Top Movie Heroes

1.     Indiana Jones – Raiders Of the Lost Ark

A rugged adventurer with a PhD in archaeology and a very iconic fedora hat, Indiana Jones was created by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas in homage to the strong jawed heroes from matinee serials and pulp magazines of the 1930s. Played with wry charm and rough edged charisma by Harrison Ford, he’s especially adept at dodging perilous booby traps and fist fighting Nazis. Travelling the world in search of lost treasure with beautiful women and sidekicks in tow, he effectively replaced the John Wayne Cowboy as THE definition of masculinity for a new generation of young boys.


2.     The Goonies

Indiana Jones isn’t the only Spielberg creation that can handle their bobby traps! In 80s cult classic the Goonies, he put a gang of stereotypical suburban kids on a dangerous quest for the lost treasure of unfortunately named Pirate One Eyed Willy. As they raced their way through secret tunnels, pursued by a bumbling family of crooks, we got to vicariously live out our own wildest childhood Indiana Jones fantasies. It’s simply the adventure you always wish you’d gone on.


3.     Hans Solo –vs  Luke Skywalker – Star Wars Saga

In Star Wars there was really only one ultimate hero. Luke Skywalker may have got the lightsabre and the force, but Han Solo was who you actually wanted to be. Why? He was a devil may care space mercenary with the fastest ship in the galaxy and a good blaster at his side.  He was the cynical slightly arrogant anti-hero, the type of good guy who shoots first in a bar fight and will only save the day for the right price. But from the first moment we met him we always knew that in the end, he’d always do the right thing and get the girl.
Luke may have blown up a death star but even with Jedi mind tricks the only girl he managed to kiss was his own twin sister!


4.     Sherlock Holmes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s super sleuth detective created an entire new genre of fiction. Armed with unequalled powers of deductive reasoning and accompanied by his faithful friend Dr Watson Sherlock Holmes made crime fighting look simply elementary.   Most often portrayed as refined English gent, Robert Downey Jr recently returned the character to his literary roots as a martial arts skilled, drug and danger fuelled action hero.  He has a classy nemesis in Professor Moriarty, thinks three steps ahead of any adversary and could probably thrash most of our other heroes at chess.


5.     Detective John Mclaine – Die Hard

Now for a detective of a very different kind…  Yippie Kay Yay our next hero is John McLaine from Die Hard. Always in the wrong place at the right time, usually wearing a wife beater vest and surrounded by legions of terrorist bad guys, Maclaine is a wisecracking New York cop who just doesn’t know how to die. So far he’s survived exploding skyscrapers techno-terrorists, an army of mercenaries, a one on one fight with a fighter jet, and uber villain Alan Rickman.  They’re about to make a fifth film because literally nothing can kill him.


6.     Officers Riggs and Murtaugh – Lethal Weapon

What do you get when you put a suicidal Special Forces vet and an uptight cop who’s a few days away from retirement together? You get the best action comedy buddy team of all time. You get Riggs and Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon.  Played by a manic Mel Gibson and a cantankerous Danny Glover they’re the quintessential odd couple. They’re bickering partners who squabble their way through car chases, explosions and gunfights.  They never followed orders and they always played by their own rules, bringing down drug dealing bad guys in style.

Although some people might say Riggs did most of the kung fu kicking in this team, none of it would have been half as fun without Murtaugh grumbling in the background about being too old.
Lethal Weapon spawned a regrettable wave of copycat movies about mismatched cops but nobody ever case close to these guys.


7.     Officers Jack vincense, Bud White and Lt Ed Exley – LA.  Confidential.

LA Confidential is a complicated sprawling masterpiece of police procedurals, based on a book by genre defining author James Elroy. Set in the sleazy underworld of 50s Hollywood, it has plenty of gangsters, dames and movie stars; but what’s most extraordinary about LA Confidential is that it has three very different heroes.

Officer Jack Vincennes is a cynical fame chaser on the take and looking to play the smart angles. Lt Ed Exley is a weasel looking to crawl his way up the department and play it by the book. Officer Bud White is a thug with a badge looking to punch the right guy for a change.
Career best performances from Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe respectively, bring each to life, making for a dazzling cocktail of vices and virtues. One very surprising death scene and an explosive final shoot out in an abandoned motel put these cops in a class all of their own.


