Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

A collection of heroes and villains that are "most satisfactory"


This feature originally ran in February 2016 and has been re-published today as Isle of Dogs hits theaters.

“It is an extremely common mistake. People think the writer’s imagination is always at work, that he’s constantly inventing an endless supply of incidents and episodes — that he simply dreams up his stories out of thin air. In point of fact, the opposite is true. Once the public knows you’re a writer, they bring the characters and events to you. And as long as you maintain your ability to look, and to carefully listen, these stories will continue to … Stop it! Stop it! Don’t! Don’t do it!”

–The author as an old man shot with pellets by his grandson, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The world of Wes Anderson is a perfectly designed park that audiences have been so lucky to play in. Brimming with nostalgia, resolute framing, addled adolescence, troubled adulthood, and of course, sensationally drawn characters, Anderson builds terrific dramas and comedy of the surreally humane.

Today, in celebration of the release of Anderson’s latest film, Isle of DogsConsequence of Sound seeks to rank those characters — for their qualities, idiosyncrasies, and all around memorability. From Sam and Suzy to Ari and Uzi. Why there’s even room for Mr. Fox and Cody the three-legged dog.

But why? Because we can. Because Max Fischer would.

–Blake Goble
Senior Staff Writer

p.s. Let us know where your favorite Isle of Dogs characters should slot into our list in the future…


161. Fire Chief

Martin Ballard, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Like the pilot, the fire chief just does what he’s asked with little emotion on his face. We’d like him more if he actually enjoyed flushing animals out of their burrows, but instead, he’s an empty shell of a man. –Dan Caffrey


160. Pilot

Rob Hersov, Fantastic Mr. Fox

88 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

The pilot for Franklin Bean is nothing more than a mustachioed stooge, eager to do anything for his mean-ass boss, no matter how horrible. It’s not the actions that make him bad, but his refusal to ask why he’s doing them in the first place. –Dan Caffrey


159. Grande Dame

Lisa Kreuzer, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Lisa Kreuzer, The Grand Budapest Hotel

This is a deep cut Anderson character right here. Gotta look around the edges of the framing. Cultish German actress Lisa Kreuzer as the Grande Dame was one of Gustave H.’s many bedfellows. –Blake Goble


158. Carmen

Anna Cifuentes, Bottle Rocket

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No, she doesn’t know where Inez is at this moment. Or where else she belongs in this film. –Michael Roffman


157. Serge’s Sister

Giselda Volodi, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Five lines: “Yes, sir?” “Yes, sir.” “No, sir.” “No, sir.” “Yes, sir.” Then she gets beheaded. –Allison Shoemaker


156. Anita

Melinda Renna, Bottle Rocket

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Who could hang up on Anthony? She could. Anita doesn’t get much screen time, but she has one icy resolve. –Michael Roffman


155. Rabbit Girl and Boy

Molly Copper, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Rabbit Girl and Boy’s cuteness gets undercut by their crazed red eyes — unsettling in the worst way possible. –Dan Caffrey


154. Rob

Stephan Dignan, Bottle Rocket

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Rob, aren’t you supposed to be in literature? –Randall Colburn


153. Dr. Badger

Jennifer Furches, Fantastic Mr. Fox

110 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Dr. Badger gets brownie points from us because she’s a pediatrician, and thus the resident healer in Fantastic Mr. Fox. She also looks exactly like her husband Clive Badger, which means he disappears all too easily in Bill Murray’s shadow. –Dan Caffrey


152. Antonia Cook

Isabella Blow, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Isabella Blow, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Antonia only shows up in brief to congratulate Zissou on his success, and what a success it was. Seriously. (We wish it didn’t require the “seriously,” but hey.) –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


151. Mr. Beaver

Steven M. Rales, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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For most of the film, the bucktoothed rodent stands there like a goon in his three-piece suit, never uttering a word or offering to help. Only when he goes on a reconnaissance mission after the animals are holed up underground does he begin to distinguish himself. –Dan Caffrey


150. Doug, Explosives Man

Tristan Oliver, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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It’s great that one of the film’s biggest catastrophes comes from an explosives expert who’s simply named Doug. “Contact!” –Michael Roffman


149. Antonio Monda

Antonio Monda, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

122 e1456087808435 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

As much as it’s a hoot to see the real-life professor/director/essayist/cultural giant interview Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic, most of the good stuff ended up on the cutting-room floor. –Dan Caffrey


148. Izod

L.J. Foley, Moonrise Kingdom

L.J. Foley, Moonrise Kingdom

Izod is the kinda guy who will absolutely run off to get more gunpowder when so ordered. What? It’s not like they can all be memorable. –Allison Shoemaker


147. Herr Mendl

Rainer Reiners, The Grand Budapest

herr mendl Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

While he may have been a talented patisserie man … actually, Agatha did the work. Okay, while he might have had great craftsmanship and packaging design … well, again, that craft seemed like Agatha, and the design would have likely been outsourced. Yeah, alright, Herr Mendl was likely a touchy, credit-hogging, oddball loner wasn’t he? –Blake Goble


146. Doctor

Dipak Pallana, The Royal Tenenbaums

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There’s not much to say about Dipak Pallana’s Doctor, though this won’t be the actor’s last appearance on this list. He’s also, interestingly enough, the son of Kumar Pallana, who we’ll meet later on. –Randall Colburn


145. Rabbit’s Ex-Girlfriend

Allison Abbate, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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One of the many ancillary animals in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, she enjoys the title character’s newspaper column, but can’t be bothered to get a subscription because she’s too cheap. A boring, stingy accountant. No wonder she’s Mr. Rabbit’s “ex” girlfriend! –Dan Caffrey


144. Lieutenant

Neal Huff, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Anderson takes a lot of care with his films. Often even if a character’s known only by a title or description, they’re dynamic and feel real. This is not one of those cases. –Allison Shoemaker


143. Dr. Nichols

Ned Dowd, Bottle Rocket

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Um, seems like a nice enough guy. He lets Anthony crawl out of his window with a rope of tied bedsheets and doesn’t call security, so that’s pretty cool. –Randall Colburn


142. Mr. Mosher

Larry Pine, The Grand Budapest

larry pine grand budapest fixed Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Mosher’s not particularly interesting. But hey, he hired Zero! That’s cool! –Allison Shoemaker


141. Panagle

Andreas Sheikh, Moonrise Kingdom

1471 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Ever get the sense that Anderson likes to occupy an image with lots of people and takes joy in devising names then casting a person to fill a busy character shot? Panagle seemed like one of those inventions. –Blake Goble


140. Bookstore Manager

Darryl Cox, Bottle Rocket

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.20.56 AM

“Don’t call me an idiot, you punk!” Few people, if any, could shut down Dignan. Could you imagine what a hard ass this guy is on any given day? Odds are his stockboys hate him. –Michael Roffman


139. Anatole

Daniel Steiner, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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While he doesn’t do a whole lot, Anatole’s got two things going for him: he looks perfect in this movie, all skinny and wobbly and stuff, and he’s in every damn trailer (“The police are here”). That’s about it. –Allison Shoemaker


138. Rowboat

Tak Kubota, Bottle Rocket

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Rowboat has a history with James Caan’s Abe Henry. What that history is we don’t exactly know. But you can’t argue with a nickname like Rowboat. –Michael Roffman


137. Alice Whitman

Camila Rutherford, The Darjeeling Limited

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All that’s clear about Alice Whitman from her brief scenes in The Darjeeling Limited is that she and Adrian Brody’s Peter aren’t doing too hot in the love department. Not a surprise, I suppose, this being a Wes Anderson film and all. –Randall Colburn


136. Bean’s Son

Garth Jennings, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Ha, what a little twerp. All covered in gunk. Bean’s son probably got bad grades and was a wormy, entitled butthead, too. Call it a hunch. But nice comic relief. –Blake Goble


135. Renzo Pietro

Pawel Wdowczak, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Pawel Wdowczak, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

You know what’s pretty cool about Pietro, an otherwise forgettable character in a movie chock-full of memorable ones? He does sound for Zissou’s film, and he’s portrayed by the guy who was the movie’s actual sound designer. Cool, now let’s shag ass. –Justin Gerber


134. Bernice

Haley Miller, Bottle Rocket

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Bernice may believe that Anthony is a jet pilot, but she sure knows when to leave a conversation. –Zack Ruskin


