Movies and TV shows need a lot working for them in order to become something to remember. A good story, funny moments, shocking scenes and plot twists are just some of the different ingredients that help us remember a certain movie, TV show (or even just one specific TV show episode). Very often, though, the characters can make or break a movie or TV show. From Robert De Niro’s portrayal of the young Don Vito Corleone in ‘The Godfather Part II’, through George Wendt’s Norm in ‘Cheers’ and all the way to Colin Firth’s Oscar winning role in ‘The King’s Speech’, characters have made us laugh and cry. They’ve made us mad with anger and bursting with joy.
Characters can be intriguing in many ways; their complexity, their mannerism, simplicity, actions, figure of speech, dialogue etc. Very often the “bad guys” have taken the limelight, understandably so considering they are often equipped with both a complexity challenging the viewer’s own morality as well as dark humour, witty dialogue and other intriguing qualities.
We all have our favorites, and I have many. Here are some of mine (with emphasis on some), and feel free to hit me up with yours!
Vito Corleone in ‘The Godfather Part II’ – played by Robert De Niro
Portraying the young Vito Corleone after Marlon Brando had immortalized the role in ‘The Godfather’ was always going to be a difficult task. Robert De Niro nailed it. Vito Corleone was one of those quiet gangsters, whom did everything for his family, never lost it and always seemed to have the answer. His revenge in Italy on the mafioso who killed his father and brother is an amazing scene.
Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting in ‘Gangs of New York – played by Daniel Day-Lewis
Never before has anyone sounded as cool as he did saying “Whoopsy-daisy”. The character is well-written, well-acted… it’s amazing to see The Butcher’s different moods, especially in the scene where he’s talking to Amsterdam (DiCaprio) wrapped in an American flag.
Amélie in ‘Amélie’ – played by Audrey Tautou
With a huge heart and endless charm, Amélie charmed us all when she appeared on the screen in 2001. The scene where she guides the blind man is as beautiful as a film scene can be. Audrey Tautou’s Amélie is a beautiful character, and one that can never be revisited often enough. If there only were more people with the sense of selflessness as Amélie…
Alfredo in ‘Cinema Paradiso’ – played by Philippe Noiret
Who wouldn’t like to have this guy as an extra grandfather? A friend of mine suggested I dressed up as Alfredo for Halloween.. maybe one day I will.
Lars in ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ – played by Ryan Gosling
Socially inept, this character is both tragic and hilarious. The comic aspect of his character is very well written, though, which makes this movie a very touching depiction of the life of a person deeply challenged on how to interact with the outside world. The “flower-throwing”-scene is one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen, with just about all the elements of it’s comedy spot on.
Omar Little in ‘The Wire’ – played by Michael K. Williams
One of the best characters in a TV show, Omar Little was the homosexual gangster strolling around the hood armed with a shotgun and a love for whistling. How’s that for a twist on the stereotypical tv-gangster?
Josh Lyman in ‘The West Wing’ – played by Bradley Whitford
Together with other amazing characters from the show (Toby Ziegler, Leo McGarry and C.J. Cregg), Josh Lyman made this TV show one of the best to hit the screens ever. I’ve never been a fan of quick dialogue, but these characters made it work.
Javier Rodriguez in ‘Traffic’ – played by Benicio Del Toro
Breakthrough performance for Benicio Del Toro. Javier is one of the most likable characters in this movie, add to that the amusing scene in the pool. Don Cheadle’s character is also a great one in ‘Traffic’.
Mario Ruoppolo in ‘Il Postino’ – played by Massimo Troisi
This rather slow character is introduced to us through a conversation with his father where he takes the term “beat around the bush” to a new level. The simplicity of his mind is both funny and beautiful. Troisi died just after finishing the movie, having gone against the doctor’s advice on not shooting the film.
Sydney Fife in ‘I Love You, Man’ – played by Jason Segel
The axe-man to Peter Klaven’s bass-slapper in the movie that defined bromance. Sydney’s lines, appearance and behaviour is all great fun, although one might not want the dude to spring a surprise speech at your Wedding…
Chuck in ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ – played by Paul Rudd
Although a very small role, this character is funny in all off his scenes as the surf instructor with a “slight” drug-problem. “You sound like you’re from LAN-DAAAN!”
As mentioned, these are just a few of my favorites, and there are plenty of others I could have included, such as a few characters from TV shows like The Shield, Sopranos, Band of Brothers, Mad Men, Six Feet Under as well as from the movies…
How about you? Agree/disagree? Any favorites of your own?