22 Unforgettable Character Introductions in Movies

By Jeppe Kleijngeld

Sometimes a character is introduced in a movie in a way that immediately tells you all you need to know. Is this character friendly, bad, cool or slick? Is he/she the ultimate hero? The ultimate badass? The ultimate gangster? In this list you will find 22 character introductions that stick. If you’ve seen the movies, chances are you probably remember them. Enjoy!

22. Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather

Played by
: Marlon Brando
First lines: “Why did you go to the police? Why didn’t you come to me first?”
Why memorable: What better way to introduce the mighty Don Corleone than to show him during a day at the office? We learn a lot of things from this. For one thing, he has power, lots of power. He has everybody in his pocket. Respect and honor matter more to him than money. Don Corleone knows how to treat a friend, but when you’re in his debt you can expect him to ask something in return. Through three little visits by relations we learn exactly how the Don works (a favor for a favor), what his principles are (“you can act like a man!”) and how he sees himself (“we’re not murderers, despite of what this undertaker says”). Marvelous.

21. John Tuld in Margin Call

Played by
: Jeremy Irons
First lines: “Please, sit down.”
Why memorable: He arrives by helicopter, the CEO of a big Wall Street bank, at the brink of the mother of all market crashes. The moment he enters the conference room, he hypnotizes everybody, including the audience. Jeremy Irons completely rules in this scene. He has great lines to work with (“Maybe you could tell me what is going on. And please, speak as you might to a young child. Or a golden retriever. It wasn’t brains that brought me here; I assure you that”), and his delivery is completely mesmerizing.

20. Garland ‘The Marietta Mangler’ Greene in Con Air

Played by
: Steve Buscemi
First lines: “He’s a font of misplaced rage. Name your cliché. Mother held him too much or not enough.”
Why memorable: The fun thing about Con Air is the high density of insane criminals on board of a hijacked airplane; Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom; Johnny 23; Diamond Dog; et cetera. When you think you’ve got them all, a new bunch arrives, including Garland Greene aka the ‘Marietta Mangler’, who slaughtered 37 people. “Should be interesting”, Grissom says. Greene’s entrance is pretty hilarious; a steel security truck; a gimp-like suit; loads of guards and impressed remarks by the toughest of criminals. Then Grissom has his mask removed and we look at…Steve Buscemi, a creepy Steve Buscemi no less. Later, he surprisingly turns out to be pretty friendly.

19. Isaac Davis in Manhattan

Played by
: Woody Allen
First lines: “Chapter 1. He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion. Uh, no. Make that; he romanticized it all out of proportion. Better.”
Why memorable: This particular scene really nails Woody Allen. While we view beautiful black and white images of Manhattan, we hear him in a voice-over describing why he loves this city. Typically Allen, he does so in a really neurotic way, changing his description about six times in only a few minutes. Boy, can he talk! Arguably Allen is not portraying Isaac Davis here, but he is really playing himself. In either case, you get to know the man right away with this intro. Whether that is positive or negative is a matter of taste.

18. Django in Django

Played by
: Franco Nero
First lines: “Whatever I’m doing here is none of your business.”
Why memorable: What a great way to start a movie! First, we get a credit sequence in which we see a mysterious man carry a coffin behind him through the desert. We don’t see his face. The campy credits seem to come straight out of an old Italian horror flick. The title song ‘Django’ plays and not only is it beautiful, it also tells us the story; once you’ve loved her, whoa-oh…now you’ve lost her, whoa-oh-oh-oh…but you’ve lost her for-ever, Django. In the scene after, Django eliminates five sadistic bandits that want to burn a girl alive. It is confirmed, Django is a bloody hero! No matter what happens next, we will be with him.

17. Amélie Poulain in Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

Played by
: Audrey Tautou
First lines: “Les poules couvent souvent au couvent.” (‘The chickens cluck more often than the rooster crows.’)
Why memorable: The romantic fairytale Amelie, opens with a depiction of the childhood of main character Amélie Poulain in Paris neighborhood Montmartre. Because of circumstances and the personalities of her parents, Amélie grows up at home, where she retreats into her own fantasy world where vinyl records are made like crepes and crocodile monsters come to visit her. This introduction gives us the perfect sense of who Amélie will become as she grows up; a woman who wants to make people happy with little things and a woman impossible not to love.