133. Agnes

Juman Malouf, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Agnes had nice spots. It was a tad peculiar that she got to hang with the Fox family in the end, but what do we know about foxes and their animal behavior? –Allison Shoemaker


132. Bobby Ogata

Niels Koizumi, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

139 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Of all the Team Zissou descriptions, “Frog Man” may be the strangest. But Ogata’s a good hand. Now put out those deck fires before we sink. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


131. Roosevelt

Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Moonrise Kingdom

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“Roosevelt, how’s that lanyard coming?” “Horrible.” No joke — Roosevelt is very, very bad at lanyards. –Allison Shoemaker


130. Mr. Herbert Billingsley

Larry Pine, Moonrise Kingdom

137 e1456078606141 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

We don’t spend long with Mr. Herbert Billingsley, but his phone call, in which he says he can no longer foster Sam, is a memorably heartbreaking moment. –Zack Ruskin


129. Nico, Intern #1

Matthew Gray Gubler, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

136 e1456078660295 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Nico was the finest, bestest intern. The one that stayed. Nico deserves any and all extra credit. –Blake Goble


128. Gadge

Chadler Frantz, Moonrise Kingdom

132 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

We don’t know much about Gadge, but since he works as Scout Master Ward’s note-taker and is the first person to notice that Snoopy’s gone, we can assume he’s detail-oriented. –Allison Shoemaker


127. Mrs. Bean

Helen McCrory, Fantastic Mr. Fox

131 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

A fantastic actress in her own right, the best part about McCrory’s character is the food she prepares. Stare into the “Famous Nutmeg Ginger Apple Snaps” and despair! –Justin Gerber


126. Prisoner Günther

Volker Michalowski, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Prisoner Günther

Günther. Didn’t do much. Didn’t say much. But, he played an instrumental role in the escape of Gustave H. from prison in Grand Budapest Hotel, and that’s worth at least a mild commendation. Or maybe even a bigger piece of a Mendl’s treat. –Blake Goble


125. Bookstore Employee

Dipak Pallana, Bottle Rocket

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.18.17 AM

As the hapless bookstore employee who’s subject to Anthony and Dignan’s first honest-to-goodness robbery, Dipak Pallana is nothing if not confused. “Why do you have that tape on your nose?” he asks as Dignan and Bob bafflingly “cacaw!” at each other. He’s a fine foil to the mishaps of our protagonists. –Randall Colburn


124. Nathan Bunce

Hugo Guinness, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Look at the little guy! Wading, struggling to float in the shallow end of a pool. Bunce was a croney for Bean, but it didn’t make him any less villainous and creepy. –Blake Goble


123. H. Clay Murchison

Brian Tenenbaum, Bottle Rocket

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Just being in proximity to Future Man, Bottle Rocket’s resident bully, will bump you up a few slots on this list. H. Clay Murchison is nothing more than a lackey with a douchebag rich kid name, but he serves an important purpose: to be the exact kind of person Luke Wilson’s Anthony never wants to become. –Randall Colburn


122. The Mechanic

Barbet Schroeder, The Darjeeling Limited

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Barbet, mother-flappin’ Schroeder, in a glorified cameo? Nice, nice, nice. Perhaps this was a plea to viewers to check out Schroeder’s work. Like, go out and watch Reversal of Fortune right this second! –Blake Goble


121. Vikram Ray

Waris Ahluwalia, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

134 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Vikram may not say much, but as Team Zissou’s primary cinematographer, it’s up to him to make sure the camera never stops rolling, no matter how bad things get. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


120. Prisoner Wolf

Karl Markovics, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Prisoner Wolf

Actor Karl Markovics has the perfect mug to play one of the rogues Gustave meets (and befriends) in a Zubrowska internment camp. But he gets marked down because his name is Wolf and never transforms into the lupine creature from Fantastic Mr. Fox. What was Wes Anderson thinking? –Dan Caffrey


119. Daniel Peabody

Brian Cox, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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This field reporter’s face looks almost identical to the fire chief’s. Are they twins, perhaps? If so, Daniel’s clearly the more likable of the two, a consummate professional who actually enjoys what he does for a living. I’ll bet he’s Mummy and Daddy’s favorite to boot! –Dan Caffrey


118. M. Dino

Waris Ahluwalia, The Grand Budapest Hotel

112 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

In terms of abandoning emergencies to help a fellow member of the Keys, M. Dino ranks right behind M. Robin. He may stop fighting the fire, but at least he doesn’t pause in the middle of CPR. Oh, and his costume is fabulous. –Allison Shoemaker


117. Mr. Beaver’s Son

Jeremy Dawson, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Because he has a decent amount of lines and gets his jollies from picking on Ash Fox, the Beav stands out from many of the other critters. But as far as Wes Anderson bullies go, he’s got nothing on Rushmore’s Magnus Buchan. –Dan Caffrey


116. M. Robin

Fisher Stevens, The Grand Budapest Hotel

951 e1456089924747 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

M. Robin is another concierge, most notable for passing off CPR duties in order to get to the phone and help Gustave. Luckily, all lobby boys are well-trained in health and safety. –Allison Shoemaker


115. The Wolf

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 1.41.48 PM

All that talk from Mr. Fox about having a “phobia” of wolves, and then out of nowhere, The Wolf appears, and Mr. Fox fawns. Is there anything cooler than the four-legged beauty giving a power fist? –Blake Goble


114. Deluca

Rob H. Campbell, Moonrise Kingdom

Rob H. Campbell, Moonrise Kingdom

In case you were wondering which kid’s Deluca, he’s the one with the giant fucking bowie knife who tells Suzy that Sam’s crazy. Pot, kettle. –Allison Shoemaker


113. Walter Boggis

Robin Hurlstone, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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One of the film’s three vicious farmers, Boggis is the one who somehow manages to eat a full-portioned chicken for every square meal. Astounding. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


112. Stacy Sinclair

Jenni Tooley, Bottle Rocket

stacy Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Bless her heart, but Stacy is something of a ditz. She’s ostensibly one of Future Man’s crew, but she finds herself much more interested in Anthony’s laconic existentialism. “You’re really complicated, aren’t you?” she asks, as if that were the biggest novelty in the world. –Randall Colburn


111. Nelson Squirrel

Roman Coppola, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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As the contractor in charge of the renovations on the Foxes’ home, this is one critter with a passion for hard work, a good attitude, and a job well done. His role may be minor, but he makes sure you respect him, even if you can’t quite remember him. –Dan Caffrey


110. M. Georges

Wallace Wolodarsky, The Grand Budapest Hotel

wolodarsky grand budapest Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

M. Georges gets right down to business, which is great for the Society of the Crossed Keys, but bad for people who are ranking Anderson characters. Here’s what we know of him: he’s “got it.” –Allison Shoemaker


109. Clotilde

Lea Seydoux, The Grand Budapest Hotel

120 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Anytime Léa Seydoux is on screen, she glows. Perhaps one day Anderson will write her a role more interesting than this one. Until then, if you want to see what she’s capable of, watch basically anything else she’s in. –Allison Shoemaker


108. Petey

Jarvis Cocker, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Jarvis Cocker, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Alt-rock singer/songwriter Jarvis Cocker doesn’t get a huge role in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, but he still gets to sing a charming little ditty about the titular critter, complete with Claymation jugband. Of course, his yarn is cut off by Boggis, who was listening the whole time. Don’t worry Petey: we rather liked it. –Clint Worthington


107. Applejack

Jim Ponds, Bottle Rocket

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 3.58.48 PM

Poor Applejack. Despite being the most experienced of Abe Henry’s goons, he was also the only one to take a bullet during Dignan’s ill-fated heist. Dignan made him a belt buckle in prison; however, so that probably helped soothe his wounds. –Randall Colburn


106. Rickity

Adrien Brody, Fantastic Mr. Fox

55 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

The great joke of Rickity is his voice. Here comes this eager pipsqueak, and he’s got the voice of Adrien Brody mimicking a chain-smoking pipe-fitter. –Blake Goble


105. Ronny and Donny Blume

Ronnie and Keith McCawley, Rushmore

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Everybody hates their kids sometimes. It’s one of those things we all know but politely disregard because of blood ties. But if your kids were Ronnie and Donnie, you might go off the high dive, too. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


104. The Father

Irrfan Khan, The Darjeeling Limited

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Irrfan Khan is an Indian film actor with an impressive resume in Hindi, British, and Hollywood cinema. As the father of a deceased young Indian boy, Khan’s role here mainly circles around his culture’s funeral practices and the toll they take on his well-being. In a movie about the grief sons feel for their father, his mourning of his son serves as a necessary counterpoint. –Randall Colburn


