DAILY GRINDHOUSE’S TOP 50 MOVIE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME! PART THREE (#30-21)

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Welcome back to the internet’s best top-50 list of all the top-50 lists that you’re reading at this exact moment. In case you want to get caught up before proceeding:  Click here for #50 through #41 and click here for #40 through #31.

And now proceed!

 

DAILY GRINDHOUSE’S

TOP 50 MOVIE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME!

 

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30. THE STAY-PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN 

THE MOVIE: GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

PLAYED BY: BILL BRYAN 

Because something like that could never possibly destroy us. But he nearly does. He stomps through Columbus Circle and squishes a church. He’s a villain, a joke, and a believable third-act threat — all at the exact same moment. The brilliant alchemy of the construction of GHOSTBUSTERS is the way it takes us from poltergeists in a library at the beginning of the film to a gigantic marshmallow sailor at the end, and we buy it from start to finish. The build is nearly invisible. Put it this way: If all you knew ofGHOSTBUSTERS was that still frame posted above, would you ever guess that he was the boss-level monster to be defeated at the climax of the story? And that he’s almost as scary as he is adorable? It’s hard to imagine, unless you’re Dan Aykroyd. Brilliant character. P.S. Bonus points if you caught the Stay-Puft marshmallow bag on Dana Barrett’s kitchen counter early on in the movie. (Mike McGranaghan)

 

Irene Dunne

29. LUCY WARRINER

THE MOVIE: THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937)

PLAYED BY: IRENE DUNNE

With all due respect to CASABLANCA and CITIZEN KANE, THE AWFUL TRUTH may have been the first classic Hollywood film that I really fell in love with. It’s a pretty simple story — two New York socialites divorce before realizing they truly love the other person, causing them to sabotage each other’s subsequent relationships — but what makes the movie is Irene Dunne’s ability to match Cary Grant in a prolonged game of wits. Grant is effortlessly charming as an actor; in this movie, Irene Dunne was better. (Matthew Monagle)

 

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28. BUB THE ZOMBIE

THE MOVIE: DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

PLAYED BY: SHERMAN HOWARD

Bub is the world’s first fully-evolved zombie. And in the end, after all that domestication, he’s just another soldier carrying a gun — even though it’s pretty clear he doesn’t mean the salute he gives Captain Rhodes. (Ryan Carey)

 

 

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Maleficent

27. MALEFICENT 

THE MOVIE: SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)/ MALEFICENT (2014)

PLAYED BY: ELEANOR AUDLEY/ ANGELINA JOLIE

Let’s face it: who wants to hear about Sleeping Beauty when there is Maleficent? From the Disney villain to hero of her own film, Maleficent was not evil, but a maligned woman who was screwed over by the one she loved. And we all know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… (Sabina Stent)

 

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26. DAWN DAVENPORT

THE MOVIE: FEMALE TROUBLE (1974)

PLAYED BY: DIVINE

Dawn Davenport is the embodiment of the American teenage girl, going from a spoiled brat who wants nothing more than cha cha heels for Christmas to a mass murderer who dies for fame and beauty. Nothing quite like seeing Divine have sex with himself as both a male character and a female character! Dawn Davenport is a top-notch shitkicker! (Jeremy Lowe)

 

25. VINCENT MAJESTYK

THE FILM: MR. MAJESTYK (1974)

PLAYED BY: CHARLES BRONSON

Any character who can whoop up on local racketeers, show up the local police force and take down a mafia hit-man, all while harvesting a watermelon crop had to make this list. And when that said character is played by Charles Bronson in a role written for screen by the late, great Elmore Leonard, I’ll be damned if he shouldn’t be number one on this list. But that’s up to my editor of course… (Mac Bell)

[Sorry, brother. #25 ain’t nothing, though. — Ed.]

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24. THE SHOGUN OF HARLEM 

THE MOVIE: THE LAST DRAGON (1985)

PLAYED BY: JULIUS J. CARRY III

Who exactly is this man? What animates him? How does a person, born a baby as we all are, grow into something as fearsome and as resplendent as The Shogun Of Harlem? We know how Leroy Green (Taimak) becomes Bruce Leroy and eventually, ultimately becomes The Master. Inspired by the films and the teachings of film star Bruce Lee, he studies under a master, dedicates himself to the martial arts to the exclusion of romance and family, and embarks upon a quest to discover the power of The Glow. But what motivates The Shogun? Who is his Bruce Lee? What got him into kung fu in the first place? What does he get out of it, other than endless victory? How does he get hip to the fact that Leroy Green is his nemesis, his opposite number, the only thing standing between himself and total supremacy? Is his birth name really Sho’nuff? If not, what was it? Who knew there was an evil version of The Glow? When was Harlem designated a shogunate? Was there a Shogun Of Harlem before him? Where does he go once he is deposed? We have seen this film so often, but truly, we still know so little. So many wonders does it hold. (Jon Abrams)

 

 

23. JACKIE BROWN

THE MOVIE: JACKIE BROWN (1997)

PLAYED BY: PAM GRIER

It may be heresy to say so, but I never was a huge fan of Pam Grier’s Blaxploitation films from the 1970s. To me, they were never outrageous enough to justify the often sloppy filmmaking. Despite this, I always considered her a great screen presence who never was given the role that took full advantage of her talents. And then Quentin Tarantino rewrote one of Elmore Leonard’s more interesting female characters specifically for Grier, giving her the chance to live up to her potential. She did not disappoint. Witty, sexy, tough, and heroic in her own way, Jackie was both Tarantino’s callback to the Blaxploitation films he loved from his youth and possibly the most feminist character to hit multiplexes to that point. From first frame to the last, you desperately want Jackie to succeed in her complicated plan. When she does so, and drives away into an unknown future while Bobby Womack’s “Across 110thStreet” plays, it’s as satisfying a moment as I’ve seen in any film. (Matt Wedge)

 

FRANK

22. THE MONSTER

THE MOVIE: FRANKENSTEIN (1931)

PLAYED BY: BORIS KARLOFF

Accept no substitutes. 1931’s DRACULA may have started the Universal horror boom, but is rather weak toast compared to Universal’s next outing. James Whale’s direction and art design is magnificent, but it is his casting of Karloff — 44 at the time, with many supporting roles under his belt — that cements the movie’s eternal fame. Karloff makes the most of his big break, and delivers an astounding performance as a confused blank slate, a creature whose only parent abandons him to pain and death – small wonder it lashes out. Even as children, we weren’t fooled — the Monster got a bum deal, and we felt for him. (Freeman Williams)

 

Escape from New York

21. S.D. BOB “SNAKE” PLISSKEN 

THE MOVIE: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1982)/ ESCAPE FROM L.A. (1996)

PLAYED BY: KURT RUSSELL

Eyepatch, tough guys, and impossible post-apocalyptic worlds. The two coast cities on east and west bow down to the superior badassery that is Snake. Swaggering through both of these films, giving a total of zero fucks, and going into the extreme penitentiaries to extract info/ people/ eyeballs from within to appease the higher forces who have set him on this task. You have to admire a guy who has a giant snake tattoo on his torso and is, at heart, a socialist anarchist due to his disenchantment with the government system. Swoon. (Tristan Risk)

 

COMING UP NEXT — THE TOP TWENTY! 

 

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Jon Abrams

Editor-In-Chief at Daily Grindhouse
Jon Abrams is a New York-based writer, cartoonist, and committed cinemaniac whose complete work and credits can be found at his site, Demon’s Resume. You can contact him on Twitter as @JonZilla___.
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