The 120 Greatest ’80s Movie Characters (Ranked)


The 1980s were a decade of iconic movies that introduced us to some of the most memorable and beloved characters in cinematic history. From sci-fi heroes to teen heartthrobs, from action stars to comedic legends, the ’80s had it all. These characters not only entertained us on the big screen but also became cultural icons that have withstood the test of time. In this list, we have ranked the 120 greatest ’80s movie characters based on their impact, cultural significance, and lasting popularity. So, let’s dive into the world of ’80s cinema.

1. John Keating (Dead Poets Society, 1989)

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We start this list with John Keating. He is an unconventional English teacher at an all-boys preparatory school. John inspires his students to challenge societal norms, seize the day, and appreciate the beauty in poetry.

2. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Top Gun, 1986)

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Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, from the movie Top Gun, is a daring and talented fighter pilot who attends the prestigious Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School.

3. Rocky Balboa (Rocky III, 1982)

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Rocky Balboa is a resilient and determined boxer who must face new challenges and adversaries in the third installment of the Rocky series.

4. Joker (Batman, 1989) Batman (Batman, 1989)


The Joker is the psychotic and dangerous arch-nemesis of Batman. With his twisted sense of humor and chaotic schemes, the Joker terrorizes Gotham City and challenges Batman to a battle of wits.

5. Batman (Batman, 1989)


Batman is the dark and brooding superhero who protects Gotham City from criminals and supervillains like the Joker. As both a skilled crimefighter and the wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne, Batman embodies the duality of vigilante justice and personal redemption.

6. Luke Skywalker (The Empire Strikes Back, 1980)

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Luke Skywalker is the iconic protagonist in the Star Wars original trilogy. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke faces numerous challenges as he seeks to become a Jedi Knight and confront the dark side of the Force.

7. Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back, 1980)

Darth Vader is the fearsome and iconic villain in the original Star Wars trilogy. In The Empire Strikes Back, his relentless pursuit of the Rebel Alliance and the revelation of his true identity to Luke Skywalker create dramatic tension and conflict.

8. John Rambo (First Blood, 1982)

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John Rambo is a traumatized Vietnam War veteran who uses his combat skills to fight back against a small town’s abusive police force.

9. Tony Montana (Scarface, 1983)


Tony Montana is a Cuban immigrant who rises to power in the Miami drug world.

10. Daniel LaRusso (The Karate Kid, 1984)

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Daniel LaRusso is a teenager who moves to California and becomes the target of a group of bullies. Under the guidance of Mr. Miyagi, Daniel learns the art of karate, ultimately gaining the skills and self-confidence to overcome his challenges.


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11. Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)

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Indiana Jones is an iconic archaeologist, adventurer, and professor who races against time and evil forces to locate and protect priceless historical artifacts.

12. Marty McFly (Back to the Future, 1985)

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Marty McFly from Back to the Future is a likable and quick-witted teenager who is accidentally sent back in time to 1955. As he struggles to return to his own time, Marty must ensure that his parents meet and fall in love, all while navigating the complexities of his newfound situation.

13. Dr. Emmett Brown (Back to the Future, 1985)

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Dr. Emmett Brown is the eccentric inventor who creates the time-traveling DeLorean that sends Marty McFly back in time.

14. Dorothy Michaels (Tootsie, 1982)

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Dorothy Michaels is the female alter ego of struggling actor Michael Dorsey who disguises himself as a woman to land a role on a popular soap opera.

15. Princess Leia (Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, 1980)

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Princess Leia is a fierce and courageous leader in the Rebel Alliance fighting against the evil Galactic Empire. In Episode V, Leia’s strength, resourcefulness, and budding romance with Han Solo are central to the story.

16. Han Solo (Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, 1980)

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Han Solo is a charismatic and daring smuggler-turned-hero who aids the Rebel Alliance in their struggle against the Empire.

17. E.T. (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982)

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E.T. is a gentle and intelligent alien who becomes stranded on Earth and forms a deep connection with the young boy Elliott.

