Top 20 Movie Anti-Heroes

They are the guys we hate to love – the anti-heroes.

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.

19. Hellboy
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.

15. Withnail
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.

12. Richard
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.

11. D-Fens
Film: Falling Down (1993)

We’ve all felt like doing what he does, but never had the balls to do it.

10. Leon
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.

9. Alex
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.

8. Alfie
Alfie (1966)

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.


  1. DravenX23 says

    No Ash? Seriously? Got his ass kicked by Shelves in the 1st Evil Dead. Got his ass kicked by his own hand in ED2. In Army of Darkness he treats everyone like shit until he has to be the hero.

  2. CapnCaveman says

    You forgot about Christian “Batman” Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. I never thought I’d actually cheer upon seeing a chainsaw dropped on top of a hooker until I saw this movie.

    Oh, and I have to second DravenX23’s motion for Ash to be added. He’s the ultimate antihero. Should be #1 on the list. Now, gimme some sugar, baby! Groovy!

  3. sybren says

    The dude, jeff lebowski, seems to be missing somewhere in the top 5. American psycho is a good call as well

  4. Alex says

    No Bob Ewell from To Kill A Mockingbird? but you people have Homer Simpson and Eric Cartman? This list is crap.

  5. Kevin says

    and nobody gives credit for Joker…seriously…Joker is better than all 20 of them combined…except for maybe Homer Simpson.

  6. Rudeboy says

    *Homer and Cartman don’t belong
    *The international title of the Professional IS Leon
    *Put Mad Max on the list…you mentioned him above
    *Ash is an unlikely hero but no Anti-hero
    *The Joker is a villan, flat out
    *Fight Club…yes
    *Sin City is full of Antiheros by design, in fact, you have to stress to find a genuine hero
    *The Dude is an unlikely hero as well
    Peter Gibbons, Office Space, really? weak example
    *Han Solo is a sleezy Hero but no anti
    *ICHI THE KILLER…now thats an Antihero

  7. 00TheFly00 says

    How, ’bout The Bride of Kill Bill or The Reservoir Dogs? and I agree with Rudeboy, Homer & Cartman DEFINATELY do NOT deserve a spot up there, seriously. And Office Space? Dude. Sin City deserves their spots, and American Psycho, and Fight Club… c’mon man. Also, we definately need to see Kowalski of Vanishing Point. Sweeney Todd, V of V for Vendetta?

  8. Sven says

    I thought Peter Gibbons was hypnotized, which kinda negates all of his life decisions after that point.

  9. Erin says

    Actually, the original French title of the film is “Leon”. The American title and new, lesser edit of the film is “The Professional”

  10. Joan says

    Well Solomon Kane and Hellsing from each its movie with the same name would both fit nicely in this list too 😀

  11. Steve says

    The Joker. An anti hero? This is the second list I have seen with people whining about how the joker should be up there. Thank you rudeboy. People, the joker is a VILLAIN. Look for him on those lists.

  12. Insert Name Here says

    I would not call Homer and Cartman Anti-heros. I guess the word Anti-hero can be interpreted differently so your not necessarily wrong but in its original sense it relates mostly to characters that are so incredibly flawed that they would be considered bad in tradition but do something heroic. By this sense movies like Clockwork Orange and Scarface are not true Anti-heros but I am aware the word like many words changes meaning over time. The true sense of Anti-heros are characters more like Vegeta off Dragon Ball Z, Spike off Buffy, Catwoman in the Batman comics . Normally any villain who helps the main character defeat a greater villain would be considered an Anti-Hero as in the sense of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Generally a true Anti-hero is not the main character of a show (I know there are exceptions like Dexter Morgan, Gregory House and Sherlock Holmes) but the “top” ones certainly wouldn’t be.

  13. shwabster says

    these arent antiheroes, these are just cool characters. the listed characters have nothing in common. antihero must be pursuing motives he considers noble. so homer, gekko, alfie, alex, d-fens, jules and gibbons aren’t antiheroes.

  14. Hannah says

    Nice list, BUT

    What about Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill? Or even Bill in Kill Bill?
    Hmm, Hannibal Lecter, would he count?
    The group of Ingloriouse Basterds?
    Oh Dae-su in Old Boy?

  15. Hey I'm a Guest says

    Pretty good list – especially “Leon”. Amazing film all around.
    My personal fav’s Rorschach from “Watchmen”