10 Characters I Love

The task: Make a list of 10 of your favorite film characters.As much as I tend to dislike these blog memes, I couldn’t say no to The Agitation of the Mind, Coosa Creak Cinema and Bubblegum Aesthetics so I finally took the plunge and decided to participate. Like any self-respecting film enthusiast I have hundreds of favorite film characters, but here’s a short list of 10. I decided not to comment on my selections so I’ll leave it up to my readers to figure out the why’s and what for behind each of my choices.

1. Freddie Clegg as played by Terence Stamp
The Collector (William Wyler; 1965)
"You could fall in love with me if you tried.
I’ve done everything I could to make it easy. You just won’t try!"
2. Roslyn Taber as played by Marliyn Monroe
The Misfits (John Huston; 1960)
"Maybe all there really is is just the next thing. The next thing that happens.
 Maybe you’re not supposed to remember anybody’s promises. "
3. Turner as played by Mick Jagger
Performance (Donald Cammell/Nicolas Roeg; 1970)
"The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness. "
4. Nami "Sasori" Matsushima as played by Meiko Kaji
Female Prisoner Scorpion films (Shunya Ito/Yasuharu Hasebe; 1972-73)
"To be deceived is a woman’s crime."
5. Tuco Ramirez as played by Eli Wallach
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone; 1966)
"When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk."
6. Angel Blake as played by Linda Hayden
Blood on Satan’s Claw (Piers Haggard; 1971)
"Little Mark had the Devil in him so we cut it out."
7. Marcel as played by Pierre Clementi
Belle de jour (Luis Bunuel; 1967)
 "Many girls would love to be in your place."
8. Countess Bathory as played by Delphine Seyrig
Daughters Of Darkness (Harry Kümel; 1971)
"Let the dead bury the dead."
9. Maude as played by Ruth Gordon
Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby; 1971) "It’s best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life.
Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you’re bound to live life fully."
10. Klaus Kinski as Klaus Kinski
My Best Feind (Werner Herzog; 1999)
"I am not your superstar."
As usual, I’m supposed to pass this meme along to 5 other film bloggers so My Life in Movies, Impossible Funky, Hammer and Beyond, Film Walrus and I’m in a Jess Franco State of Mind are invited to participate if they’d like to.


  1. I noted in my post that Tuco was a character I wanted to include. The fact that I wanted Sasori as well should go without saying, but is always worth saying anyway. I was just filled with choices that I couldn’t include, it seems everyone’s list has at least one.

    This is another fantastic list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the list, Neil! These meme things always seem like class assignments and I’m a terrible student. Trying to narrow a list of all my favorite characters down to only 10 is silly so I gave that up and just went with the first 5 male and first 5 female characters that came to mind. It was hard finding quotes I liked for some of them so I ended up watching lots of Youtube clips to find something I liked and that took a few days. The crazy things we do for movies!

  3. Yeah, I agree regarding the homework aspect, especially with this. Obviously, it has to be, almost by definition, a reflection of where I am right now, and reflect any number of arbitrary choices just to keep things at 10. As I said in my post, Tuco lost out in part because I couldn’t decide between he and Harmonica from Once Upon a Time in the West, and, as I said in comments, I decided one Universal Monsters character and one werewolf movie character left Larry Talbot off. All arbitrary.

    I wish I’d thought of the five male, five female thing, though. Good call!

  4. Brian – Thanks! The Collector’s my favorite William Wyler film and I hope you get the chance to see it soon. Stamp is terrific in it.

    Neil – I had to give myself some kind of silly rule or it would taken forever to narrow down a list of 10.

  5. Well, just so you know, I missed your last two posts thanks to Internet Explorer. On IE at home and work right now your blog comes up blank and loads all pics to the side. Fortunately we have macs and pcs with Safari and Firefox and it finally occurred to me maybe it was the browser and not your blog. It takes me a while but eventually it all clicks in with me.

