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Top 10 Heroes & Villains Not on the AFI List

By Shawn McKenzie 06/07/2003

On June 3rd, 2003, the American Film Institute (AFI) revealed their “100 Years…100 Greatest Heroes & Villains” list.  It was compiled from a list of 400 nominated characters.  They separated the final list into 50 heroes and 50 villains.  Overall, I agreed with the list, but after looking at the nominees, I felt there were some glaring omissions.  Below is a list of the top 10 heroes and villains that didn’t make the final list.  These choices are solely my opinion.  (Some characters may be in more than one movie and/or played by more than one actor, but I am citing their first screen appearance.)




1.  Luke Skywalker, Star Wars


Sure, he may be whiny, but come on!  He defeated Darth Vader!  How can Han Solo and Ob-Wan Kenobi be on the list and not Luke?


2.  Detective John McClane, Die Hard


One man single-handedly defeated Hans Gruber and his band of terrorists (or thieves actually.)  He also inspired countless rip-offs from other vigilante heroes throughout the nineties.  He did it three times, and possibly a fourth!


3.  Sarah Connor, The Terminator


She saved the world twice from bloodthirsty cyborgs.  That’s pretty cool.


4.  John Rambo, First Blood


He may have gone nuts in the first one, but he certainly made up for it afterwards.  The word “Rambo” practically became another term for military bravery.


5.  Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek: The Motion Picture


Captain Archer may have come before him (in the storyline) and Captains’ Picard, Sisko, and Janeway may have been after him, but any Trekkie will agree that Kirk is the best.  He was the first Trek captain we all knew, and he became the blueprint for all that followed.


6.  Lee, Enter the Dragon


Doesn’t everyone copy Lee when they do martial arts?  He was the template for all that followed.


7.  John Shaft, Shaft


C’mon!  He was a bad mutha…(shut yo mouth!  You know I had to do that…)  Both Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson oozed cool doing this character.  He may not have been a spy, but he was the black James Bond.


8.  Jack Ryan, The Hunt for Red October


Ryan is a hero for the modern day world of terrorism.  If he existed for real, I think the Homeland Security office would be even stronger.


9.  Foxy Brown, Foxy Brown


Long before Buffy, we had Foxy.  She may not have had any superpowers, but she didn’t need any man to fight crime.


10.  Reverend Frank Scott, The Poseidon Adventure


He may not have saved them all, but the good Reverend led a few lucky survivors through the treacherous upside-down ocean liner to safety, even at the expense of his own life.




1.  Lex Luthor, Superman


I don’t think Gene Hackman is the best Luthor (I give that honor to Michael Rosenbaum in “Smallville”), but the character is very evil.  He will manipulate anyone and do anything in his tireless quest to rule the world, even if that means backstabbing people who trust him.


2.  The Monster, Frankenstein


This character has the brain of a psychopath, but he was originally a kind character.  He then becomes murderous when he is provoked.  Unlike the Hulk when he’s ticked off, he doesn’t become a superhero.


3.  Michael Myers, Halloween


This guy has been an unstoppable psycho since he was a little kid.  Jason Voorhees is so obviously a rip-off of this masked man.


4.  Kong, King Kong


Another misunderstood character that causes mass destruction out of rage.  Unlike Frankenstein’s Monster, he doesn’t just destroy a single windmill…he destroys a whole city.  He set the path of destruction that Godzilla and countless other overgrown animals would follow.


5.  John Doe, Se7en


Have you ever seen a sicker, colder killer than this nameless psycho?  What is worse is that he thinks of it as one big game, and the people he tortures are his players.  I think he could have even messed with Hannibal Lecter’s mind.


6.  Dr. Evil, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery


Hey…he has the frickin’ word “evil” in his frickin’ name!  Okay, he may be a comic baddie, but he will keep going back and forth in time in his pursuit to rule the world, or at least for one…million…dollars!  So…zip it!


7.  Al Capone, The Untouchables


Not only was he one of the most evil men ever in the real life Chicago ‘20s, but he was pretty bad in the movie too.  Didn’t you see what he did to that guy with the baseball bat?


8.  “Ghostface,” Scream


This killer (or killers as we find out) might be very generic, but he became a symbol for a new generation of self-aware victims.  All these kids grew up on horror movies and knew all the rules, yet this killer still got to them.  It helps a killer when he knows the rules too.


9.  Leatherface, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


Before Hannibal Lecter, America’s favorite cannibal was this character.  He was even based on the real-life psycho Ed Gein.  Beware the chainsaw!


10.  The Blair Witch, The Blair Witch Project

I know some people experienced more motion sickness than chills while watching the movie that contained this character, but if you could take the shakiness, it was truly scary.  Unless you were a complete moron, you knew this wasn’t a real documentary, but if you let yourself get into the experience, you freaked out over a character who killed its victims without ever appearing on screen.  Freaky!

Disagree with my choices?  Do you have a few suggestions of your own for the best heroes and villains of all time?  Please email me your choices at shawn@entertainyourbrain.com or go to the Home Page and post your opinion on the Entertain Your Brain Message Board!

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