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Latter-day Saint (and Utah)
Characters and Connections
in AFI's "100 Heroes and Villains" List

See also:
Feature Films with Major Characters who are Latter-day Saints

Beginning in 1998 the American Film Institute (AFI) has created yearly lists celebrating American cinematic achievement. Their first list, presented during a 2 hour broadcast, was simply titled "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies." This list offered their selection of the 100 greatest American movies of the last 100 years, as voted on by a large number of leaders in the film community: screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, executives, film historians and critics.

Since then, the AFI has presented lists of the 100 greatest stars, 100 greatest comedies, 100 most thrilling films and 100 best romantic films.

This year's AFI list was "100 Heroes and Villains," featuring the AFI's picks for the top 50 heroes and top 50 villains of American cinema. This year's list was different in that it looked not just at movies as a whole, but at specific characters from movies - focusing on heroes and villains. In fact, some movies appear on this list more than once, associated with more than one great character. Also, a number of characters are listed here, and ranked high, not for their appearance in a single movie, but for their legacy from many films. Such characters include James Bond, Indiana Jones, Robin Hood and Dracula.

Of course, all of these lists are ultimately subjective, and they are clearly designed to draw attention to American movies past and present. But even if one disagrees with the lists, they are interesting to think about, and they remind people of movies which have had lasting impact.

Latter-day Saints on the List
There is only one Latter-day Saint on this list of 100 heroes and villains: Butch Cassidy. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid share the #20 spot on the Heroes list for the 1969 movie named after them. As an adult Butch Cassidy was not a devout Latter-day Saint, but he was raised in the Church. Presumably his highly ethical upbringing led to his famously non-lethal style of being an outlaw.

Although only one of the characters on this AFI list is a Mormon, many of the movies highlighted on the list were made by Latter-day Saint (and/or Utah) filmmakers. Latter-day Saints and/or Utahns filled many above-the-line roles such as producer, writer, director, editor or star in the movies on this AFI list. Also, some of the non-LDS actors highlighted on this list for the hero or villain they played in one movie have played a Latter-day Saint character, or played opposite a Latter-day Saint character, in a different movie.

In the notes below, most (but not all) individuals described as a native of Utah or a resident of Utah were indeed Latter-day Saints, but their religious affiliation has not yet been verified in our research.


1. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
- Actor Gregory Peck was the narrator for the documentary "American Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith." But Peck was not a Latter-day Saint.

2. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in "The Raiders of the Lost Ark"
- As shown in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Indiana Jones lived in Utah as a boy, and was a member of a Boy Scout troop.

3. James Bond (Sean Connery) in "Dr. No"
- Latter-day Saints have worked on a number of James Bond movies, but none are known to have worked on "Dr. No."
- Latter-day Saint singer Gladys Knight sang the title song for the James Bond movie "License to Kill."

4. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in "Casablanca"
- Casey Robinson, a native of Logan, Utah, was one of the screenwriters for this movie.

5. Will Kane (Gary Cooper) in "High Noon"

6. Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in "The Silence of the Lambs"

7. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) in "Rocky"

8. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in "Aliens"
- This movie was directed by James Cameron. Although not a Latter-day Saint himself, Cameron's first movie was funded entirely by a group of Latter-day Saint dentists, thus launching his career.

9. George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in "It's a Wonderful Life"
- The musical score for this movie was co-written by Latter-day Saint composer Leigh Harline.
- Latter-day Saint actor Moroni Olsen had a small part as the voice of the senior angel.
- Utah actors Charles Meakin and Joseph Kearns also had a small parts.

10. T. E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) in "Lawrence of Arabia"

11. Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

12. Tom Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath"
- Academy Award-winner Thomas Little, a native of Ogden, Utah, was the set decorator for this movie.

13. Oskar Schindler (Ben Kingsley) in "Schindler's List"
- Latter-day Saint producer Gerald R. Molen received the Best Picture Academy Award for producing this movie.

14. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in "Star Wars"

15. Norma Rae Webster (Sally Field) in "Norma Rae"

16. Shane in "Shane"

17. Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in "Dirty Harry"
- Clint Eastwood played a man who married a Latter-day Saint woman (Jean Seberg) in the Parmount movie "Paint Your Wagon."

18. Robin Hood (Errol Flynn) in "The Adventures of Robin Hood"

19. Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) "In the Heat of the Night"
- Hal Ashby, a native of Ogden, Utah, received an Academy Award for Best Film Editing for this movie.

20. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) in "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid"
- The real-life Butch Cassidy was a Latter-day Saint, but he was not a practicing Church member as an adult. He left his home in Beaver, Utah as a teenager.
- The "Sundance Kid" was played by non-LDS actor Robert Redford, a resident of Utah. Sundance, Utah and the Sundance Film Festival are named after Redford's character in this movie.

21. Mahatma Gandhi in "Gandhi"

22. Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) in "Spartacus"

23. Terry Malloy in "On the Waterfront"

24. Thelma Dickerson and Louise Sawyer (Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) in "Thelma and Louise"

25. Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) in "The Pride of the Yankees"
- Casey Robinson, a native of Logan, Utah, was one of the screenwriters for this movie.
- The composer for this movie was Mormon film composer Leigh Harline, who received one of his many Academy Award nominations for this film.

26. Superman (Christopher Reeve) in "Superman"
- Latter-day Saint actor Paul Tuerpe had a small part in this movie.
- Latter-day Saint actor Paul Walker recently was asked to star in the title role in the upcoming remake of "Superman." Walker met with producers and even donned the costume, but he ended up turning down the role because he knew that the part would be such a high-profile role that he would be known for the rest of his life as "Superman."
- Perhaps "Superman" star Christopher Reeve's best-known non-Superman role was as the lead in "Somewhere in Time," in which he played a contemporary man so enamored with the image of the actress "Elise McKenna" (based on real-life Mormon actress Maude Adams), that he travels back in time to meet her.
- A number of Latter-day Saints are now involved in the writing and production of the TV series "Smallville," featuring Clark Kent as a teenager before he became known as "Superman."

27. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein "All the President's Men"
- Latter-day Saint makeup artist Gary Liddiard was the key makeup artist for this movie.
- Non-LDS actor Robert Redford, a resident of Utah, starred as Bob Woodward. Hal Holbrook played "Deep Throat," the film's pivotal character: the informant, whose true identity has never been resolved. Latter-day Saint investigative journalist Jack Anderson was long been one of the people rumored to be "Deep Throat," but most historians believe he was not, and Anderson claims that he is not, although he claims to know who Deep Throat is.

28. Juror #8 (Henry Fonda) in "12 Angry Men"

29. General George Patton (George C. Scott) in "Patton"

30. Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) in "Cool Hand Luke"

31. Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) in "Erin Brockovich"
- Brockovich's boyfriend (the film's 3rd billed role) was played by Latter-day Saint actor Aaron Eckhart.

32. Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) in "The Big Sleep"

33. Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) in "Fargo"

34. Tarzan in "Tarzan the Ape Man"
- This 1959 movie, "Tarzan, the Ape Man," was directed by Joseph M. Newman, a native of Logan, Utah.
- The character of "Tarzan" was created by non-LDS writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, who lived for many years in Idaho and also lived for a time in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he worked as a police officer.

35. Alvin York (Gary Cooper) in "Sergeant York"

36. Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne)in "True Grit"
- John Wayne was neither a Latter-day Saint nor a Utahn, but he filmed at least 13 movies in Utah -- more than any other non-Utahn actor.
- The set decorator for this movie was a Utahn: John Burton.

37. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) in "Star Wars"

38. The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) in "City Lights"
- Chaplin made many films as "The Tramp." His most frequent on-screen nemesis was Utah actor Mack Swain, who co-starred with Chaplin in over 20 films.

