10. Preacher Harry Powell played by Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter. I first watched this as a youngster on a little black and white tv. The story pulled me in and Mitchum’s evil preacher had me loving every scary minute of it.
09. Sam Spade played by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. Was Bogie ever cooler than when he went head to head with Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon?
08. Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. If Bogie ever played a cooler character than Sam Spade, it had to be when he played Rick Blaine and found himself once again knocking heads with Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, but this time joined by a town overrun with Nazis!
07. Phyllis Dietrichson played by Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. The only woman to make the list and I’m as surprised by that as I was when I first watched Ms. Stanwyck seduce Fred MacMurray and manipulate him into killing her husband. I knew Ms. Stanwyck as the older matriarch on The Big Valley and Mr. MacMurray was the older father on My Three Sons. To think that they had once been so young and so good in their respective roles!
06. Don Corleone played by Marlon Brandon in The Godfather. To think that the studio made Brando audition and still almost passed. Thanks to Francis Ford Coppola for his vision and Brando for his skills since we were given one of the best movie characters ever.
05. Forrest Gump played by Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. The new [at the time] technology coupled with Hanks’ portrayal made for an unforgettable character.
04. Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the sequels. Ford was perfect as the swashbuckling adventurer.
03. Hannibal Lecter played by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. Hopkins wasn’t the first to play Hannibal the Cannibal, [that distinction goes to Brian Cox who played him five years earlier in Michael Mann’s Manhunter], but he more than made the role his own. My guess is that after seeing Hopkins’ riff as Hannibal, census takers all over the country dreaded home visits.
02. Harry Callahan played by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry and the sequels. It’s hard to remember that when Dirty Harry premiered in 1971, there weren’t any other cops like him. Eastwood’s iconic performance created a new genre of cop movie… but none were better than Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.
01. Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky and the sequels. Was there any doubt who my number choice would be?
The Fandomania list was a solid one, but I had to wonder about these characters that didn’t make the cut:
- Lee played by Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon
- Snake Plissken played by Kurt Russell in Escape from New York and the sequels
- Ethan Edwards played by John Wayne in The Searchers
- Connor McLeod played by Christopher Lambert in Highlander
- Riddick played played by Vin Diesel in Pitch Black
- Lornetta “Mace” Mason played by Angela Bassett in Strange Days
- Samantha Caine played by Gina Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight
Okay… I’m going to stop before I end up with a list of 100… but, just one more before I go…
- Jack Carter played by Sylvester Stallone in Get Carter. Yeah, I know, but the character really struck a chord for me. And it is my list. ; )