Some stories never get old – they’re gripping enough to warrant endless retelling. Examples of this exist in the worlds of literature, television and film. The most enduring stories often span more than one of these mediums and are driven by complex and compelling main characters.
In particular, some movie characters have a lasting effect on viewers and thus reappear in several movies. Each new version of the character adds something to his original story. Some of the most recognizable movie characters are also the ones who’ve had the most iterations of themselves on the big screen.
ten Michael Myers is a longtime horror icon
For a man who spends his life perpetually hiding behind a mask, Michael Myers left a lasting mark on the horror genre. Myers’ shadowy identity is one of the many reasons he’s become such a recognizable – and duplicated – character. Since the first Halloween 1978 film to Danny McBride’s latest iteration, halloween is over, the public has seen many versions of the mysterious killer.
Michael Myers’ look may have changed slightly over the years, but he remains one of cinema’s scariest and most monstrous villains.
9 The Jekyll & Hyde story began over a century ago
Robert Louis Stevenson published The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in 1886, but the story is still part of modern consciousness. The story is a classic tale of how the universal forces of good and evil manifest in otherwise ordinary people.
Dr. Jekyll and his evil alter ego, Mr. Hyde, have appeared in over a hundred films since the book’s publication, including a 2021 live-action film. Additionally, the good doctor is said to have inspired an iconic villain from DC: Batman’s recurring enemy, Two-Face.
8 Zorro’s story goes far beyond the movies
Zorro has been around since 1919, when he first appeared in a novel by Johnston McCulley. Interestingly enough, the masked outlaw was actually inspired by a real person, which is why the story has so much depth. Zorro has appeared in movies many times since 1920, and there are rumors of an upcoming Zorro and Django Unchained crossover movie.
In addition to classic literature and several films, Zorro appeared in a 1950s Western-style television show and, more recently, in a series of comic books.
seven Frankenstein went from black and white to animation
The humanoid monster from Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, took on a life of its own. From TV sitcoms to Halloween costumes, it’s impossible to think of the horror genre without thinking of the hulking character.
In film, Frankenstein’s monster has appeared in both action and animated films since 1931. In February 2022, an adorable cartoon iteration of him reappeared in the fourth installment of the popular Hotel Transylvania children’s film series.
6 Hannibal Lecter had many faces
Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a cannibalistic serial killer who got his start in a series of Thomas Harris novels. However, his leap to the big screen was what really catapulted the psychiatrist into the mainstream. Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Dr. Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, and Hannibalis probably the best known representation.
However, several other actors have also taken on the role, including Hannibal risingby Gaspard Ulliel and man hunter Brian Cox. More recently, the iconic killer appeared in the NBCTV shows Hannibalwhich describes his early work with the FBI.
5 James Bond is an enduring leading man
When it comes to the best of classic action movies, audiences need look no further than some james bond movies. Beginning with Dr. No in 1962, the soft-spoken Agent 007 has made twenty-five film appearances. Seven actors have portrayed the British secret agent on the big screen, including Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan.
The film series even inspired a series of comic books, which had their heyday in the 80s and 90s. has yet been confirmed.
4 Tarzan had a Disney rendition
In 1999, Disney released Tarzan, an animated children’s film about the classic literary character of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tarzan has appeared in over forty-five films and several novels since his birth in 1912. He also appeared in two top-rated radio programs in the 1930s and a short-lived television series in the 1960s.
Yet despite these appearances, audiences still haven’t seen the last of the man raised by apes. In 2023, Disney plans to release a remake of its beloved 1999 version of the story.
3 Dracula is a classic horror movie monster
Few horror movie monsters are as prolific as Count Dracula. To date, there have been hundreds of adaptations of the quintessential evil vampire. Dracula has appeared in action and animated films, stage products, novels, video games, and even comic books.
More recently, the character appeared in a movie titled Dracula: the original living vampire, with Michael Ironside as the charming Earl. The film received mixed reviews from fans and critics, but it proved that the classic Dracula story is just as relevant as when it first appeared in Bram Stoker’s 1887 novel.
2 Merlin is the quintessential royal wizard
Merlin is one of the oldest characters to remain relevant in the modern world. Its history dates back to the 500s and began as a Welsh folktale. Merlin is best known as the magical advisor to King Arthur of Camelot.
Merlin has appeared in countless films, including a popular 90s Disney film. Merlin has also graced the small screen in several television series and TV movies. Fans of all ages can also find the beloved wizard in dozens of YA and contemporary fiction books.
1 Sherlock Holmes is among the most frequently adapted characters
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle struck gold when he created detective Sherlock Holmes in 1887. Since then, Holmes has become one of the most pervasive faces of pop culture, appearing in books, television shows, a countless number of movies and some top rated TV series. Benedict Cumberbatch played a completely modernized Holmes on the BBC hit series Sherlock in recent years.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. has also portrayed the sleuth in three recent films and is helping produce two more franchise sequels.
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