The 80 Greatest 70s Movie Characters (Ranked)
The 1970s was an era of great change and experimentation in the film industry, leading to the emergence of various movie trends. One such trend was the rise of the “New Hollywood” movement, which emphasized greater artistic freedom and risk-taking in storytelling. This period saw the creation of iconic films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” and Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.” The decade also saw the birth of the blockbuster with the release of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” which set a new standard for summer blockbusters. With that said, let’s take a look at the 80 greatest 70s movie characters.
80. Lili Von Shtupp (Blazing Saddles, 1974)
Lili Von Shtupp is a sultry and provocative saloon singer in the classic comedy film “Blazing Saddles.”
79. Navin Johnson (The Jerk, 1979)
Navin Johnson is a simple-minded but endearing man searching for his purpose in life in “The Jerk,” a comedy film.
78. Chance (Being There, 1979)
Chance, played by Peter Sellers in “Being There,” is a simple gardener whose simplistic musings are interpreted as profound wisdom.
77. Harry Stoner (Save The Tiger, 1973)
Harry Stoner, played by Jack Lemmon in “The Save Tiger,” is a jaded ad executive struggling to find meaning in his life.
76. Leonard Cantrow (The Heartbreak Kid, 1972)
In “The Heartbreak Kid,” Leonard Cantrow, played by Charles Grodin, is a newlywed who falls in love with another woman on his honeymoon.
75. Paulie (Rocky, 1976)
Paulie Pennino is Rocky Balboa’s best friend and brother-in-law who initially resents Rocky’s success but ultimately supports him.
74. Augustus Gloop (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971)
Augustus Gloop is a gluttonous German boy who falls into a chocolate river in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
73. Benjamin L. Willard (Apocalypse Now, 1979)
Benjamin L. Willard, played by Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse Now,” is a troubled Army captain sent to assassinate a rogue colonel in Vietnam.
72. Connie Corleone (Godfather, 1972)
Connie Corleone, played by Talia Shire in “The Godfather,” is the youngest child of the Corleone family and Michael’s sister.
71. Doc Hopper (The Muppet Movie, 1979)
Doc Hopper is a fast-food magnate who wants Kermit the Frog to be his new spokesperson in “The Muppet Movie.”
70. Duchess (The Aristocats, 1970)
Duchess is a sophisticated and elegant mother cat, the protagonist in Disney’s “The Aristocats.”
69. Janet Weiss (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975)
Janet Weiss, played by Susan Sarandon in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” is a naive newlywed who becomes embroiled in a wild adventure.
68. Beaker (The Muppet Show, 1976)
Beaker is a hapless and accident-prone assistant to Dr. Bunsen Honeydew in “The Muppet Show” and other Muppet productions.
67. Chief Bromden (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975)
Chief Bromden, played by Will Sampson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” is a Native American patient who feigns deafness and muteness.
66. Dean Vernon Wormer (National Lampoon’s Animal House, 1978)
Dean Vernon Wormer, played by John Vernon in “Animal House,” is a stuffy and authoritarian college administrator who clashes with the Delta fraternity.
65. Jimmy „Popeye“ Doyle (The French Connection, 1971)
Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, played by Gene Hackman in “The French Connection,” is a tough and determined New York City detective.
64. Alice Hyatt (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974)
Alice Hyatt, played by Ellen Burstyn in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” is a recently widowed mother who sets out to rebuild her life.
63. Sally Bowles (Cabaret, 1972)
Sally Bowles, played by Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret,” is a flamboyant and hedonistic cabaret performer in 1930s Berlin.
62. Addie Loggins (Paper Moon, 1973)
Addie Loggins, played by Tatum O’Neal in “Paper Moon,” is a street-smart orphan who teams up with a con man in Depression-era Kansas.
61. Sandy Olsen (Grease, 1978)
Sandy Olsen, played by Olivia Newton-John in “Grease,” is a sweet and innocent Australian exchange student who falls in love with Danny Zuko.
60. Mabel Longhetti (A Woman Under the Influence, 1974)
Mabel Longhetti, played by Gena Rowlands in “A Woman Under the Influence,” is a housewife struggling with mental illness and family pressures.
59. Chewbacca (Star Wars, 1977)
Chewbacca, also known as Chewie, is a loyal and furry Wookiee who is Han Solo’s co-pilot in the “Star Wars” franchise.
58. Luke Martin (Coming Home, 1978)
Luke Martin, played by Jon Voight in “Coming Home,” is a disabled Vietnam War veteran who falls in love with a nurse.