103. Prisoner Pinky

Florian Lukas, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Pink Bandisnki inspired the following Gustave H. monologue, and we can’t thank him enough for that: “What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living shit out of a sniveling little runt called Pinky Bandinski, who had the gall to question my virility. Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from penny dreadfuls, it’s that when you find yourself in a place like this, you must never be a candy ass; you’ve got to prove yourself from day one. You’ve got to win their respect. You should take a long look at his ugly mug this morning.” –Blake Goble


102. Vladimir Wolodarsky

Noah Taylor, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Noah Taylor, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Noah Taylor, you know we love you. But as documentary score composer Vladimir Wolodarsky, your original music pales in comparison to Seu Jorge’s David Bowie covers. Sorry! –Dan Caffrey


101. Rocky

Donny Caicedo, Bottle Rocket

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 10.54.23 AM

Rocky’s a sweet kid, but damn if his poor translation skills don’t cause Anthony a helluva lot of heartache. –Randall Colburn


100. Mordecai

The Royal Tenenbaums

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.58.02 AM

If you can pull off flying away into the sky to a Mutato Muzika Orchestra cover of “Hey Jude”, you deserve a name like Mordecai. –Zack Ruskin


99. Mr. Adams

Dipak Pallana, Rushmore

Dipak Pallana, Rushmore

Dipak Pallana’s face is the first one we see in Rushmore. As Max’s math teacher, he sets the stage for our hero to establish his dominant intellect with “the hardest Geometry equation in the world.” But, just like that equation and Max’s popularity, he’s nothing but a dream. –Randall Colburn


98. The Chief Steward

Waris Ahluwalia, The Darjeeling Limited

Waris Ahluwalia, The Darjeeling Limited

Waris Ahluwalia, a newfound mainstay of Anderson’s troupe, exudes authority with his steely gaze and confident tone. As The Chief Steward of the Darjeeling Limited, he also quietly culls empathy with non-verbal cues that point to a fractured relationship with co-worker Rita. He’s also pretty good at catching a poisonous snake with nothing more than a spatula. –Randall Colburn


97. Redford

Lucas Hedges, Moonrise Kingdom

redford Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Alas, every troubled kid needs a bully. It makes the movie struggle real. Redford is an all-timer in Moonrise Kingdom. The redheaded stepchild with the bad-boy motor bike tormented Sam and Suzy and was a nasty little tattletale. Actually, the only thing to enjoy about this punk kid is when he gets an arrow stuck in him. This is less about condoning child abuse and more about relishing comeuppances; you feel me? –Blake Goble


96. Phil Mole

James Hamilton, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Stare into Phil Mole’s hypnotic eyes, and you may fall into a trance. He’s also a nocturnal rodent who “just wants to see a little sunshine.” Try not to love him. I dare you. –Zack Ruskin


95. Grace

Shea Fowler, Bottle Rocket

1421 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Grace is precocious, but age is just a number. Her advice to her big brother Anthony is some of the sagest wisdom offered in Bottle Rocket. –Zack Ruskin


94. Linda Otter

Karen Duffy, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Truth be told, Badger, Beaver & Beaver’s secretary is kinda boring until she writes down all of the animals’ scientific names. The way she says “Got it” with the exact same cadence every time becomes one of the funniest bits in the film. –Dan Caffrey


93. Mrs. Calloway

Connie Nielsen, Rushmore


Forgive me for this, but Mrs. Calloway is Rushmore’s MILF. All the boys salivate over sweet, little Dirk’s mom, especially Max, who betrays his friend by regaling his classmates with tales of illicit handjobs. Sure, it’d be nice if we knew a little about her, but Rushmore is looking at the world through the eyes of a teenage boy. –Randall Colburn


92. Franklin Bean

Michael Gambon, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 12.35.31 PM

God, where to start? He’s the skinny one. He invented his own species of both turkeys and apples. His diet consists solely of apple cider. He’s a condescending son-of-a-bitch. Oh, and he’s “possibly the scariest man currently living.” Fantastic Mr. Fox isn’t about the humans, but of those we see, Bean’s the most memorable. –Allison Shoemaker


91. Monsieur Jean

Jason Schwartzman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jason Schawartzman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

M. Jean gives Jude Law’s author the skinny on Mr. Moustafa, so we have him to thank for the story’s existence. As his reward, he presumably gets to spend all his working hours hanging out with a very nice painting. –Allison Shoemaker


90. Monsieur Chuck

Owen Wilson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

monsieur chuck Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

“Military concierge” M. Chuck is yet another helpful fellow. Like most of the concierges in the film, he’s played by an Anderson regular. Thus, he’s inherently memorable, but one’s far more likely to call him “Owen Wilson” than by his actual name. That’s the nature of famous people in bit parts, I suppose. –Allison Shoemaker


89. Oseary Drakoulias

Michael Gambon, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Michael Gambon, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Michael Gambon’s lush voice somewhat goes to pot as Oseary Drakoulias, Steve Zissou’s financial backer, but his presence is felt behind his nerdy apparel and nervous glasses. Random fact: Oseary’s name is a nod to George Drakoulias, music supervisor for films like Team America and Frances Ha. George is a bud of Wes. –Blake Goble


88. Dusty

Seymour Cassel, The Royal Tenenbaums

seymour Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Dusty’s a relic from another, more innocent era. Do charming, wizened elevator operators even exist anymore? More importantly, do I really want to talk to anybody in an elevator? Not really. Sorry you’re out of a job, Dusty, but time has left you in the dust. –Randall Colburn


87. M. Martin

Bob Balaban, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Like all members of the Society of the Crossed Keys, M. Martin’s got his priorities straight. Someone’s got to taste the sauce, but a fellow concierge comes first. Yes, he’s just one in a series of punchlines — “take over” — but his placement at the end of the phone tree, plus his cute little waiting-on-hold noise, pushes him up a few spots. –Allison Shoemaker


86. Brendan

Wally Wolodarsky, The Darjeeling Limited

DJ Wallace Wolodarsky

Kudos to Wally Wolodarsky’s quiet immersion into the world of Wes Anderson. The famed Simpsons’ scribe (he wrote “Last Exit to Springfield” and the “dental plan” line, people!) was in Grand Budapest, Mr. Fox, and his last name was a character in Life Aquatic. All that is to say he was delightful and sweet in Darjeeling Limited. –Blake Goble


85. M. Ivan

Bill Murray, The Grand Budapest Hotel

89 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

M. Ivan’s exactly the kind of person you’d want to help you out in a tight spot. If anything, the fact that he’s played by Bill Murray seems a detriment — when has Murray ever had that kind of efficiency, that cunning, that unwillingness to take the 25 Klubecks? –Allison Shoemaker


84. Esteban du Plantier

Seymour Cassel, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

87 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

There’s not much to know of Esteban since it’s more the specter of his death that drives the film than any presence he has. But old installments of The Life Aquatic suggest a simpler time, when Zissou traveled to all corners of the planet with his best friend in the world. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


83. Buckley

The Royal Tenenbaums

63 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Perhaps the cutest member of the Tenenbaum coterie, Buckley remains relatively innocent in the midst of all the film’s familial drama. The beagle remains a symbol of the happy childhood each member wishes they still had – until his untimely death courtesy of an Eli Cash car crash reminds everyone that “it’s been a rough year.” –Clint Worthington


82. Lazy-Eye

Charlie Kilgore, Moonrise Kingdom

Charlie Kilgore, Moonrise Kingdom

A lot of the kids in Moonrise Kingdom — at least the ones that aren’t Suzy, Sam, and the slightly villainous Redford — tend to blur together. Not so in the case of Lazy-Eye, whose handy patch makes him stick out. He’s also very interested in PhD programs. Good on ya, Lazy-Eye. –Allison Shoemaker


81. Mr. Rabbit

Mario Batali, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 1.58.54 PM

Of all the minor characters in Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Rabbit’s the one who most frequently turns to his natural animal talents. Whether he’s doing an everyday task like chopping up vegetables for a stew or something more extravagant, such as infiltrating an enemy’s farm, he always puts his speed and jumping skills to good use. Also, we like to think he’s named after a certain Paul Westerberg song. –Dan Caffrey