8.     Philip Marlow – The Big Sleep

Humphrey Bogart brought a timeless class to hardboiled private eye Philip Marlow in the big screen version of Raymond Chandler’s noir classic The Big Sleep. He shares one of the most sizzling screen romances of all time with a lithe young Lauren Bacall and leads us stylishly through a murky tale of lust, greed, blackmail and murder.  He is the ultimate fast talking, quick witted PI. Trading wry smiles with femme females and blows with hapless stooges, he’s the kind fo hero they just don’t mae these days.
As Rick in Casablanca Bogey also made a pretty good claim for being the ultimate hero, sure he’s just a humble bar owner. But he sacrifices love for a noble cause, helps young couples and shoots Nazis.


9.     Deckard – Bladerunner

From an old school classic to the epitome of future noir. Harrison Ford is up to his hero tricks again in Bladerunner; as a world weary detective reluctantly accepting a final assignment to track down dangerous escaped androids.
What makes him such a great hero is that he’s really not sure he is one. He’s a good guy that recognises more and more that it’s all just shades of grey in the grim dystopian future he inhabits.  By the end he seems to accept there might not be much difference between himself and the people he’s ordered to hunt. Leading to one of the most endlessly debated questions amongst film fans… is he really an android too.


10.     Wolverine – X-Men

Armed with unbreakable ademantium claws, a grumpy growl and impressive sideburns, Wolverine is a fantastic near indestructible comic book hero.  His super human healing powers mean he’s the good guy that can take anything the bad guys can dish out. A big part of the ideal of being a hero means being able to suffer before ultimately saving the day.

Wolverine might get beaten, stabbed or shot in the head, but in the end he’s always going to win. That’s why we love him so much. Well that and the fact he’s a cigar chomping lone wolf with attitude and real claws.


11.     Spiderman

Soon to be reborn in a big screen reboot Spiderman is a brilliant hero essentially because in addition to be a wall crawling costume clad vigilante, he’s also just a normal teenager.  When he’s not saving the world he’s dealing with a belligerent boss, homework and a crush on the pretty girl next door.  Combining teenage sarcasm, with a spandex red and blue suit and spider like superpowers the result is a surprisingly likeably hero.
Spidey’s finest moment was undoubtedly the train battle with Doc Ock in Spiderman 2, his lowest point… briefly turning EMO in Spiderman 3

12. Batman – The Dark Knight
Bruce Wayne is a billionaire playboy traumatised by the murder of his family and compelled to become the masked dark knight of justice in the crime ridden Gotham city. He’s got a bat cave full of fancy gadgets, a car that’s more than half way to being a tank and Sir Michael Caine is his snooty English Butler. Simply put he’s living the dream. He bravely squares up to crime lords and clown faced lunatics; confident in his long black cape and a very growly voice.  Tormented by his past and violently dedicated to pummelling the face of evil with his bare fists, he’s especially


13.     Iron Man

Tony Stark is another billionaire playboy conveniently turned superhero. Captured by terrorists who want him to build them a weapon of mass destruction, instead he makes a robotic suite of armour and promptly uses it to escape.  He then decides to make an even better suite that can fly and shoot lasers and uses it to take on bad guys around the globe.  The best thing about Iron Man is that unlike all the other guilt ridden superheroes out there he’s the one guy who becomes a superhero just because he knows it’s cool and fun to save the world.
Robert Downey Jr perfectly captured that cocky wisecracking demeanour with a well-practised smirk and a full arsenal of awesome one liners.


14. Superman

The original and most literal super hero Superman is the lone survivor of the doomed planet Krypton who becomes the ultimate caped protector of Earth. Flying around with perfect hair and a square bulletproof jaw he’s unflinchingly good and always saves the day.  When he’s not rescuing people from natural disasters or battling super villains he pretends to be a mild mannered reporter Clark Kent and occasionally retreats to his fortress of solitude to listen to Marlon Brando voicemails.
If he does have one flaw though it’s that he has too few flaws. He only has one weakness, Kryptonite. This makes his battles with evil doers a bit predictable. Oh no they have some Kryptonite!… Oh good the Kryptonite’s gone… I’m utterly invincible again… time to save the day.


