Now I must admit, I am the guy that hates practically every movie. I think that Hollywood has become predictable and that every film pretty much follows the same script (underdog protagonist prevails despite all the trials and tribulations they've faced, etc, etc, etc....)
The criteria for this list was mainly based on how memorable the character was, how well the actor portrayed the character and the number of good lines they had. I'm going to keep this list short and sweet and narrow it down to my five favorite characters of all time. They are in no particular order.
The first character on the list is simply referred to as "V" from V for Vendetta. Portrayed by Hugo Weaving, V hides behind a taunting Guy Fawkes mask that truly becomes an iconic image representing anti-government sentiment. Today, many individuals who support the Anonymous cause attend rally's throughout the world wearing these masks. Pretty influential if you ask me. The best line from the film is his exchange with Natalie Portman where he shines some light on who he is:
"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition."
The infamous Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects. This character in particular had many great traits. Lets start with the name. A profound name can go a long way, just ask Don Draper. What makes this character so amazing is that he is hardly ever on the screen but all you hear is how everyone is scared to death of him. My favorite quote from the film definitely is "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist." Genius.
The "Dude" from The Big Lebowski. I can seriously watch this movie a million times and notice something different each time. Actually, every character in that film could make this list. John Goodman does an amazing job playing Walter and John Turturro kills it playing Jesus Quintana. There are so many good one liners throughout the film, my personal favorite is "Do you see a wedding ring on my finger? Does this place look like I'm fucking married? The toilet seat is up man!"
Patrick Bateman from American Psycho played by Christian Bale. I really love this character. Yuppies are already perceived as non-empathetic creatures with odd societal etiquette. Bateman takes this to a whole new level. Throughout the film he engages in many meaningless superficial conversations that make him feel that there is a void in his life. In his case, he likes to fill that void with recreational murders. I mistakenly recommended this film to my mother in law. Not a good idea. If you want to see a great parody of this movie, Denham Denim did a great adaptation of the film but changed the characters to hipsters and the basically made it an ad on their jeans. You can watch the clip here. Brilliant!
Last but not least, is Bill "the Butcher" Cutting from The Gangs of New York. After making this list, I realized I'm definitely a fan of the antagonist. Daniel Day Lewis did an amazing job portraying this villain. He was calculated, cunning and had killer knife skills ... what more can you ask for? The movie was a bit long, but any time Lewis was on screen it was always very tense. That's when you know a character is essential to a story. One of his best lines was "Mulberry Street... and Worth... Cross and Orange... and Little Water. Each of the Five Points is a finger. When I close my hand it becomes a fist. And, if I wish, I can turn it against you." Classic.
So theres my list, I know I missed a TON of characters but like I said, I wanted to keep the list short.