17. Al Capone (The Untouchables, 1987)

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Al Capone is a ruthless and powerful mob boss during Prohibition-era Chicago. Despite his criminal empire, Capone is eventually brought to justice by Eliot Ness and his team of Untouchables

18. Dr. Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters, 1984)

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Dr. Peter Venkman is a witty and sarcastic parapsychologist who becomes one of the founding members of the Ghostbusters.

19. Ray Stantz (Ghostbusters, 1984)

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Ray Stantz is an enthusiastic and dedicated parapsychologist who co-founds the Ghostbusters.

20. Mad Max (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, 1981)

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Mad Max is a hardened and resourceful survivor in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In the second film of the series, Max becomes an unlikely hero as he helps a group of settlers defend their fuel supply from a ruthless gang.

21. Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop, 1984)

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Axel Foley is a wisecracking Detroit police detective who travels to Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of his best friend.


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22. Sophie (Sophie’s Choice, 1982)

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Sophie is a Polish immigrant and Holocaust survivor living in post-World War II Brooklyn.

23. Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon, 1987)

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Martin Riggs is a reckless and emotionally unstable LAPD detective who is partnered with the more conservative and family-oriented Roger Murtaugh.

24. Roger Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon, 1987)

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Roger Murtaugh is a seasoned LAPD detective who is reluctantly partnered with the volatile Martin Riggs. Despite their differences, Murtaugh’s patience and wisdom help to form a strong bond between the two.

25. John McClane (Die Hard, 1988)

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John McClane is a tough and resourceful NYPD detective who finds himself single-handedly battling terrorists in a Los Angeles high-rise.

26. The Terminator (The Terminator, 1984)


The Terminator is a relentless and nearly unstoppable cyborg assassin sent from the future to eliminate Sarah Connor. With its iconic catchphrase “I’ll be back” and imposing presence, the Terminator became a defining character in science fiction and action films.

27. John Bender (The Breakfast Club, 1985)

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John Bender is the rebellious and tough-talking member of the titular Breakfast Club, a group of high school students from different social cliques who bond during a day of detention.

28. Claire Standish (The Breakfast Club, 1985)

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Claire Standish is a popular and affluent high school student who is part of the Breakfast Club. As the day unfolds, Claire learns to break free from her social constraints and forms genuine connections with her fellow detainees, despite their apparent differences.

29. Charlie Babbitt (Rain Man, 1988)

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Charlie Babbitt is a selfish and materialistic young man who discovers he has an autistic savant older brother named Raymond.

30. Raymond Babbitt (Rain Man, 1988)


Raymond Babbitt is an autistic savant with extraordinary mental abilities but limited social skills. Despite his initially challenging relationship with his younger brother Charlie, Raymond’s unique perspective on life ultimately opens Charlie’s eyes to what truly matters in life.

31. Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything…, 1989)

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Lloyd Dobler is a kind-hearted and unconventional high school graduate who falls in love with the intelligent and ambitious Diane Court.

32. Eliot Ness (The Untouchables, 1987)

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Eliot Ness is a determined federal agent tasked with bringing down notorious mobster Al Capone.

33. Diane Court (Say Anything…, 1989)

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Diane Court is a high-achieving high school valedictorian who begins a relationship with the quirky Lloyd Dobler.

34. Mikey Walsh (The Goonies, 1985)


Mikey Walsh is the adventurous and optimistic leader of the Goonies, a group of kids on a quest to find a legendary pirate treasure.

35. Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986)

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Ferris Bueller is a charismatic and clever high school senior who decides to take a day off from school, embarking on an unforgettable adventure with his friends.

36. Ren McCormack (Footloose, 1984)

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Ren McCormack is a Chicago teenager who moves to a small town where dancing and rock music are banned. Through his passion for dance and his desire for self-expression, Ren challenges the town’s strict rules and inspires the community to embrace change.

37. Ariel Moore (Footloose, 1984)

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Ariel Moore is the rebellious daughter of the town’s conservative preacher in Footloose. As she struggles with the constraints of her upbringing, Ariel finds solace in her friendship and romance with Ren McCormack, eventually joining him in the fight for freedom of expression.