57. Sonny Corleone (The Godfather, 1972)
Sonny Corleone, played by James Caan in “The Godfather,” is the hot-headed eldest son of Vito Corleone and a high-ranking member of the family’s criminal enterprise.
56. Lee (Enter the Dragon, 1973)
Lee, played by Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon,” is a martial artist who competes in a tournament on a remote island while on a mission to uncover criminal activity.
55. Howard Beale (Network, 1976)
Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch in “Network,” is a mentally unstable news anchor who becomes a media sensation for his on-air breakdowns.
54. Al Lewis (The Sunshine Boys, 1975)
Al Lewis, played by George Burns in “The Sunshine Boys,” is a retired vaudeville performer who reunites with his former partner after years of estrangement.
53. Tom Hagen (The Godfather, 1972)
Tom Hagen, played by Robert Duvall in “The Godfather,” is the adopted son of Vito Corleone and the family’s consigliere.
52. Henry Spencer (Eraserhead, 1977)
Henry Spencer, played by Jack Nance in “Eraserhead,” is a young man who experiences bizarre and disturbing hallucinations while navigating fatherhood.
51. Bree Daniels (Klute, 1971)
Bree Daniels, played by Jane Fonda in “Klute,” is a call girl who becomes involved in a missing person investigation.
50. Ted Kramer (Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979)
Ted Kramer, played by Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs. Kramer,” is a man who struggles with balancing his career and raising his son alone.
49. Adrian (Rocky, 1979)
Adrian, played by Talia Shire in “Rocky,” is a shy pet store worker who becomes Rocky’s love interest and eventual wife.
48. Charlie Bucket (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971)
From “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” Charlie Bucket is a poor boy who wins a tour of the chocolate factory.
47. Hikaru Sulu (Star Trek, 1979)
Hikaru Sulu, played by George Takei in “Star Trek,” is the helmsman of the USS Enterprise and a skilled swordsman.
46. C-3PO (Star Wars, 1977)
C-3PO is a Star Wars protocol droid known for his fluent language skills and nervous personality.
45. Dr. Frank-N-Furter (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975)
Frank-N-Furter is the eccentric, pansexual mad scientist in the Rocky Horror Picture Show who leads the audience on a seductive musical journey.
44. Father Merrin (The Exorcist, 1973)
Father Merrin is a Catholic priest and the exorcist in the film The Exorcist, known for his bravery and faith against demonic possession.
43. Morris Buttemaker (The Bad News Bears, 1976)
Morris Buttermaker is a reluctant Little League coach who transforms a team of misfits into winners in the comedy “The Bad News Bears.”
42. Colonel Kilgore (Apocalypse Now, 1979)
Colonel Kilgore, from Apocalypse Now, is a charismatic but ruthless military commander who enjoys surfing and napalm in the morning.
40. Dr. Loomis (Halloween, 1978)
Dr. Loomis is a character from the horror movie “Halloween.” He is a psychiatrist determined to stop Michael Myers, a psychotic killer.
39. Annie Hall (Annie Hall, 1977)
Annie Hall is the quirky, neurotic, and charming lead character in Woody Allen’s eponymous romantic comedy film.
38. John Shaft (Shaft, 1971)
John Shaft is a tough, stylish, and unflappable private detective who uses his street smarts to solve cases.
37. Bandit (Smokey and the Bandit, 1977)
Bandit from Smokey and the Bandit, portrayed by Burt Reynolds, is a notorious bootlegger who takes on a bet to transport 400 cases of beer across state lines.
36. Norma Rae Webster (Norma Rae, 1979)
Norma Rae Webster is a union organizer in a southern textile mill who fights for worker rights in the movie “Norma Rae.”
35. John Bluto Blutarsky (National Lampoon’s Animal House, 1978)
John “Bluto” Blutarsky is a character from the movie “Animal House,” known for his wild behavior and iconic line “Toga! Toga!”
34. Johnny Boy (Mean Streets, 1973)
Johnny Boy is a small-time hood with a reckless and volatile personality, constantly getting into trouble with loansharks and friends.
33. Damien Thorn (The Omen, 1976)
Damien Thorn is the son of Satan in The Omen film series, whose destiny is to become the Antichrist.
32. Paul Kersey (Death Wish, 1974)
Paul Kersey is a vigilante in the “Death Wish” franchise, seeking revenge against criminals who murdered his family and the innocent.
31. Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974)
Leatherface is a chainsaw-wielding killer and a member of the cannibalistic Sawyer family in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”
30. Martin Brody (Jaws, 1975)
Martin Brody is the chief of police in “Jaws,” dedicated to protecting his community from a man-eating great white shark.
29. Admiral James T. Kirk (Star Trek, 1979)
James T. Kirk is the iconic captain of the USS Enterprise, known for his bravery, leadership, and womanizing tendencies.
