10 Side Characters That Outshine the Main Protagonists, According to Reddit

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When those big Blockbusters, fun comedies, or popular family movies come out, they are usually marketed with the main protagonists in mind. The posters give them top billing, the trailers feature them, and audiences go into the movies expecting a lot from these actors and their characters.

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But sometimes, as good as the actors playing the protagonists might be, they end up being outshined by a side character. Some side characters are just so well played that they become one of the best and most memorable parts of the movie. According to Reddit users, these are the side characters that truly lit up the screen opposite their protagonists.

10 Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Image via New Line Cinema

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an epic tale set in Middle Earth, with no shortage of incredible characters to marvel at. Among the cast of characters is a hobbit named Samwise Gamgee, played by Sean Astin, who is the supportive friend of Frodo in the quest to destroy the ring.

Related: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Characters, Ranked By Bravery

Frodo is the main protagonist in their part of the story, with Sam as the supporting sidekick, but Sam truly becomes a stand-out character that everyone cheers for and wants more of. Fans could not get enough of his wholesome nature, loyalty, and general demeanor. Reddit user Electric_Trex writes, « To me, one of the best answers to this is Sam from Lord of the Rings. He’s the epitome of a best friend side character, and I definitely think he’s more enjoyable to see than Frodo… »

9 Doc Holiday in Tombstone

tombstone-movie-image-val-kilmer
Image via Walt Disney Studios

« I’m your Huckleberry. » The now famous line said by Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday in the Western film Tombstone. The film follows the true story of lawman Wyatt Earp and his companions, including Doc Holiday, who take on a group of outlaws in Tombstone, Arizona.

To say that Kilmer stole the show with his performance would be an understatement, and numerous Reddit users agree. Many of his lines in the film became iconic quotes, and his character became the most memorable part of the film despite Kurt Russell being the main star. As Redditor DecentBlunt simply states, « This is it. Val stole the show in a movie full of solid acting. »

8 Stephen the Irishman in Braveheart

stephen the irishman
Image via Paramount Pictures

Braveheart is a historical drama that tells the story of William Wallace, the famous Scottish rebel who, along with his clans, tried to take on King Edward I of England. The movie has come under heavy critique for its lack of historical accuracy, and among the fiction is a smaller side character known as Stephen the Irishman.

Played by David O’Hara, Stephen the Irishman is an Irish outlaw who joins Wallace’s fight and is considered a bit of a wild madman. His role might be small, but he makes a big impact on the film and outshines even Mel Gibson when he’s on the screen. Reddit user seeking_horizon says, « The crazy Irishman in Braveheart doesn’t get much screen time, but he steals every scene he’s in. »

7 Walter in The Big Lebowski

John Goodman as Walter Sobchak in 'The Big Lebowski'
Image via Gramercy Pictures

John Goodman has a reputation for being a scene stealer, and The Big Lebowski is probably one of the best examples of that. The film revolves around Jeff « The Dude » Lebowski, who gets confused for a millionaire and then seeks out restitution for a ruined rug, along with his buddies, including Walter.

Related: The 10 Best John Goodman Movies, Ranked

The cast of the film is stacked with great talent, but Goodman manages to stand out as Walter nonetheless. Fans love to quote Walter’s outrageous lines, make memes from his character, and more. Reddit user sentient-meatball shares, « No hate on the Dude, but Walter is one of my favorite characters of all time. John Goodman killed that role. »

6 Megan in Bridesmaids

Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
Image via Universal Pictures

Bridesmaids is a female-driven comedy that is bursting with talent, and Melissa McCarthy, as Megan, somehow manages to shine bright among them. The movie largely follows a woman, played by Kristen Wiig, who is asked to be her best friend’s maid of honor, and chaos ensues from there within the bridal party.

McCarthy manages to deliver big laughs every time she’s on-screen in the film, and audiences couldn’t help but love her character, even if she were just a smaller character on the side up against very funny protagonists. Redditor IndependentBus7109 says, « It’s kind of crazy, considering the movie has so much amazing comedic talent in it, including SNL alumni, but Melissa McCarthy is the most hilarious part of it. I lost it at every single scene she was in. »

5 Neil in Tenet

Neil smiling in Tenet
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s hard to outshine a main character literally titled « The Protagonist, » but that’s exactly what Robert Pattinson manages to do as Neil in Tenet. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film follows a CIA operative who must stop certain objects from falling into the wrong hands and save the world.

Despite being a supporting character, for many viewers, Pattinson was the true stand-out performance in the film. His mysterious demeanor, the way he keeps everyone guessing, and his certain English charm had audiences glued to him, and despite critiques of the film itself, Pattison’s performance was largely praised. Reddit user lovesmyirish shares, « After I saw him in Tenet, he was no longer the Twilight guy. »

4 Genie in Aladdin

Image via Walt Disney Studios 

Aladdin might be the title character and name of the film, but it’s the Genie, brought to life by Robin Williams’ voice, that really stood out for fans. Aladdin is a common thief who tries to use his three wishes from the magical Genie to become a prince and win over Princess Jasmine.

Robin Williams as the Genie has gone down as one of the actor’s best performances and showed the movie world what good voice acting could do for an animated film. He steals every scene he’s in and brings clever and hilarious comedy to the Disney movie. Redditor sinky_cheese33 explains, « Aladdin is a great character in his own right, but the Genie is leagues above. »

3 Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park

jeff-goldblum-ian-malcolm-jurassic-park
image via Universal Pictures

From director Steven Spielberg comes the epic movie that birthed an entire sci-fi franchise, Jurassic Park. When a wealthy entrepreneur seeks to open a dinosaur theme park with real dinosaurs, he brings in several experts to test it out, including Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum.

Related: 10 Facts You Might Not Know About Jurassic Park

Dr. Malcolm isn’t the main expert that the film centers on; nevertheless, his role is a memorable one. Some have questioned the necessity of his character but still love him anyway, and it has propelled Goldblum into becoming a fan favorite within the Jurassic franchise. Multiple Reddit users agree, with some calling him a  » total scene stealer » and others referring to his character as « iconic. »

2 Yelena in Black Widow

Natasha and Yelena in 'Black Widow'
Image via Disney

Fans had waited a long time for the Black Widow film in the MCU, and it did not disappoint. However, the real stand out of the movie wasn’t Natasha Romanov. Instead, it was her sister Yelena Belova played by Florence Pugh, who truly shined in her performance.

Part of the MCU’s trademark is to blend bits of comedy and fun with its action, with varying degrees of success, and it was Pugh who really delivered on this aspect in Black Widow. Reddit user MethodInfinite6428 writes, « It was a fun action movie, and she somehow managed to be the most fun part of it. Really showed how great Florence Pugh is with comedic timing, and made me excited for her future in the MCU. »

1 Emily Charlton in The Devil Wears Prada

Emily Charlton in The Devil Wears Prada
Image via 20th Century Studios

It’s hard to compete when you’re up against incredible actresses like Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, but that doesn’t stop Emily Blunt in her role as Emily Charlton in The Devil Wears Prada. Blunt plays a supporting role as an assistant in the competitive work environment at a big magazine.

The character of Emily could have easily been a forgettable one, but Blunt’s performance is iconic and took the film to a higher level. Redditor CompetitiveMedia4422 says, « Emily Blunt is so brilliant in Devil Wears Prada. She becomes a perfect parody/stereotype of that world and steals every scene she’s in (sorry, Meryl). This is a perfect example of taking a smaller supporting role and really going all out with it. »

Next: The 10 Best Performances in Bad Movies, According to Reddit

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