38. Jack Torrance (The Shining, 1980)

Jack Torrance is a troubled writer and recovering alcoholic who becomes the caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel during the winter. As he succumbs to the hotel’s supernatural influence, Jack descends into madness, creating a terrifying and unforgettable character.

39. Danny Torrance (The Shining, 1980)

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Danny Torrance is the young son of Jack and Wendy Torrance who possesses psychic abilities known as “the shining.”

40. Sarah Connor (The Terminator, 1984)

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Sarah Connor is the target of the Terminator and the mother of the future leader of the human resistance against the machines.


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41. Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid, 1984)


Mr. Miyagi is a wise and enigmatic karate master who takes Daniel LaRusso under his wing. Through his unconventional teaching methods and philosophical insights, Mr. Miyagi imparts valuable life lessons to Daniel and becomes a beloved mentor figure.

42. Billy Peltzer (Gremlins, 1984)


Billy Peltzer is a young man who receives an unusual pet called a Mogwai, named Gizmo, as a Christmas gift. When the Mogwai’s rules for care are accidentally broken, Billy must confront the resulting chaos and protect his town from the destructive creatures known as Gremlins.

43. Gizmo (Gremlins, 1984)

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Gizmo is the adorable and good-natured Mogwai that becomes the pet of Billy Peltzer in the film Gremlins. Despite the mayhem caused by the other Mogwai that spawn from him, Gizmo ultimately helps Billy to save the day.

44. Crash Davis (Bull Durham, 1988)

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Crash Davis is a seasoned minor league catcher who is brought to the Durham Bulls to mentor young pitcher Nuke LaLoosh.

45. Nuke LaLoosh (Bull Durham, 1988)

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Nuke LaLoosh is a talented but undisciplined rookie pitcher who joins the Durham Bulls.

46. Amadeus (Amadeus, 1984)

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Amadeus is the eccentric and brilliant composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose incredible talent and troubled life are the focus of the film.

47. Billy Rosewood (Beverly Hills Cop, 1984)


Billy Rosewood is a young and inexperienced Beverly Hills police detective who is initially reluctant to work with Axel Foley.

48. Dutch (The Predator, 1987)

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Dutch from Predator is the tough and resourceful leader of a special forces team sent on a mission to rescue hostages in the Central American jungle. As they are hunted by the extraterrestrial Predator, Dutch must rely on his cunning and survival instincts to outsmart and defeat the alien hunter.

49. Johnny Lawrence ( The Karate Kid, 1984)

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Johnny Lawrence is the skilled and aggressive leader of the Cobra Kai karate dojo and the primary antagonist of Daniel LaRusso.

50. Johnny Castle (Dirty Dancing, 1987)

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Johnny Castle is a charismatic and talented dance instructor at a summer resort who becomes romantically involved with Baby Houseman.

51. Frances “Baby” Houseman (Dirty Dancing, 1987)

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Frances “Baby” Houseman is an intelligent and idealistic young woman who falls in love with dance instructor Johnny Castle during a summer vacation.

52. Rick Deckard (Blade Runner, 1982)

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Rick Deckard is a hardened and weary “blade runner” tasked with hunting down and “retiring” rogue replicants in a dystopian Los Angeles.

53. Elliott (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982)

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Elliott is a young boy who befriends E.T., an alien stranded on Earth.

54. Marion Ravenwood (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)

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Marion Ravenwood is a tough and resourceful bar owner who becomes Indiana Jones’ partner and love interest in their quest for the Ark of the Covenant.

55. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Top Gun, 1986)

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Tom “Iceman” Kazansky is Maverick’s skilled and disciplined rival at the Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School.


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56. Kyle Reese (The Terminator, 1984)

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Kyle Reese is a soldier from the future who is sent back in time to protect Sarah Connor from the Terminator. He becomes romantically involved with Sarah and ultimately sacrifices himself to save her and the future.

