10 Best Movie Character Introductions Of All Time

This lot made quite the first impression.

Hannibal Silence of the Lambs
Orion Pictures

First impressions count for a lot in cinema. Characters only get to make one, and how it's handled can be the difference between the audience rooting for them and not giving a damn whether they make it to the end credits in one piece.

There's so much for filmmakers to consider when introducing their hero or villain, as appearances alone are worth a thousand words. That guy in the pristine tux is obviously a secret agent, and the bloke wearing a ski mask is probably up to no good. These, of course, are tired old movie cliches, but the point is that costumes and makeup have a major role to play here, as does setting and the first line of dialogue we hear said characters speak.

With so many factors to balance, major character reveals are a fine art, and it should go without saying that many of the greatest movie protagonists and antagonists of all time were created by, and played by, masters of that art.

Here are the characters that got off on the right foot with audiences and only earned further plaudits from there.

10. Willy Wonka (Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory)

Hannibal Silence of the Lambs
Paramount Pictures

Willy Wonka is a man who knows how to make an entrance. After duping the audience into thinking he's little more than a feeble geriatric in eccentric garb, he ditches his cane, breaks into a forward roll and inspires rapturous applause from the crowd.

It's the sense of anticipation that makes this scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory what it is. Gene Wilder's legendary chocolatier is mentioned on countless occasions before the audience catches its first glimpse of him.

This serves as build-up to the big reveal, but when the crowd falls silent as Wonka limps his way up the red carpet, uncertainty sets in. Is this man who's taking an eternity to walk a few metres all he's cracked up to be?

One unexpected piece of showmanship later, and we learn that the answer to that question is a resounding yes!


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