Wes Anderson’s 10 Most Memorable Characters

Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson is one of the most unique filmmakers working in the film business these days. Each of his films have an unmistakable look and feel that make them instantly identifiable as his work. While this style has earned him critics, he certainly has many fans who love his films and eagerly await whatever his next project might be.

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Anderson's films have also given us some truly great cinematic characters. With a mix of his witty and original writing and often perfect casting, these characters have stood out as truly special among his many great creations. Here are the most memorable characters in from Wes Anderson's films.

10 Mr. Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox)

Fantastic Mr Fox

For some reason, Wes Anderson and stop-motion animation are a perfect match. Anderson's affinity for a sort of old-timey aesthetic fits very well with this animation style which he first used in this adaptation of the Roald Dahl story Fantastic Mr. Fox. The movie finds the titular Fox trying to keep his community safe as he goes to war with local farmers.

Fox (voiced by George Clooney) is a charmingly arrogant hero. He finds himself living a mundane life and his efforts to find some excitement have dangerous consequences. But he is a quick thinker always with a plan at the ready and a positive attitude they'll get through their current predicament.

9 Dignan (Bottle Rocket)

Anderson's first film Bottle Rocket is the story of two friends whose plans for pulling off the perfect heist are sidelined when one of them falls in love. The film was co-written by Anderson's frequent collaborator Owen Wilson, who also stars in the film as Dignan.

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Though all of Dignan's ambitions revolve around a life of crime, his dedication to it is very endearing. He gets so excited about his plans but proves to be quite self-conscious when challenged. He is certainly one of cinema's most unique career criminals.

8 Suzy Bishop (Moonrise Kingdom)

Anderson's films often deal with somewhat childish adults, but Moonrise Kingdom switched things up by telling a story of kids who were trying to be more adult. Set in a remote island community, it is the story of a troubled young girl and an outcast young boy who run away together, sending the island into mayhem.

Kara Hayward plays Suzie Bishop, an intelligent and artistic young girl whose emotional struggles go unnoticed by her bickering parents. She is far more than a damsel in distress needing to be saved as she shows that she can do some real damage when provoked.

7 Herman Blume (Rushmore)

Bill Murray in Rushmore

Bill Murray has appeared in all but one of Wes Anderson's films to date. Their long and wonderful collaborative relationship started back with Anderson's second film, Rushmore. The film is about a young man who finds himself in an awkward love triangle when he and his mentor fall for the same woman.

Murray plays Herman Blume, the older man in the love triangle. Stuck in an unhappy marriage, Herman is a sad man looking for some kind of happiness. Even though he is a highly successful businessman, he has become disillusioned and is in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Murray, of course, plays all these aspects for comedic gold.

6 Klaus Daimler (The Life Aquatic)

The Life Aquatic is one of Anderson's most off-beat films, which is certainly saying something. It is filled with so many zany characters in the tale of Steve Zissou, a washed up oceanographer who sets out on his latest expedition to find and kill the rare shark that ate his friend. One of the standout characters is Klaus, played by Willem Dafoe.

Klaus is Steve's trusty right-hand man who seems more than a little unstable. With the arrival of Steve's estranged son, Klaus becomes jealous and insecure while still being completely intimidating.

5 Margot Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums)

The Royal Tenenbaums is a fantastic ensemble film with an amazing cast that makes up one of the most dysfunctional families in cinema history. The quirky dramedy tells the story of a family of prodigies who, thanks largely to their eccentric father, grew up to be deeply damaged adults.

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The adopted daughter of the family, Margot Tenenbaum is one of the most interesting characters in the film. She is a depressed and reserved artist who carries a great sadness in her life. Gwyneth Paltrow is heartbreaking and funny in the role.

4 M. Gustave (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel

Ralph Fiennes is usually known for his very intense dramatic roles or terrifying villain roles, but Anderson really got him to embrace his inner goofball for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Told through a unique narrative structure, it is the story of a refined and professional concierge at a premier hotel in an unnamed war-torn European country.

M. Gustave (played by Fiennes) is a very layered character. He cares deeply for his hotel and his employees, he is professional, he is quick to violence when faced with injustice, he is occasionally vulgar and he likes older women. It is a charming, sweet and hilarious role in a very entertaining movie.

3 Max Fischer (Rushmore)


Though Bill Murray's Herman Blume is a highlight of Rushmore, the film belongs to Jason Schwartzman's Max Fischer. Max is a bright and very ambitious young man with a great many talents. He embraces every extracurricular aspect of the private school he belongs to, but is a poor student in the academic sense.

Max simply refuses to accept the fact that he is a kid, and yet he is often prone to immaturity and awkwardness whether he knows it or not. He has big dreams for himself and doesn't let to confines of his situation limit him from realizing those dreams.

2 Royal Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums)

Gene Hackman in The Royal Tenenbaums

The role of Royal Tenenbaum is one of Gene Hackman's final performances before retiring from acting and it stands out as some of his best work on film. Royal is the patriarch of the titular family and the reason many of them have so many problems. In an attempt to reconnect with the family that hates him, Royal lies about having cancer, which goes as well as you might think.

Royal has no doubt lived an interesting life, and even when alone and penniless he carries himself as though he is still a person of great importance. He is a pretty bad man who seeks just enough redemption to make him likable.

1 Steve Zissou (The Life Aquatic)

Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

If Bill Murray was an oceanographer, he would be Steve Zissou. It is the perfect meeting of character and actor with Anderson building the ideal starring role for his main muse.

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Anderson seems to have a real talent for writing funny and touching existential crisis and Murray is really good at playing characters in those situations. Steve is insecure, lonely and sad all the while dragging his closest friends and family on a very dangerous mission. He is selfish and pathetic but there's not a moment that we don't like him.

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