The 120 Greatest 90s Movie Characters (Ranked)
The 1990s saw a wide range of movie trends, from independent cinema’s emergence to major studios’ blockbuster hits. One trend that gained prominence in the early part of the decade was the rise of the “brat pack” films, which focused on the lives and relationships of young adults. With that said, let’s take a look a the 120 greatest 90s movie characters.
Another trend that emerged during this time was the popularity of action films, often featuring chase scenes and explosive special effects. We also saw the resurgence of classic horror films and the emergence of new sub-genres like teen slasher flicks. All of these trends resulted in some of the most iconic films to date. If you are interested in the 90s movie era, you should stick with us and keep reading!
120. Michael Jordan (Space Jam)
Michael Jordan starred in the 1996 movie Space Jam, where he played a fictionalized version of himself who teams up with Looney Tunes characters to play basketball against alien monsters.
119. Dade Murphy (Hackers)
Dade Murphy was the main character in the 1995 movie Hackers. He’s a computer genius who gets caught up in a cybercrime scheme and must clear his name with the help of his fellow hackers.
118. Thomas J. Whitmore (Independence Day)
Thomas J. Whitmore was a character from the iconic movie Independence Day. He’s the President of the United States who leads the country’s defense against an alien invasion, delivering a memorable speech to rally the troops.
117. Cole Sear (The Sixth Sense)
Cole Sear was the young boy from the movie called Sixth Sense. He had a special ability; he could communicate with the dead and, eventually, sought the help of a child psychologist to come to terms with his supernatural ability.
116. Josie Geller (Never Been Kissed)
Josie Geller was another iconic character from the 1999 romantic comedy Never Been Kissed. She’s a socially awkward journalist who goes undercover as a high school student to write a story but finds herself falling for her English teacher.
115. Peter Banning (Hook)
Peter Banning was a middle-aged lawyer who has forgotten his past as Peter Pan until he returns to Neverland to save his children from Captain Hook.
114. Muriel Heslop (Muriel’s Wedding)
Muriel Heslop was a socially awkward woman obsessed with getting married who went on a journey of self-discovery and found the courage to pursue her dreams.
113. Deloris Van Cartier (Sister Act)
Deloris Van Cartier was the main character in the 1992 comedy film Sister Act. She was a lounge singer who witnessed a crime and hid in a convent, where she transformed the choir and found her true calling.
112. Jake Shuttleworth (He Got Game)
Jake Shuttleworth was a convict who was given a chance to shorten his sentence by convincing his estranged high school basketball star son to play for the governor’s team.
111. Mike Waters (My Own Private Idaho)
Mike Waters was one of the main characters in the movie My Own Private Idaho. He was a young street hustler who suffered from narcolepsy and went on a journey of self-discovery with his friend and fellow hustler, Scott.
110. Babe (Babe)
Babe was a young pig who learned to herd sheep and proved his worth as a valuable farm member, challenging stereotypes and inspiring those around him. He was an iconic character from the movie, also called Babe.
109. Keung (Rumble In The Bronx)
Keung was the main protagonist in the 1993 action-comedy movie Rumble in the Bronx. He was a Hong Kong cop who traveled to New York to help his uncle’s market business but got caught up in a gang war and had to fight to save his family and friends.
108. Sam Baldwin (Sleepless In Seattle)
Sam Baldwin was a widower who captured a woman’s heart and heard him talking about his late wife on a radio show. This was one of Tom Hanks’s well-known roles in the romantic-comedy category.
107. Charles (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
Charles was a charming and bumbling Englishman who navigated a series of weddings and a funeral while searching for love and trying to figure out his life.
106. Melvin Udall (As Good As It Gets)
Melvin Udall was an obsessive-compulsive and rude novelist who formed an unlikely friendship with his gay neighbor and fell in love with a waitress at his local diner. The amazing Jack Nicolson as Melvin gave an amazing performance which made the movie even greater.
105. Austin Powers (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery)
Austin Powers is our next main character from the 1997 comedy film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. He was a groovy British spy from the 1960s who was cryogenically frozen and awakened in the 1990s to battle his nemesis, Dr. Evil.
104. Derek Vinyard (American History X)
Derek Vinyard was a former neo-Nazi skinhead who tried to prevent his younger brother from following the same path of hate and violence he once did. The movie received high critical acclaim, highlighting Edward Norton’s amazing performance.
103. Seth Gecko (From Dusk Till Dawn)
Seth Gecko was a violent and unpredictable criminal who, along with his brother, had taken a family hostage and sought refuge in a bar that is a nest of vampires.
