The Best On-Screen Duos In Film

The only thing that’s better than having one great character to love is being graced with a dynamic duo. These are the characters that are stuck together like glue, sharing almost every scene, and gaining the affection of the audience. They can serve a variety of purposes such as providing comic relief, adding tension, moving the plot forward, and much more. These are characters like Woody and Buzz or Thelma and Louise, whose storylines are intertwined with one another and the film wouldn’t be as effective without. Here are the most iconic duos in film.

Andy Dufresne And Ellis “Red” Redding: The Shawshank Redemption

Andy and Red talking on benches
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

After Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wrongly sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife, he befriends contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman). The film follows Andy’s years in prison as well as his friendship with Red, which develops over a series of decades.

Even behind the grim walls of Shawshank Penitentiary, Andy and Red’s relationship is comforting, although though the pair are both serving life sentences, an impressive feat. The film went on to earn seven Academy Award nominations with audiences still holding back their tears at the film’s ending.

Frodo Baggins And Samwise Gamgee: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Frodo and Sam see something frightening
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

Some viewers may find the scenes with Frodo (Elija Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) to be dull at times compared to the action experienced by the other characters. However, there’s no doubt that they are one of the most iconic duos in film and literary history.

Tasked with destroying The One Ring, the two set off alone at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, and their fateful journey to Mordor begins. With the weight of the world on their shoulders, together, they face relentless danger, their relationship is tested, and their success depends on their ability to work together.

Tyler Durden And The Narrator: Fight Club

Tyler and The Narrator on a train
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Released in 1999 and adapted from Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel of the same name, Fight Club leaves audiences with their jaws on the floor when the credits roll. The main reason for this being the relationship between the charismatic and slightly deranged Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and the once clean-cut consumerist known as “The Narrator” (Edward Norton).

The two character’s relationship is a duality that keeps the audience intrigued by their interactions and experiences together and eventually unfolds to reveal the twist that makes Fight Club such an impactful film.

John Beckwith And Jeremy Grey: Wedding Crashers

John and Jeremy celebrating a wedding
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

Released in 2005, Wedding Crashers is a comedy film starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey. The two characters are divorce mediators working in Washington D.C., who annually crash wedding parties during wedding season to party hard and have encounters with women.

Together, they are the definition of partners in crime, acting as each other’s wingmen as they navigate various weddings using ambiguous fake identities, claiming to have been invited. However, their friendship is tested when John falls in love with a girl that puts Jeremy in a complicated situation.

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

Paul Newman and Robert Redford posing as their characters
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the title roles, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a typical Western taking place in Wyoming in the late 1980s. Paul Newman plays Butch Cassidy, the leader of the Hole in the Wall Gang and his partner, The Sundance Kid, (Robert Redford) is known for his skill with a firearm.

The two are on the run after a series of train robberies, using their skills to evade justice. Considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, Newman and Redford’s characters have become the symbol of action film duos.

Vincent Vega And Jules Winnfield: Pulp Fiction

Vincent and Jules driving in a car
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Renowned for its sharp dialogue and its out of chronological order plot, the film features numerous characters that are fascinating in their own right.

Arguably, two of the most iconic are Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), two hitmen working for the kingpin Marsellus Wallace. Co-workers and friends, the two have very different personalities, resulting in some hilarious banter and unbelievable situations they get themselves into throughout the film.

Inigo Montoya And Fezzik: The Princess Bride

Inigo and Fezzik on a boat
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name, The Princess Bride was released in 1987 and is an adventure comedy. Although the story might be about the love affair between the farmhand Wesley and the woman he loves, Buttercup, the duo that really steals the show is Inigo Montoya and Fezzik.

Montoya is a Spanish fencing master, and Fezzik is a Greenland giant. Together they are dear friends and partners in their adventures and Montoya’s mission to seek revenge against the man who killed his father.

Brennan And Dale: Step Brothers

Brennan and Dale on the couch after their fight
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Starring Will Farrell and John C. Reilly, Step Brothers is a 2008 comedy following Brennan (Will Farrell) and Dale (Reilly), two fully grown men living at their respective single-parent homes.

However, when their parents decide to get married, the two are forced to live with each other, which starts out as an intense rivalry yet develops into a friendship. Together, they get into their fair share of mischief while simultaneously trying to live in the comfort of their parent’s house in order to not have to face the real world.

Elwood And Jake Blues: The Blues Brothers

Posing as the Blues Brothers
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Starring Steve Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Elwood and Jake Blues, The Blues Brothers was a musical comedy directed by John Landis. The Blues Brothers came from a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s.

The film follows the two brothers as they set out on a “mission from God” to save the Catholic orphanage they grew up in from closing. To raise $5,000, they start up their old R&B band to host a performance and get into some sticky situations along the way.

Hannibal Lecter And Clarice Starling: The Silence Of The Lambs

Clarice talking to Lecter through a Plexiglas door
Orion Pictures
Orion Pictures

Although one of the more unusual duos in film, it’s undoubtedly fascinating. Released in 1991, the film follows Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI trainee who seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a genius psychologist, and cannibalistic serial killer.

Together, he helps her track down another serial who goes by “Buffalo Bill,” who is known for skinning his female victim’s corpses. Their relationship starts off incredibly shaky, but the two eventually form a strong bond, albeit incredibly strange.

