It is not surprising that the latest trend is rebooting movies or making sequels to those extremely successful ones with strong cult followings. One can argue that there is nothing new under the sun; as such you don’t expect to always have a totally new story every time.
Some movies or shows have become immensely popular that the main characters are almost always remembered by that singular film. Over the years, there have been plenty of personalities emerging from movies or series. Nowadays, viewers still regard these personalities by the the most famous character they played.
Below, I have compiled a list of my top 7 most notoriously iconic characters, counted down chronologically:
Personally, watching Christian Bale play another character doesn’t give me as much joy as watching him play the hugely intelligent Batman by night and billionaire Bruce Wayne by day (step aside, Arrow). This comic hero is higher up this list because the role has been played by different actors since it was created in 1939. Also known as “the Caped Crusader” or “the Dark Knight”, Batman is the secret identity of Bruce Wayne. The most popular portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne is that by Christian Bale starting 2005 in Batman Begins. Bale’s role shot to more prominence in The Dark Knight as the villain in that movie was The Joker, played by Heath Ledger who died six months before its release. The movie is widely regarded by critics as one of the best superhero films ever made.
6. Lara Croft
Even though most strong recurring protagonists are males, Angelina Jolie shows she has a badass side to her beautiful face. The character of Lara Croft was initially in the limelight from the 1996 action/adventure game Tomb Raider. However, the 2002 movie adaptation, in which Angelina Jolie played the athletic Lara Croft shot the character to worldwide prominence. Famed with the classic pose in which she wears a sleeveless tank top on brown shorts while holding two pistols, Lara Croft has gone on to become one of the most revered TV characters of all time. The movie is currently the highest grossing video game to film adaptation worldwide (adjusted for inflation) and Lara Croft was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Most Successful Human Virtual Game Heroine’ in 2006.
5. James Bond
Arguably the most famous character, the 1953-created James Bond (code name 007) should be lower down this list. However, because the character has also been portrayed by more than one actor due to it’s frequent reboots, it is fair to place him here. Whoever plays Bond however has the characteristic traits of being witty, clever and technologically inclined. Bond is also famous for his line ‘the name is Bond….James Bond’ as well as his unwavering skills in getting hot damsels in bed outside while executing MI-6 missions. The spy is never shy of his high-tech gadgets and is always lucky to drive some of the best cars. Try watching Piers Brosnan in a movie as subtle as Mamma Mia! It was kind of weird because he perfectly played the Bond role from 1995 to 2002 most especially in Die Another Day.
4. Jack Sparrow
Forget Captain America or Captain Fantastic! We all love Captain Jack Sparrow! Johnny Depp gets all the plaudits for this one. From his unique looks to his annoying personality and further down to his bad personal hygiene and constantly failing trickery, this Pirates of the Caribbean character is one of the most famous ever! Basing his characterization on The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and cartoon character Pepé Le Pew, Johnny Depp went on to feature in the video game Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow. Spanning from 2003 to 2011, the film series brought us closer to the wonder that is Jack Sparrow and helped Johnny Depp become the highest paid actor in 2012, as stated by Guinness Book of World Records.
3. Mr Bean
You didn’t think he wouldn’t be here, did you? Rowan Atkinson’s character was literally a child in a grown man’s body. Suffice to say that he created the character himself. During its five year run, we were all in awe at the way Rowan made normal everyday activities so funny. Almost always sporting his trademark tweed jacket and skinny red tie, this hilarious buffoon entertained almost all ages of audiences worldwide. He needed not say a thing. Mr Bean vastly influenced Rowan Atkinson: for example, in movies such as Love Actually and Johnny English Reborn, he still depicted his comedic physical and visual style.
2. Jack Bauer
Jack is a real giant slayer! In the series 24, he slew almost all kinds of modern day giants! There’s no one on earth that would have played the character better than Keifer Sutherland. From 2001 to 2010, we were graced by Bauer. Working in the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) Jack displayed exceptional courage when needed. Keifer Sutherland couldn’t have been any better! His physique, voice and tone were perfect. As Jack Bauer, he speaks German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Serbian with varying degrees. He flies planes and helicopters and is a no-nonsense go-to guy. He is very conversant with almost all kinds of weapons and explosives and is mostly always in top mental and physical form. His street-fighting skill is exceptional for someone who spent 15 years in the U.S Army. For his role as Jack Bauer, Sutherland was listed by Sky 1 as number one on their list of “TV’s Toughest Men”.
1. Harry Potter
A hugely successful book was followed by a hugely successful film adaptation. This is one movie with a strong cult following. When a movie spans 10 years and becomes the highest grossing film series of all-time in inflation unadjusted dollars, one would expect its main characters (titular protagonist in this case) to be revered.
Daniel Radcliffe first portrayed Harry Potter at age 11 and since then, the only place forward for him was onwards. A somewhat timid character, propelled by his own conscience, Potter was on a mission of self-discovery. He had to defeat the most evil and fearsome wizard known to mankind (and wizardkind). He is a gentle and humble lad, but often impulsive. Harry conjured a patrons at a tender age, could speak parseltongue, and was most particularly talented. During the period he played Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe was not involved in other movies. He was hugely popular and even with the end of the film series, Radcliffe remains a hero.
Do you think there are others I might have missed out? Feel free to add in the comments section. Constructive criticisms allowed also. If you enjoyed this post, please share. Thanks for reading.