1. Captain America
Who can resist an old-fashioned super hero with old-fashioned American values? I certainly can’t. Since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, we’ve seen this character hit the silver screen a few times, and he delivers every time.
Best Quote: The price of freedom is high, and it’s a price I’m willing to pay. If I’m the only one, so be it, but I’m willing to bet I’m not.
2. The Dude
(The Big Lebowski, 1998)
You might know him as Jeffrey Lebowski, but he’s really just “The Dude,” and all he really wanted was redress for his rug (it really tied the room together), ruined in a case of mistaken identity.
Best Quote: This aggression will not stand, man.
(Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2017)
Sure, Peter Quill (also known as the Star Lord) is the star of the film but, when Groot is in the scene, the scene is stolen. When Baby Groot is in the scene (he’s reborn as a baby in the second film), the other actors are only there for him to act with. We all know it’s the Groot show, and he is perfection.
Best Line: I am Groot.
4. Han Solo
(Star Wars 1977-2015)
A bad boy space rebel. What could be better? Harrison Ford played Han Solo for nearly 40 years, and never lost the insouciant charm that made him our favorite. I’d tell him I love him, but I think he knows.
Best Quote: You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.
5. Hannibal Lecter
(Silence of the Lambs 1991- Red Dragon 2002)
One of the absolute creepiest characters on film and an incredible portrayal by Sir Anthony Hopkins. This is the kind of character so ubiquitous, so entrenched in popular culture that everyone knows who he is, even those who haven’t seen the films. Like people who prefer to sleep at night.
Best Quote: I do wish we could chat longer,but…I’m having an old friend for dinner.
6. John McClane
(Die Hard 1988- 2013)
Is it just me or does Bruce Willis just keep getting more attractive? No, it’s not just me. From the first time he took on terrorists at the Nakatomi Plaza with a twinkle in his eye and a gun in his hand, we had a new kind of hero on our hands, and we’ve been into it through four more movies and 25 years.
7. The Joker
(The Dark Knight, 2008)
Heath Ledger made the classic comic villain dark and scary rather than ridiculous. It was disturbing to watch, and we were drawn in. I’s even been said that this movie is better if you watch with the assumption that The Joker is the hero working to save Gotham City from Batman rather than vice-versa.
Best Quote: To them, you’re just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.
8. Katniss Everdeen
(The Hunger Games 2012- 2015)
In these dystopian tales, the government is forcing teenagers to take part in horrifying games in which they fight to the death. These games go on for years until Katniss Everdeen comes along from District 12, a strong young woman who takes on the government and shows that a tyrant’s power is always tenuous.
9. Neville Longbottom
(Harry Potter movies 2001- 2011)
Yes, Harry Potter was the title character, but Neville Longbottom was the unsung hero. Harry
Neville starts out as something of a traditional foil in the early stories, but goes on to be a true hero without whom Harry would literally not survive. He parallels Harry in many ways, rather than just being a foil and, for a character who isn’t one of the central three, the stories truly do rely upon his knowledge and heroism. Plus, actor Matthew Lewis’s transition from awkward kid to, umm, decidedly un-awkward adult gave us the verb “Longbottoming.”
10. Walt Kowalski
(Gran Torino, 2008)
Walt Kowalski was a decorated war hero, but he was also just your average guy trying to live a quiet, life. More than anything, he wanted to be left alone but, when members of his community needed help, he stepped up in a big way, putting his own life on the line.
Best Quote: Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have f-ed with? That’s me.