One of Hollywood’s most accomplished leading men, and son of one of its most prominent stars of the Golden Age of film (Kirk Douglas), Michael Douglas has electrified audiences for more than four decades. Known for playing assured, powerful men, his acting resume has also included roles that require him to be deftly sensitive and emotionally intuitive. He’s worked with countless famous directors, and won numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards.
With roles that range from the swashbuckling Jack T. Colton in Romancing the Stone, to the US President of the United States in The American President, and of course the formidable Gordon Gecko in Wall Street, there isn’t a character he hasn’t left his indelible mark on. Yet with each part, a distinct trope emerges, full of traits that match the personalities of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. You may even find aspects of your own personality in the variety of incredible roles he’s played. Here are his ten best roles, based on your MBTI.
10 GORDON GEKKO (WALL STREET): ENTJ
To Gordon Gekko, the ruthless bond trader in Wall Street, “greed is good”. Almost empowered by the villainous corruption happening in Wall Street, he espoused the worst of the traits of an ENTJ. Though they like a good challenge, their lack of perceived limits for what they can achieve means they will do whatever it takes to meet their goals.
You may identify with Gordon Gekko if you have healthy self confidence, caring little for what others think of you as long as you’re accomplishing your goals. If you see them through to the end, long after other (perceptively weaker) people have given up, then you may be an ENTJ. Though your willpower and fortitude is admirable, it can cost you family, friends, and in Gekko’s case, personal freedom.
9 LIBERACE (BEHIND THE CANDELABRA): ISFP
Few people could have predicted that Michael Douglas, the man behind Wall Street titan Gordon Gecko and adventurer Jack T. Colton would don the rhinestone robes of famous pianist Liberace. In Behind the Candelabra he explores the performer’s life, from taking lovers, to losing them, and a descent into drug addiction.
As Liberace, Douglas revealed a man who was a creative introvert, making himself the life of the party in an effort to seek out meaningful connections with people. As an ISFP, you might identify with masking difficulties connecting with people by being spontaneous and exploring new experiences without full consideration of their consequences. Vivacious and entertaining, an ISFP always embraces the present until it’s time to face the music.
8 PROFESSOR GRADY TRIPP (WONDER BOYS): INFJ
Professor Grady Tripp is having something of a crisis in Wonder Boys; he can’t seem to overcome his writer’s block, he has a complex love life mired by infidelity, and his students all bring their own sordid problems to his office hours. As an INFJ, his caring and intuitive nature prevents him from being callous to the problems of others, even at the expense of his own emotional stability.
You may identify with Professor Tripp’s idealism and imagination, especially if it causes you to have a profoundly different view of the world around you than your more rational peers. If surface level solutions to complex problems bore you, and you find yourself throwing yourself into your creative work, chances are you’ll find common ground with him.
7 JACK COLTON (ROMANCING THE STONE): ESTP
If you have a thirst for participating in unexpected adventures, content to sort the details out later, you might find a kindred spirit in Jack T. Colton, the soldier of fortune in Romancing the Stone. Colombian warlords, buried treasure, beautiful heroines, and scheming villains are all in a day's work for the ESTP, for whom the call to action always trumps preparation and contingency plans.
But fear not fellow ESTP - just because you’re guided more by your gut feelings, doesn’t mean you throw caution to the wind. You just like your personal freedom, and much like no one would expect Jack Colton to work a regular 9 to 5 job, you eschew regulated work environments for more spontaneous challenges where your practical intelligence will be rewarded.
6 ANDREW SHEPHERD (THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT): ENTJ
What’s a man to do when he’s forced to choose between the love of his life and his political career? You would think that being the President of the United States would make that conundrum a no-brainer, but US President Andrew Shepherd isn’t so sure that losing charming lobbyist Sydney Wade is worth gaining public support for his re-election.
As an ENTJ, President Shepherd puts his focus on the avalanche of problems that face a sitting president every day, rationally and intuitively finding solutions. If you find yourself similarly level headed, seeing every obstacle as a new challenge, you may identify with him. And even though you may be a “take charge” person, you still need human connection, even if maintaining it proves difficult.
5 DETECTIVE NICK CURRAN (BASIC INSTINCT): ISTP
Homicide Detective Nick Curran just wants to solve the murder of a famous musician, but the trail to the truth is littered with femme fatales who are trying to throw him off the scent. Juggling his psychologist girlfriend and the increasing attentions of a seductive crime novelist, every obstacle reveals more of his traits as an ISTP.
Somewhat of a loner, Nick strives to bring order to the world around him. His use of logic and practical application in the case are at odds with his need to understand the women in his life. You may identify with him if your spontaneous side clashes with your goal-oriented side, both of which make you insightful, and also unpredictable.
4 WILLIAM FOSTER (FALLING DOWN): ESTJ
William Foster is a normal middle-aged man who’s just trying to get to his daughter’s birthday when life has other plans. Recently laid off from his job and estranged from his wife, he has a confrontation at a Korean market that starts a chain reaction of mayhem, automatic weapons, and a lot of pent up aggression.
Foster’s behavior in the film is typical of an ESTJ, for whom organization, routine, and tradition are important. He believes in doing what’s right and socially acceptable, but when pushed too far, will find the path between “right” and “just” to be difficult to walk. If you find yourself struggling to cope when the status quo is challenged and your core values of citizenry questioned, you identify as an ESTJ.
3 ROBERT WAKEFIELD (TRAFFIC): ENFJ
As Robert Wakefield, America’s most influential drug czar in Traffic, Michael Douglas brought surprising tenderness and humanity to man known for his demanding and volatile personality. Of the three stories about the war on drugs chronicled in the film, his is the most revealing, as it centers on locating his daughter who’s become a victim of her own drug addiction.
As an ENFJ, Wakefield struggles against exercising his better judgment and relying too heavily on his intuition and feelings. Both aspects of his character serve him well in identifying the motivations of customers and peers, all of whom could backstab him at any moment. You would identify with him if you consider yourself an authentic person, whose natural charisma and focus on people’s motivation gains you influence effortlessly.
2 DAN GALLAGHER (FATAL ATTRACTION): ESFJ
On the outside, Dan Gallagher has everything anyone could want; a great job at a New York law firm, a beautiful wife, and a daughter who loves him. He jeopardizes this with a casual fling with a book editor, who becomes obsessive about their relationship. When he can’t break it off with her, she goes after his family.
An ESFJ is naturally popular with people, drawing individuals to them because they are both social butterflies and incredibly good listeners. If you find yourself comfortable in the spotlight and at social events, but unable to always empathize with people different than you, you may be an ESFJ. Just don’t be like Dan, and assume that what means nothing to you doesn’t mean the world to someone else.
1 RICHARD ADAMS (THE CHINA SYNDROME): ENFP
Only a maverick figure like news cameraman Richard Adams could threaten to blow the lid off a nuclear power plant cover up. When his news crew films an accident verging on a nuclear disaster, the plant executives try to intimidate him before he can reveal the million dollar corners being cut regarding safety conditions.
If you think you’d similarly stick to your guns and let the truth be known, you might be an ENFP. Enthusiastic and project oriented, you might even find yourself bouncing around from job to job, because you find success comes easy to your practical mind. You live in a world of possibilities, and once your passion is directed at something, no one can stop you, and you may even inspired others with your conviction.