16. Bill in Kill Bill

Played by
: David Carradine
First lines: “Do you find me sadistic? You know I’ll bet I could fry an egg on your head right now if I wanted to.”
Why memorable: His handkerchief tells us who he is; Bill from the title. The guy that needs to die! What he does in the first scene is unforgivable; shooting the lovely Bride (Uma Thurman) through the head. Yet, there is this duality about Bill that makes him interesting. He is a cold blooded bastard here, but the way he touches the Bride and the things he says, tell us that he really cares about her. We want to learn more about him. The fact that we don’t see his face only adds to his mystery. Add to that his awesome voice (David Carradine’s) and you’ve got a character (and bad guy) entrance to dream of.

15. Lolita in Lolita

Played by
: Sue Lyon
First lines: “Goodnight (kisses mother). Goodnight (kisses Humbert Humbert).”
Why memorable: The middle-aged college professor Humbert Humbert (James Mason) immediately rents the room of the house he is checking out when he sees 14-year-old nymphet Lolita in the garden. “What was the decisive factor?”, asks landlady and Lolita’s mom Charlotte Haze. “Was it the garden?”
“No, I guess it’s your cherry pie”. Yeah right Humbert, you horny old goat. It is understandable though. Actress Sue Lyon looks terrific and plays the seductive vamp Lolita completely and utterly convincing. Mason’s facial expressions in response to Lolita are hilarious.

14. Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Played by
: David Prowse (body) and James Earl Jones (voice)
First lines: “Where are those transmissions you intercepted? WHAT have you done with those PLANS?”
Why memorable: The ultimate sci-fi baddie makes his introduction right at the start of Episode IV. His evil nature and his power are apparent from the first frame; his black cape, his helmet, his breathing, et cetera. The way he chokes a rebel to death makes us fear him. Darth Vader is evil, incarcerated, or rather incyborgated. A really great introduction to a brilliant character.

13. Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men

Played by
: Javier Bardem
First lines: “Step out of the car please, sir.”
Why memorable: In his first two scenes in No Country for Old Men, Anton Chigurh is like the Devil himself. Although his haircut is something awful, this man surely is frightening. Even the hardened sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones thinks so. First, Chigurh uses his handcuffs to kill the cop who arrested him. He does so with a sardonic pleasure, almost as if he is possessed. Afterwards he immediately kills another man, a civilian this time, using an oxygen tank. This is beyond much doubt the most brutal introduction to a mad killer ever.

12. Bridget Gregory in The Last Seduction

Played by
: Linda Fiorentino
First lines: “I can’t hear you people! You maggots sound like suburbanites. 50 bucks for a lousy coin set, you sell one at the time. I got a hundred bucks for the next sucker who makes a triple sale.”
Why memorable: The greatest of femme fatales is Bridget Gregory in The Last Seduction. Right from the get go her deadliness is obvious. Yet, she is still stunningly sexy and irresistible. In this scene, she is bullying men around in a sales office. Her aggression is off-putting, yet she could pull in any guy like a magnet. Bridget is a woman you just don’t say no to, no matter how obviously bad for your health she is.

11. Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West

Played by
: Charles Bronson
First lines: “And Frank?”
Why memorable: Three men that look like bandits are waiting for a train. When it arrives nobody exits. Then, when they are about to leave they hear the music. Hello Harmonica. Our mysterious hero plays rather than talks. He seems to be looking for a man named Frank, who the bandits work for. It is not hard to guess his purpose with Frank when he kills the three men. Harmonica does not only play, he knows how to shoot too.

10. Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday

Played by
: Bob Hoskins
First lines: “Good old George.”
Why memorable: Our favorite British gangster Harold Shand, is introduced when he arrives at the airport. He walks around in a cool white suit and with a very cool, tough guy expression. The musical score is awesome. This is a guy who is in control. He is the man! We definitely want to spend more time with Harold. A great character like Harold Shand deserves an introduction like this.

9. Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Played by
: Harrison Ford
First lines: “This is it… This is where Forrestal cashed in.”
Why memorable: The first thing we see are his whip and his hat, the two most important items Indy carries with him. He wouldn’t be Indiana Jones without them. We don’t see his face though. That comes later when one of his companions wants to shoot him in the back. He turns around and uses his whip to take away his revolver. You don’t surprise Indiana Jones like that! From here on we know; this is the greatest adventurer in the world and we will gladly follow him to the darkest places.

8. Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Played by
: Betsy Brantley (performance model) and Kathleen Turner (voice)
First lines: “You had plenty money nineteen twenty-two. You let other woman make a fool of you.”
Why memorable: When you hear the name Jessica Rabbit, wife of wacky toon character Roger Rabbit, you just assume you are dealing with a rabbit. Wrong! She is the most beautiful woman ever animated. Gorgeous, voluptuous shapes and a face to dream off; Jessica oozes sex. Private detective Eddie Valiant is stunned when he sees her perform in a nightclub and with him the audience.

7. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean

Played by
: Johnny Depp
First lines: “What do you say to three Shillings and we forget the name?”
Why memorable: The pirate of all pirates is introduced brilliantly. Jack Sparrow is seen standing proudly on a mast in a beautiful tilting shot, supported by epic-sounding music. But, as it turns out; the ship is not as impressive as it initially appears. It is a small sized sloop and it is sinking. The best part is that Jack exactly makes it to the shore; the second he puts foot on land, his ‘ship’ is gone. That immediately makes clear the dilemma of his character; he is a pirate without a ship. And he walks kind of funny, but hey; it is Johnny Depp after all.

6. Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski

Played by
: John Turturro
First lines: “Are you ready to be fucked, man?”
Why memorable: Talking about unforgettable… Everybody who has ever seen The Big Lebowski remembers this scene: the purple outfit, the one polished nail, the bowling ball licking, the perfect strike and his Latin dance to celebrate. Jesus Quintana is forever branded in the collective cinematic consciousness thanks to this moment. This is truly legendary stuff.

5. Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Played by
: Gene Wilder
First lines: “Welcome my friends”
Why memorable: Which kid wouldn’t want to meet a master chocolate maker? Before his entrance in the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, he is already presented as legendary; he was born to be candyman. Then we meet him 40 minutes into the movie and we think; so this is the guy? Hehehe. Gene Wilder puts one quite the show. He first fools the crowd by acting as a cripple and then he charmingly invites the lucky golden ticket winners into his factory, including poor kid Charlie Bucket and his granddad. Heart-warming and lovely.

4. Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd.

Played by
: Gloria Swanson
First lines: “Have him come up, Max.”
Why memorable: A screenwriter, Joe Gillis, has a blow-up and walks up to a fancy Hollywood house to get a spare. Then he meets her; Norma Desmond, a famous actress from the Hollywood silent pictures era. Her motto: “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” Her madness is apparent from the beginning as she takes Gillis for the funeral director there to bury her deceased chimp. Then they start talking about movies and we learn her narcissistic personality, forever ruined by her career. She is both sad and dreadful, a wonderful character, and introduced very poignantly.

3. Jill in Once Upon a Time in the West

Played by
: Claudia Cardinale
First lines: “Sweetwater. Brett McBain’s farm.”
Why memorable: You don’t need words for a great introduction, director Sergio Leone shows us. In this beautiful scene we witness how a strong, independent woman arrives in the Wild West and things are about to change. The music by Ennio Morricone is breathtaking and so are the images of Jill walking through the town looking for her escort. We don’t need an explanation; just seeing her on that train station tells us all we need to know.

2. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs

Played by
: Anthony Hopkins
First lines: “Good morning. You’re one of Jack Crawford’s aren’t you?”
Why memorable: Hannibal is introduced as the character was originally envisioned; deeply scary and fascinating. It is the anticipation that is created before meeting him that makes his introduction work like hell. FBI agent Starling is nervous about the meeting and so are we. FBI-boss Crawford tells Starling; don’t tell him anything personal, you don’t want Lecter inside your head. Prison director Chilton calls him a monster. Then, when Starling finally arrives at his cell, he is already standing there; this is enough to give you the chills. In the conversation that follows we learn that he is charming, extremely intelligent and psychopathic, but in a very complex way. This whole scene is unforgettable.