80. Commander Pierce

Harvey Keitel, Moonrise Kingdom

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 3.09.44 PM

Don’t be fooled by the fact that he’s played by Harvey Keitel: Commander Pierce is basically a plot device. He exists to dress down Ward and then immediately get rescued by the man he just stripped of Command. At least Harvey’s got a hell of a scowl. –Allison Shoemaker


79. Dr. Peter Flynn

Luke Wilson, Rushmore

92 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

If I were Max, I would’ve hated him, too. The presence of any unfamiliar party at dinner inevitably pivots the conversation into a broader, less intimate place. And yeah, Peter, we understand you didn’t expect to be going to a fancy dinner, but OR scrubs aren’t really proper theater attire, either. –Randall Colburn


78. Bill Ubell, “Bond Company Stooge”

Bud Cort, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

bud cort life aquatic Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Bud Cort of Harold and Maude fame makes for a delightful addition to the Anderson universe. His innate haplessness and quirk clashes beautifully against all the big personalities in Zissou’s crew, and he gets his own moment of badass triumph after Jeff Goldblum’s Alastair Hennessey inquires as to whether or not this is his espresso machine. “We fuckin’ stole it, man,” Ubell says, and we all cheer. –Randall Colburn


77. Mr. Littlejeans

Kumar Pallana, Rushmore

103 e1455823289249 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Wes Anderson would later figure out how to put Kumar Pallana to better use in The Royal Tenenbaums, but in Rushmore, he’s more or less eccentric background scenery as the school’s groundskeeper, Mr. Littlejeans. Although it’s comforting to see Max greet him several times throughout the film, Pallana’s deadpan charisma leaves you wanting to see more of him, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Dan Caffrey


76. Rita

Amara Karan, The Darjeeling Limited

57 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Sri-Lankan actress Amara Karan was the four-eyed object of Jason Schwartzman’s desire in Darjeeling Limited. As Rita, the train’s stewardess, Karan was soulful, sweet, and able to let Schwartzman see how utterly selfish and insecure he may be. It’s a brief role, but a key one, and Karan fascinates. –-Blake Goble


75. Coach Skip

Owen Wilson, Fantastic Mr. Fox

79 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Coach Skip is every enthusiastic kid’s gym teacher trying their very best not to put down a student’s meager talents. Owen Wilson’s polite condescension really sells the short-lived character. –Blake Goble


74. Margaret Yang

Sara Tanaka, Rushmore

Margaret Yang

The template for the “approachable wallflower” character found in many an Anderson film is easily Rushmore’s Margaret Yang. Max Fischer’s inability to stop obsessing over Ms. Cross and see the girl that’s right in front of him is a bit of a cliché now, but Sara Tanaka’s perfect Andersonian deadpan makes her compelling. –Clint Worthington


73. Bob Mapplethorpe

Robert Musgrave, Bottle Rocket

100 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Bob might be Bottle Rocket’s biggest fuck-up, which is really saying something in a movie led by a dude named Dignan. Sure, he can coast on his parents’ money, but he’s devoid of self-confidence or any semblance of talent (aside from growing marijauna in his backyard). That said, he’s one of the film’s most endearing characters, and it’s hard not to swell with joy when we see his douchebag older brother, Future Man, get humiliated by James Caan’s Abe Henry. –Randall Colburn


72. Cousin Ben

Jason Schwartzman, Moonrise Kingdom

Jason Schwartzman, Moonrise Kingdom

How did such a dick end up being sort of a hero? Well, Cousin Ben (brought to life by Jason Schwartzman in scenes so quick that you could miss his whole performance in one trip to the bathroom) treats Suzy and Sam like the kids they are, but kids making grown-up decisions. None of it’s legally binding, but who cares. It’s the ceremony that matters. And fine, they can take the fucking nickels. –Allison Shoemaker


71. Stan Weasel

Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 1.09.28 PM

It’s worth noting this is Anderson’s only credited performance in a feature film of his. It’s as dry and witty as you’d imagine. Also, check out the awards acceptance reel that Anderson made with Stan! –Blake Goble


70. Dudley

Stephen Lea Sheppard, The Royal Tenenbaums

dudley Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

It’s Dudley’s World, and we’re all just living in it. The profoundly confused subject under the care of Bill Murray’s Raleigh St. Clair is a welcome source of humor in the often bleak landscape of The Royal Tenenbaums. Can he tell time? Oh, my lord, no. –Zack Ruskin


69. Prisoner Ludwig

Harvey Keitel, The Grand Budapest Hotel

73 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Harvey Keitel’s clipped, charismatic, yet quietly menacing delivery makes him a surprisingly apt addition to Anderson’s troupe of supporting players. Did he really need to be shirtless the whole time, though? –Randall Colburn


68. Kumar

Kumar Pallana, Bottle Rocket

99 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Before he was an amateur theater critic or Royal Tenenbaum’s confidant and shiv recipient, Kumar was the man who hides in a freezer and forgets who Applejack is in the climax of Bottle Rocket. Kumar was perhaps the first time Anderson employed a minor character with little to no impact on the story to great success, a recipe he has stayed with ever since. –Zack Ruskin


67. Jon Mapplethorpe / Future Man

Andrew Wilson, Bottle Rocket

106 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Future Man is one of Wes Anderson’s most wonderful supporting players, a rich, hunky bully whose bro-ness is rooted in the kind of emasculation that can always be played off as simple “joshing.” He’s played by Owen and Luke’s older brother, Andrew, who exploits their laconic Texan drawl to great effect with his chuckly jabs. His best occurs after seeing Owen Wilson’s Dignan in a yellow jumpsuit: “He looks like a little banana!” Pure Anderson. –Randall Colburn


66. Kristofferson Silverfox

Eric Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.21.12 PM

With a name like Kristofferson Silverfox, who wouldn’t be jealous of this too-cool-for-school kid? He’s handsome. He’s smart. He meditates. Damn him for being so sweet! –Blake Goble


65. Deputy Vilmos Kovacs

Jeff Goldblum, The Grand Budapest Hotel

69 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Wes Anderson’s got a bit of a soft spot for people who are just trying to do their damn jobs. Top of that list: Deputy Kovacs, whose dedication to the law and to fulfilling the wishes of his client lead him to a most unkind fate (beginning with the loss of those four fingers). Kovacs’ murder didn’t just rob us of more Jeff Goldblum (always welcome). It robbed the fictional world of a damn fine attorney. Where’s the justice in that? –Allison Shoemaker


64. The Businessman

Bill Murray, The Darjeeling Limited

68 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Who is he? Why is he here? Why do I cry every time I see the glint of recognition in Peter Whitman’s eyes as he leaps aboard the Darjeeling Limited to leave the older man behind? Because, yeah, Murray’s character probably does represent his deceased father. And, yes, offspring should surpass and transcend their father. And, yes, The Kinks’ “This Time Tomorrow” has never, ever been used better. Or maybe he’s just an unlucky businessman. Whoever he is, though, he matters. –Randall Colburn


63. The Author as a Young Man

Jude Law, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.55.03 PM

Sometimes the most important characters in a film are among the least interesting. The Author is the vessel through which we hear Zero and Gustave’s story, and his re-telling immortalizes the people and, nearly as importantly, the place for all time. He’s essential, but he also doesn’t matter all that much. Still, in casting Jude Law, Anderson made a very smart choice: If you’re going to give the audience eyes and ears, better to put them in a top-notch actor. –Allison Shoemaker


62. Jack’s ex-girlfriend

Natalie Portman, Hotel Chevalier

66 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Natalie Portman’s presence is so strong that despite only appearing in this 13-minute prologue, she’s well ahead of more established characters from Anderson’s feature films. Short-haired due to V for Vendetta filming, Portman plays the nameless ex-girlfriend who swoops back into Jack’s life (Schwartzman) before they part once more. There brief time together tells us more than enough about where Jack is and where he’s headed. Can we get a full-length spin-off, please? –Justin Gerber


61. Ari Tenenbaum

Grant Rosenmeyer, The Royal Tenenbaums

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.25.53 PM

The more brooding of Chas Tenenbaum’s two sons, it takes some (often illegal) mischief from his grandfather, Royal, to get Ari to show some emotion. Who would’ve thought a few drops of dog blood would make us like the little guy so much? –Dan Caffrey


60. Uzi Tenenbaum

Jonah Meyerson, The Royal Tenenbaums

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.26.11 PM

See Ari Tenenbaum. Although Uzi has a less glowering disposition, he shares his brother’s identical red track suit, gun-inspired first name, and penchant for not talking much. It’s no surprise their creepy-twin factor (even though they’re not technically twins) got amped up for a pretty good Jimmy Eat World video. –Dan Caffrey


