10 of the Best Cinematic Bromances Gone Wrong

Well, it’s been a frightfully long time (over a month!) since my post on the best cinematic bromances that went right, but here we finally are looking at the ones that didn’t. These are the friendships that have been destroyed; the ones that started out promising but ended up in betrayal. Thankfully, I didn’t seem to have as many to choose from this time around, but nevertheless get ready to be depressed as I look at “10 of the Best Cinematic Bromances Gone Wrong.”

SPOILERS for this whole post!

Honorable Mentions: Kane and Leeland from Citizen Kane

Coming in at number ten is…


Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) and Dr. Charles Nichols (Jeroen Krabbe) from The Fugitive (dir. Andrew Davis, 1993)

Their friendship may not have been that strong in the beginning, but the betrayal was pretty huge. Nichols arranges to have Kimble’s wife killed, frames him for it, and pretends to stand by him the whole time, all because of money. A relatively shallow reason for a pretty huge betrayal.

“He falsified his research. So that RDU-90 could be approved and Devlin McGregor could give you… Provasic!”

Coming in at number nine is…


James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) from Goldeneye (dir. Martin Campbell, 1995)

I hadn’t seen this film in a while, but I decided to revisit it recently (one reason out of many that this post got so delayed) and wholeheartedly support its inclusion in this list. These guys were collegues and friends, but later in the film it is revealed that Trevelyan was just using Bond and MI6 all along. Not to mention he tries to steal Bond’s girl (GASP!). Things go from bad to worse, until the damage is incapable of being repaired.

“I might as well ask you if all those vodka martinis ever silence the screams of all the men you’ve killed… or if you find forgiveness in the arms of all those willing women for all the dead ones you failed to protect.”

Coming in at number eight is…


Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) and Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) from Reservoir Dogs (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 1992)

There were getting on so well, too! Mr. White actually told Mr. Orange his real name, against orders, now that’s bonding! But alas, it was not meant to be. Nothing drastic happens until the end of the film, and to be fair I’m always on Mr. Orange’s side in this movie. Nevertheless, he did technically betray Mr. White and it is pretty tragic.

“Joe, if you shoot this man, you die next. Repeat: if you shoot this man, you die next.”

Coming in at number seven is…


Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) from The Master (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)

The whole movie is basically about their relationship, or at least revolves around it. I wasn’t actually sure if this would qualify, considering it doesn’t really “go wrong” so much as it’s really weird in the first place. Then I remember the ending, and I realized that somewhere along the line it did go wrong. I guess Freddie riding off into the sunset was what did it, though if you ask me it was all for the best.

“If you leave me now, in the next life you will be my sworn enemy. And I will show you no mercy.”

Coming in at number six is…

Casino (1995)

Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santorro (Joe Pesci) from Casino (dir. Martin Scorcese, 1995)

This is a really good one, especially because of the actors. I was almost going to go with these two in Raging Bull, but they were actually brothers in that one so it doesn’t count. So the actors bring a history of troubled relationships into Casino, to date their last film with Scorsese. This one is pretty bad, let me tell you. They were boyhood friends, but when they differ in their business practices in Vegas, things turn bad. Not only does business come between them, but also Ace’s wife. It’s not just in his mind either, Nicky is actually sleeping with her. It’s all pretty sad, and doesn’t get any more cheerful as the film comes to its conclusion.

“The bombing was never authorized, but I suspect I know who lit the fuse. And so did the powers that be.”

Coming in at number five is…


Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) and Barton Keyes (Eddie G. Robinson) from Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder, 1944)

I haven’t seen this film in a while, but when I thought of it I immediately thought of the final scene. It’s pretty heartbreaking, as Keyes takes pity on the man that betrayed him and his profession.

“I love you too.”

Coming in at number four is…


Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) and Harry Lime (Orson Welles) from The Third Man (dir. Carole Reed, 1950)

These guys were friends, just about to be reunited. Then Harry turns up dead. Then he turns out to be evil. It’s just one thing after another with these two, and of course Harry’s even got the girl. Alas. At least Holly has morality on his side. For now….

” Have you ever seen any of your victims?”

Coming in at number three is….


Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of Sith (dir. George Lucas, 2005)

Now I know nobody likes the prequels, but you gotta admit those light saber battles were pretty awesome. Especially the one between Anakin and Obi Wan, once Anakin fully goes over to the dark side. And of course, no matter how you feel about the prequels, this does set the story into motion for the original trilogy so… it’s pretty important.

“You were my brother Anakin! I loved you!”

Coming in at number two is…


Charles Xavier aka Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) from X-Men: First Class (dir. Mathew Vaughn, 2011)

Oh man, I’m still sad about this one. They were such good friends for the entire movie! Even though Magneto went off the deep end there, you can still kind of see where he’s coming from which makes the rift between them that much more tragic. Plus he takes Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with him, which is very sad as they grew up together. Plus, there’s the hishe video for this which always cracks me up. “And sometimes we play chess with real people’s lives in the balance!” I’ve only seen First Class so I don’t really know it plays out across the other movies, but I’m really excited for the sequel!