102. Jack Skellington (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
Jack Skellington is the main character in the 1993 animated fantasy film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skellington was the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town who became fascinated with Christmas and decided to take over the holiday, but things did not go as planned.
101. William Wallace (Braveheart)
William Wallace was a Scottish warrior who led a revolt against English rule, inspired by his love for his country and a desire for freedom.
100. Aladdin (Aladdin)
Aladdin was the main character in the 1992 animated musical film Aladdin. He was a kind-hearted street thief in the city of Agrabah who fell in love with Princess Jasmine and used a magical genie’s help to win her heart and defeat the evil Jafar.
99. Sam „Ace“ Rothstein (Casino)
Sam “Ace” Rothstein was a skilled gambler and casino executive who got caught up in a web of corruption and violence. The film features some of the biggest names in the industry, like Robert De Niro in the role of Sam, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone.
98. Jack (Speed)
Jack Traven was a Los Angeles police officer who tried to save a bus full of people from a bomber’s plot.
97. William Foster (Falling Down)
William Foster was another memorable fictional character from the movie “Falling Down” played by Michael Douglas. He was an unemployed defense worker who went on a violent rampage in Los Angeles.
96. Romeo Montecchi (Romeo + Juliet)
Romeo Montague was a passionate and impulsive young man who falls in love with Juliet Capulet. This movie was a modern interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s well-known works.
95. Clarence (True Romance)
Clarence Worley was a regular comic book store clerk who became embroiled in a dangerous criminal underworld after falling in love with a call girl. This movie was Quentin Tarantino’s stepping stone into his now rich and lengthy career.
94. Jim McAllister (Election)
Jim McAllister was a high school teacher who became obsessed with preventing a student from winning the class presidency. Jim was played by Matthew Broderick.
93. Richard Kimble (The Fugitive)
Richard Kimble was a doctor who was wrongfully accused of his wife’s murder and went on the run to clear his name.
92. Ed Wood (Ed Wood)
Ed Wood was a fictionalized version of the real-life filmmaker in the movie “Ed Wood,” played by Johnny Depp. He was an eccentric and enthusiastic director who created low-budget movies with his ragtag team.
91. Cop 223 (Chungking Express)
Cop 223 was a lovelorn police officer who, after a breakup, became obsessed with a mysterious woman in a blonde wig. The “Chungking Express” is probably one of the most beloved Wong Kar Wai movies among his followers.
90. Neil McCauley (Heat)
Neil McCauley was a highly skilled thief and criminal mastermind who clashed with a dedicated LAPD detective. This was yet another iconic role played by Robert De Niro.
89. Vivian Ward (Pretty Woman)
Vivian Ward was a prostitute hired by a wealthy businessman for a week of companionship and romance. Vivian, who was played by Julia Roberts, managed to break the stereotypes about sex workers, and eventually, the businessman fell in love with her.
88. Peter Gibbons (Office Space)
Peter Gibbons was an office worker who became disillusioned with his mundane job and rebelled against the corporate culture.
87. Dante (Clerks)
Dante Hicks was a convenience store clerk who spent a day dealing with customers and personal problems. Brian O’Halloran played the character of Dante Hicks.
86. Bugs Bunny (Space Jam)
The character of Bugs Bunny was a mischievous, quick-witted anthropomorphic rabbit who often outwits his foes with humor and cleverness. Bugy Bunny, as you probably know, was one of the most iconic Looney Toon characters to date.
85. Will Hunting (Good Will Hunting)
Will Hunting was another praised fictional character from the movie “Good Will Hunting,” played by Matt Damon. He was a janitor with a genius-level IQ who had to confront his troubled past and his potential for a better future.
84. Woody (Toy Story)
Woody was an animated fictional character from the “Toy Story” franchise voiced by the amazing Tom Hanks. He is a cowboy doll who was fiercely loyal to his owner Andy and became the de facto leader of the toys.
83. Phil (Groundhog Day)
Phil Connors is the main character of the movie “Groundhog Day.” He was a cynical weatherman who was forced to relive the same day over and over again until he learned how to become a better person.
82. Jerry Lundegaard (Fargo)
Jerry Lundegaard was a bumbling car salesman who hired two criminals to kidnap his wife for ransom, but things quickly spiral out of control. The movie Fargo was later adapted into a TV series.
81. Captain Jonh Miller (Saving Private Ryan)
The character, Captain John Miller, led a squad of soldiers on a dangerous mission to rescue a fellow soldier during World War II.
