Though cinema has covered every idea, character, or story under the sun, it's safe to say that one of the fundamental building blocks of a really great film is the relationship that is established between the characters in the narrative. These relationships can come in any shape and size, but one of the most popular subjects for relationships in films are the intense, not always awesome bonds of families. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common bonds that movies love to explore is the relationships between brothers.
Relationships in films are always amplified on some level, but when it comes to the experiences that brothers can share between one another, it often doesn't seem like much amplification is necessary. For better or worse, brothers have brought a lot of great entertainment to the big screen. Here are the 10 most iconic brother duos in film history.
10 Joey And Richie Cusack: A History Of Violence
Although David Cronenberg is better known for his work on films that fuse theoretical technology with body horror, some of his greatest works are straightforward dramas and thrillers. One of his best movies of all time is undoubtedly A History of Violence. It's about a man who now goes by the name Tom Stall, who prevents a robbery in his small Indiana town and accidentally outs himself as Joey Cusack, a former gangster from Philadelphia. His fellow gangster brother Richie demands that he return home and answer for his misdeeds. It's safe to say that sparks fly at their reunion.
9 Andy And Hank Hanson: Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
What's the best way to bond with your own brother? Well, we can't say that we're absolute experts on the matter, but we do feel confident in saying that it is not by attempting to rob your own parents and then getting your mom killed when the robbery goes awry.
Unfortunately, Andy and Hank Hanson, the brotherly duo who take center stage in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, didn't get the memo on that. If you can believe it, the death of their mother is only the start of Andy and Hank's troubles, and their story devolves into a truly and shocking heartbreaking tragedy.
8 Connor And Murphy MacManus: The Boondock Saints
If there are any life lessons to be learned from Connor and Murphy MacManus, the fraternal twin brothers who are the focal point of The Boondock Saints, it's that if you find yourself in a kill or be killed situation and wind up killing some criminals to save your own lives, why not lean into that even harder and just start killing every bad guy you come across? Ridding the city of Boston of every evil man who resides there is no easy feat, but these brothers feel a calling from God to do so, so they're more than willing to tackle the task.
7 Sam And Tommy Cahill: Brothers
Some brothers are very similar people who have a bond that is like a connection between two best friends, but as anyone would expect, sometimes siblings are just two very different people who happen to be bound by blood. The brothers in Brothers lean more towards the latter category, with Sam Cahill being a US Marine captain and Tommy being a recently reformed criminal. When Sam's helicopter crashes, Tommy finally steps up for his family and tries to make amends for his past failings by stepping in to help in his brother's absence. But when Sam returns home — he was captured, not killed — the situation becomes infinitely more complex.
6 Jimmy And Clyde Logan: Logan Lucky
The family that steals together stays together. Or at least, that's what Clyde and Jimmy Logan seem to believe. When Jimmy is suddenly fired from his job working at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, he comes up with a plan to rob the place through the complex underground pneumatic tube system that he is intimately familiar with.
He can't pull off this job on his own, so he enlists the assistance of his brother Clyde, a veteran of the Iraq war and an amputee. Shockingly this flawless plan doesn't go off without a hitch, but the ensuing shenanigans are hysterical.
5 Tommy And Brendan Conlon: Warrior
Typically beating the living hell out of your brother isn't a great way to bond or heal the rift between you. However when you've been raised in the kind of toxic environment that Brendan and Tommy Conlon have, perhaps it could do some good. Or maybe you're just trying to win five million dollars in a MMA tournament, and the only way to do that is by fighting your own flesh and blood. But regardless of the circumstances surrounding Tommy and Brendan's story in Warrior, ultimately the two of them do have to go head to head, and by the time the movie reaches its conclusion you'll be desperate for both of them to win.
4 Brennan Huff And Dale Doback: Step Brothers
Some men are born brothers, and some were just born to be brothers. This story of two brothers from another mother is an absolute classic. Brennan Huff and Dale Doback are legal adults but emotional children, and they are still living at home with their parents when Brennan's mom and Dale's dad decide to get married. Initially, Dale and Brennan are absolutely miserable in their new reality of living with their new step parent and step brother, but they quickly realize that they are basically soulmates, and after years of languishing as losers, they find success through their bizarre friendship.
3 Seth And Richie Gecko: From Dusk Till Dawn
One of the most common themes for brotherly relationships in film seems to be stories that focus on siblings who commit crime together. The brothers in From Dusk Till Dawn put a pretty unique spin on this classic trope.
Seth and Richie Gecko are robbers who are on the run, and when they make a pit stop at a strip club in Mexico, they discover that all of the club's employees are vampires. Richie and Seth soon find themselves on opposing sides after Richie is bitten and turned into a vampire, and although the humans left in the club only have to survive until dawn, it's not as easy of a task as it may seem.
2 Charlie And Ray Babbitt: Rain Man
Although odd couplings in movies are a pretty common stereotype, it's somewhat rare that you get such an odd couple who also happen to be a pair of brothers. The siblings in Rain Man are definitely a unique duo, though. When Charlie Babbitt discovers that his estranged wealthy dad has died, he goes to find out what will happen to his father's estate. When he learns that the man who has inherited his father's fortune is actually a brother he's never met, Charlie seeks out his newly discovered big brother Raymond and he finds out that Ray is an autistic savant. The strange duo goes on quite a journey of brotherly bonding from there.
1 Derek And Danny Vineyard: American History X
It's pretty common for younger brothers to idolize their older brothers, but the story of Derek and Danny Vineyard in American History X really shows how horribly that kind of dynamic can go. By the time that Derek Vineyard is a young adult, he is a confirmed and enthusiastic neo-Nazi. His younger brother Danny is slowly being indoctrinated into the ideology when Derek is put in prison, and by the time he gets out, Danny has become just as much of a white supremacist as he was. But Derek's time in prison has entirely changed his perspective on life, and he tries to pull Danny back from the brink before it's too late.