“My friend. I’m sorry, but we do not.”

Coming in at number one is….


Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and Messala (Stephen Boyd) from Ben-Hur (dir. William Wyler, 1959)

Look at that picture, guys. They were such good friends they were practically married for goodness’ sake! Though it suffers from not having a lot of build up, not having witnessed Judah and Messala when they were kids, Ben-Hur makes up for it by showing how awful Judah’s life becomes after Messala’s betrayal of him. After Messala became a pawn of Rome, their whole town gets overrun by Romans, Judah becomes a slave and his sister and mother get leprosy, Judah goes crazy for revenge and gets Messala killed, and it takes none other than Jesus Christ himself to fix everything. If that’s not a bromance gone wrong, I don’t know what is.

“By condemning without hesitation an old friend, I shall be feared.”

Are you still there? This was a pretty sad post, I’ll admit. That was another reason it took me so long to finish (ha ha just kidding). The order is not really definitive, but the top three definitely are. Are there any I missed? I couldn’t come up with as many options this time around, so I’m sure I missed some….


16 responses to “10 of the Best Cinematic Bromances Gone Wrong

  1. You just made me realize how much I need to see X-Men first class again just to see Fassbender! But back to your post! The obi-wan saying “You were my brother Anakin! I loved you!” that was pretty heart-breaking to me because of what happened in the original trilogy and seeing it all play out D; I LOVED Keyes and Walter in Double Indemnity. The real question.. YOU ARE WITH MR. ORANGE THE WHOLE TIME!? Why why? I was def. with Mr White mmmm mmm mmm that loyalty he had to mr. orange was top notch! Orange was just a jerk and betrayed him and ultimately ended white’s life.. AFTER HE WAS A RIDE OR DIE FOR ORANGE! haha that’s how I was feeling… this bromances gone wrong post was a nice read ^.^

    • Yeah I just watched it again last week with my friend who hadn’t seen it before. It’s a really fun movie, and I love Fassbender and McAvoy in it. Though the helmet Fassy had on at the end was really stupid in my opinion 🙂
      Yeah had to get Anakin and Obi Wan in there! That is pretty sad, and it’s also an epic light saber battle!
      I liked Keyes in Double Indemnity more than Walter… but it’s mostly the actor. Fred MacMurray has always annoyed me for some reason and I don’t know why!
      Of course I’m with Mr Orange the whole time, he kills Mr. Blonde! He saves that other cop from getting burned alive and gives the whole movie a moral center! He’s my favorite character in that movie. Mr. White wasn’t as violent as the rest of them, it’s true, but in Mr Orange was on the right side of things, in my opinion. Though it was sad he betrayed Mr White.
      Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

    • The light saber battle was indeed epic! and I’ve actually never seen him in any other movie 😮 Okay okay that is indeed true. Mr Orange was awesome for saving the cop. I didn’t really look at it from that perspective. nice nice thank you 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Hunter:

      I was thinking about a real (character wise) cinematic bromance gone bad that slipped away earlier.

      The verbal show down Michael (Al Pacino) has with his oldest brother Fredo (John Cazale) in ‘Godfather, Part II’. Not just for the superb back and forth. But in seeing how much Fredo resembled their father (Marlon Brando) later in ‘The Godfather’.

      Excellent catches on ‘The Third Man’ and ‘Bun-Hur’!

      • I know it was you Fredo!
        Yeah that would be a good one, except I don’t think it technically counts because they are actually brothers. Very tragic though, you’re right about that.

  2. you have outdone yourself my friend, a difficult task indeed. spot on, especially numbers 1, 2, and 3. i wonder if i could suggest tony stark and obadiah stane from iron man, im not really sure if it counts as a bromance but there was certainly a huge betrayal of trust there

    • Oh yeah it’s been ages since I’ve seen Iron Man so I can’t really comment on it. Whenever I do a superhero month I’m definitely going to see all of those again.
      Glad you approve of 1-3, those were really the only ones I could put in order! Ben-Hur was what inspired this post; I thought of them for the bromances one and then I was like wait a second the whole movie is about the consequences of Messala’s betrayal! And thus the bromances gone wrong post was born!

    • Thanks! Glad you approve! As I was telling Wolff above Ben-Hur was what inspired the post, and I thought The Third Man was also good because you have a similar thing happening with the same actors in Citizen Kane, though in The Third Man it’s more central to the story.

  3. Interesting choices and your article was certainly worth waiting for.
    I share your love of Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, in fact if I made a similar list I’m sure I’d find room for Welles and Joseph Calleia as Hank Quinlan and Pete Menzies in Touch of Evil.

    • Thanks! I’m glad to hear that, especially because it took me so long!
      I feel you’ve mentioned that film before, and I said I had to see, but I still haven’t! I’m sure you’re right though!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s