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Who are the best film heroes?

CaptainChaos.jpgWe're going to take a little light hearted break from some of the more in depth and serious discussions we've been having and we're going to look at film heroes.

Who are the film characters that you think of as the most heroic, whether they be true heroes, anti-heroes, or just plain normal people who are inspiring?

For me there are some easy wins straight up. John Mclane, since that first Die Hard he, and the man behind him Bruce Willis, have been a straight up, real kind of guy, hero. It's something we've seen in many films since and is easy to identify with.

Batman. A personal hero for me after seeing the Tim Burton version and Michael Keaton making the hero dark and not all as heroic as you might want.

He might be Grisham to us nowadays, but when William Petersen starred in Manhunter as Will Graham he was a very heroic and wounded character, tortured by his inner feelings of what he could be should he choose the darker side of life, he purposely walked that way in order to capture serial killers.

Indiana Jones. There's no mistaking him, he's another real world hero who makes mistakes, doesn't win the battles, but always wins the war...even if it is by default or accident, and Harrison Ford played him superbly...when he was younger!

Finally, there's one more I can think of, Arnie. I would say in any guise, but for me his most heroic character is as Dutch in Predator. All he's wanting to do is complete the mission and keep his guys alive, and when all that starts to crumble, he's up for some real world revenge and vengeance. Good man.

I've chosen big, larger than life heroes there, but there are others who are more real world, heroes who do little things and you'd look up to because they are inspirational, do something you always wish you could do, and so on.

So who are your heroes in film? Who do you look up to as inspirational characters, and who are just the plain, larger than life, heroic characters?



Shah Rukh Khan!!! okay .. I'll actually read the post now that I have answered :)

Okay, now that I've had my childly outburst and read it all, I maintain SRK as a hero, but this time I'll justify it some.

In the Bollywood film industry, it's very difficult to make an entry as a Hero, as it would be in Hollywood too I'm sure. One of the reasons is that the offspring of stars of the yester-years get a chance and fill the industry.

It may actually be an idea for me to build a Bollywood family tree at some point actually, it'd quite funny to see. Literally more than 50% of the high flyers in the inustry are connected through some ancestor, yet there are exceptions.

Early 90's enters SRK, but not only does he know nobody but he makes a very unconventional entry through negative roles, anti-heroes.

It's hard to say if they were entirely intended that way but he came up with performances that really stood out, where his characters could be evil yet you'd sympathise with them, in some cases even more so than the supposed hero of the film.

This way he gained all his further roles through recognition of talent rather than genes, or even his looks. He got some hits and some flops under his belt but what carried him forward throughout was that even if the film was bad, his performances rarely were.

He became a superstar and an role-model icon for the entire nation, and that's history. A true under-dog story :) So there you have it .. (in brief)

I have a couple I really like. First off, Ripley from the "Alien" movies because she just plain kicks ass. Neo because he saves the world (6 times!) But my favourite of all, and the most uncommon of heroes, is Louis, the tragic hero of Anne Rice's novel and Neil Jordan's brilliant adaptation of "Interview with a Vampire". There's something about him that is so tragic and yet he manages to survive and thrive with the changing eras. For me, he embodies my romanticized idea of a typically literary hero: quiet, charming and resilient.

Hehe' .. so upon 2nd read after reading El Marina's comment, it's come to my attention that I should probably give an example character from a film ...

Well .. SRK played a character called Ram-Jaane in the film Ram-Jaane back in 1995 .. I'd pick that as my favourite of the lot ;)


Why is that NOT surprising?

Luke Skywalker.

Indiana Jones
Easily number one. No question here. Simply the greatest hero ever put to the screen.

Han Solo
Not to far behind Indy is the sarcastic, cocky pilot who has a kinder heart then he wants anyone to believe. It takes a lot for somebody in the Star Wars universe to be cooler than a lightsaber wielding Jedi, but he manages it, and with ease.

The Man With No Name
Do I even have the explain this one?

From the Evil Dead trilogy (and especially Army of Darkness), he's easily one of the coolest heroes in all of cinema. Hail to the king, baby!

Others that come to mind:
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Luke Jackson (Cool Hand Luke)
Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters)
Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon)
Josey Wales (The Outlaw Josey Wales)
Jefferson Smith (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)

For me the most heroic film character would definately be Spartacus.

That said I think there is a perhaps difference here between a hero and a heroic character, to pinch a couple of Jonathan's excellent choices; Indiana Jones is a definitive film hero but Atticus Finch is, for me, a more heroic character.

Indiana Jones. Without him, the world would've been shrouded in the Nazi darkness (twice). Plus he's uber-cool.

this will sound really really corny, Richard, but the first person whom popped into my head was Bill Pullman's character from Independence Day ( the President )

now, I know it wasn't 100% intentional, and I know ID4 wasn't a classic ( although one of my personal faves ), but for me, James Whitmore was very inspiring...

...here was a guy whom was more or less written off by his colleagues, hated by americans and just waiting to be voted out of office when the movie started. Then, when the chips were down, he showed what he was made of, personally, by making self sacrificing decisions at every turn, giving up more and more of himself as the movie went along.

so that says loads about me. my hero came from a cheese movie. : (

What is a hero? That would give for another post. My favourite heros all time:


Luke Skywalker

Frodo Baggins

Lee Harvey Oswald

Dirty Harry

Liberty Valance

Lord Jim

Enough for now.

Hey Mogulus,

Great point about Whitmore. I was thinking Will Smith for a while because of that film and MIB, but A) that would be 2 different characters and B) other characters in ID4 were just as responsible for saving the planet. So I think Whitmore is a great choice for all the reasons you said.

Taking a completely different angle, let's not forget Bill and Ted. We don't know it yet, but without them, the future of mankind would be unbearable. The music of Wyld Stallions will help to align the planets and bring humanity closer together than we ever thought possible.

Spiderman, Superman and Batman. I had a Spiderman blanket, Batman curtains and well, um, superman undies when i was a kid.

Those three have always done it for me. Ok so i still own a pair of superman undies, but its not the same pair, honest.

For some reason, no hero holds more appeal for me than a reluctant hero. Characters who have dedicated themselves to saving humanity or whatever make wonderful role models, but I'd rather watch people fight evil when pressed into it. Or characters like David Dunn in Unbreakable who discovers his destiny as a hero but struggles against it.

Some people strive to be heroes, whether they know it or not. Others are heroes at their core, whether they want it or not.

For that reason I picked Bruce Willis. I know he's an actor and not a character, but he plays the reluctant hero so well that I couldn't just pick one.

Ellen Ripley.


Atticus Finch indeed!


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