List of fictional antiheroes

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Gustave Doré's depiction of Satan from John Milton's Paradise Lost.

This list is for characters in fictional works who exemplify the qualities of an antihero – a protagonist whose characteristics include the following:

  • imperfections that separate them from typically heroic characters (selfishness, ignorance, bigotry, etc.);[1]
  • lack of positive qualities such as "courage, physical prowess, and fortitude," and "generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control";[2]
  • qualities considered dark traits, usually belonging to villains, (amorality, greed, violent tendencies, etc.)[3] that may be tempered with more human, identifiable traits (confusion, self-hatred, etc.).[citation needed] In fact, antiheroes often blur the moral lines between the protagonist and antagonist;[4]
  • possibly noble but ambiguous motives pursued by the belief that "the ends justify the means."[citation needed]

Each of these examples has been identified by a critic as an antihero, although the classification is somewhat subjective. Some of the entries may be disputed by other sources and some may contradict all established definitions of antihero.

Literature[edit]

Character Work Author First published Notes
Annie Allen[5][6] Annie Allen Gwendolyn Brooks 1949
Redmond Barry[7] The Luck of Barry Lyndon William Makepeace Thackeray 1844
James Bond[8][9][10][11][12][13] List of James Bond novels and short stories Ian Fleming 1953-1966 Adapted into a series of films starting with Dr. No in 1962
Pinkie Brown[14] Brighton Rock Graham Greene 1938
Holden Caulfield[15] The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger 1951
Quentin Compson[16] The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner 1929
Cross Damon[17] The Outsider Richard Wright 1953
Macon "Milkman" Dead III[18][19] Song of Solomon Toni Morrison 1977
Stephen Dedalus[20] A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses (novel) James Joyce 1916, 1922
Roland Deschain[21] The Dark Tower Stephen King 1982
Raoul Duke[22] Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson 1971
Amy Elliott Dunne[23][24] Gone Girl Gillian Flynn 2012 Adapted in a film in 2014.
Tyler Durden and the Narrator[25][26] Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk 1996 Adapted in a film in 1999.
Huckleberry Finn[27][28] Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain 1884 (UK), 1885 (U.S.)
Randall Flagg[29] The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon and The Dark Tower Stephen King 1978
Harry Flashman[30] The Flashman Papers George MacDonald Fraser 1969
Artemis Fowl II[31] Artemis Fowl series Eoin Colfer 2001 Soon to be adapted into a film.
Jay Gatsby[32] The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925 Recently adapted into a film in 2013.
Prince Hamlet[33] Hamlet William Shakespeare 1599-1602
Bob Jones[34] If He Hollers Let Him Go Chester Himes 1945
Lucifer/Satan[35] Paradise Lost John Milton 1667
Macbeth[36][37] Macbeth William Shakespeare 1599-1606
Meursault[38][39] The Stranger Albert Camus 1942
Philip Marlowe[40] The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely, The High Window, The Lady in the Lake, Playback, The Little Sister, and Poodle Springs Raymond Chandler 1939
Dexter Morgan[41][42] Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dearly Devoted Dexter, and Dexter in the Dark Jeff Lindsay 2004 Later adapted into a TV series.
The Narrator[43] Invisible Man Ralph Ellison 1952
Scarlett O'Hara[44] Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell 1936 Adapted into a film in 1939.
Okonkwo[45] Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe 1958
Othello[46] Othello William Shakespeare 1603
Alexander Portnoy[47] Portnoy's Complaint Philip Roth 1969
Raskolnikov[48] Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky 1866
Rincewind[49][50] Discworld novels Terry Pratchett 1983 First appeared in The Colour of Magic
Tom Ripley[51] Tom Ripley series (the "Ripliad") Patricia Highsmith 1955
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern[52] Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Tom Stoppard 1966
Becky Sharp[53] Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray 1847 First serialized in 20 parts.
Shylock[54] The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare 1596 (ca.)
Severus Snape[55] Harry Potter J. K. Rowling 1997
Sam Spade[56] The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett 1930
Bigger Thomas[57] Native Son Richard Wright 1940
Lázaro de Tormes[58] Lazarillo de Tormes anonymous 1554
Woland[59] The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov 1966
Wei Xiaobao[60] The Deer and the Cauldron Jinyong 1969
Alex[61] A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess 1962 Later adapted into a film in 1971.
Elric of Melniboné[62] Elric of Melniboné Michael Moorcock 1961
Emma Bovary[63] Emma Bovary Gustave Flaubert 1856
Phèdre[64] Phèdre Jean Racine 1677