80. John Connor (The Terminator)
John Connor is another well-known fictional character from the “Terminator” franchise played by various actors. He was the future leader of the human resistance against machines in a post-apocalyptic world.
79. Cher (Clueless)
Cher Horowitz was the main protagonist in the movie “Clueless,” played by Alicia Silverstone. She was a wealthy and popular high school student who enjoyed matchmaking and navigating her school’s social hierarchy.
78. Craig Jones (Friday)
Craig Jones, played by Ice Cube, was an unemployed and laid-back young man who spends his day hanging out with his friend Smokey and getting into misadventures.
77. Thelma (Thelma & Louise)
Thelma was one of the main characters in the 1991 road-trip crime film “Thelma & Louise.” She was a meek housewife who, along with her friend Louise, embarked on a wild journey of self-discovery and rebellion against a patriarchal society.
76. Louise (Thelma & Louise)
Thelma’s partner in crime was a tough-talking waitress, and together they set out on a journey of liberation and empowerment that led them to a tragic but unforgettable end.
75. Alan Grant (Jurassic Park)
Alan Grant was the main protagonist in the 1993 science-fiction adventure film Jurassic Park. He was a paleontologist who, along with a group of others, was invited to a theme park with cloned dinosaurs that quickly became a deadly fight for survival.
74. Jesse (Before Sunrise)
Jesse was a young American traveler who met a French woman, Celine, on a train and spent a magical night with her in Vienna before their paths crossed again. The movie “Before Sunrise” is the first film in the trilogy and was filmed in only 15 days.
73. Jeff Lebowski (The Big Lebowski)
Big Lebowski was a laid-back, bowling-loving slacker who became embroiled in a wild and absurd kidnapping plot involving mistaken identity and plenty of White Russians. Just like the character, the movie Big Lebowski was a cult classic.
72. Andy Dufresne (The Shawshank Redemption)
Andy Dufresne was a quiet and intelligent banker who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison, where he formed unlikely friendships and eventually found hope for a better future.
71. Tom Townsend (Metropolitan)
Tom Townsend was a young Ivy League student who became involved with a group of upper-class Manhattan socialites during his winter break. He was the main character in the popular comedy-drama Metropolitan.
70. Lula Pace Fortune (Wild At Heart)
Lula Pace Fortune was a passionate and impulsive young woman who embarked on a road trip with her lover Sailor, which eventually led to a violent and surreal journey.
69. Dirk Diggler (Boogie Nights)
Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg, was the main character in the film called Boogie Nights. He was a young man with a large endowment who became a popular porn star in the late 1970s and 1980s but faced struggles with drugs and the constantly changing industry.
68. Mr. White (Reservoir Dogs)
The character of Mr. White was a depiction of a criminal mastermind in the film Reservoir Dogs. This Tarantino character was known for his professionalism, loyalty, and eventual moral conflict.
67. William Blake (Dead Man)
William Blake is the protagonist in the film Dead Man, played by the versatile Johnny Depp. He was a timid accountant who traveled to a western town and became an accidental outlaw.
66. Barton Fink (Barton Fink)
Barton Fink was a struggling playwright and the titular character of the Coen Brothers’ 1991 film, who found himself caught up in a surreal nightmare.
65. Jennie (Kids)
Jennie was a young girl in Larry Clark’s controversial film who tried to navigate the dangers of New York City’s skate culture and was diagnosed with HIV.
64. Bill Harford (Eyes Wide Shut)
Eyes Wide Shut was Kubrick’s worst-received film; it was only later on that it gained a cult following, and in this movie, we have the character of Bill Harford. He was the main protagonist who became embroiled in a world of sexual obsession and intrigue.
63. Herman J. Blume (Rushmore)
Herman J. Blume was a wealthy and successful businessman who became a mentor and father figure to a troubled prep school student in the film “Rushmore.”
62. Jack Foley (Out of Sight)
Jack Foley was the charismatic and charming bank robber in the film “Out of Sight.” He was played by George Clooney and is known for his suave demeanor and cool demeanor under pressure.
61. Julie (Three Colors: Blue)
This next character was in the movie Three Colors: Blue, and her name was Julie. Unfortunately, this was a sad story about a woman who lost her daughter and husband in a car accident. After the incident, she isolated herself and tried coping with her grief.
60. San (Princess Mononoke)
San was the lead female protagonist in the Studio Ghibli film “Princess Mononoke.” She was a human raised by wolves and, eventually, went on to protect the forest from her own kind.