59. Cody

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

47 e1455729067308 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Alistair Hennessy is a big-time asshole. Real rich-boy jerk. Who hits a three-legged dog with a rolled-up paper, especially one as heroic and sweet as Cody? Cody’s kind of the unsung hero of Life Aquatic. Among the boat of misfit boys, Cody stood proud, albeit a little wobbly, and became Team Zissou’s spirit animal. All because those pirates forgot their dog. Idiots. –Blake Goble


58. Kylie Sven Opossum

Wally Wolodarsky, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Kylie Sven Opossum

Kylie was the best friend you never knew you wanted. Everyone wants to be the hero, the Mr. Fox of their own story. But people forget, you need a Kylie, a pragmatist with good credit and an amiable nature by your side when shenanigans go down. –Blake Goble


57. The Author as an Old Man

Tom Wilkinson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

53 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

One of Anderson’s best, although brief, angry-man characters. Is there anything funnier than watching a dad figure lose his calm when trying to present a studious, serious front? Tom Wilkinson bellowing, “Stop it! Stop it!” is cruel comedy perfection. –Blake Goble


56. Raleigh St. Clair

Bill Murray, The Royal Tenenbaums

Bill Murray, The Royal Tenenbaums

“My goodness. How interesting. How bizarre!” If those were Bill Murray’s only lines in The Royal Tenenbaums, it would still be a hell of a performance. And were it not for the many other great performances Anderson got from Murray, I’d be willing to bet poor Raleigh’d rank a lot higher. –Allison Shoemaker


55. Inspector Albert Henckels

Edward Norton, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Edward Norton, The Grand Budapest Hotel

“He sort of is to [M. Gustave] what Tommy Lee Jones is to Harrison Ford in The Fugitive,” Edward Norton said of his diligent Inspector in The Grand Budapest Hotel. “He might actually like this guy … a lot.” Henckel doesn’t have it out for anyone, and he’s got fond memories of Gustave. He’s just doing his job. –Allison Shoemaker


54. Inez

Lumi Cavazos, Bottle Rocket

inez bottle rocket Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Inez is a housekeeper from Paraguay who doesn’t speak English and exists almost solely to help alleviate Anthony’s existential angst by somehow falling in love with him after he stalks her at her job. Still, it’s a testament to Anderson’s writing and Cavazos’ understated performance that she’s remembered as a charming, spirited soul rather than a manic pixie dream girl. –Randall Colburn


53. Anne-Marie Sakowitz

Robyn Cohen, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

27 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Forget about the toplessness. The very best thing about Anne-Marie is that she is not having it. Zissou may not listen much, but he definitely doesn’t listen to the script girl. Bad luck for her, but good luck for us, or the movie’d be over in under an hour. –Allison Shoemaker


52. Jack Whitman

Jason Schwartzman, The Darjeeling Limited

54 e1455825862270 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Jack Whitman is that awful 1% privileged millennial that’s heartbroken, womanizing, and longs to be a renowned writer of short stories (blech). Played by Jason Schwartzman, however, he’s wounded and empathetic and endlessly relatable. Another example of just how gorgeously Schwartzman and Anderson’s sensibilities dovetail. –Randall Colburn


51. Anthony Adams

Luke Wilson, Bottle Rocket

Luke Wilson, Bottle Rocket

Everything’s easy for Anthony. Sure, he’s a victim of his own white, privileged existential dread, but he’s also got enough scratch to spend his days relaxing at a high-end rehab facility in the middle of the desert. But despite the cash and his good looks and the way women seem so naturally drawn to it, Anthony still longs for relevancy. Dignan is jealous of his privilege, but Anthony is jealous of Dignan’s ambition. I am, too. –Randall Colburn


50. Narrator

Alec Baldwin, The Royal Tenenbaums

34 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Before Alec Baldwin seared himself back into the pop-culture consciousness (“What’s in your wallet?”), his was just a voice that sounded sort of familiar. He’s more than just a voice, though. Baldwin’s almost neutral narration sets the tone of Tenenbaums, and with just one line, he delivers the film’s killing blow: “Immediately after making the statement, Royal realized that it was true.” –Allison Shoemaker


49. Walt Bishop

Bill Murray, Moonrise Kingdom

laura bishop1 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

If Bill Murray had never done another Anderson film, we’d be raving about his performance in this one. Together, he and Frances McDormand make the saddest, most sympathetic villains you can imagine. They’re as capable of despair as either of Moonrise Kingdom’s young leads, but being a grown-up means no running away. You just have to hope the roof gets ripped off the house instead. –Allison Shoemaker


48. Rat

Willem Dafoe, Fantastic Mr. Fox


Delivering his sneering dialogue in some kind of indeterminate Southern drawl, Willem Dafoe’s Rat spends his days bombed on cider while also protecting Bean’s cider cellar. Ultimately, Rat gets his for pushing Mr. Fox to the point where he has to show his teeth after attempting to kidnap Ash, and while Rat tries to help the desperate animals in his final moments, Fox has curt words for his salvation efforts: “Redemption? Sure. But in the end, he’s just another dead rat in a garbage pail behind a Chinese restaurant.” His is a tragic story, of cider addiction and the fall from grace. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


47. Etheline Tenenbaum

Anjelica Huston, The Royal Tenenbaums

Anjelica Huston, The Royal Tenenbaums

In a film full of people who are barely functional, Etheline is a motherfucking grown-up. As played by Anjelica Huston, the matriarch of the Tenenbaums may not be the film’s most compelling character, but she’s the eye of the storm. She’s an adult. They’d be lost without her. –Allison Shoemaker


46. Laura Bishop

Frances McDormand, Moonrise Kingdom

 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

“We women are more emotional,” Laura Bishop tells her daughter as she studies the fishhooks in her ears. “I hate you,” Suzy responds. Frances McDormand’s reaction here is perfect. She knows it, and maybe even agrees, but she’s a parent. This is what parents do. It’s her job to be the bad guy — yet another thing to be sad about. –Allison Shoemaker


45. Old Zero Moustafa

F. Murray Abraham, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 3.15.02 PM

I’ve always struggled with The Grand Budapest Hotel’s bid for empathy, its story structure often too byzantine for me to relate to the characters’ grief. The one exception is the older version of (sort of) protagonist Zero Moustafa. As played by F. Murray Abraham, his weary presence and wind-beaten features keep the pain and shadow of time lingering in the background, even as the film distracts the viewer with narrative impenetrability. –Dan Caffrey


44. The Narrator

Bob Balaban, Moonrise Kingdom

moonrise kingdom Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Wes Anderson’s films always seem to operate with rules known only to them. Never is that more clear than with Bob Balaban’s narrator, also a cartographer and perhaps documentarian. He always knows what comes next, right as it happens. He brings his own lights. He’s almost out of frame, but somehow godlike and all-knowing. What the fuck? How is he not ranked higher? –Allison Shoemaker


43. Snoopy

Moonrise Kingdom

44 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

For as much sympathy as Wes Anderson seems to have for dogs, he can’t keep from harming the damn things in his films. But no canine mistreatment hits harder than the death of Snoopy, if only because we see it in all of its grisly detail. In this case, that means an arrow sticking out of a bloodied neck. One could argue it’s an unnecessarily violent image, or perhaps it’s merely a statement on the cruelty of (usually human) nature. In the words of Sam Shakusky, who’s to say? –Dan Caffrey


42. Zero Moustafa

Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Digital Fusion Image Library TIFF File

Just like with Sam in Moonrise Kingdom, Tony Revolori’s debut performance as Zero offers another innocent look into a deeply cynical, yet candy-coated Anderson world. Zero’s wide-eyed eagerness make him a perfect outlet for the film’s perspective on time and war, and his intense loyalty to Gustave H makes for one of Anderson’s best buddy pairings. –Clint Worthington


41. Dmitri Desgoffe und Taxis

Adrien Brody, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jeez, Wes Anderson and the little details. Did anyone know the full name of Adrien Brody’s Dmitri character in Grand Budapest Hotel? Dmitri Desgoffe und Taxis? And he looks like a vampire Sergei Eistenstein, or even Dali a little, or something. The point being, Adrien Brody freaking out when “Boy with Apple” is taken is the stuff of comic rage gold. –Blake Goble