Film[edit]

Character Film Portrayed By Year Notes
Kevin "O-Dog" Anderson[65][66] Menace II Society Larenz Tate 1993
Beetlejuice[67] Beetlejuice Michael Keaton 1988
Travis Bickle[68] Taxi Driver Robert De Niro 1976
Louis Bloom[69] Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal 2014
Jason Bourne[70] Bourne Trilogy Matt Damon 2002
Brodie Bruce[71] Mallrats Jason Lee 1995
Harry Callahan[72] Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood 1971
Jack Carter[73] Get Carter Michael Caine 1971
Chev Chelios[74] Crank
Crank: High Voltage
Jason Statham 2006
2009
John Constantine[75] Constantine Keanu Reeves 2005
Rooster Cogburn[76][77] True Grit (1969 film)
Rooster Cogburn
True Grit (2010 film)
John Wayne

Jeff Bridges
1969
1975
2010
Michael Corleone[78][79][80] The Godfather (film series) Al Pacino 1972
Django[81] Django Unchained Jamie Foxx 2012
DJay[82] Hustle & Flow Terrence Howard 2005
Frank Drebin[83] The Naked Gun Leslie Nielsen 1988
Judge Dredd[84] Dredd Karl Urban 2012
Raoul Duke[85] Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Johnny Depp 1998
Erik[86] The Phantom of the Opera (various) (various)
Fritz[87] Fritz the Cat Skip Hinnant 1972
Seth Gecko[88] From Dusk till Dawn George Clooney 1996
Gordon Gekko[89] Wall Street
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Michael Douglas 1987
2010
Alonzo Harris[90] Training Day Denzel Washington 2001
Hellboy[91] Hellboy
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Ron Perlman 2004
2008
Dante Hicks
Randal Graves
Jay & Silent Bob[92]
View Askewniverse films Brian O'Halloran
Jeff Anderson
Jason Mewes
Kevin Smith
1994
Sherlock Holmes[93] Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Robert Downey Jr. 2009
2011
Luke Jackson[94] Cool Hand Luke Paul Newman 1967
Charles Foster Kane[95] Citizen Kane Orson Welles 1941
Machete[96] Machete
Machete Kills
Danny Trejo 2010
2013
Frank Martin[97] The Transporter Jason Statham 2002
Man with No Name[98][99] A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Clint Eastwood 1964
1965
1966
John McClane[100] Die Hard Bruce Willis 1988
Randle McMurphy[101] One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson 1975
Tony Montana[102] Scarface Al Pacino 1983
Mookie[103][104] Do the Right Thing Spike Lee 1989
Abel Morales[105][106] A Most Violent Year Oscar Isaac 2014
Harry Palmer[107] Harry Palmer film series Michael Caine 1965
Parker[108] Parker Jason Statham 2013
Snake Plissken[109] Escape from New York
Escape From L.A.
Kurt Russell 1981
1996
The Punisher[110]< Punisher films Dolph Lundgren
Thomas Jane
Ray Stevenson
1989
2004
2008
Jack Reacher[111] Jack Reacher (film) Tom Cruise 2012
Max Rockatansky[112][113][114] Mad Max (series) Mel Gibson
Tom Hardy
1979
2015
Steven Jay Russell[115] I Love You Phillip Morris Jim Carrey 2010
Borat Sagdiyev[116] Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Sacha Baron Cohen 2006
Shrek[117] Shrek Mike Myers 2001
Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith, Jr.[118] 8 Mile Eminem 2002
Han Solo[119][120] Star Wars Harrison Ford 1977
Captain Jack Sparrow[121] Pirates of the Caribbean Johnny Depp 2003
Dominic Toretto[122] The Fast and the Furious Vin Diesel 2001
Takuma Tsurugi[123] The Street Fighter Sonny Chiba 1974
V[124] V for Vendetta Hugo Weaving 2006
John Wydell[125] The Devil's Rejects William Forsythe 2005
Tequila Yuen[126] Hard Boiled Chow Yun-fat 1992

Television[edit]

James Gandolfini, known for portraying antihero Tony Soprano.

A

B

C

D

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

N

P

R

S

T

U

W

Anime/Manga[edit]

A

I

L

M

S

V

Y

Comic books[edit]

Video games[edit]

A
C
D
G
J
K
M
N
R
S
T
W

References[edit]

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