59. Griffin Mill (The Player)
Griffin Mill, who was played by Tim Robbins in “The Player,” was a Hollywood studio executive who became embroiled in a murder plot after receiving threatening postcards.
58. Bess McNeill (Breaking the Waves)
Bess McNeil was one of Lars von Trier’s characters, in this case, from the movie called Breaking the Waves. She was a devout, innocent woman who sought redemption through sacrificial love.
57. Pauline Parker (Heavenly Creatures)
Pauline Parker was a teenage girl with a vivid imagination in the film “Heavenly Creatures,” who formed an intense bond with her friend and became involved in a shocking crime.
56. Bud White (L.A. Confidential)
Bud White, played by Russel Crowe, was a tough and violent police officer in the movie L.A. Confidential, who was haunted by his past and was willing to cross the line for justice.
55. Flora McGrath (The Piano)
The character of Flora McGrath used sign language to communicate and eventually found herself in a tumultuous love triangle.
54. Mickey Knox (Natural Born Killers)
Natural Born Killers was another really important movie, and the character of Mickey Knox, played by Woody Harrelson, had to be one of the 90s cult classics.
53. Jackie Brown (Jackie Brown)
Jackie Brown was a flight attendant who smuggled money for the arms dealer Ordell Robbie but instead decided to double-cross him and steal half a million dollars.
52. Mary Jensen (There’s Something About Mary)
Mary Jensen was the lead protagonist in the comedy film “There’s Something About Mary.” She was the object of Ted’s affection, and her beauty captivated several men in the film.
51. Newland Archer (The Age of Innocence)
In the movie The Age of Innocence, Newland Archer was the main character, and the story was set in 19th-century New York. He was a lawyer who fell in love with an unconventional Countess Ellen Olenska, which eventually meant that his reputation was at stake.
50. The Lieutenant (Bad Lieutenant)
The Lieutenant was a corrupt, drug-addicted cop spiraling out of control in Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant, brilliantly portrayed by Harvey Keitel.
49. Billy Madison (Billy Madison)
Billy Madison, played by the memorable Adam Sandler, was a man-child who had to repeat grades 1-12 to inherit his father’s business in this classic comedy film.
48. Orlando (Orlando)
Orlando was a gender-shifting protagonist who lived for centuries, grappling with societal expectations and personal identity, in Sally Potter’s 1992 film adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel.
47. Lux Lisbon (The Virgin Suicides)
The movie, The Virgin Suicides, followed the story of Lux Lisbon who was the youngest and most rebellious out of the Lisbon sisters.
46. Tracy Mills (Seven)
Tracy Mills was the strong-willed and intelligent character in the movie Se7en, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, who became a victim of a twisted murderer’s game.
45. Annie Porter (Speed)
Annie Porter, portrayed by Sandra Bullock in the movie Speed, was a quick-thinking passenger turned-driver who had to keep a bus from exploding.
44. Kim (Edward Scissorhands)
Wynona Ryder who played a teenage girl called Kim in the iconic Tim Burton movie Edward Scissorhands. She went on to befriend the titular character and ultimately helped him escape persecution.
43. Laney Boggs (She’s All That)
One of the most iconic rom-com movies from the 90s era was called “She’s All That.” Laney Boggs was its main character and initially seen as an outcast but eventually transformed with the help of Zack Siler.
42. Francesca Johnson (The Bridges of Madison County)
Francesca Johnson was a married Iowa housewife who fell in love with a National Geographic photographer in the film “The Bridges of Madison County.”
41. Kathleen Kelly (You’ve Got Mail)
Kathleen Kelly, portrayed by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail, was a charming, independent bookstore owner who fell in love with a rival businessman online.
40. Sam Wheat (Ghost)
Ghost was another unforgettable movie from this era, and its protagonist Sam Wheat was played by Patrick Swayze. Sam was a banker who was murdered and returned as a ghost to avenge his death and protect his girlfriend.
39. Helen Shivers (I Know What You Did Last Summer)
Helen Shivers, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, was a confident and ambitious beauty queen who fell prey to a relentless killer in the movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
38. Gale Weathers (Scream)
Courtney Cox played one of the main characters in the iconic slasher film. Gale Weathers was an ambitious journalist in the Scream franchise who became involved in the series of murders in Woodsboro.
37. Annette Hargrove (Cruel Intentions)
Annette Hargrove was a clever and ambitious socialite, played by Reese Witherspoon, who became entangled in a dangerous game of seduction in the movie Cruel Intentions.