39. Lassie in "Lassie Come Come"

40. Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) in "Serpico"
- Pacino's next role is playing the part of Roy Cohn in the HBO miniseries "Angels in America," an adaptation of Kushner's play about Latter-day Saints and GLBT characters in New York City. Cohn is the monstrous mentor to the Mormon Republican lawyer Joe, the play's main character. This is not the first time that Pacino has played a villain opposite a Mormon good guy before. In "Donnie Brasco" (based on a true story), Pacino played mob boss "Lefty Ruggerio," who is being investigated by a Latter-day Saint FBI agent who recruits Johnny Depp to infiltrate Pacino's organization. The movie focuses more on Depp's character than on the FBI agent, but the movie does contain overt references and acknowledgements of the FBI agent's status as an active Latter-day Saint.

41. Arthur Chipping (Robert Donat) in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips"

42. Father Edward (Spencer Tracy) in "Boys Town"

43. Moses (Charlton Heston) in "The Ten Commandments"
- Latter-day Saint actor Delos Jewkes provided the voice of God in this movie.
- Arnold Friberg was a costume designer and assistant art director for this movie. Friberg is well known to Latter-day Saints because he painted the muscular paintings which appeared in the missionary editions of the Book of Mormon for dozens of years.

44. Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) in "The French Connection"

45. Zorro in "The Mark of Zorro"
- Academy Award-winning set decorator (a production designer in those days) Thomas Little (a native of Ogden, Utah), made "The Mark of Zorro" in 1940 -- the same year that he made "Brigham Young: Frontiersman."
- After "The Mark of Zorro, the character of Zorro was further popularized by the Latter-day Saint producer Bill Anderson's "Zorro" TV series of the 1950s and his movies "Zorro, the Avenger (1960) and "The Sign of Zorro" (1960). And Logan, Utah native Casey Robinson was the screenwriter of another Zorro movie in 1963.

46. Batman (Michael Keaton) in "Batman"
- A number of Latter-day Saint artists and filmmakers worked on the four Batman movies, including model maker Clark Schaffer, illustrator James Carson, 3D modeler Ruxton Noble, and Ronald Brown.
- Latter-day Saint animation director Boyd Kirkland was one of the main directors for the TV series "Batman: The Animated Series" (1992-1995). He was the writer, producer and director of the direct-to-video animated feature "Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero" (1998), and the sequence director for "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm." These animated productions are widely considered to be better written, artistically superior and more entertaining than the feature film series.
- After Keaton, the "Batman" role was played by Val Kilmer, who is rumored to have been tapped to play you-know-who.

47. Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep) in "Silkwood"
- Meryl Streep received was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA award for playing Karen Silkwood. Streep's next role is the Latter-day Saint housewife Hannah, the female lead role in the upcoming HBO miniseries 2003 "Angels in America," now in post-production. The miniseries, based on the Pullitzer Prize-winning play by Tony Kushner, is about Latter-day Saints, gays, and gay Latter-day Saints living in New York City.

48. Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in "Terminator 2: Judment Day"
- Latter-day Saint special effects master Dan Carter received an Academy Award for his work on this movie.
- "Terminator 2" was directed by James Cameron. Although not a Latter-day Saint himself, Cameron's first movie was funded entirely by a group of Latter-day Saint dentists, thus launching his career.

49. Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) in Philadelphia
- Actor Tom Hanks was a Latter-day Saint and regularly attended church as a child, during the year that his stepmother was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

50. General Maximus Decimus Meridus (Russell Crowe) in "Gladiator"
- Bart Hendrickson, the composer for the upcoming LDS-themed feature film "Saints and Soldiers," was a sound designer for "Gladiator."
- Utahn Bruce Fowler was the orchestrator for this movie, in which Maximus retains fervent belief that he will be reunited with his family after he dies. And at the end of the movie... he is.
- According to data from ACNielsen EDI, by June 2000 Richard Dutcher's Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "God's Army" was the year's top-grossing film in Utah. "Gladiator" was Number Two.


1. Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in "The Silence of the Lambs"

2. Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in "Psycho"

3. Darth Vader (David Prowse) in "The Empire Strikes Back"

4. The Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz"
- Latter-day Saint singer Rad Robinson, one of the King's Men quartet, provided the singing voice of the Munchkin coroner. Latter-day Saint actor/singer Delos Jewkes provided the voice of another Munchkin.

5. Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

6. Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life"
- The musical score for this movie was co-written by Latter-day Saint composer Leigh Harline.
- Latter-day Saint actor Moroni Olsen had a small part as the voice of the senior angel.
- Utah actors Charles Meakin and Joseph Kearns also had a small parts.

7. Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) in "Fatal Attraction"

8. Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) in "Double Indemnity"

9. Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) in "The Exorcist"

10. The Queen (Lucille La Verne) in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
- The Queen's co-star was the Magic Mirror, memorably voiced by Latter-day Saint actor Moroni Olsen.
- Mormon film composer Leigh Harline received an Academy Award nomination for his musical score for this movie.
- Eric Larson, a native of Utah, was the animator of the forest animals for this movie.
- Utah native Les Clark animated the "Silly Song" sequence in the movie.

11. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in "The Godfather: Part II"
- Pacino's next role is playing the part of Roy Cohn in the HBO miniseries "Angels in America," an adaptation of Kushner's play about Latter-day Saints and GLBT characters in New York City.

12. Alex De Large (Malcolm McDowell) in "A Clockwork Orange"

13. HAL 9000 in "2001: A Space Odyssey"
- After seeing the Academy Award-winning documentary "Universe," directed by Canadian Latter-day Saint filmmaker Colin Low, director Stanley Kubrick sought out Low to help create with the space scenes for "2001."

14. The Alien in "Alien"
- Because of similarities, it has been speculated that this movie was based partially on the short story "The Alien," written by the late Latter-day Saint science fiction writer Raymond F. Jones ("This Island Earth").

15. Amon Goeth (Liam Neeson) in "Schindler's List"
- Latter-day Saint producer Gerald R. Molen received the Best Picture Academy Award for producing this movie.

16. Noah Cross (John Huston) in "Chinatown"

17. Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) in "Misery"

18. The Shark in "Jaws"

19. Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) in "The Mutiny on the Bounty"

20. Man in "Bambi"
- The supervising animator for this movie was Utah native Eric Larson.

21. Mrs. John Iselin (Angela Lansbury) in "The Manchurian Candidate"

22. Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in "The Terminator"
- Bob Williams, the director of the "Saturday's Warrior" video, did special effects work for "The Terminator."
- "The Terminator" was directed by James Cameron. Although not a Latter-day Saint himself, Cameron's first movie was funded entirely by a group of Latter-day Saint dentists, thus launching his career.

23. Eve Harrington in "All About Eve"
- Thomas Little, a native of Logan, Utah, received an Academy Award nomination for his set decoration for this film.

24. Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in "Wall Street"

25. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in "The Shining"

26. Cody Jarrett in "White Heat"

27. Martians "The War of the Worlds"
- Gordon Jennings, a Utahn, won an Academy Award for his special effects for this movie.

28. Max Cady in "Cape Fear"
- Latter-day Saint stuntmen Billy Judkins and Doug Coleman worked on the 1991 version of "Cape Fear"

29. Reverend Harry Powell in "The Night of the Hunter"

30. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in "Taxi Driver"

31. Mrs. Danvers in "Rebecca"

32. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in "Bonnie and Clyde"

33. Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) in "Dracula"
- Latter-day Saint actor Robert Clarke (himself a horror movie star) was the host and narrator of a 1997 documentary titled "Lugosi: Hollywood's Dracula," which was about Lugosi and his role as Dracula.
- Latter-day Saint actor Johnny Whitaker co-starred with Dracula in "Mystery in Dracula's Castle" (1972)

34. Dr. Szell (Laurence Olivier) in "Marathon Man"
- Actor Glenn Robards, who was in the documentary "Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail," had a small part in "Marathon Man."

35. J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) in "Sweet Smell of Success"

36. Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) in "Blue Velvet"

37. Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in "The Third Man"

38. Caesar Enrico Bandello (Edward G. Robinson) in "Little Caesar"

39. Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) in "101 Dalmatians"
- Latter-day Saint actor Cam Clarke had a regular voice actor role as "Rex Hunter" on "101 Dalmatians: The Series" (1996-1998).

40. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) in "A Nightmare on Elm Street"
- Latter-day Saint actor Whitby Hertford had a major role facing off against Freddy Krueger in the sequel "A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" (1989). Hertford won the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for this role.
- Eric McLeod of Moab, Utah was the production coordinator for "Nightmare on Elm Street 4."
- Actor Brian Wimmer of Orem, Utah had a part in "Nightmare on Elm Street 2."
- Other Latter-day Saints and/or Utahns who have worked on the "Nightmare" sequels include Marshall D. Moore (of Sandy), Glen Neibaur, Bill McIntosh, Robin Leishman, Camile Schroeder, Brent Brewington, and Dave L. Peck.

41. Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) in "Mommie Dearest"

42. Tom Powers (James Cagney) in "The Public Enemy"
- Devereaux Jennings, a Mormon from Utah, was the director of photography (cinematographer) for this movie.
- Edward Woods -- who later retired to live in Utah, where he died and was buried -- had the 2nd-billed role as Tom Powers' buddy, "Matt Doyle." Woods was originally cast to play the lead role of "Tom Powers," with James Cagney playing the second lead. After viewing dailies director Wellman switched the actors and Cagney became a star.

43. Regina Giddens (Bette Davis) in "The Little Foxes"

44. Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) in in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane"

45. The Joker (Jack Nicholson) in "Batman"
- [See notes under "Batman" as hero.]

46. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in "Die Hard"
- Clark Schaffer, a Latter-day Saint miniature/model special effects expert worked on "Die Hard." He is currently the chief model maker for the upcoming Gary Rogers Book of Mormon film, presumably creating yet another great and spacious building.
- Bryan H. Carroll, a native of Bountiful, Utah, was the assistant film editor for "Die Hard."
- Alan Rickman also starred in the hit science fiction film "Galaxy Quest," which was written by Latter-day Saint screenwriter David Howard.

47. Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) in "Scarface"

48. Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) in "The Usual Suspects"
- The cast includes Salt Lake City-based actor Bruce Hamme.
- Utahn Richard Maxey was the film's grip.
- The late, great Latter-day Saint stuntman Billy Judkins worked on this movie.
- Caroline Burton, a photographer and camera operator based in Sandy, Utah, was the still photographer for this movie.

49. Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) in "Goldfinger"

50. Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) in "Training Day"
- This villain, a crooked cop, calls his police partner (Ethan Hunt) a Mormon for refusing to use illegal drugs.
- Allen Lafferty, a Latter-day Saint and the production designer for Gary Rogers' upcoming Book of Mormon feature film, worked on "Training Day."

Other Nominees

Before narrowing the list down to 50 villains and 50 heroes, the AFI produced a list of 400 characters that were nominees. Jurors then voted for their top picks among the nominees in order to choose the final list.

Notable on the list of 400 nominees:

Bruno Antony: The villain of the 1951 Alfred Hitchcock classic "Strangers on a Train." Bruno was played by Latter-day Saint actor Robert Walker, in what is largely regarded as Walker's finest role.

Chad: Latter-day Saint actor Aaron Eckhart played "Chad" in Latter-day Saint writer/director Neil LaBute's directorial debut "In the Company of Men" (1997). This was the feature film adaptation of LaBute's play, which he wrote and first staged at Brigham Young University. While on a business trip, Chad cruelly executes a plan to humiliate and emotionally destroy a young deaf woman. The film was critically acclaimed and launched Eckhart's career as a Hollywood actor and LaBute's career as one of America's hottest directors.

Dr. Evil: Featured in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me", as well as in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." Dr. Evil, like his nemesis Austin Powers, were both played by Mike Myers. The movies were produced by Eric McLeod, a native of Moab, Utah.

Austin Powers: See above.

Forrest Gump: Played by Tom Hanks in the movie "Forrest Gump" (1994).

Jim Lovell: Played by Tom Hanks in the movie "Apollo 13" (1995).

Captain John H. Miller: Played by Tom Hanks in the movie "Saving Private Ryan" (1998).

Web page created 5 June 2003.