There’s a lot to be said for the cinematic lone ranger – the strong silent type strolling through the movie, cigarette dangling from lip, an alienated wild-card who gets the job done. From John Wayne’s macho cowboys to Daniel Day-Lewis’ troop of Oscar-winning mavericks, many of our heroes have made their names on their lonesome, carrying their movies safe in the knowledge that the glory of critical acclaim is all theirs.
But at what expense? Notice how Bond perks up when accompanied by one of his trademark Bond Girls? Or how much more enjoyable eternal intergalactic space tourism is for The Doctor when paired with a companion? And did Christian Bale’s Batman crack a single smile throughout three movies spent without his sidekick Robin? A Dark Knight indeed… Things are far better when the load is shared, when our heroes find their partner in crime and take the opportunity to engage in both bicker and banter between the action.
From Cheech and Chong to Charlie Chaplin and The Kid, Thelma and Louise to last year’s pairing of box-office favourites Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, buddy-ups are a cinematic staple well worth celebrating. So, with the UK Premiere of Franklin and Bash’s Forth Season on Sony TV this Thursday 6th November, 10pm, in which two brash lawyers cause chaos in the courtroom between trips to the bar, we’re bringing you Ten of the Best ScreenBuddy Acts.
Thelma & Louise
This darkly-comic pop culture sensation saw two house-wives escape their dour partners and head off into the desert on a life-affirming crime-spree. Redefining the concept of Girls On Tour, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon’s friendship drives the film forward, with performances that saw them recognized with Oscar nominations, and become unlikely inspirations to real-life copy-cat criminals. The final scene, with the pair performing a hand-in-hand tribute to Evil Knievel, will stand the test of time.
Gibson & Glover
There are few more effective narrative tropes then the reluctant police partners forced together to fight crime (and frequently each other), yet the combination of Danny Glover’s ageing Sergeant and Mel Gibson’s manic ticking time-bomb of a police officer re-wrote the rules of the buddy cop movie. Spawning three sequels, their off-kilter and relentlessly-quotable relationship made its stars two of the biggest names of the 80s and 90s.
Dumb & Dumber
Some of the relationships on this list showcase very different personalities welding as one brilliantly potent whole – brains and brawn, big and small, man and wookie – others however, are true partnerships of equals. Don’t let the film’s title tell you otherwise, Dumb And Dumber is the story of two equally buffoonish individuals. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels came together with their own brand of slapstick stupidity and stormed the box-office. Fans can look forward to the brilliantly named sequel Dumb And Dumber To.
Norton & Pitt
The Narrator and the legendary conductor of chaos Tyler Durden showed themselves to be two sides of the same dirty coin. Bringing a bleak humour to King of Darkness Dave Fincher’s nihilistic tale of de-masculinised and despondent Generation X-ers, Norton and Pitt’s relationship was the heartbeat of the film. From car park punch-ups to a mutual appreciation for the finer points of soap creation, these two were inseparable – their partnership inspiring thousands around the country to take up their destructive cause.
Mr & Mrs Smith
As the titular married couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt put their superstar wattage to great effect in this highly-underrated actioner. Each arguably the most well-known members of their respective sexes in the film world, they proved to be a dynamite on-screen coupling – participating in choreographed shoot-outs with the poetic grace of Strictly Come Dancing champions. The fact that they would eventually ‘buddy-up’ off-screen, only adds extra spice to the mix.
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Is there a scene in movie history more stirring, more lump-in-the-throat, hairs on the neck-stiffeningly strong as Butch and The Sundance Kid’s final defiant stand against the guns that surround them? Taking home four Oscars, this story of two bank robbers making for the Bolivian border is a towering testament to the power and appeal of its two stars. Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s on-screen bromance will live on forever more. A true classic.
Starsky & Hutch
The iconic duo, Detectives Dave Starsky and Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, saviours of the mean streets of Bay City and flared jeans sales, were everywhere in the 1970s. They made their comeback with the crossover into the cinemas with a 2004 big-screen comedy. Frequent collaborators Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller brought their own chemistry and style to the role – a comedic match made in heaven. Though their love of their trademark Ford Gran Torino almost makes this a petrol-fuelled ménage et trois.
Vince & Jules
Whether discussing the merits of a good foot message, or debating the big questions (like what the French call a Big Mac), Vince and Jules are hit men with the time and poise to ensure that they don’t get bogged down in the job of killing. Rocking sharp dark suits like two preachers on their way to a job interview, they are two pairs in a well-dressed pod. Tarantino’s finest duo – and the defining memory of perhaps his greatest film.
Buzz & Woody
Sparks flew from the moment the Space Captain and Cowboy met – each battling for the affections of their owner and overlord Andy. It didn’t matter that they were six inches tall and made of plastic, their rivalry was something that every fleshy humanoid could relate to. Eventually, however they would win each other over, become the firmest of friends, and make grown men cry with a consistency not seen since the invention of the onion.
Han Solo & Chewy
The man and hairy beast were the wisecracking heartbeat of the original Star Wars trilogy – their relationship made all the sweeter for the fact that one could emit only Tarzan-esque grunts. Han and Chewbacca have a long and storied history, with the former Imperial Pilot originally refusing an order to kill the 200 year-old Wookie. Han was dismissed from the fleet as a consequence, but gained a loyal life-long friend and co-pilot as a result. In a series filled with great pairings, this was most enduring. Sorry R2D2 and C3PO.