15. Lt. Ripley – Alien, Aliens

In Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Alien, Sigourney Weaver defeated one of the nastiest monsters in movie history and she did it in her underwear. In James Cameron’s action packed sequel that came with the emphatic tagine “This time it’s war!” she outclassed a bunch of macho space marines as she singly handily took on a whole army of the acid blooded alien nasties. Ripley’s finest moment… taking on the 25ft tall alien queen whilst wearing a giant robotic suit.
Ripley helped create a whole new genre of sci-fi built around no-nonsense female action stars. She reminded geeks everywhere that when in trouble if they’re lucky they might just get saved by a flame thrower wielding space goddess.


16. Chief Brody – Jaws

When Aliens was pitched to the studio it was sold as Jaws in space. Jaws  is THE ultimate movie monster. So the man who kills it has to be by default one of our very best heroes.
Chief Brody is the man who ultimately goes face to face with a 25ft, 3 ton Great White Shark and dispatches the cold aquatic killing machine with an explosive finale and one of the best lines in movie history.
Although apart from the literally explosive finale, Brody’s best moment has to be his memorable observation to hardened shark hunter Quint…  “Your gonna need a bigger boat!”.  It’s the line that
perfectly captures the spirit of the film about facing overwhelming adversity for which you are utterly unprepared and ultimately triumphing.


17. James Bond

Whether he’s the stylish original Sean Connery or the current muscle bound version Daniel Craig James Bond is always 007 and licensed to kill. He’s become a British institution and he’s the only secret agent who always introduces himself with his real name.  He’s that confident he’ll escape to make yet another movie that he literally announces to the bad guys that he’s a world famous British spy.
He’s got an enviable and apparently endless supply of gadgets, fast cars and even faster women.  He travels the exotic places of the world looking for evil schemes to thwart whilst wearing a tux or the occasional pair of speedos.


18. Ethan Hunt – Mission Impossible

Not to be outdone by the Bonds difficult missions, the Americans have their own secret agent who specialises exclusively in missions that are deemed impossible in Ethan Hunt. After four films they might want to re-think that statement. So far Tom Cruise and a catchy theme song have managed to cope quite well.
Finest moment – iconic scene hanging inches from ground while breaking into CIA headquarters.


19. Jason Bourne – The Bourne Identity

Rounding off our cluster of spies is amnesiac government assassin Jason Bourne. At a time when James Bond had become a silly caricature, busy driving around in invisible cars and taking fencing lessons from Madonna. Jason Bourne brought an authentic ruthlessness back to the world of professional government killers.
Finest moment – Mini car chase scene in Paris – anytime Bourne does something cool, efficient and spy like.


20. Rocky – Rocky I, II, III, IV, V

The ultimate underdog the Italian stallion Rocky took on the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed and went the distance. Rocky is a story about an ordinary guy who get a on in a million second chance to make something of his life and he takes it literally with both hands.
Inspired by the 1975 fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner. In the real fight Ali won by TKO in 15th round. But nobody expected Wepner to last so long.
Although the franchise rapidly evolved into more euphoric indestructible hero worship, the original Rocky is a powerful story about self-belief and having the guts to rise to a daunting challenge.


21. Neo – TheMatrix

He is the one. He is Neo from the Matrix. Keanu Reeves finally shed his vacant surfer boy image to become the pale faced kung fu master of the virtual world in the Wacowskis ground-breaking action blockbuster.  The first hero to literally move faster than a speeding bullet on the big screen and break the laws of physics to kick people in the face.
Finest moment – I know Kung Fu and subsequent demonstration of newly acquired skills going toe to toe with Agent Smith.


22. General Maximus Decimus Meridus – Gladiator

He’s General Maximus Decimus Meridus commander of the army of the north. Husband to a murdered wife, father to a murdered son and he will have his vengeance in this life or the next. It’s a great line and Maximus is a great hero. A mighty general who becomes a slave only to rise up again in the blood stained battleground of the coliseum, earning a final showdown with the despicable emperor and his place in the hallowed halls of movie hero history.
Finest moment – that speech!  Revenge isn’t necessarily a noble heroic emotion but it sure feels like one at times.  Righting a wrong feels very satisfying.