36. Vivian (Jungle Fever)
Vivian was a young and vivacious woman who became romantically involved with her married neighbor.
35. Padmé Amidala (Star Wars)
Padmé Amidala was a key character in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, a senator and the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker.
34. Louis de Pointe du Lac (Interview with the Vampire)
Louis de Pointe du Lac struggled with his immortality after being turned into a vampire. He was a melancholic character, played by Brad Pitt, who fell in love with a mortal woman.
33. Korben Dallas (The Fifth Element)
Korben Dallas was a retired Special Forces Major turned taxi driver who became embroiled in a mission to save the world.
32. Leeloo (The Fifth Element)
Leeloo was another character from the movie The Fifth Element. She was a fierce, otherworldly being who sought to save the universe from destruction.
31. Jim Levenstein (American Pie)
Jason Biggs played the embarrassing teenager in the American Pie series with a reputation for sexual mishaps and awkward moments.
30. Lester Burnham (American Beauty)
Lester was another memorable character; he was going through a midlife crisis, after which he rebelled against his mundane life and finally discovered beauty in the world.
29. Kat Stratford (10 Things I Hate About You)
Kat was a rebellious high school student that loved feminist literature.
28. Patrick Verona (10 Things I Hate About You)
Another rebel from the movie “10 Things I Hate About You” who fell in love with the character of Kat.
27. Raoul Duke (Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)
Johnny Depp plays a drug-fueled journalist who goes on a wild trip.
26. Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct)
Catherine Tramell was a manipulative and seductive crime novelist with a penchant for danger.
25. Zack Siler (She’s All That)
Zack Siler was a high school heartthrob who made a bet to turn a nerd into a prom queen.
24. Mathilda (The Professional)
Mathilda was a young girl trained as a hitman’s protégée and eventually sought revenge for her family’s murder.
23. Daniel Hillard (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Father, played by Robin Williams, had to disguise himself as a nanny to spend time with the children.
22. Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Smart and bookish Belle fell in love with the Beast’s inner goodness.
21. Lloyd Christmas (Dumb & Dumber)
Goofy and optimistic, Lloyd was the hapless protagonist of the comedy film “Dumb and Dumber.”
20. Harry Dune (Dumb & Dumber)
Loyal and dim-witted friend of Lloyd, who was always up for an adventure.
19. Mark Renton (Trainspotting)
Mark was a heroin addict on a quest to find himself in Edinburgh.
18. Kint (The Usual Suspects)
Kint was a con artist with a mysterious past sought by law enforcement.
17. Truman Burbank (The Truman Show)
The star of a reality show who tries to find his truth and freedom.
16. Edward (Edward Scissorhands)
Inventive and gentle, Edward has scissor blades attached to his hands, making it difficult for him to connect with regular folks.
15. Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)
Innocent man experiences life’s ups and downs with perseverance and kindness.
14. William Somerset (Seven)
William was a detective with a troubled past in search of a final case.
13. Clarice (Silence of the Lambs)
Driven FBI trainee pursues a serial killer with the help of a cannibalistic psychiatrist.
12. Sydney Prescott (Scream)
Survivor of multiple attacks, Sydney Prescott, was a resourceful and determined protagonist in the Scream movie franchise.
11. Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
Revolutionary, charismatic, and unpredictable alter ego of the unnamed narrator in “Fight Club.”
10. Oskar Schindler (Schindler’s list)
Nazi businessman Oskar Schindler saves Jewish lives.
9. Neo (The Matrix)
A Computer programmer discovers he was the chosen one to save humanity.
8. Rose DeWitt Bukater (Titanic)
Rose was a survivor of the tragic Titanic incident.
7. Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction)
Vincent was a charming hitman who was prone to 50s nostalgia.
6. Agent K (Men in Black)
K was a seasoned MIB agent who mentors his new partner Jay in Men in Black.
5. Simba (The Lion King)
Simba was a lion prince who learned about responsibility and destiny after his father died in the Lion King.
4. Mia Wallace (Pulp Fiction)
Mia Wallace was a glamorous and enigmatic woman with a penchant for danger and a taste for adrenaline.
3. Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
Hannibal Lecter was a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer with a keen intellect and refined taste.
2. Jack Dawson (Titanic)
Jack Dawson was a free-spirited artist who fell in love with Rose aboard the Titanic.
1. Kevin McCallister (Home Alone)
Kevin McCallister was a young, resourceful boy who was accidentally left home alone during Christmas in Home Alone Franchise.