Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Hero, or Antihero? Which do you prefer?

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Hero, or Antihero? Which do you prefer?

Old 05-13-04, 02:33 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Washington, IL
Posts: 228
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hero, or Antihero? Which do you prefer?

I've had this discussion several times with my friends, and wanted to get the DVD talk spin on it, because many of you have voiced intelligent opinions and seem to be pretty well informed or perhaps "well viewed" and reasonable...

So, my question is: Which do you prefer, the hero or the antihero?

John Wayne or Clint Eastwood?

Paragon of Virtue or Person with Tragic Flaws?

The Antihero:

IMO, the best characters are those that have enough depth to include frailties and flaws which end up either being their undoing, or the reason for their death or otherwise defeat.

Perhaps it's just the GenXer in me speaking, but I have always thought more of films in which a main character dies in the end (providing it's meaningful in some way, and not just an emotional manipulation of the audience). This person doesn't have to be THE main character I suppose, but definitely one essential the the plot.

Some examples of such characters:

Neil (Heat) Has the girl, convinces her to escape with him, has the money, the cops have tried to catch him and failed, but...Tragic Flaw: He just can't live without revenge on his enemy, and it gets him killed in the end.

Carlito (Carlito's Way) Shows mercy to an opponent that he knows he should kill, and that opponent returns to murder him after he escapes "the bad guys" and has everything he wants in his grasp.

William Munny (Unforgiven) Driven by nothing more sophisticated than greed (for the bounty) and later for revenge (of his friend's death) guns everybody down in the end. A favorite line: "Deserve's got nothing to do with it".

The Hero:

Basically, take your pick. "Hollywood" (and I usually say that word with derision), provides many white-hat perfect and virtuous heroes, who are full of unassailable ideals.

Perhaps many people prefer the hero because the hero represents a perfection that really no one can acheive, and there is a need at some level to see everyone "get what they deserve" in the end.

Which do you prefer?
Old 05-13-04, 04:05 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I prefer the anti-heroes in most parts of my movie experience.
They are more memorable - Unterstumfuhrer Goeth Schindler¡¯s List, his extreme cruelty and fearful presentation of a villain with SS-Death¡¯s Head uniform. Col. Kilgore Apocalypse Now, a flamboyant warmonger who turns war into circus. Dr. Lector Silence of the Lambs, very sharp and intelligent man. John Doe Se7en his provocative ideology is cringing. Without them films could be less interesting or even have no heroes to be told in counteract.

Strong anti-hero films like A Clockwork Orange, Raging Bull & Taxi Driver they are more specialized into that subject and fantastically explored but I feel they are less open like pure heroism that we like to see (if you know what I¡¯m saying here).

There is less number of anti-hero films so you don¡¯t see them often. I guess I just want to be different and watch destructive characters .
Old 05-13-04, 04:13 AM
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: somewhere in between
Posts: 4,395
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i definitely prefer the anti hero, but i still love to watch the 80's arnold flicks where we see him shooting and then cut to bad guys dying. commando being the perfect example.
Old 05-13-04, 05:59 AM
DVD Talk Special Edition
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,340
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Got to go with anti-hero, and I agree that for some reason I find movies where the main character dies more 'meaningful,' and I can't really think of a good reason why. Maybe it's just the thought of sacrificing one's own life (knowingly or not). I think Clockwork Orange and Raging Bull, as Apone pointed out, are great examples, as well as Godfather part 2. Most all noir movies are like this: the hero is actually a murderer, on the run from the cops, or has had some type of indiscretion with the law/societal norms. Le Jur se leve, Double Indemnity, and The Killing are all decent examples of this. I think a movie like Frailty has a unique take in that it doesn't even let you know who the real hero is... I like movies like that. You might say the same about Fight Club.
Old 05-13-04, 06:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Germantown Maryland
Posts: 2,488
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
The anti-hero, and I think most would agree. Everyone prefers Han Solo to Luke Skywalker.

A Clockwork Orange's Alex de Large is the perfect and probably most disturbing example of the anti-hero. The first half of the film is devoted to showing what a vile man he is. He rapes. He beats the innocent. He kills. But by the end, because of his political manipulation and the realization that free will must be preserved at all costs, the audience is actually ROOTING for him to go back to his old evil ways. I may have gone on a tangent but you get the idea
Old 05-13-04, 09:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 543
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Jimmy was the kinda guy who always rooted for the bad guys in a movie"
Old 05-13-04, 09:49 AM
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Rampaging across DVDTalk.
Posts: 4,046
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I would think most prefer an anti-hero as the character flaws often allow people to identify with them. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the occasional invincible ex-something hero mowing down wave after wave of faceless goons...
Old 05-13-04, 10:13 AM
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
antennaball's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: The 7-8-Triple6, Texas
Posts: 3,621
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Um, could we try spoiler tags next time? Please don't give away the endings of movies.
Old 05-13-04, 11:38 AM
DVD Talk Hero
PopcornTreeCt's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,913
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
I just want to say: I don't think you understood Heat.
Old 05-13-04, 04:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Germantown Maryland
Posts: 2,488
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
yeah, Pacino's Hanna was clearly the anti-hero of that film.
Old 05-14-04, 01:00 AM
DVD Talk Special Edition
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 939
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Anti-hero for me. Snake Plissken in 'Escape from L.A. Marcus in 'Irreversible'. Django in 'Django' These are my heroes. They most reflect who I am as a person.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.