So here’s my top 10 list of movie bromances! I rated them on a variety of things, including overall film quality, amount of snappy banter, how central the bromance was to the film, the bromance’s affect on the two characters, how iconic the bromance and the film is, and just which characters I liked better. The last one is probably the defining characteristic, if we’re being honest. I tried to put it behind me, but personal preference is so hard to suppress!
Honorable mentions: Forrest and Bubba from Forrest Gump, Don and Cosmo from Singin’ in the Rain, Joe and Jerry from Some Like It Hot, Lawrence and Sharif from Lawrence of Arabia, Nick and Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, Inigo and Fezzik from The Princess Bride, Danny and Rusty from Ocean’s Eleven, Hooker and Gondorf from The Sting, and Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World.
Coming in at number ten is…
Marty McFly (Micheal J Fox) and Doctor Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from Back to the Future (dir. Robert Zemekis, 1985)
This one is just two guys having adventures, but it’s awesome. It’s especially significant that there’s such an age difference between them, making their friendship a bit unusual but even more heartwarming for that reason. These guys are great, and their friendship goes across several time periods. Past Doc Brown, Present Marty, Present Doc Brown, all of them in the future, present, and the past… it’s crazy. But they’re friends the whole time!
“This is heavy.”
Coming in at number nine is…
Riff (Russ Tamblyn) and Tony (Richard Beymer) from West Side Story (dir. Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise, 1961)
I guess I’d technically have to include whatever characters these guys are in Shakespeare too, but I have never really liked Romeo and Juliet unless it’s in West Side Story form, so I’m going with these two. Their bromance is not the central relationship in the film, which is why it ranks so low. It does make the list though due to the very big component of Tony avenging Riff’s death. That’s what friends are for, after all. Also they sing and dance around together, Riff even lives with Tony’s family, and Tony has Riff’s back even when he would rather not get involved with the Jets again.
“Now I know Tony like I know me and I guarantee you can count him in.”
Coming in at number eight is…
William Munny (Clint Eastwood) and Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) from Unforgiven (dir. Clint Eastwood, 1992)
I’m not as up on this movie as I should be; I’ve only seen it once at it’s already starting to fade from my memory. I’m sure those of you who’ve seen it will agree with me though. Munny goes and gets Ned, and Ned’s with him for most of the movie. It might not be a great idea for either of them, but they’re sticking together for the most part. Also, Munny avenging Ned’s death has a lot to do with it. Since it’s the loss of Ned that sends Munny back to his darker days, and their relationship is more central to the film than Riff and Tony’s in West Side, they beat them out.
“It’s the angel of death. Oh Ned, I’m scared of dying.”
Coming in at number seven is…
This film does revolve around the bromance at hand. They have their ups and downs, but in the end Lionel and Bertie overcome their considerable class differences and develop a great friendship. In helping Bertie overcome his stutter, Lionel not only helps him build confidence but finds it in himself. They test each other, but in the end they both pass. It’s a heartwarming friendship in a film primarily concerned with warming your heart, winning Oscars for many involved.
“You have such perseverance Bertie; you’re the bravest man I know.”
Coming in at number six is…
Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx) and King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) from Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 2012)
Yup, I found a way to get a Tarantino film in here! In all seriousness though, I believe Django and Schultz to be a good choice. There’s a lot of personal empowerment going on here. Schultz frees Django from slavery, teaches him how to be a bounty hunter, and sees him become the very epitome of the western hero. Like the previous entry, there’s an element of teacher-student going on here, but I think that works in its favor. I think this relationship is more even than the last one: it’s easy what Schultz teaches Django, but I also think that Django helps Schultz see that he is in fact equal to him. In the beginning, he offers him a third of his bounties, but once they get to Candyland, he has to defer to his expertise. They have a great give and take, not to be mention being completely hilarious.
Coming in at number five is…
Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (dir. George Roy Hill, 1969)
The film is named after them, for God’s sake! Though they may not teach each other much, and one of them does not avenge the other’s death, they rank pretty high. One reason is because they’re such a classic pair from a classic film. The film revolves around them. Newman and Redford have great chemistry that is also on display in The Sting (honorable mention). There’s no avenging, but it comes close at one point, and when you get down to it, they die together and that’s even truer friendship. They stay together for the whole film and never leave the other behind; their relationship lasts longer than Sundance’s properly romantic one. Not to mention these two deliver tons of funny lines on the way.
“Listen, I don’t mean to be a sore loser, but when it’s done, if I’m dead, kill him.”
Coming in at number four is…
Ferris Bueller (Mathew Broderick) and Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck) from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (dir. John Hughes, 1986)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has to be the greatest coming of age movie ever (right?). The way Cameron is able to confront his parents is very inspiring to me, even though it was lost on me until recently. How is he able to accomplish this miraculous feat? With the help of Ferris Bueller, who is way too confident, but seems to get away with everything anyway. Over the course of one day, Cameron’s lifelong friend helps him grow up. Though this might not be as mutually beneficial as some lower down on the list, it is very iconic and as someone who is more like Cameron than Ferris, means a lot to me. Plus, once again, these two are hilarious.