57. Josh Baskin (Big, 1988)

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Josh Baskin is a young boy who makes a wish to become an adult, only to find himself transformed into a 30-year-old man overnight.

58. Susan Lawrence (Big, 1988)

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Susan Lawrence is a successful executive who becomes romantically involved with the adult Josh Baskin. She eventually learns the truth about his age and helps him find a way to return to his normal life as a child.

59. Paul Atreides (Dune, 1984)

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Paul Atreides is the young heir to the noble House Atreides, who finds himself embroiled in a deadly conflict over the desert planet of Arrakis.

60. Goose (Top Gun, 1986)

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Goose is Pete Mitchell’s loyal best friend and Radar Intercept Officer (RIO). Tragically, Goose dies in a training accident, leaving Maverick to cope with his loss.

61. Clubber Lang (Rocky III, 1982)

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Clubber Lang is the fierce and intimidating antagonist in Rocky III, challenging Rocky Balboa for the heavyweight championship title.

62. Egon Spengler (Ghostbusters, 1984)

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Egon Spengler is a brilliant scientist and one of the founding members of the Ghostbusters team.

63. Winston Zeddemore (Ghostbusters, 1984)

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Winston Zeddemore is the fourth member to join the Ghostbusters team. Winston brings a down-to-earth perspective to the group.

64. Dr. Herbert West (Re-Animator, 1985)

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Dr. Herbert West is a brilliant but unhinged scientist obsessed with reanimating the dead. His experiments with a mysterious reagent lead to horrific consequences and a descent into madness.

65. Dan Cain (Re-Animator, 1985)

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Dan Cain is a young medical student who becomes entangled in Dr. Herbert West’s macabre experiments

66. Brand Walsh (The Goonies, 1985)


Brand Walsh is Mikey’s older brother in The Goonies, who initially tries to keep his younger sibling out of trouble but ultimately joins the adventure.

67. Chris Taylor (Platoon, 1986)

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Chris Taylor is a young and naive American soldier who enlists to fight in the Vietnam War.

68. Sergeant Elias (Platoon, 1986)

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Sergeant Elias is an experienced and compassionate soldier who serves as a mentor to Chris Taylor in Platoon.

69. Gordon Gekko (Wall Street, 1987)

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Gordon Gekko is a ruthless and unscrupulous corporate raider who epitomizes the greed and excess of 1980s Wall Street.


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70. Mookie (Do the Right Thing, 1989)

Mookie is a young pizza delivery man navigating racial tensions in his Brooklyn neighborhood.

71. Lady Jessica (Dune, 1984)

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Lady Jessica is the mother of Paul Atreides and a powerful member of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood. She guides her son through the treacherous world of politics and helps him embrace his unique abilities.

72. Baron Harkonnen (Dune, 1984)

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Baron Harkonnen is the ruthless and cunning leader of House Harkonnen and the primary antagonist in Dune. He orchestrates a plot to take control of the planet Arrakis but is ultimately defeated by Paul Atreides and his allies.

73. Veronica Sawyer (Heathers, 1988)

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Veronica Sawyer is a high school student who gets involved in a series of murders with her rebellious boyfriend, J.D. She eventually turns against J.D. and stops the killing spree, exposing the truth behind the deaths.

74. J.D. (Heathers, 1988)


J.D. is a charismatic but disturbed teenager who convinces his girlfriend, Veronica, to join him in a series of murders.

75. Nada (They Live, 1988)

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Nada is a drifter who discovers a pair of sunglasses that reveal the hidden truth about aliens controlling society.

76. Andie Walsh (Pretty in Pink, 1986)

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Andie Walsh is a working-class high school girl who falls for a rich boy, Blane McDonough.

77. Duckie Dale (Pretty in Pink, 1986)

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Duckie is Andie’s quirky and devoted best friend, who secretly harbors feelings for her. Despite his heartache, Duckie ultimately supports Andie in her pursuit of love and happiness.

78. Blane McDonough (Pretty in Pink, 1986)

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Blane McDonough is a wealthy high school student who falls in love with Andie, a girl from a lower socioeconomic background.


