In honor of the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, we’ve compiled our favorite movie twins of all time. There are plenty of twins in movie history – some are memorable, while others are infamous.
In The Social Network, actor Armie Hammer portrays both Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss with a funny and charismatic edge. I had no idea it was the same actor playing both characters until the credits rolled and a recent edition of American Cinematographer Magazine explained the process.
Some scenes used motion-capture technology to duplicate Hammer. At some points, “tracking dots were applied to the face of actor Josh Pence to help facilitate visual-effects techniques that would replace his features with those of co-star Armie Hammer.”
Now that you’ve learned a little extra about The Social Network, let’s take a trip back and remember some of the best twins in movies. Sometimes movie twins play off each other like Abbott and Costello – other films present them as foils for each other. The dramatic potential of twins is massive and provides the opportunity for their presence in any genre. Even Michael Bay (unfortunately) found a way to add a robotic touch to the genetic specialty.
Some films make the sibling relationship the core of their plot, like The Parent Trap. But many of our favorite twins fall by the wayside to a bigger story, like The Weasley Twins in the Harry Potter franchise.
If we don’t choose one of your favorite movie twins, give them a shout out in the comments section and tell us why they are on your list.
Star Wars – Luke & Leia
Arguably the most famous twins of all time, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa redefined the relationship between brother and sister in the space opera. Separated at birth, they were reunited by fate – the rest is Star Wars history.
While Luke and Leia may be the most famous twins in movie history, they hardly look like twins. While this was essential to the identity issues in the Star Wars saga, it does add to the absurdity of it all. Twins separated at birth may grow to look slightly different, but the effort to cast actors that look similar to each other was clearly last on George Lucas’ priority list.
Many films would shape an entire story around the dilemma of twins separated at birth who eventually fall in love, Star Wars is so epic in scale that it becomes simply another chapter in an amazing tale. But we have their status as twins to thank for the wonderful relationship between Han Solo and Leia.
Harry Potter – The Weasley Twins
Fred and George Weasley are two of the most beloved characters in the entire Harry Potter universe. The wise-cracking, troublemaking pranksters constantly find themselves on the wrong side of authority. But all of these traits make the duo even more relatable and lovable.
The Weasley Twins used the famous Marauder’s Map before handing it off to Harry Potter to help guide him through Hogwarts. They’re confident, funny and stars of the school, unlike their younger brother Ron, who often bears the brunt of their jokes. The Weasley’s barrage of fireworks and subsequent escape from Hogwarts during the vile Professor Umbridge’s reign is easily their finest moment.
Even amidst the constant jokes, the Weasleys do add some heart and soul to the famous cast of the franchise. Hopefully the two-part finale of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will send them off with a legacy of their own. Based on the book, it should be a worthy, emotional farewell.
The Shining – The Grady Twins
There is no question that The Shining changed the way we look at pre-teen twin girls forever. Put those girls in matching light blue dresses and it will send any grown man running in the opposite direction.
The Grady Twins have only a brief onscreen moment, but it is a terrifying moment. As young Danny rides his tricycle down the labyrinthine hallways of The Overlook Hotel, he stumbles upon a pair of twins rumored to be dead. The haunting only gets creepier when they make a simple request: “Come play with us, Danny.”
There is no question the Grady Twins are a part of The Shining‘s cinematic thumbprint. Its legacy as a classic film is due in part to the creepy kids that haunt the hallways of The Overlook. There is no discussion of movie twins without bringing up the Gradys.
Matrix Reloaded – The Twins
One of the best aspects of The Matrix films is the diverse group of characters that live inside the Matrix mainframe. The Twins, portrayed by Neil and Adrian Rayment, make up what is undoubtedly one of cinema’s most dangerous and intriguing tag teams. Their trademark white dreadlocks and “ghosting” ability instantly marked them as two of the most memorable Matrix characters.
The Twins’ appeal goes beyond the bare essentials. When the two are onscreen, they bring a snarky humor and witty back-and-forth dynamic. Beyond personality, it is their fighting skills that deserve some recognition. The two are relentless with a blade and utilize their ghosting skills in the most sinister ways possible.
While The Twins only appear in The Matrix Reloaded, they have left their mark on the franchise. Beyond The Matrix, they could go down as one of the deadliest and most exciting evil duos in movies. Personally speaking, I would love to see them in a spinoff.
The Parent Trap (1961) – Sharon & Susan
Hayley Mills brought The Parent Trap to life, only to be glossed-over by a young girl named Lindsay Lohan in 1998. I should give Lohan some credit, she was an adorable child in the late ’90s and brought The Parent Trap to new generations of children like myself. Though, when I saw the original, I understood exactly what the remake was missing.