28. Sonny Wortzik (Dog Day Afternoon, 1975)
Sonny Wortzik, portrayed by Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon,” is a bank robber trying to finance his partner’s gender reassignment surgery.
27. Laurie Strode (Halloween, 1978)
Laurie Strode is a resilient and resourceful survivor who battles Michael Myers, a relentless and unstoppable killer, in the Halloween franchise.
26. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein, 1974)
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein is a reluctant scientist who becomes obsessed with completing his grandfather’s work.
25. Michael Meyers (Halloween, 1978)
Michael Myers is a fictional character known for his iconic mask and his tendency to brutally murder his victims in the “Halloween” horror movie franchise.
24. Apollo Creed (Rocky, 1976)
Apollo Creed, the self-proclaimed “Master of Disaster,” was a charismatic boxer who fought and lost to Rocky Balboa twice.
23. Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975)
Nurse Ratched is a tyrannical and manipulative head nurse who abuses her power over the patients at a mental hospital.
22. Princess Leia (Star Wars, 1977)
Princess Leia, a leader of the Rebel Alliance and twin sister to Luke Skywalker, played a pivotal role in the Star Wars saga.
21. Carrie White (Carrie, 1976)
Carrie White, a bullied teen with telekinetic powers, seeks revenge in Brian De Palma’s horror classic, “Carrie.”
20. Tony Manero (Saturday Night Fever, 1977)
Tony Manero is the iconic protagonist of Saturday Night Fever, a disco king with big dreams and conflicts in Brooklyn.
19. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars, 1977)
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a wise and skilled Jedi Master who mentors Luke Skywalker and confronts his former apprentice, Darth Vader.
18. Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange, 1972)
Alex DeLarge is a sociopathic delinquent who leads a gang of “droogs” in committing horrific crimes in Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.”
17. Regan MacNeil (The Exorcist, 1973)
Regan MacNeil is the possessed child in The Exorcist. Her disturbing transformation and graphic acts of violence became iconic in horror films.
16. Willy Wonka (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971)
A reclusive candy maker, Willy Wonka invites five children to tour his magical chocolate factory in Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
15. Danny Zuko (Grease, 1978)
Danny Zuko is a cool, tough guy with a soft spot for Sandy in the musical Grease, played by John Travolta.
14. Max Rockatansky (Mad Max, 1979)
Max Rockatansky, the main character of the Mad Max franchise, is a former police officer turned post-apocalyptic warrior seeking revenge.
13. Luke Skywalker (Star Wars, 1977)
Luke Skywalker is the main protagonist in the Star Wars franchise, trained as a Jedi by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda to fight the Empire.
12. Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry, 1971)
Harry Callahan is a no-nonsense cop known for his catchphrase, “Go ahead, make my day.” He’s the protagonist in the “Dirty Harry” film series.
11. Randle McMurphy (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975)
Randle McMurphy is a charming but rebellious inmate who challenges authority in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
10. Ellen Ripley (Alien, 1979)
Ellen Ripley is a courageous and resilient space explorer who fights against terrifying extraterrestrial creatures in the Alien film series.
9. Han Solo (Star Wars, 1977)
Han Solo is a witty smuggler and pilot who becomes a hero in the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars franchise.
8. Vito Corleone (The Godfather, 1972)
Vito Corleone is the patriarch of the Corleone crime family in “The Godfather,” known for his power, wisdom, and loyalty.
7. Michael Corleone (The Godfather, 1972)
Michael Corleone is a complex character from the movie trilogy “The Godfather” who transforms from a reluctant heir to a ruthless mafia boss.
6. R2D2 (Star Wars, 1977)
R2D2 is a resourceful astromech droid in the Star Wars franchise, known for his loyalty, bravery, and technical skills.
5. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver, 1976)
Travis Bickle, a Vietnam vet in Taxi Driver, is a loner who becomes increasingly disillusioned with society and takes violent action.
4. James Bond (Live and Let Die, 1973)
James Bond is a British spy created by Ian Fleming. He is known for his charm, gadgets, and action-packed missions.
3. Darth Vader (Star Wars, 1977)
Darth Vader is a powerful Sith Lord and iconic Star Wars villain known for his ominous breathing and imposing presence.
2. Superman (Superman, 1978)
Superman, also known as Clark Kent, is a powerful superhero with superhuman strength, speed, and abilities, who fights for justice and truth.
1. Rocky Balboa (Rocky, 1976)
Rocky Balboa is a working-class hero who rises to become a boxing legend, inspiring millions with his determination and resilience.