Riggs And Murtaugh: Lethal Weapon

Glover and Gibson posing
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Referred to as a “buddy cop film,” Lethal Weapon stars Mel Gibson as an unstable Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as the traditionalist Roger Murtaugh. In the film, the two characters are matched up as partners in the LAPD, although their personalities couldn’t be any more opposite.

Because of this, their policing styles vary, which makes for some entertaining situations between the two. Ultimately, the film was a success, mostly due to Rigg’s and Murtaugh’s partnership, which led to numerous other Lethal Weapon films being made around the same premise.

Robin Hood And Little John: Robin Hood

Robin Hood and Little John walking in the forest
Buena Vista Distribution
Buena Vista Distribution

Released in 1973 by Walt Disney Productions, Robin Hood is an animated film that follows anthropomorphic animals who live in Nottingham, centering around Robin Hood and his best friend, Little John. Together, the two fight against the wrongful taxation by Prince John while they await King Richard’s return.

When the idea was first conceived, it was shelved for numerous years until production designer Ken Anderson had the idea to use anthropomorphic animals while working on The Aristocats.

Jay And Silent Bob: Kevin Smith’s Films

Jay and Silent Bob in Clerks II
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Jay and Silent Bob are fictional characters portrayed by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith who exist in Smith’s View Askewniverse, who most of his films, comics, and television shows take place. The two have appeared in several movies including, Cop Out, Tusk, Red State, and Clerks, among others.

While the characters themselves are hysterical, what makes them such a great duo is that they’re actually good friends in real life. Their chemistry on-screen is so genuine that it makes audiences feel like real people who don’t even have a script.

Sheriff Bart And Jim The “Waco Kid”: Blazing Saddles

Sheriff and Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Directed by Mel Brooks and released in 1974, Blazing Saddles is a satirical black comedy-western focusing around Sheriff Bart (Cleavon Little) and Jim, the “Waco Kid” (Gene Wilder).

After Sheriff Bart’s town makes it clear that they don’t want him, he teams up with the Waco Kid, a washed-up gunslinger who’s in need of companionship as well. While the relationship between the two characters made out for some comedic dialogue, the idea of having a black hero with a white sidekick certainly made the film unique.

Han Solo And Chewbacca: Star Wars Series

Chewie and Han Solo talking
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Han Solo and his companion Chewbacca have been a fan favorite of the Star Wars franchise since they first appeared on the screen in A New Hope. Who couldn’t love a charismatic and overconfident pilot paired with a lovable and loyal Wookie?

While Solo was usually impulsive and at times, stupid, Chewbacca was always there as the voice of reason and to lend a hand when things went wrong. Their relationship was constant and reliable throughout the series up to Solo’s death in The Force Awakens, which Chewy did not take well.

Doc Brown And Marty McFly: Back To The Future

Doc showing Marty the car
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

The Back to the Future trilogy is one of the most beloved of all time, starring Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) as an unusual pair of time-traveling friends.

While Brown is a mad scientist, Marty is in high school, but that doesn’t stop them from traveling back to the 1950s, a dystopian version of the 1980s, the Old West, and a skewed version of the future. Their age disparity and their unique backgrounds make them entertaining to watch.

Bonnie Parker And Clyde Barrow: Bonnie And Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde movie
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Prior to the 1967 film, most people saw Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow solely as violent criminals willing to do anything to get what they wanted and not get caught. However, Arthur Penn’s biographical novel depicted them as lovers, something Hollywood latched onto almost immediately.

Their story makes for great entertainment, as the two star-crossed lovers, with the help of the rest of their gang, wreak havoc, breaking every law in the book. Of course, they also go out in a rather gruesome yet romantic blaze of glory.

Marlin And Dory: Finding Nemo

Marlin and Dory smiling
Buena Vista Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures

It’s no secret that Pixar likes duos, which can be seen in Toy Story, Up, and more, however, one that is unforgettable is the unusual couple of Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres).

Nobody would have thought that an overprotective father desperate to find his son would ever team up with a carefree spirit with severe short-term memory loss, yet Pixar managed to pull it off. The two characters play off of each other beautifully and by popular demand were brought back in Finding Dory.

Wyatt And Billy: Easy Rider

Bill and Wyatt on motorcycles
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Easy Rider stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as Western figures Wyatt and Billy, two counterculture motorcyclists cruising across the country in hopes of making a large sum of money and searching for the American Dream.

Through their journey, the two encounter a series of different characters while solidifying the two men’s friendship. They’re the two guys everyone wishes them and their best friend looked and lived like, which made their relationship impactful to so many viewers It didn’t hurt that the film also helped pave the way for a new era of cinema.

Dale Denton And Saul Silver: Pineapple Express

Saul and Dale sitting on the couch
Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

One of the great aspects of the 2008 comedy Pineapple Express is that Seth Rogan and James Franco, who play Dale and Saul, are actually best friends in real life and it shows. In the film, Dale works as a process server who tries to keep his distance from his dealer, Saul.

However, after Dale witnesses a murder by a corrupt police officer and kingpin, the two are forced to work together to escape danger while simultaneously being high almost the entire time.