Amoral, ruthless, unorthodox and sometimes downright nasty they may be, but without them, going to the movie theatre would certainly be a lot duller.
But just why do we love them so much? Would we really want them in our circle of friends? Don’t get us wrong, we love Taxi Driver, but Travis Bickle would hardly be our first choice to go to the pub with.
Likewise, Snake Plisken, Mad Max and Dirty Harry would certainly be worth having around if things turned ugly, but would you really want to introduce your girlfriend to Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange or Alfie?
So what do they have which we like so much? Is it because we actually quite admire them? Not that there is much to admire. Looking down this list is like getting a textbook on psychological problems and looking down its contents. But there is one thing which all of them possess which we do all kind of admire – they really could not give a fuck what people think of them.
Harsh, yes, but certainly true. Anyway, enough rambling and on with the list.
20. Jules Winnfield
Film: Pulp Fiction (1994)
Has a hitman ever been so cool? Only Samuel L Jackson could have pulled off that haircut.
Film: Hellboy (2004)
Ron Perlman spews out more one-liners than Arnie’s machine gun. Makes you almost forget about the fact he looks ridiculous. Well, almost.
18. Snake Plissken (1981)
Film: Escape From New York
Kurt Russell used to be cool, believe it or not.
16. Tony Montana
Film: Scarface (1983)
We like to think there is a Tony Montana in all of us, just waiting to get out.
Film: Withnail and I
Withnail is a pompous, alcoholic coward. We still love them though.
14. Peter Gibbons
Film: Office Space (1999)
He not only decides to only turn up for work when he feels like it but also start pinching money from his company. Now most of us would get fired for that, but he gets away with it and even ends up with Jennifer Aniston. Got to give him respect for that.
13. Jack Carter
Film: Get Carter (1971)
Not really the kind of person you want to meet down a dark alley.
Film: Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)
We can all relate to someone standing up against the local bullies. But why does Paddy Considine always play nutters? He does it well though. If you have never seen this film, get it out now.
Film: Falling Down (1993)
We’ve all felt like doing what he does, but never had the balls to do it.
Film: Leon (1994)
Why do we like this guy so much again? Oh, of course, it’s because he has a heart of gold really.
Film: A Clockwork Orange (1971)
OK, so he’s a rapist and a murdering bastard. Not exactly a poster boy, yet his face is plastered all over students dorm rooms.
Forget the Jude Law pile-of-turd remake, Michael Caine shines as the East End wide boy with the morals of an alley cat.
7. Gordon Gekko
Film: Wall Street (1987)
Wait a minute. Greed is good!? Brilliant.
6. Harry Callaghan
Dirty Harry (1971)
Let’s face it! If cops like this really existed we would have lot less crime – and a lot less criminals!
5. Sam Spade
The Maltese Falcon (1930)
Humphrey Bogart‘s hard-boiled private detective really set the standard from which all anti-heroes are judged.
4. The Man With No Name
Films: The Dollars Trilogy
Not exactly blessed with a dazzling personality, but we still love him. Clint Eastwood seems to excel in these roles.
3. Eric Cartman
Film: South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
Along with Homer Simpson, he would have finished higher but for the fact both of them are essentially TV characters which have appeared in one film each. In our humble opinion, the funniest characters on TV ever.
2. Homer Simpson
Film: The Simpsons (2007)
Read above. Possibly, the greatest anti-hero of all time.
1. Travis Bickle
Taxi Driver (1976)
Go and get a dictionary and under the word ‘anti-hero’, and it should say Travis Bickle. What do mean it doesn’t? Rubbish dictionaries.