“I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today – Cameron Frye, this one’s for you.”
Coming in at number three is…
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) from Casablanca (dir. Michael Curtiz, 1943)
I’m actually going to quote my review, since the last time I watched Casablanca I was very struck by the bromance here: “What people remember most about Casablanca is the romance, but what I remember is the bromance. Louis and Rick sort of banter back and forth for the whole film and give an impression of adversaries, but you get the feeling they understand each other pretty well. By the end, they have worked together for a common cause and have bonded tremendously. At the beginning, Louis guesses that Rick ‘is a heart a sentimentalist,’ and by the end he knows he’s right. He is fully able to judge Rick’s character because they are very similar. I read somewhere awhile ago that someone in their infinite wisdom was thinking of doing a Casablanca sequel, WHICH I DO NOT APPROVE OF, but if I did it would kind of be cool to see Louis and Rick go on adventures where they fool everybody into thinking they don’t care and then save them when they least expect it. I might not have been too mad if they had made a sequel like that back in the forties. I’m not sure if it would have worked, but it’s too late now so don’t even try. Casablanca is already a classic and you DO NOT mess with the classics.” Sorry that was so long, but that’s how I feel about these two.
“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Coming in at number two is….
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) from Sherlock Holmes (dir. Guy Ritchie, 2009)
Though I only specified one incarnation of this iconic relationship, I really mean all of them. The books, the tv show, the films, all of it. Now, I haven’t experienced all of these, but the Holmes-Watson team is legendary. I’ll have to take the legend’s word for it on some counts. In the particular film I’m choosing (I’m really rusty on the sequel, I only saw it once when it came out and can barely remember anything), the highlight is most definitely the snappy banter between the two. It’s very rapid fire and the two play off of each other brilliantly. Though Holmes is supposed to be super smart and everything, everyone knows he would be nowhere without Watson. He tries to hide it, but really really can’t and it’s funny how clingy he is. I was a big fan fan of the film when it first came out specifically because these two were so great, though I also liked Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. It was the first Sherlock Holmes thing I’d seen, so I had to pick it. (Try to ignore the fact that half the reason I’m picking this is because of Cumberbatch and Freeman in the BBC show that I am now obsessed with, because I am.)
“What? Invited? Why would I be not invited to my own brother’s country home, Watson? Now you are not making any sense!”
Coming in at number one is….
Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (dir. Nicholas Meyer, 1982)
Kirk and Spock are definitely the ultimate bromance, guys. Come on, who else would I pick? I’m primarily going with the Shatner/Nimoy duo in Wrath of Khan where Spock dies and it’s really sad, but those two have bromantic moments all over the place. You can always count on Kirk to rely upon Spock’s logical reasoning, and you can always count on Spock to surprise everybody with his unexpected humanity. Star Trek really isn’t founded on their relationship per se, but it’s a very big part of it. This bromance has gone across three seasons of television, and eight films now. I do count the Pine/Quinto portrayal as well, though I have to put the original actors first in this case. Especially given the new film (SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET) which brings the deaths these two have gone through together up to two, I have to put this one first. Think about it, a lot of the bromances on this list have some sort of revenge involved, but with Kirk and Spock they just bring the other back to life! TWICE! The two are always learning from each other, while remaining funny and profound in the process.
“I have been, and always shall be, your friend.”
So there you have it! This post was, as I’m guessing you can already tell, greatly inspired by the Star Trek kick I’ve been on recently. This has been churning around in my mind for a couple of days, greatly enhanced by watching Sherlock and then this post over at FMR, I really could not think of much else. A lot of the ones I was going to include ended up being bromances involving a large measure of betrayal, and as such another post is in order. Hopefully it will come on Saturday: 10 of the Best Cinematic Bromances Gone Wrong. In the meantime, any good bromances I missed? I’m sure there are….
- Alan Ruck
- Chris Pine
- Christoph Waltz
- Claude Rains
- Clint Eastwood
- Colin Firth
- Geoffrey Rush
- George Roy Hill
- Guy Ritchie
- Humphrey Bogart
- Jamie Foxx
- Jerome Robbins
- John Hughes
- Jude Law
- Leonard Nimoy
- Mathew Broderick
- Michael Curtiz
- Michael J Fox
- Morgan Freeman
- Paul Newman
- Quentin Tarantino
- Richard Beymer
- Robert Downey Jr.
- Robert Wise
- Robert Zemekis
- Russ Tamblyn
- Sherlock Holmes
- Star Trek
- Tom Hooper
- William Shatner
- Zachary Quinto