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79. Daryl Van Horne (The Witches of Eastwick, 1987)

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Daryl Van Horne is a mysterious and charismatic man who seduces three women in a small town. His true identity as a devilish figure is eventually revealed, leading the women to join forces against him.

80. Alexandra Medford (The Witches of Eastwick, 1987)

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Alexandra Medford is a sculptor and one of the three women who become involved with Daryl Van Horne.

81. Jane Spofford (The Witches of Eastwick, 1987)

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Jane Spofford is a lonely music teacher who becomes involved with Daryl Van Horne along with her friends.

82. Sukie Ridgemont (The Witches of Eastwick, 1987)

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Sukie Ridgemont is a shy journalist and mother who is drawn to the enigmatic Daryl Van Horne.

83. Annie Savoy (Bull Durham, 1988)

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Annie Savoy is a baseball groupie who takes a new player under her wing each season. This year, she becomes involved with both veteran catcher Crash Davis and rookie pitcher Nuke LaLoosh.

84. Frankenstein’s monster (The Monster Squad, 1987)


Frankenstein’s monster is a misunderstood creature who befriends a group of kids known as the Monster Squad and helps the children in their battle against Dracula and his evil minions.


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85. Sean Crenshaw (The Monster Squad, 1987)

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Sean Crenshaw is the leader of the Monster Squad, a group of kids who discover that monsters are real and terrorizing their town. Sean leads his friends in a fight against Dracula and his minions, ultimately saving the day.

86. Charles Deetz (Beetlejuice, 1988)

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Charles Deetz is the father of the Deetz family, who moves his wife and daughter to a quaint New England home that turns out to be haunted.

87. Delia Deetz (Beetlejuice, 1988)

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Delia Deetz is Charles’ eccentric wife and Lydia’s stepmother. A self-proclaimed artist, she becomes fascinated with the supernatural aspects of their new home and inadvertently summons the mischievous spirit Beetlejuice.

88. Carl Spackler (Caddyshack, 1980)


Carl Spackler is the eccentric and somewhat unhinged groundskeeper at the upscale Bushwood Country Club.

89. Judge Elihu Smails (Caddyshack, 1980)

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Judge Elihu Smails is the snobbish and pompous antagonist in Caddyshack. He constantly clashes with the other characters, especially Al Czervik, and ultimately faces humiliation.

90. Louden Swain (Vision Quest, 1985)

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Louden Swain is a high school wrestler determined to achieve greatness by taking on the toughest opponent in the state.

91. Carla (Vision Quest, 1985)

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Carla is a young artist who becomes romantically involved with Louden Swain. As Louden’s love interest, Carla challenges him to question his goals and what truly matters in life.

92. Ellen Ripley (Aliens, 1986)

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Ellen Ripley is a tough and resourceful survivor of a deadly alien encounter. In the film’s sequel, she becomes a reluctant hero and protector as she faces the terrifying creatures once again.

93. Cameron Frye (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986)

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Cameron Frye is Ferris Bueller’s introverted and anxiety-ridden best friend who is reluctantly pulled into the day’s antics.

94. Westley (The Princess Bride, 1987)

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Westley is the dashing and resourceful hero in The Princess Bride, who embarks on a quest to rescue his true love, Princess Buttercup, from an unwanted marriage.

95. Rachael (Blade Runner, 1982)

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Rachael is a sophisticated and enigmatic replicant who becomes romantically involved with ”blade runner” Rick Deckard.

96. Samantha Baker (Sixteen Candles, 1984)

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Samantha Baker is a high school girl whose family forgets her sixteenth birthday amid the chaos of her sister’s wedding.

97. Jake Ryan (Sixteen Candles, 1984)

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Jake Ryan is the popular and handsome high school senior who becomes the object of Samantha Baker’s affection in Sixteen Candles.

98. Alex Murphy/Robocop (Robocop, 1987)


Alex Murphy is a Detroit police officer who is brutally murdered and subsequently resurrected as the cyborg law enforcer Robocop.

