Some of the Greatest Old Man Characters in Films

Posted on 19 Jul 00:00


Great movies are not limited to those starring beautiful 23-year old characters. Hollywood has produced a number of great action films, adventures and comedies with irresistible old man characters. In fact, in the recent past, the number of old man character movies has gone up. The reason Hollywood is producing more old man character films is to tap into the movie buff audience  among old timers.

  1. Carl Fredricksen (an animated character), Up (2009)

One of the notable old man characters that has graced the screen in the recent past is the animated character Carl Fredricksen. He stars in the movie Up (2009), which is an American 3D animated comedy drama. The film was produced by the Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by the Walt Disney Pictures. The plot is based on the story of an elderly widower named Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) who is accompanied by a sober boy named Russel (Jordan Nagai).

Carl sets out to visit South America just like he had promised his deceased wife (Ellie). He travels by tying thousands of inflated balloons to his house. This makes it float like a hot air balloon ferrying Carl to the wilderness in South America. 'Up' is directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, who wrote the screenplay.

The film was released on May 29, 2009 and presented in the Disney Digital 3-D, and screened for the first time at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. This made the film the first animated 3-D movies to do so. The film won two Academy Awards that included Best Animated Feature, and nominated for three more awards.

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars Series (1977-2005)

Obi-Wan Kenobi, also called Ben Kenobi is one of the characters in the Star Wars Franchise portrayed by the English actor Alec Guinness. In the original trilogy, he was a supporting character. However, in the preceding prequel trilogy, a younger version of Obi-wan Kenobi is one of the main protagonists. He does this together with Anakin Skywalker played by Ewan McGregor.

Ben Kenobi acts as a mentor to Luke Skywalker. He teaches Luke the ways of the Jedi, until he masters it to a level, he can challenge Darth Vader. During the fight against the empire launched by the Rebel Alliance, and a fight between Luke and Vader, Kenobi guides Luke.

The prequel trilogy was set decades earlier than the original trilogy. In prequel trilogy, Kenobi is an apprentice (padawan) to a Jedi master by the name Quin-Gon Jinn. He later befriends Luke’s father (Anakin) before becoming Luke’s mentor. However, Anakin joins the dark side of the force of Jedi and becomes Darth Vader. He frequently appears as the central character in several Star Wars movies. In 1977, Guinness was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

  1. Gandalf (Sir Ian Murray McKellen CH CBE), The Hobbit (2012 - 2014), Lord of the Rings (2003)

Ian McKellen was born on 25 May 1939. He is an English actor with a career that spanned numerous genres. His works range from Shakespearean to modern films, fiction and popular fantasies. McKellen has won six Laurence Oliver Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award, a BIF Award, two (2) Saturn Awards, a Screen Actor Guild Award, and four (4) Drama Desk Awards. He also received two Critic’s Choice Awards and two nomination for Academy Awards, four BAFTAs awards, and five Primetime Emmy Awards.

McKellen became a global icon for his role in the films The Lord of the Rings (2003) and The Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014). Other notable films that have earned McKellen global accolades include his role as the titular King in Richard III (1995), and James Whale in the film Gods and Monsters (1998). His role as Magneto in the X-men films also significantly contributed to his fame.

During his Birthday honors held in 1979, McKellen was appointed the Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was knighted in 1991 during the New Year Honors for his services in the performing arts. In 2008, he was awarded the Champion of Honor for using drama to fight for equality, and received the New Year Honors.

  1. Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Lucius Fox is an old man character appearing in the Batman series played by Morgan Freeman. Fox is Bruce Wayne’s business manager in charge of supplying the equipment Batman needs for his operation in addition to financing them. He later becomes the CEO and president of Wayne Enterprises, which makes him a close friend to Bruce Wayne. Fox is an experienced entrepreneur who supplies the weapons Batman uses without his knowledge.

Fox is considered a business wiz with a magical touch. He can take any failing business and turn into a multinational. This is best exemplified when he takes Wayne Enterprises and Wayne Foundation and strike a balance between Bruce Wayne’s business and private finances. In the Batman Begins, Fox is the head of the research. His excellent performance encourages Bruce to trust him to make his (Batman’s) armor.

Concerning the identity of Bruce Wayne as Batman, Fox tells him it’s okay if Wayne can’t tell him face-to-face, but he is not an idiot. In the subsequent film the Dark Night, Fox retains his role, and designs a new Batman suit that can protect him from dogs. Both Fox and Wayne know who Batman is, but Fox chooses to remain silent, just in case someone connects the dots.   

  1. Professor X (Xavier) played by: Patrick Stewart (older Xavier) and James McAvoy (younger Xavier) The X-Men Series (2000 – ongoing)

Professor X is an old man character in the ongoing X-men series. His real name is Charles Francis Xavier, the founder and leader of the X-men.  Professor Xavier is character created by artist Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee, and he first appeared in the X-men files published in 1963. He is a member of a subspecies of humans called the mutants who possess supernatural powers.

For instance, professor Xavier is a powerful telepath with the ability to read and control the mind of others. Professor runs a private school in the X-mansion located at Salem Center. He shelters and trains mutants from across the world in his school. Professor Xavier also advocates for a greater god by campaigning for peaceful coexistence between mutants and humans. The reason professor launched his campaign is because the world is full anti-mutant bigotry.

Professor Xavier was portrayed by Patrick Stewart in the first four movies of the X-men film series and in several video games. James McAvoy portrays the younger version of Xavier in the X-men: First Class (2011).

  1. Kesuke Miyagi (Pat Morita), The Karate Kid (1984), The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

Mr. Kesuke Miyagi is one of the most captivating fictional old man characters played by the Japanese American actor Pat Morita. Miyagi appears in the Karate Kid movies series. In both movies, he acts as the mentor to Daniel LaRusso and Julie Pierce. He was awarded with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Karate Kid.

Miyagi was born in Okinawa, Japan on June 9, 1925 and learned karate from his late father who was a fisherman. Miyagi’s father worked for the richest man in the village and his son became Miyagi best friend. Miyagi asked his father to also teach karate to his best friend Sato, which was against the tradition. He chose to migrate to the U.S to avoid fighting his friend Sato over a girl.

Upon settling in Los Angeles, Miyagi enrolled at the University of California in Santa Barbra. He joined the U.S Army at the onset of World II and was awarded with the Medal of Honor. In 2015, Miyagi was included into the Fictitious Athletes Hall of Fame for his contribution cinematic works in the category. 

  1. Alfred Pennyworth (Alan Napier), The Batman TV Series (1965 – 1968)

Alfred Pennyworth is a fictional character in the Batman TV series that was originally named Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth. In the Batman TV series, he acts as Bruce Wayne’s loyal and hardworking butler, legal guardian and housekeeper. He became a surrogate father to Bruce Wayne after the murder of his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne. Pennyworth gives Batman the moral support he needs and this had made fans to call him the batman for Batman.

In films, the character Alfred Pennyworth has been played by notable actors, which includes Alan Napier. He was the pioneering actor to be cast in the Batman TV series launched in 1965. He played his role until the TV series was cancelled in 1986. Other notable actors that have played the role of Alfred Pennyworth include William Austin, Michael Gough, Eric Wilton, Michael Caine, and Jeremy Irons.


These seven (7) old man characters are just some of the most notable ones with a huge fan base throughout the years. The characters portrayed by these actors are ionic, and will no doubt continue to endure.

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