1. Frank in Once Upon a Time in the West

Played by
: Henry Fonda
First lines: “Now that you’ve called me by name.”
Why memorable: Henry Fonda originally turned down the role of Frank. Director Sergio Leone flew to the United States and met with Fonda, who asked why he was wanted for the film. Leone replied: “Picture this: the camera shows a gunman from the waist down pulling his gun and shooting a running child. The camera pans up to the gunman’s face and…it’s Henry Fonda!” (source: IMDb). Until then, with one exception, Fonda had only been cast in ‘good guy’ roles. Leone wanted the audience to be shocked. And it works like hell. Combined with his own theme music (all main characters in OUATITW have musical leitmotifs that relate to them), it is the most powerful character introduction ever. Those deep blue eyes, that sardonic smile… this is what evil looks like.

Originally published on FilmDungeon

Stanley Kubrick’s Favorite Movie

By David Lynch
Catching the Big Fish
(Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006)

KUBRICK

Stanley Kubrick is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers, and he did me a great honor early in my career that really encouraged me. I was working on The Elephant Man, and I was at Lee International Studio’s in England, standing in a hallway. One of the producers of The Elephant Man, Jonathan Sanger, brought over some guys who were working with George Lucas and said, “They’ve got a story for you.” And I said, “Okay.”

They said, “Yesterday, David, we were out at Elstree Studio’s, and we met Kubrick. And as we were talking to him, he said to us, ‘How would you fellas like to come up to my house tonight and see my favorite film?’” They said, “That would be fantastic.” They went up, and Stanley Kubrick showed them Eraserhead. So, right then, I could have passed away peaceful and happy.

I like all of Kubrick’s films, but my favorite may be Lolita. I just like the world. I like the characters. I love the performances. James Mason is phenomenal beyond the beyond in this film.

ERASERHEAD

Eraserhead is my most spiritual movie. No one understands when I say that, but it is. Eraserhead was growing in a certain way, and I didn’t know what it meant. I was looking for a key to unlock what these sequences were saying. Of course, I understood some of it; but I didn’t know the thing that just pulled it all together. And it was a struggle. So I got out my Bible and I started reading. And one day, I read a sentence. And I closed the Bible, because that was it; that was it. And then I saw the thing as a whole. And it fulfilled this vision for me, 100 percent. I don’t think I’ll ever say what that sentence was.

Read the review of ‘Eraserhead’ by Peter Sobczynski

De cochin is dood

In 2010 kregen Loesje en ik zes kuikentjes. We hebben ze op mijn kamer – de FilmDungeon – grootgebracht onder warmtelampen. Ontzettend bijzonder om te doen (al was de strontlucht soms niet te harden). Nog bijzonderder was het eindresultaat: zes prachtige krielkippen, die rondliepen door onze tuin. En later op het Konijneneiland 1.0.

Van de zes zijn er nu nog drie over. Er zat namelijk een extreem agressieve haan tussen het stel die niet te handhaven was: Bertje. We hebben toen een advertentie op Marktplaats gezet: ‘100 euro voor wie onze haan Bertje een mooi huisje wil geven’. Ik kan vertellen dat er aardig wat reacties binnenkwamen. Uiteindelijk hebben we gekozen voor een schitterende boerderij in Zuid-Holland waar ze wel kippen hadden, maar nog geen haan. Ik heb Bertje zelf weggebracht. Een minuut nadat hij uit zijn doos kwam had hij alle aanwezige kippen al verkracht. Bertje was nogal een mans haantje.

Eerder dit jaar overleed Lolita, de mooiste kip van het stel aan een ziekte. En afgelopen weekend is een van de zusjes Cochin verdwenen, de grappigste twee kippen van de clan. Ik vermoed dat ze door slecht zicht – ze had last van haar ogen door een virus – in het water is gevallen. Kippen die in het water vallen, weet ik van mijn ervaring met Brave Hendrik, blijven zo’n vijf dagen onder water voordat ze weer boven komen drijven. Ik zal haar naar verwachting nog wel terug vinden dus.

