100 Greatest Movie Characters
of All Time
Premiere Magazine
by Premiere Magazine
(reverse ranking)

Part 2

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

100 Greatest Movie Characters of All-Time
Character Name Played By Film Title Defining Moment
Dr. Strangelove Peter Sellers Dr. Strangelove Or: ... (1964) Dr. Strangelove's final proposal in the War Room, while preventing his gloved hand from self-strangulation.
Tony Montana Al Pacino Scarface (1983) Tony's taunt to those about to slice open his friend Chi Chi's (Angel Salazar) head with a chain saw.
Norma Rae Sally Field Norma Rae (1979) Norma's defiant stand on a factory table, while brandishing a sign that reads, "Union."
Lloyd Dobler John Cusack Say Anything... (1989) Lloyd's statement: "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed..."
Rev. Harry Powell Robert Mitchum The Night of the Hunter (1955) Rev. Powell's explanation of the "Love" and "Hate" tattoos on the fingers of his right hand and left hand.
Judy Benjamin Goldie Hawn Private Benjamin (1980) Judy's departure from the Army, something that causes the sergeant to be overjoyed and promote the signing of the release document.
Terry Malloy Marlon Brando On the Waterfront (1954) Terry's taxi-cab speech to his brother Charley (Rod Steiger) about his betrayal: "I coulda been a contender..."
Alex DeLarge Malcolm McDowell A Clockwork Orange (1971) Alex's version of 'Singin' in the Rain' while attacking a couple in their home with his band of droogs.
Inspector Jacques Clouseau Peter Sellers The Pink Panther (1964) and four later movies Clouseau's clumsy destruction of a 'priceless Steinway' after getting his hand stuck in a chain mail glove connected to a spiked flail.
Navin Johnson, aka "The Jerk" Steve Martin The Jerk (1979) The Jerk's inexplicable targeting by a sniper at a gas station.
Edward Scissorhands Johnny Depp Edward Scissorhands (1990) Edward's bittersweet reply - "I can't" - to the girl (Winona Ryder) he loves when she whispers to him, "Hold me."
Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone Rocky (1976) and all its sequels Rocky's early morning run through the city's streets, and triumphant race up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art - with victorious fist high in the air.
Carrie White Sissy Spacek Carrie (1976) Carrie's humiliating experience in the girls' locker room in the opening scene, and the shattering of her first light bulb.
John Shaft Richard Roundtree Shaft (1971) Shaft's emergence from a 42nd Street subway station and invulnerable stroll into oncoming traffic.
J. J. Hunsecker Burt Lancaster Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Hunsecker's evisceration of Falco (Tony Curtis), a senator, his bimbo consort, and her manager at a table in a NY nightspot.
George Bailey James Stewart It's A Wonderful Life (1946) George and Mary's (Donna Reed) first dance - in which they step into a swimming pool.
Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore Robert Duvall Apocalypse Now (1979) Kilgore's pause during the war for a soliloquy: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning..."
Phyllis Dietrichson Barbara Stanwyck Double Indemnity (1944) Phyllis' palpable fear - and regret - after her stooge insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) killed her husband, and suspicions were aroused.
Tom Powers James Cagney The Public Enemy (1931) Tom's self-aware statement as he is shot in the rain: "I ain't so tough."
Alan Swann Peter O'Toole My Favorite Year (1982) Alan's triumphant horseback ride through Central Park.
The Dude (Jeff Lebowski) Jeff Bridges The Big Lebowski (1998) The Dude's post-coital chat with Maude (Julianne Moore) about his student radical days.
Frank Booth Dennis Hopper Blue Velvet (1986) Frank's breathing of gas through a plastic mask while engaging in foreplay with Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini).
Ninotchka Greta Garbo Ninotchka (1939) Ninotchka's long-suppressed laugh, after Leon (Melvyn Douglas) accidentally falls off his chair in a Paris bistro.
Howard Beale Peter Finch Network (1976) Howard's "I'm mad as hell" speech, and his silence during the delivery of a sermon on corporate America by the network president Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty).
Freddy Krueger Robert Englund A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and too many later films Freddy's sadistic pinning of a victim to the ceiling with his claw before slashing him.

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