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Lecter and Finch share top villain and hero spots



Story by: Jack Foley

HE HAS hungrily devoured Box Office records, as well as victims, but now Dr Hannibal Lecter, cinema's most charismatic cannibal, has got his teeth into a new accolade.

The character, as portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, has been named as the top screen villain of all time, by the American Film Institute (AFI).

And he beat off stiff competition, from the likes of Psycho's Norman Bates, as portrayed by Anthony Perkins, who was voted the second worst villain, and Star Wars villain, Darth Vadar, coming in a Force-ful third, for The Empire Strikes Back.

And while Lecter took the top spot for the bad guys, the character of Atticus Finch, as portrayed by Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, was named as the biggest screen hero.

The character is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee, and finds Finch's noble white lawyer defend a black man accused of rape, in the Deep South.

According to AFI director, Jean Picker Firstenburg, the character 'represents the goodness all of us want to see in others and feel in ourselves'.

"This is a hard time in human history, and we look for the bright spots that show us the way," she added.

The AFI has listed the top 100 heroes and villains, as voted for by film industry professionals, including actors, directors and critics.

In second place in the hero stakes was everyone's favourite movie adventurer, Indiana Jones, who took the place for his outing in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The character is portrayed by Harrison Ford in the film, which spawned two hugely popular sequels, including The Last Crusade, in which Indy teamed up with his father, as portrayed by Sean Connery.

Ironically, it was Connery who nabbed third spot, for his portrayal of James Bond in Dr No.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has the dubious distinction of appearing in both lists, for his dual roles in The Terminator movies - which saw him placed at number 22 in the villains' list, and at number 48 among the heroes.

Schwarzenegger, who will host a US TV special about the poll, said he was 'ecstatic' to have featured twice. The Austrian star is currently preparing to open the third film in the series, The Rise of the Machines, this Summer.

Other top 10 heroes include Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca, Will Kane (Gary Cooper) in High Noon and Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in Silence of the Lambs.

While notable villains include the Wicked Witch of the West, played by Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz, who came in fourth.

Indeed, women featured prominently in the villains' list, with wicked Nurse Ratched (played by Louise Fletcher) in One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest coming in fifth, and 'bunny-boiler', Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) in Fatal Attraction also featuring highly.

The Top 5 Heroes:

1) Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird
2) Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark
3) James Bond - Dr No
4) Rick Blaine - Casablanca
5) Will Kane - High Noon

Top 5 Villains:

1) Hannibal Lecter - Silence of the Lambs
2) Norman Bates - Psycho
3) Darth Vader - Empire Strikes Back 4) Wicked Witch of the West - Wizard of Oz
5) Nurse Ratched - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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