out what happened to his long-missing niece. Lisbeth must learn to trust this stranger in order to save herself, and to save not only the innocent lives caught up in the case, but also her partner, when they are faced with insurmountable odds. This is no damsel in distress: Lisbeth is a hard, self-sufficient woman with a lot of wounds to heal.
The Joker – The Dark Knight
The Joker has been written and rewritten many times over, but there’s no point in even pretending that any version will beat Heath Ledger’s. No one but the dearly departed Ledger could have added the completely insane edge to the Joker that he did. The character is completely unbalanced and unpredictable; it’s hard to imagine the kind of work that would have gone into writing a character like that, nevermind bringing it to life. The combination of silence, stillness, caution, and carefully curated words is what makes The Joker what he is. The term homicidal maniac seems to have been created just for this character, don’t you think?
Han Solo – Star Wars
The c**k-sure Han Solo might not have been an instant winner for you the very first time you watched Star Wars. Sure of himself to the point of arrogance and reckless with his life and the life of others, Solo becomes beloved in the StarWars universe before long. His overly sure front fades away to be replaced by a loving, caring inner self. Solo could charm candy from a baby and sell ice to an Eskimo, that’s for sure. His place in the cast of characters can never be supplanted or replicated.
These are just a few from a very long list; there are so many cinematic characters that we love that it’s hard to count them all. Who are your favorites?