99. Dick Jones (Robocop, 1987)

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Dick Jones is the ruthless and ambitious senior vice president of Omni Consumer Products (OCP) in Robocop.

100. Gordie Lachance (Stand by Me, 1986)

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Gordie Lachance is a young boy struggling with the recent death of his older brother in Stand by Me. He embarks on a journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.

101. Chris Chambers (Stand by Me, 1986)


Chris Chambers is Gordie Lachance’s best friend and a member of the group searching for the missing boy.

102. Beetlejuice (Beetlejuice, 1988)

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Beetlejuice is a mischievous and crude ghost who offers his “bio-exorcism” services to the recently deceased couple Adam and Barbara Maitland.


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103. Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice, 1988)

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Lydia Deetz is a gothic teenager who moves into the haunted house inhabited by the Maitland’s spirits.

104. Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982)

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Jeff Spicoli is a laid-back, perpetually stoned surfer who struggles with authority and schoolwork.

105. Jake Blues (The Blues Brothers, 1980)

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Jake Blues is one half of the iconic Blues Brothers duo. Recently released from prison, Jake, along with his brother Elwood, embarks on a “mission from God” to save the orphanage they grew up in.

106. Elwood Blues (The Blues Brothers, 1980)

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Elwood Blues is the other half of the Blues Brothers duo and the more level-headed of the pair. Alongside his brother Jake, Elwood drives the duo’s iconic “Bluesmobile” and shares in the wild adventures and unforgettable musical numbers.

107. Loretta Castorini (Moonstruck, 1987)

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Loretta Castorini is a widowed bookkeeper who falls in love with her fiancé’s brother.

108. Wendy Torrance (The Shining, 1980)

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Wendy Torrance is the wife of Jack Torrance. As Jack descends into madness, Wendy must protect herself and her son from the hotel’s sinister influence.

109. Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride, 1987)

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Inigo Montoya is a skilled Spanish swordsman seeking revenge for his father’s murder.

110. Fezzik (The Princess Bride, 1987)

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Fezzik is a kind-hearted giant with extraordinary strength and uses his size and strength to help rescue Princess Buttercup and bring about a happy ending.

111. Dracula (The Monster Squad, 1987)

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Dracula is the main antagonist in The Monster Squad, who seeks to take over the world with his army of classic monsters.

112. Ash Williams (The Evil Dead, 1981)

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Ash Williams from the Evil Dead is an unsuspecting college student who becomes the unwitting hero in a battle against demonic forces.

113. David (An American Werewolf in London, 1981)

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David is an American tourist who is attacked by a werewolf while traveling in England. He survives the attack but is cursed to become a werewolf himself.

114. Jack Goodman (An American Werewolf in London, 1981)

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Jack Goodman is David’s best friend who is killed in the werewolf attack but returns as a ghost to warn David of his fate.

115. Hans Gruber (Die Hard, 1988)


Hans Gruber is the intelligent and ruthless leader of a group of terrorists who seize control of a Los Angeles high-rise in Die Hard.

116. Otho Fenlock (Beetlejuice, 1988)


Otho Fenlock is a flamboyant interior decorator and so-called paranormal expert who attempts to rid the house of its ghostly inhabitants.

117. Kuch (Vision Quest, 1985)


Kuch is Louden’s best friend and fellow wrestler. He supports Louden throughout his vision quest and offers encouragement and a touch of humor.


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118. Sloane Peterson (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986)

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Sloane Peterson is Ferris Bueller’s smart and adventurous girlfriend who joins him on his epic day off.

119. Princess Buttercup (The Princess Bride, 1987)

Princess Buttercup is the beautiful and strong-willed heroine of The Princess Bride, who is captured and forced into an unwanted marriage to the evil Prince Humperdinck.

120. Adrian Balboa (Rocky III, 1982)

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Adrian Balboa is Rocky Balboa’s loving and supportive wife. In Rocky III, Adrian helps Rocky regain his confidence and focus on what truly matters.

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