There are great pairings in movie history, some romantic and some otherwise. In terms of partners, we have seen all sorts of buddy cop movies where the dynamic between two stars is integral to the chemistry of the film. But, duos are not restricted to cop movies. In honor of THE NICE GUYS opening today, here is our definitive ranking of the ten best movie duos of all time. Some are funny, some are criminal, but all of them are the essence of a perfect movie pairing. If you disagree with our picks or think we missed one that deserved to be ranked, let us know in the talk backs below.
Paul Newman and Robert Redford could have made a two hour Slap Chop infomercial and it would have been as dynamic and stunning as this western. Like in THE STING, these Hollywood legends look like they are having a ton of fun just playing cops and robbers. Few movies are as eternal as BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and that is wholly due to having a pair of leads who are willing to play off of one another and bring out the best in each other.
Ridley Scott’s film of female empowerment is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. It remains one of the best outlaw films ever made and one that transcends being a chick flick. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon bring the badassery while also being damn sexy to boot. You can think of this film as the contemporary version of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. Speaking of which…
No one can replace William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, but Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have come pretty damn close. The dashing Kirk and the logical Spock have always been like oil and vinegar, but they also bring out the best in one another which is why they are the best Starfleet officers in the Federation. If you look at every other STAR TREK crew, no one has the same chemistry as these two brothers in arms. Riker and Picard come close, but no one will ever match Kirk and Spock.
When you watch the god awful trailer for the LETHAL WEAPON television series, you know what is missing: Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The thing is, as great as both of those actors are, you need both of them for these characters to work. The crazy, unhinged Riggs is balanced by the traditional Murtaugh. Together, they bring out the best and worst in each other which is why we love watching them kick the bad guys asses.
If you think that TOY STORY is just for kids, you are depriving yourself of some of the best movies ever made. The stories in these movies are timeless and work because of the reparte between Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. With the films hinging on the love-hate relationship between Buzz and Woody, Pixar managed to capture lightning in a bottle that they would replicate in other films like MONSTERS, INC.
While the sequel may not have been nearly what we had been hoping for, nothing can touch the stupid brilliance of the original DUMB AND DUMBER. Jim Carrey elevated his schtick while Jeff Daniels showed his comedic prowess in a gross-out movie that deserves to be put in the Library of Congress. Okay, so it is not CITIZEN KANE, but DUMB AND DUMBER is like a modern Three Stooges.
One of the few pairings on this list that have only appeared in one film, the dynamic between Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta was instantly apparent from their first scene together in PULP FICTION. Credit is due to Quentin Tarantino’s writing but these two actors brought something special to their roles that would revitalize Travolta’s career and make Sam Jackson a movie legend.
The stoner pair would become the template for numerous counterculture movies and icons for the pro-marijuana advocates across the United States. The pair made several films together and their names became synonymous with numerous quotes from UP IN SMOKE. Even people who have never seen one of their films would instantly recognize the names of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.
Kevin Smith’s debut feature, CLERKS, was also our first look at Jay and Silent Bob. These guys served as stoner comic relief but would soon evolve into a recurring role throughout the ViewAskewniverse. Jason Mewes and Smith himself played the stoner nerds like a modern day Abbott and Costello. They would eventually get their own movie which would cement them as pop culture icons.