23. Juror no.8  – 12 angry men

Good guys don’t have to be fighters to be brave warriors. In 2 angry men, Henry Fonda is the lone sympathetic voice in a room full of jurors who want to see a young man hanged for the murder of his father. A passionate argument for reason and justice can be just as powerful to watch as someone with adeptness for beating up bad guys.


24. Edward Cullen – Twilight Saga

Not all good guys are necessarily rugged macho figures, some sparkle like diamonds and would rather stay up all night cuddling after slow dancing you at prom. Robert Pattinson’s brooding vampire pretty boy Edward Cullen is just such a hero.
Though vegetarian vampires might lose some cool points they gain the undying love of almost every teenage girl on the planet in exchange. Especially when they have gravity defying hair, the aloof manner of an adolescent Mr Darcy and above all… Robert Pattinson’s face.


25. Ferris Bueller – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Created by 80s comedy legend the late great John Hughes, Ferris was essentially the guy you wished you were at school. Played with wit and cheeky charisma by Mathew Broderick Ferris charmed and scammed his way into a sick day from school, bringing his girlfriend and best friend along for the ride.
Finest moment – His opening monologue where he breaks the 4th wall to speak directly to the audience whilst taking a shower and preparing for an elaborate day of mischief and unforgettable adventures.


26. Optimus Prime – Transformers

He’s the bravest of the Autobots and the only hero on our list who can successfully turn himself into a truck. Optimus Prime is a great hero because he is a giant fighting robot who brings the pain to the evil giant fighting robots.  He’s got flaming hot swords and a big laser cannon that can dispatch the most fearsome of Decepticon foes.  He’s also clearly a very very good guy because how else can we explain the fact that he never felt the need to turn those weapons on his annoying human compatriots to punish them for their awful wooden acting that consistently ruined his best scenes.
Trivia – An American real life army general legally changed his name to Optimus Prime. He continues to serve and is now officially General Optimus Prime.


27. The man with no name – The Spaghetti Westerns.

In a barren wild west populated by grizzly bandits, our ultimate hero is a man with no name.  Clint Eastwood is the poncho wearing gunslinger hero in Sergio Leonne’s classic spaghetti westerns.  Though not always strictly speaking heroic, by comparison with the ruthless villains he encounters he’s good. Indeed in the good the bad and the ugly he’s literally the good one.

The idea that Eastwood’s character in the three spaghetti westerns was the same man was a myth invented for the American release of the films. The ‘ man with no name’ moniker was only used to describe all three characters in the American  releases because the studio thought audiences would respond better to this after the success of A Fistful of Dollars. Though there are obvious consistencies in Eastwood’s outfits and manner the characters originally went by different names.


28. Johnny 5 – Short Circuit & Short Circuit 2

Struck by lightning government robot Johnny five came to life and picked up a fairly decent sense of humour along the way. After a brief romance with Ally Sheedy he went to New York for a sequel to foil mean spirited jewel thieves. He’s basically a real life wall-e and pretty much what the terminator would look like if he was built by Disney instead of skynet.
Finest moment – The end of Short Curcuit 2 as Mowhawk clad he speeds after bad guys to the sounds of Holding Out For a Hero.


29. Aragorn – Lord of the Rings

He’s not just a bad ass ranger with lethal fighting skills; Aragorn from Lord Of The Rings is a fallen King with an epic destiny to defeat the all-powerful dark Lord Sauron and restore his families honour.  Oh and his girlfriend is a hot elf that looks suspiciously like Liv Tyler and doesn’t age.  Throw in a good sword, a rugged beard/hair combo and you’ve got yourselves one heck of a hero.
Some people might say Frodo is the true hero of Lord of the rings but honestly he only makes it to Mordor with the help of a band of friend, an all-powerful wizard and a best mate who literally carries him part of the way.  Then when he finally gets to the end of his journey he decides not to do the one thing he’s supposed to do to save the world from the forces of evil. He’s practically a villain!


30. Harry Potter

He’s the boy that lived and went on to make the biggest blockbuster movie franchise of all time.
He’s so good at beating the all-powerful bad guy he managed to do it when he was still a baby.
He can do real magic and has the best patronis you’ve ever seen.

He was having so much fun beating Lord Voldemort he managed to get Warner Bros. to split the deathly hallows into two parts so that he could keep beating him in cinemas for another year.

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