Part of what makes Wes Anderson’s films so terrific is the array of unforgettable characters. While we watch the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom on repeat, here are the 10 most memorable major characters and 10 most memorable minor characters of the writer/director’s first six films.
The 10 Most Memorable Wes Anderson Major Characters
By Adam Vitcavage
10. Margot Tenenbaum – The Royal Tenenbaums
Margot’s adoptive father is the first to point out that she’s not a true Tenenbaum. Despite this she becomes a famous playwright who depicts the isolated aspect of a fallen talent. Her husband, Raleigh St. Clair, nearly made this list, but was edged out by how vital Margot is to the overall story of the Tenenbaum family.
9. Francis Whitman – The Darjeeling Limited
Francis is secretive, controlling and an internal mess. He planned the trip for his brothers to take and is the catalyst for all of the events that occur aboard the train. He’s unintentionally toxic as he’s controlled by his emotions instead of common sense.
8. Eli Cash – The Royal Tenenbaums
Eli’s desire to be in a family who’s perfect in his eyes is one of the more poignant storylines in a very moving film about the trials of adulthood. His transformation is one of the largest, but it’s heartbreaking that he never realizes he’s just as successful as the family he holds in such high regard.
7. Mr. Fox – Fantastic Mr. Fox
Mr. Fox may not be an original Wes Anderson character, but the auteur took Roald Dahl’s classic character and gave it his own special twist. The stop-motion character’s stubbornness is revealed to actually be loyalty. Fox uses his superior intelligence to provide a safe haven for the weaker animals.
6. Steve Zissou – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Steve is a leader, but unlike Fox, he isn’t necessarily fit to be one. He’s perhaps one of the most eccentric Anderson characters, which helps him to be more likable than he probably deserves. In some ways he is the best example of a tragic hero.
5. Herman Blume – Rushmore
Like many Anderson characters, Blume is disillusioned. His ability to befriend a young boy and become equals on an intellectual level provides insight to a personality many cannot grasp.
4. Richie Tenenbaum – The Royal Tenenbaums
Richie’s life is tragic, even by Anderson’s standards. He’s lonely and in love with his adoptive sister. His downfall and journey back to society shows a terrific metamorphosis. He also provided one of the most earth-shattering scenes in Anderson’s filmography—his suicide attempt in the bathroom as Elliot Smith’s “Needle in the Hay” played.
3. Royal Tenenbaum – The Royal Tenenbaums
Royal is a shameless failure. Unlike all of the other Tenenbaums, he realizes his mistakes early on and though he tries to admit he wants to right the wrongs, he continues to lie and be an insensitive father and husband. Royal is the patriarch of one of the greatest families on film, and his entire life’s actions helped mold so many more great characters.
2. Dignan – Bottle Rocket
Dignan is the character who started it all. Dignan’s off-kilter, reckless approach to life and his unflappable persistence walk that fine line between genius and insanity.
1. Max Fischer – Rushmore
All Max wants to do is find something he loves and do it for the rest of his life—a motto we could all learn to live by. He’s the best and worst student at Rushmore and the most relatable teen anti-hero since Holden strolled through the streets of New York City.