10 Iconic Movie Characters With Less Screen Time Than You Think

A little bit of screen time often goes a long way.

The Silence Of The Lambs Anthony Hopkins
Orion Pictures

Typically, the most popular movie characters tend to be those with the most screen time. It’s these characters who are the heroes; they get the development, the emotional weight, the narrative importance. Often, they get the coolest lines too.

Occasionally though, a single scene or two can absolutely steal a movie from the stars. A character with very limited screen time can have a major impact and end up dominating a movie, so much so that afterwards, you forget how little they were actually in it.

That’s the case here, with these ten leaving such a massive impression you’ll be shocked to see how little screen time they took to carve out their legacy. Sometimes it’s because they’re always influencing the story from afar, even when they’re not part of the action.

At other times, their villainy or comedy casts a big shadow, and the odd time it’s just a case of merchandise oversaturation leading to everyone thinking the characters had a much bigger presence in the movie than they actually did.

Whatever the reason, these classic characters have conned everyone into thinking they’re the stars, when actually they’re barely in the movie.

10. The Dinosaurs - Jurassic Park

The Silence Of The Lambs Anthony Hopkins
Universal Pictures

The dinosaurs are obviously the big draw in Jurassic Park, but they get considerably less screen time than you might think.

CGI dinosaurs only get six minutes of screen time, while practical effects add another 14. All in all, that’s 20 minutes, leaving 107 non-dinosaur minutes of the movie; much less than most would guess.

Budgetary constraints obviously had an influence of Spielberg’s decision, but it definitely added to the drama and extra focus on the human characters worked wonders. While the dinosaurs are the draw and the curiosity, the storytelling is where Jurassic Park truly excels.

Some of the later movies seem to forget that the true magic is in the storytelling of the human characters, throwing more dinosaurs on screen with diminishing returns. Despite four sequels, none really come close to the originals.

The Jurassic franchise would later repeat this trick of trying to make a small appearance have a big impact with Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. He bookends the film with a committee testimony, but in that case those scenes feel superfluous and clearly tacked on to wedge Goldblum into the movie.


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