    Another great list from this meme. I was just thinking of Marilyn Monroe the other day and wondering what characters she would have played in her forties, fifties and sixties. By the end she was finally getting roles that showed more depth and just when that happened she was gone.

    And I love Eli Wallach in pretty much anything, but perhaps especially in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

  6. It’s strange that you’re having problems seeing my blog with IE since it looks fine on IE from here, but generally speaking my blog’s been giving me some trouble lately so who knows?

    I’m glad you enjoyed the list I cobbled together, Greg! There’s a weird myth around Monroe that she was a sort of ditzy blond who only made comedies and didn’t really “act” until late in life, but besides The Misfits my other favorite Monroe roles can be found in Don’t Bother to Knock and Niagara, which were both made in the early ’50s. She really shows a lot of range in those films and gets to play disturbed and conniving characters. It’s a shame that she didn’t get more parts like that. She a great femme fatale with the right material.

    By chance did you enjoy the Wallach fest on TCM the other night? I recorded one of the films I hadn’t seen before and I’m looking forward to watching it this weekend. Wallach’s been a long time fave of mine. He is terrific in anything, but I’ve got a special place in my heart for Tuco!

  7. Fantastic list! I love Tuco, “Blondie, you son of a wah wah wah” “You’re the son of a thousand fathers, all bastards like you.”

  8. No I didn’t see the Wallach fest. I haven’t caught too much of TCM in the last couple of weeks. And I’ve seen those earlier Monroes but none of them gave her the kind of meaty role that The Misfits did, in my opinion. I think she would have gotten better and better roles as she got older because she was smart enough to go for them. Speaking of The Misfits Montgomery Clift is another sad figure too, also gone too soon.

  9. Great post, Kimberley and some brilliant choices. Linda Hayden as Angel Blake – fantastic! I watched ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ recently, having not seen it for several years, and she’s mesmerising in it – playful, seductive and scary as hell by the end of it. A damn shame that her career didn’t really seem to go anywhere afterwards.

  10. I especially like your choice of Ruth Gordon. What a great role. Did she begin that whole cycle of spry old women doing unexpected things?

    Great choice and list.

  11. Quint – Many thanks! Tuco’s unforgetable. I’ve mentioned it before here, but my favorote part of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is his stand off with his brother, the priest.

    “Sure, I’ll go. I’ll go. While I’m waiting for the Lord to remember me! I Tuco Ramirez, brother of Brother Ramirez will tell you something. You think you’re better than I am. Where we came from if one did not want to die of poverty one became a priest or a bandit. You choose your way and I chose mine. My way was harder! You talk about mother and father, You remember when you left to become a priest? I stayed behind. I must have been 10 or 12. I don’t remember which, but I stayed. I tried but I was no good. Now I will tell you something. You became a priest because you were too much of a coward to do what I do!”

    It’s one of my favorite movie moments and Wallach delivers his lines perfectly!

    Greg – I can see what you’re saying but I think a lot of the “meat” of The Misfits is in the great writing and Huston’s direction. In some ways Monroe’s role is a smarter, more sensitive and expanded retread of her work in Bus Stop and River of No Return. I only mention this because I think she really does show range and a different side of herself in Don’t Bother to Knock and Niagara. And yep, Monty as well as Gable are both tragic figures in The Misfits.

    Neil – Isn’t Linda amazing? I wish she had made more films but she did appear in some other interesting movies. She really deserves more acclaim as an actress for her work in horror. I adore her!

    Rick – Harold and Maude is a longtime sentimental favorite of mine and I love Gordon in that role. I think you can find a lot of smart and feisty older women in earlier films from the ’30s and ’40s, but she definitely brought an edginess to “old age” that was much needed at the time. In the late ’60s and ’70s the myth of “old age = uptight/conservative” and the naive battle cry of “I hope I die before I get old!” needed a kick in the ass and Gordon provided it.