Mills was a child prodigy on camera. The Academy was so impressed with her performance in Polyanna they invented an award just for her – The Academy Juvenile Award. Her follow-up role was the dual part in The Parent Trap, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. A subsequent string of high-profile Disney films made her a child starlet.
Without the innovative techniques used in The Parent Trap to duplicate the same actress, we may not have experienced The Social Network‘s exhibition of Armie Hammer’s acting ability. Instead, a pair of identical twins with mediocre acting skills would have been cast to simply fit a mold.
Alice in Wonderland – Tweedledee & Tweedledum
The famous twins of the Alice in Wonderland books made their way on the silver screen twice. The first appearance in the 1951 adaptation was brief, but memorable enough. In Tim Burton’s 2010 3D interpretation of the tale, Tweedledee and Tweedledum make yet another memorable, yet brief, appearance.
The latest adaptation uses computer technology to superimpose actor Matt Lucas’ face on both characters. Similar to other movie twins previously mentioned, technology has given the filmmakers an opportunity to pick any actor and digitally create a twin.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum remind me of a fairy tale version of The Three Stooges. Their clumsy nature is only compounded by the elements of their personalities. The playful duo stop Alice in the 1951 film, asking to play a game with her. When she refuses, the two share a story called The Walrus and The Carpenter. Of course, this story only makes the pair more eager to play with the strange girl. As she sneaks away during their constant bickering, the two foolish twins add to their infamous reputation as bufoons.
Twins – Julius & Vincent
Failed genetic experiments tend to be put on display in monster movies or horror films. In Twins, we catch up to a pair of fraternal twins that look absolutely nothing alike to an extent that is freakish. That’s right, Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger play fraternal twins.
Schwarzenegger’s Julius was raised to be the perfect human being (by some standards) – a brilliant scientist with a good heart and a strong body. On the other hand, DeVito’s Vincent was raised in an orphanage run by nuns, leading to the scumbag attitude of a street thug. When both of these worlds collide, it is a layered comedy of laughs and personality clashes.
The plot is funny, but it is other moments of the film that are truly memorable. Specifically, it is the sequence where Schwarzenegger and DeVito – two completely mismatched actors – buy matching suits that has become a staple of late 80s comedy.
Not your typical movie twins, Schwarzenegger and DeVito give Twins the attitude of a parody on so many levels. Just watch the other movies on this list and it will make your experience with Twins that much better.
Transformers 2 – Skids & Mudflap (HATED THEM!)
We’ve reached the pair of twins we hate. There are few movie fans out there who actually enjoyed the presence of Skids and Mudflap, the Twins in Transformers 2. This has nothing to do with Michael Bay, the Transformers franchise, or even the concept of robots in disguise. Rather, it’s the simple addition of a pair of robots whose morals are questionable (do robots have morals?) and ethics are unsound.
The purpose of the Twins was clear – to add comedic relief to an action film. The problem is, the first Transformers was fine without them – it was always entertaining and funny when it needed to be. Transformers 2 just tried way too hard.
The attitude of twins is showcased by the way they act onscreen. They are a bumbling pair, similar to the previous Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The back-and-forth comedy is quick and witty, but lacks any kind of punch. The Twins suffer from a lack of purpose and make the audience cringe with their worthlessness. Every line uttered is a waste of time and actually bogs down the entire film.
Hopefully we won’t have to suffer them again in Transformers 3…
The Prestige – Alfred Borden & Fallon
Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige is a film all about misdirection. But the greatest trick of all is its ability to put the big secret right in front of your eyes the entire time. Like many of the other twins on this list, the pair in The Prestige are portrayed by one actor – Christian Bale. While you don’t find out until the final moments of the film, Alfred Borden and Fallon are identical twins.
Throughout the film, Fallon is portrayed as Borden’s mysterious assistant. But thanks to Nolan’s structure, Fallon’s identity becomes an afterthought, leaving first-time viewers unaware until the end that the film’s true tricks are in the deception from Borden and Fallon. It is truly one of the most cerebral ways to put twins onscreen.
The moment when Borden reveals that he and Fallon have been trading identities by simply swapping costumes and facial hair, my hair stood on end and my butt scooched to the front of my seat. The reveal is brief, but changes your entire perception of the film. If you know any real-life twins, they’ve probably played a prank on you by swapping identities at some point. This hilarious prank is turned into a dark and beautiful illusion for The Prestige.
What do you think of our favorite movie twins? Do you have some favorites that went unmentioned? Just do us a favor and leave the Olsen twins out of it.