Cochin 1

De zusjes Cochin als kuikens

Cochin 2

De zusjes Cochin volwassen

2013 is niet alleen een beroerd jaar vanwege de chronische pijn die Loesje moet doorstaan, maar ook door de hoeveelheid dieren die het loodje leggen. Vorig weekend overleed ook konijn Witje, die terminaal ziek was. Dat brengt het totaal op zes dieren die zijn overleden in 2013:
– Brave Hendrik
– Lolita
– Heksje
– Fiep
– Witje
– Cochin

Hopelijk is de cochin echt de laatste. De overleden dieren krijgen uiteraard allemaal een plek op de begraafplaatsen op Konijneneiland 1.0. en 2.0. Vaarwel cochin, je hebt in je driejarige leven een onuitwisbare indruk op ons achtergelaten. Voor je zusje zullen we uiteraard goed zorgen.

De wereld stopt niet met draaien

Amstelveen, een saaie kantoordag. En moordend heet bovendien. Ik heb net een bak patat weggewerkt en moet weer aan de slag om de schade van afgelopen week in te perken. Week 31 staat nu te boek als minst productieve week van 2013, dus wie weet kan ik daar nog wat aan doen. Daarna racen naar de kinderopvang op Rosa op te halen.

Maar ik moet deze blogpost beginnen met een overlijdensbericht. Onze prachtige Lolita is niet meer. En collega-hen Heksje is ook dood. Nog geen twee maanden na het tragische overlijden van Brave Hendrik is onze kippenclan gereduceerd van 8 naar 5. En het besmettingsgevaar is nog niet geweken.

Op de avond van 29 juli waren Lolita en Heksje niet op komen dagen voor het eten. De volgende dag zat Lolita ’s ochtends wel in het hok, maar veel slomer dan normaal. De andere kippen waren verspreid over het eiland, dus ik dacht dat Heks daar ook wel bij zou zitten. Toen ik ’s avonds terugkwam lag Lolita dood in het hok en vond ik Heksje in de bosjes, aangevreten door de ratten. Volgens de dierenarts duidde mijn beschrijving op een besmettelijke bacterie die de luchtwegen aantast.

Gisteren heb ik een ‘Painted Veil’-stijl epidemiebestrijding uitgevoerd. 3 uur lang schrobben, boenen, de overige kippen inenten en de doden begraven. Nu hopen dat de overige vijf het gaan halen… Zondag weet ik meer…

Slachtoffers van de kippengriep

Slachtoffers

Kippen kunnen wel 13 jaar worden, dus Lolita en Heksje zijn met 3 en 2 niet oud geworden. Ze hebben wel een heerlijk vrij buitenleven gehad, duizend keer beter dan de gemiddelde plofkip. Verdriet voelen we vooral voor Lolita omdat we die als piepkuiken hebben grootgebracht. Het was de tamste kip ter wereld, die zelfs een keer bij Loesje op schoot kwam zitten. Heksje was erg schuw, maar ook een schatje. Ze krijgen een mooi plekje op het dierenkerkhof van het eiland (dat overigens binnenkort niet meer van ons is, maar daarover later meer). Vanuit ons huis kunnen we het plekje zien liggen. We zullen nog vaak terugdenken aan de mooie glanzend bruine Lolita en zwarte Heksje die relaxed over het eiland struinden, zoekende naar een worm of andere kippensnack.

Wat betreft deze week, Jezus christus. Ik was vooral afgeleid door de eeuwige discussie op IMDb over of Tony Soprano dood is. Het antwoord is ‘nee’ (ja, de acteur die hem speelt, James Gandolfini, wel, maar dat terzijde). Verder is het gewoon een typisch geval van een zomerdip. Een professioneel internetredacteur als ik kickt op wekelijks minstens één mooie headline uit eigen hand, maar het tempo ligt nu lager. Net als het aantal lezers trouwens. Maar net als een topsporter kom ik binnenkort wel weer in vorm. Het beste is om hier op een beetje goede oude ‘Dudeism’-manier naar te kijken: ‘I can’t be bothered by that shit… life goes on, man.’

IMG_0283