40. Social Services

Tilda Swinton, Moonrise Kingdom

 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Tilda Swinton manages to make big, bold impressions in the smallest of roles, and Moonrise Kingdom is no exception. As the monolithic, commanding Social Services, Swinton manages to boss around the entire cast of Moonrise Kingdom from the first moment she saunters onscreen. One wonders if this character is related to her taskmaster from Snowpiercer. –Clint Worthington


39. Serge X

Mathieu Amalric, The Grand Budapest Hotel

26 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

While Monsieur Gustave’s doting dedication to Madame D is a central conceit of The Grand Budapest Hotel, it is Mathieu Amalric’s Serge X that ultimately clears the path for Gustave to prove his innocence. Amalric is a natural addition to the eclectic and talented group of actors that Wes Anderson has employed in his work, a unique face with a splash of French moxie. Initially we find Serge despicable for testifying against the good Monsieur, but later it is Serge’s foresight in duplicating Madame D’s will that affords Gustave the fortune and property that eventually passes down to Zero. –Zack Ruskin


38. Agatha

Saoirse Ronan, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Saoirse Ronan, The Grand Budapest Hotel

The young woman who would become Zero’s wife, Agatha proves as resourceful as an art thief and moderate criminal as she is at pastry work. Though she and Zero’s son are lost some time after the film ends to the “Prussian grippe,” their wild life together lives on through the onetime lobby boy. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


37. Peter Whitman

Adrien Brody, The Darjeeling Limited

38 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

He’s cast alongside comedy pros Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman in The Darjeeling Limited, but Adrien Brody’s Peter Whitman ultimately ends up scoring the most laughs. There might be no funnier moment in the movie than when Wilson’s Francis realizes Peter is wearing one of his belts as they pray at an altar. “Is that my belt?” Francis asks. Peter pauses mid-prayer: “Can I borrow it?” Of course, to focus solely on the comedy is to ignore the character’s innate tragedy. The brother most affected by the death of their father, Peter cloaks himself in the late patriarch’s belongings. Everyone in this movie is trying to move on from something, but none so much as Peter. –Randall Colburn


36. Henry Sherman

Danny Glover, The Royal Tenenbaums

37 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Danny Glover’s Henry Sherman is, even for an Anderson character, a particularly guileless romantic. Basically the perfect antithesis of the emotional distance of Royal Tenenbaum, Etheline falls for Henry precisely because he’s so uncomplicated. He also makes for a particularly amusing target for Royal’s racism: “You wanna talk some jive?” –Clint Worthington


35. Bert Fischer

Seymour Cassel, Rushmore

36 e1455735349203 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Oh, sweet, sweet Bert Fischer, the kind of neighborhood barber you always wished you had. He’s also a great father. He knows Max is ashamed of him, but instead of taking offense, he takes it in his stride. He doesn’t fully understand his own son, so all he can do is get out of his way and pledge to still be there when Max comes back. –Randall Colburn


34. Alastair Hennessey

Jeff Goldblum, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

35 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Goldblum’s endlessly surprising aging into continuous virility has rarely been used better than it is in his turn as Alistair Hennessey. Though endlessly smug (and cruel to three-legged dogs), Hennessey is part of the same scientific community as Zissou, and to be fair, they do steal his espresso machine. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


33. Dirk Calloway

Mason Gamble, Rushmore

dirk calloway e1455737011451 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

No words can possibly capture the raging beauty of Dirk Calloway’s accusatory monologue, so best to leave it to the tape on this entry. How Mason Gamble didn’t become a big-time star from this scene alone is still a mystery. –Blake Goble


32. Pagoda

Kumar Pallana, The Royal Tenenbaums

18 e1455749863995 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

We love Pagoda because we love the man who plays him. The late Kumar Pallana had a life that would, come to think of it, make a hell of a Wes Anderson film, and it’s easy to see why Andserson and the Wilsons carved out a place in their cinematic universe for him. It’s Pallana’s presence that makes the Pagoda-Royal relationship work, from handstands to stabbing to medical help. We believe him as a spy. We believe him as a hired assassin. We believe him as an aficionado of pink pants, and above all, we believe him as a loyal friend. Pretty impressive for approximately 10 lines. –Allison Shoemaker


31. Sister Patricia Whitman

Anjelica Huston, The Darjeeling Limited

32 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Three lost boys in search of a mother could do worse than the eternally alluring and impeccably nuanced Angelica Huston. As Sister Patricia Whitman, she finds the three leading men at the heart of The Darjeeling Limited at their lowest moment. But Whitman is no Manic Pixie Dream Girl – after some encouraging words, she is off, destined to live a life not defined by her children but by her own choices. –Zack Ruskin


30. Madame D.

Tilda Swinton, The Grand Budapest Hotel

tilda gbh e1455738072372 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Tilda Swinton, the amazing, androgynous actress extraordinaire, went full latex and buried herself under liver spots, high hair, and fake eyes to play the 84-year-old object of Ralph Fiennes’ desire, Madame D. And Swinton’s D. netted the film a makeup nomination at the Oscars. Also, nice Max Ophüls allusion. The Earrings of Madame de … is alive and being referenced by Wes Anderson. Thanks, Criterion! –Blake Goble


29. Pele dos Santos

Seu Jorge, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

30 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Pele dos Santos’ sole duty on Steve Zissou’s vessel, Belafonte, seems to be lounging on the deck and playing gentle Portugese-language covers of David Bowie songs. And that’s just fine by us. Portrayed by Brazilian troubadour Seu Jorge, Pele stoked the fires of Bowie love in an entire generation of college students. Even the Thin White Duke himself professed a renewed interest in his own work thanks to Jorge: “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese, I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with,” he’s said of the soundtrack. –Dan Caffrey


28. Ned Plimpton/Kingsley Zissou

Owen Wilson, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

ned life aquatic Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

After Ned Plimpton dies in a helicopter accident, it’s revealed that Steve Zissou is sterile and therefore probably not his biological father as Ned originally claimed. But does their lack of blood relation really matter? Both men found adoration and conflict (and therefore purpose) in each other. On the surface, it’s the film’s climactic appearance of the jaguar shark that reinvigorates Zissou’s passion. I say it was actually Ned Plimpton. Sorry, make that Kinglsey Zissou.–Dan Caffrey


27. Eleanor Zissou

Anjelica Huston, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

50 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Eleanor really is the brains of Team Zissou. Huston’s endlessly wise, arch matriarch of the whole operation is as much a forceful presence as she is an adept identifier of obscure, weather-ravaged islands based on the avian wildlife sounds left in hasty voicemails. All useful skills for an adventurer to have. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


26. Jane Winslett-Richardson

Cate Blanchett, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Cate Blanchett, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Her name an obvious nod to every other English actress who could have conceivably played the part, Cate Blanchett’s Jane manages to spice up the typical Wes Anderson object-of-romantic-rivalry role in numerous ways. Cynical about Steve’s notoriety and waning popularity, Jane nonetheless finds a home on the Belafonte, as she frets about the world she’s bringing her child into. –Clint Worthington


25. Magnus Buchan

Stephen McCole, Rushmore

49 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Magnus Buchan is an early example of the bizarre Andersonian supporting character and also one of the best. His thick Scottish accent, mangled ear, and army of underclassmen make him a mysterious schoolyard monster, but his third act reveal – “I’ve always wanted to be in one of your feckin’ plays” – could make even the most coldhearted swoon. He’s great in Max’s Vietnam-set Heaven and Hell, too, playing the war-torn, cigar-chomping Sarge. Ultimately, it’s just nice to see Max make a friend his own age. “Semper fi, Esposito. Semper fi.” –Randall Colburn


24. Mr. Abe Henry

James Caan, Bottle Rocket

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.45.45 AM

Looking back, James Caan took the honors in being the first veteran actor to appear in Anderson’s oeuvre, and he slid into the quirky role with ease. As Mr. Abe Henry, he’s the head of a lunatic mob squad that feels like a PG version of Dean Stockwell’s band of misfits in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Whether he’s wearing a robe or practicing martial arts or palling around with Rowboat, Caan always sells the oddities as a natural thing, while also instilling the air with a sense of menace. Much like Hackman’s turn in Tenenbaums, Caan was always a one-and-done deal and for good reason. –Michael Roffman


