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Top 10 Iconic Film Roles

This post is based on a very cool idea which came from Anthony over at U-Town who suggested that it would be interesting to compile a list of iconic movie roles, where an actor is so connected with a character that if you think of the actor, you think of that role. He also suggested one important rule: that series such as James Bond, the Alien/s, etc., not be included (although that could certainly be a separate list for discussion). To this end, he suggested Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998), which I completely agree with and have added to my top 10 Iconic Film Roles List:

Max Schreck as Count Orlock in Nosferatu (1922)
Louise Brooks as Lulu in Pandora’s Box (1929)
Judy Garland as Dorthy in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind (1939)
Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane (1941)
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942)
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
George C. Scott as General George S. Patton in Patton (1970)
Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi (1982)
Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski (1998)

The list, is of course highly subjective and is as much a reflection of my own movie experiences, likes and dislikes. Any suggestions, agreements, disagreements?

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6 comments on “Top 10 Iconic Film Roles

  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I always think of James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat.

    • Klaus
      09/09/2011

      Cagney was great in that role and it was one I considered, but he was also pretty memorable as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and as Tom Powers in The Public Enemy (which is why I left him off). In some ways, this list could be re-named Top 10 Typecasts in Film…

  2. Anthony Lee Collins
    09/09/2011

    I had a feeling this would come up. 🙂

    I disagree about Bogart. Rick Blaine is a great role, and probably the one he’s most identified with, but I don’t think it’s an automatic link. Not when there’s also Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe (the ones I think of most automatically, and even then there are two of them). And Charlie Allnut (I know people who think of that first). And Fred C. Dobbs and Captain Queeg. (And I’m not even talking about my other favorites, Harry Morgan and Dixon Steele.)

    Bogart was on a level with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, and John Wayne, with far too many great roles to be linked to just one. IMHO.

    I agree with the rest, definitely. When I think of George C. Scott I think of Patton, and I’ve never even seen Patton (true of Kingsley and Ghandi, too). My favorite memories of Scott are from Dr. Strangelove (and Anatomy of a Murder), but Patton is Patton.

    Oh, and I think Gone With the Wind might be the only movie ever here both leading roles are iconic for the actors.

  3. Klaus
    09/09/2011

    I agree with your reasoning on Bogart and applied it to the others you mentioned, particularly Jimmy Stewart – who I wanted to include for as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. But you’re right, he had a lot of other very memorable roles.

    If i had to replace him, I would follow your lead and choose Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara.

  4. joem18b
    09/09/2011

    i might go with heston and byrnner as moses and the pharoh.

    also mary poppins.

  5. Anthony Lee Collins
    09/09/2011

    Yes to Moses and Mary, I would say.

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This entry was posted on 09/08/2011 by in Other Stuff.
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