  12. Another great list! I especially agree with your sentiments regarding Wyler and The Collector. Such a surprising gift at the end of his career! It doesn’t seem like him at all and made me wish more of his career had fallen post-code.

    I’m still puttering about trying to decide how I’m going to approach this meme, but you’ve definitely given me renewed inspiration. Thanks for the great screenshots too!

  13. Great List, as expected! Lotta Tuco lovers here which is great – I love the scene where he walks into the den of thieves and the pot for chicken dinner, with that wonderful turquoise background.

    Maude was an inspired choice – Ruth Gordon out of control!

  14. Film Walrus – Thanks! Wyler seems to have made interesting film’s throughout his life, which is impressive. I’ve never seen any of his 1920s films but I really should since I like his work from the ’30s all the way to the ’60s. I look forward to seeing your list since I’m sure it will be interesting!

    Vanwall – It’s hard not to fall in love with Tuco and Maude. Maude reminds me a lot of my grandmother who passed away in 2004 and I miss her terribly. I hope I’m half as smart, cute and quick as she was when I’m 80!

  15. Eli Wallach is just an underappreciated actor. Right up there with Tuco is his Silva Vacarro in Baby Doll. He burns through that movie.

  16. I am so excited that I have seen almost all of these films and agree with you that these characters are immortal. Most of the best acting performances in movie history.


  17. These are great. Did you plan the juxtaposition of Sasori (whose eye is hidden behind her hair) and Tuco (with his eyepatch)? I find I do those kinds of mirroring things unconsciously these days and it’s always a bit thrilling when I see the results.

  18. Brad – Agreed! he’s a long time favorite.

    Bill – Thanks! I wouldn’t personally call them all “the best performances in movie history” since a lot of them are just special to me for various reasons, which is why I selected them but I glad you enjoyed my picks.

    Arbogast – I did not plan that juxtaposition. I only noticed it myself after I had posted the images and I thought it was interesting. In some ways there’s more similarities between Sasori and Tuco than just the eyepatch now that I think about it. I obviously tend to favor outsiders, crazy people and characters on the fringe of society.

  19. I love that you chose Klaus as Klaus in “My Best Fiend.” The man practically defined the word “character,” whether he was playing a role or just going through life in his thoroughly reprehensible, utterly fascinating way. I’ve always loved that title, too: it’s great that it works so well in two languages!

  20. You have definitely inspired me with your fascinating list. Tuco would definitely be on mine. I’m going to do a variation on this on my blog, either my 10 favorite Jess Franco characters or relating to your #10: My 10 favorite Klaus Kinski characters. Kinski is my favorite actor.

    You choose such perfect screenshots and quotes!

  21. Gareth – It was an easy pick. I was trying to think of my favorite Kinski characters, but none of them could match the intensity of the man himself!

    Robert – Thanks! I look forward to whatever you decide to do. A list of your 10 favorite Jess Franco film characters would be an inspired choice.

  22. Great list!! So many nice choices. THE COLLECTOR, it’s been some time since I last viewed it but recall Stamp’s performance being very well done. I need to see this again..

    THE MISFITS – great characters!!!

  23. This Misfits IS full of great characters, Scott! Well, maybe Wallach isn’t very likable but everyone else has a particular charm that I find very familiar and tragic.

  24. Terrence Stamp is always great,but in THE COLLECTOR he was GOLD! Have you read the novel perchance? It’s gripping! So sad…Wyler’s use of technicolor in the film is startling too! The red of Miss Eggar’s hair,for instance .
    And here’s another vote for Linda Hayden in one of my favorite atmospheric films “TBOSC”!She was one of my Brit bird obsessions as a kid,along with Pamela Franklin.

  25. HA! When I saw the title of this post I immediately thought to myself “Marcel from Bel Ju Jour would definitely be on my list…” and voila….

  26. Kinski was the best there ever was. And I am glad to see that you didn’t even try to pick one for him. It’s all just Klaus…

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