23. J.G. Jopling

Willem Dafoe, The Grand Budapest Hotel

24 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

By combining his Klaus Kinski-esque aesthetic with the off-kilter lunacy of his work with David Lynch, Willem Dafoe’s found a sure place in the Anderson canon. His characters are creepy and unstable, but also endearingly enigmatic, even when they’re blithely chopping off fingers in doorways. His J.G. Jopling is the best kind of heavy, the kind that, with barely a word of dialogue, conveys menace and monstrousness without sacrificing their humanity. –Randall Colburn


22. Clive Badger

Bill Murray, Fantastic Mr. Fox

23 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Death, taxes, and Bill Murray in Wes Anderson films. These are the three guarantees in life. In The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Murray voices Clive Badger, an attorney and loyal friend to Mr. Fox. In perhaps one the best dialogue exchanges to ever appear in what is ostensibly a children’s film, Badger and Fox have a heated dialogue that includes the exchange: “The cuss am I? Are you cussing with me?” “No, you cussing with me?” The simultaneous absurdity and brilliance of using the word “cuss” in lieu of actually profanity illustrates Anderson’s unwavering faith in Murray to take what, in the wrong paws, could be a gaffe, and render it memorable. –Zack Ruskin


21. Scout Master Randy Ward

Edward Norton, Moonrise Kingdom

22 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

While we often look to Edward Norton for the reserved fury he harnesses so well in star turns like American History X and 25th Hour, Wes Anderson finds a softer side of the actor in his role as Moonrise Kingdom’s Scout Master Randy Ward. Perennially smoking, recording his anxieties into a Dictaphone, Ward is a good-hearted if inept scout leader. In Norton’s hands, Ward’s desire to find escaped Khaki Scout Sam and keep him away from Tilda Swinton’s ominously named Social Services provides some of the poignant emotional undercurrent that Anderson imbues so skillfully into all of his films. –Zack Ruskin


20. Francis Whitman

Owen Wilson, The Darjeeling Limited

darjeeling7 e1455749098583 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

People forget about Owen Wilson’s depth sometimes. Beaneath the shaggy surfer hair and the “wow” meme, Wilson is an actor with a powerful angst and thoughtfulness to his work. He may be the cool dude on the surface, but Wilson seems to feel and contemplate harder than many people. Nothing exemplified this better than his work as super brother Francis in Darjeeling Limited. Here was a guy with bruises and blood about the face trying his absolute best to keep up that good face. Francis may have screamed forced optimism, but he was at least willing to force himself to be positive. –Blake Goble


19. Felicity Fox

Meryl Streep, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Shocking news: Meryl Streep is pretty good at what she does. While the film’s fantastic husband benefits from the immediately recognizable voice of one of the most starry movie stars in the world, Felicity Fox creeps in on quieter feet. Streep gives Felicity a simple, unshowy purr that’s utterly maternal, sensible, and warm. She’s Etheline Tenenbaum without the reserve, Jane Winslett-Richardson without the rage, and a mom who’s never dismissed as merely a mom. The film may be stop-motion, but Felicity Fox is anything but stiff, and of all of Anderson’s mother-figures, she’s the tops. –Allison Shoemaker


18. Captain Duffy Sharp

Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

10 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

In the grand scheme of things, Capt. Sharp doesn’t seem like anything special: He’s simply one part of a grander ensemble within Moonrise Kingdom. However, it was nice to see Bruce Willis caring again after what feels like a decade or two of tired-eyed action flicks he’s increasingly too old for. Sharp, however, sees him in the role of reluctant dad to Sam Shakusky, where Willis’ dry humor and late-career creakiness come in quite handy: “I can’t argue against anything you’re saying. But then again, I don’t have to, ’cause you’re 12 years old.” –Clint Worthington


17. Ash Fox

Jason Schwartzman, Fantastic Mr. Fox

19 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Oh, Ash. You sweet, spiteful boy. Jason Schwartzman came to Mr. Fox’s son, Ash, with a fully felt characterization. Ash was not tall or popular or athletic or even that smart. Of course he would feel neglected or spiteful of his father’s charisma. Yes, it’s completely understandable why he’s jealous of his much handsomer and sharper cousin. Schwartzman played Ash with that little bit of jealousy that lives in all of us. Not everyone can be cool foxes, and Ash was a little guy, for the little guys. And in the end, he teaches us to own it. –Blake Goble


16. Rosemary Cross

Olivia Williams, Rushmore

58 e1455819056809 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Rosemary will never (ever) be somebody for Max to know in the way he’d like to, but Olivia Williams’ performance easily illustrates why he would fake a car accident and find his way into her house anyway. The rare filmic widow who’s addressed without pity, Ms. Cross is as understanding of the two sad sacks who find their way into her orbit as she is aware that she needn’t suffer their childish nonsense. She’s one of Anderson’s most empathetic creations, and her understanding that Max and Herman deserve each other functions as a master thesis for so much of the director’s work. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


15. Dr. Nelson Guggenheim

Brian Cox, Rushmore

brian cox rushmore Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Dr. Nelson Guggenheim is a paragon of class and intellect who’s also not above spitting Max’s own words back at him in a mocking baby voice. You can’t blame him, really. It can’t be easy running a prep school for spoiled rich kids, especially since much of his work involves dealing with their equally awful parents. It’s for that reason that Max’s low-class origins probably appealed to him and also why he feels so betrayed by Max’s ostensible failure as a student. Kudos to Brian Cox, who’s never been afraid to mingle broad comedic jabs into the Shakesperian tambor of his high-minded acting style. –Randall Colburn


14. Jaguar shark

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

15 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

If you ever want to resolve a conflict with someone else or, better yet, simply let bygones be bygones, think about nature. Seriously. Natural wonder and a planetary scope of life goes a long way towards improving one’s humility, as depicted in the climax of The Life Aquatic. When Steve Zissou finally rediscovers the jaguar shark, he’s surrounded by everyone who he’s ever loved, fought, and disagreed with, including the shark itself. Friends, lovers, ex-lovers, and enemies are all present. But none of that matters when the mythic fish swims into frame, its spots changing colors with the light as it arcs over the windows of the observation pod.

Everyone puts their hands on Zissou’s shoulders, as if blessing him, and in that moment, nothing else matters, not even the fact that the creature ate his best friend and that he once wanted to kill it. But how can you kill something that operates on a higher plane than humans, something unplagued by petty feelings of vengeance and jealousy, something that only exists to eat, swim, and mesmerize us? Zissou and his team will likely forget many of those things once they’re back on dry land, but for a brief period, the jaguar shark gives them a more cosmic appreciation of life. –Dan Caffrey


13. Sam Shakusky

Jared Gilman, Moonrise Kingdom

moonrise kingdom Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Kid protagonists are always going to be a mixed bag: for every John Connor or Kevin McAllister, we get Li’l Annie Skywalker. Wes Anderson’s storybook aesthetic works wonders for newcomer Jared Gilman as Moonrise Kingdom’s protagonist Sam Shakusky, a wise-beyond-his-years Boy Scout who accepts his outsider status and moves to find a new home with Suzy Bishop. Gilman’s world-weary cynicism belies his cherubic face and dorky glasses, his innocence innately tempered by his desire for somewhere to belong. Whether it’s expertly displaying his outdoor skills or defending his lady love with a pair of scissors, Sam’s can-do attitude makes him a charming Anderson lead. –Clint Worthington


12. Richie Tenenbaum

Luke Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums

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It’s Richie Tenenbaum’s silence that hits especially hard. Unlike the firecracker grievances and paternal lawsuits of his brother Chas, Richie’s meltdowns are inward and more complicated. Even when he loses it on international television during a tennis championship, he doesn’t unleash on his opponent or flip out at the crowd. He just tosses his racket aside and sits crosslegged on the court, his psyche crumbling at the sight of his adopted sister, Margot, and her new husband, Raleigh St. Clair, in the stands. Being in love with your sibling — even an adopted one — is admittedly creepy, but thanks to Luke Wilson’s stoicism and quiet internal earthquakes, we can’t help but feel for him. –Dan Caffrey


11. Chas Tenenbaum

Ben Stiller, The Royal Tenenbaums

chaz Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Of all the Tenenbaum children, Chas is the most vocal and therefore has the most outward anger toward their father, Royal. What do you expect from a guy who named his kids after guns? But his verbosity also allows him to articulate himself when it comes to his dad, despite there being a lot of his rage within that he’s not sure how to suss out. It’s Chas whose fiery temper leads to the revelation that he and Eli Cash need therapy, Chas whose unhinged emotions allow love and devotion to sneak in among the rage, Chas who ends up riding in the ambulance with Royal when he gets a fatal heart attack. Throughout the film, he has the most potential to change — and he does — which is why we root for him. –Dan Caffrey


10. Suzy Bishop

Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom

moonrise kingdom kara hayward image e1455751611651 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Tendency to go berserk aside, we could all use a little dose of whatever Suzy Bishop’s been drinking. To separate Kara Hayward’s simple but furious performance from co-star Jared Gilman’s feels wrong — they spend the entire movie trying to stay together, after all — but Hayward is remarkable in her own right, and Suzy every bit as compelling as her tenacious would-be husband. From the first glimpse of her emerald-lidded eyes, it’s clear that whatever else she may be, Suzy is determined. She finds this life wanting, and she is going to go after a better one, no matter what it costs. So what if they break their necks. So what if she can only bring six books. So what. She gets to decide what comes next. –Allison Shoemaker


09. Dignan

Owen Wilson, Bottle Rocket

16 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Dignan wants to be good at something so, so bad. He’s got all the passion and organizational skills in the world, but his ideas tend to surpass his talents. That he’s pursuing a life of crime just makes it all the more tragic. Is there anything sadder than a bad cat burglar? As Dignan, Owen Wilson debuted on the silver screen as a fully formed actor, already in full command of his ditzy, golden retriever-esque amiability. He sells not just the comedy, but also the aggressive desperation he feels as the less-privileged, less-talented best friend of Luke Wilson’s handsome Anthony. Everything comes easy for Anthony. Not for Dignan, and because of that he serves as an updated version of the American Dream: Working hard won’t get you everything you want anymore, but it just might get you what you need. For Dignan, it got him one fleeting moment of glory, the sense that he created something and followed through on it. That it fails is beside the point. We need more Dignans in this world. –Randall Colburn


08. Mr. F.F. “Foxy” Fox

George Clooney, Fantastic Mr. Fox


There are a lot of F.F. Foxes in the world. And few actors are better suited to portray one than George Clooney, an actor who’s made his name as much on his ability to find the cracks and insecurities in his own classic movie star persona as on that persona itself. He’s a creature of ego, a man who loves his family but can’t see how his hunger for the constant awe of his peers is putting them in danger. He’s a fox in a midlife crisis who’s struggling against a fear we all know: leaving the world without leaving your mark. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer


07. Monsieur Gustave H

Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Ralph Fiennes is the innocent spirit, the heart and hope of Grand Budapest Hotel. Well, okay, maybe he’s not all that innocent. Is there no room for a bisexual beauty of moral, uh, complexity in times of war? At once a singularly classy fella with affections for fine items and fancy older ladies, he’s also a crass cad, willing to abide throat slitting and punches to the face as long as he reaches a goal. Fiennes was total precision adorable as Gustave H., wearing his purple and red tux, smiling delightfully under his thin mustache. While everyone in the world of Grand Budapest Hotel had lost their cool and sense of humanity, one man dared to find faint glimmers of civilization left in the barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed, that’s what Gustave provided in his own modest, humble, insignificant … oh, fuck it. –Blake Goble


06. Eli Cash

Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums

06 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

“Wildcat. Wiiild cat. Pow. Ch-pow … I’m gonna go.” And like that, Eli Cash becomes so pitifully understood. He’s not the most eloquent man. He’s got chintzy style and mass appeal. But he will never ever be a Tenenbaum. And like that, Cash becomes perhaps the most sympathetic character in The Royal Tenenbaums. Owen Wilson’s frail insecurity emerges from a haze of drugs and abhorrent taste in clothes and art in this moment, and we see a person who deeply truly wants to be special, but may never be able to achieve it. Cash has to posture and accept his nominal success when put under the spotlight and found out for the limited person he is. It’s one of Wilson’s greatest performances and an unsung characterization from Anderson that may have lost out against the titular heroes of Tenenbaums. Or maybe it’s the mescaline talking. I’ve been spaced out all day. –Blake Goble


05. Margot Tenenbaum

Gwyneth Paltrow, The Royal Tenenbaums


In a movie filled with sad people, is anyone sadder than Margot? It would be a race to the finish, to be sure, but something about Adopted Daughter Margot Tenenbaum’s carefully guarded (and hoarded) secrets, missing finger, and those lined, lonely eyes hits every bit as hard as the palpable grief and longing of her siblings. They, at least, have their emotions. In one of her best performances — one a million times more affecting than the one that won her an Oscar — Gwyneth Paltrow imbues Margot with a self-imposed numbness and distance that makes her inevitable crumbling hurt that much more. Of course she needs a cigarette. Jesus Christ, so do I. –Allison Shoemaker


04. Royal Tenenbaum

Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums

gene royal Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Unlike any other character in the Wes Anderson canon, Royal Tenenbaum is profoundly unsympathetic in a way that distances him from the rest of the film’s charmingly flawed characters. Sure, much of what you could say about Royal could be said about Max Fischer or Steve Zissou: he’s a selfish narcissist who speaks insensitively to others and is still learning how to be a decent human being. However, there’s something about Gene Hackman’s genial, huckster-like performance as Royal that gives him a dynamic not seen in Anderson’s work since Tenenbaums. He’s the glue that holds his family together, even when he doesn’t stick around. –Clint Worthington


03. Herman Blume

Bill Murray, Rushmore

bill murray rushmore e1455752446630 Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Bill Murray wasn’t Bill Murray when he took the role of Herman Blume. In the late 90s he was acting in Operation Dumbo Drop knock-offs and taking cameos in movies like Wild Things. His best years, it seemed, were behind him. Most actors take some kind of traditional dramatic role in times like these–a grieving parent or sad sack–but Murray’s take on Herman Blume was able to merge his talent for blunt and graceful character-based comedy with an existential emptiness that wasn’t dramatic so much as deep. In lieu of words, Murray and Anderson articulate the character through scenes that are simultaneously sad and hilarious, like when Blume absently tosses golf balls into his swimming pool while wearing baggy Budweiser swim trunks. His redemption is a simple one, too. No tears, no monologues, just an openness and effort that resonates as those tireless first steps toward reconstruction. A beautiful character, a beautiful performance. –Randall Colburn


02. Steve Zissou

Bill Murray, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

zissou murray Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

Equal parts Jacques Cousteau and Charles Foster Kane, marine biologist and documentary filmmaker Steve Zissou is the quintessential Wes Anderson protagonist. A middle-aged man looking back on his life and finding nothing but empty quirks, Steve’s bright red beanie and form-fitting aquamarine jumpsuit make him a man who’s disappeared into his brand – cynical and self-centered, with nothing to truly connect him with others. While Murray’s a constant in Wes Anderson’s filmography, his work as Zissou just barely evens out his revelatory turn in Rushmore, due to Murray’s ability to take the stage on his own and prove himself as a compelling lead. –Clint Worthington


01. Max Fischer

Jason Schwartzman, Rushmore

Neu im Kino: Tragikomödie "Rushmore" mit Jason Schwartzman

While it’s certainly up for debate, I say that Max Fischer is a certifiable genius. And like most geniuses, he excels at his work, but isn’t sure how to deal with his own emotions. He’s also 15, so it’s love (or, more accurately, infatuation) that gives him the most trouble. As assured as he is in a director’s chair or overseeing an elaborate construction project, he becomes a monstrous, blubbering, and generally erratic mess when it comes to the object of his affection, the much older teacher, Rosemary Cross. That’s something we can all relate to, geniuses or not, and even though Max has developed a healthier personality by the end of Rushmore — one that reconciles his artistic prowess with some semblance of stability — he’ll most likely slip more than a few times in the future. After all, he may be a genius, but he’s also a human being. –Dan Caffrey


00. Klaus Daimler

Willem Dafoe, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

klaus Ranking: Every Wes Anderson Character From Worst to Best

“Calm. Collected. German.” As the stoic, almost childlike Klaus Daimler, Willem Dafoe gives one of Anderson’s better and more understated comic performances. The right-hand man to Steve Zissou, who becomes threatened when he learns that Steve might have a real, biological son, worries that Ned will become the real son to Steve that Klaus always wanted himself to be. He’s endlessly insulting (“he doesn’t even know how to hold a boom!”), vulnerable, and wants nothing more than to finally be on A-squad during a Zissou raid. But he’s the B-squad leader, and that’s just fine, too. –Dominick Suzanne-Mayer