erik lundegaard

Who is the Most Filmed Character Ever?

I was writing a review of “Margin Call” the other day, a good film with a great cast, and considered for a moment Paul Bettany's name in the cast list. IMDb.com informs us that he's best known for “A Beautiful Mind,” “Master and Commander,” and “The Da Vinci Code.” I loved him in each of these and expected big things from him. But “A Beautiful Mind” was 10 years ago, “Da Vinci” five, and he kept appearing in movies I had no interest in seeing (“Priest,” “Legion,” “Inkheart”). Then IMDb reminded me he had recently played Charles Darwin in “Creation.” “Was this the one that was never distributed in the U.S.?” I wondered. “The one Christian fundamentalists had a problem with?”

So I clicked on the character link.

While the answer to my initial question was yes, probably, I soon forgot all about it when I realized the following:

Charles Darwin wasn't portrayed on film until 1972.

Immediately, the usual “What Liberal Hollywood?” hackles were raised in me. The man who changed our 20th and 21st century worldview was ignored for the first eight decades of film? Not even a walk-on in someone else's story? Not even a “Bewitched” episode? And he's only been portrayed a total of 21 times? And this from an industry that's condemned daily as “liberal”?

That rant led to this thought:OK, how many times has Jesus Christ been portrayed on film?

Answer? 350 times, starting in 1897 with “The Horwitz Passion Play,” which starred Jordan Willochko as the Son of God. But that answer immediately led to this question:

Hey, is Jesus the most portrayed character in movie history?

I tried to think of who might have been portrayed more often. Robin Hood? 122 times. Hamlet? 198. Abraham Lincoln? 263. Sherlock Holmes? 246. Dracula? 274. God? 340. Close.

Eventually I asked Patricia for her thoughts. In five seconds, she gave me this, but in the negative: “I don't think it's Santa Claus...” she began.

No, it is Santa Claus. 814 times.

Wouldn't it be nice, though, if IMDb had a sort function beyond what it currently offers—particularly if one could further sort by “movies,” “TV,” “Made-for-TV movies”? Instead, the site gives us user-created lists. We may never find out who the most filmed character in movie history is, but we do get to read blahXblahXblah's list of the 204 “Hottest Actresses”!

What do you think? Are Santa and Jesus it? Or has another character been portrayed more often?

Some of the most filmed characters in movie and TV history

Robin Hood is a piker compared to Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.

ADDENDUM: After all that, it turns out there is another....

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Posted at 06:34 AM on Thu. Oct 27, 2011 in category What Liberal Hollywood?  

COMMENTS

Reed wrote:

Does Narrator count? He/she shows up a lot.

I was trying to figure out the most well-known actual person in the history of the world recently. I came down to either Jesus or Ghandi. Perhaps there is a Bollywood character that has shown up in thousands of movies...

I've also gotten frustrated with the IMDb. Ever since it was sold, it's been on a slow, but steady decline into TMZ territory. I suppose this is what sells on the internet these days, but I wish they could give us, at the least, the functionality that it had before. Maybe you have to buy IMDb Pro to get the more high-tech stuff...

Comment posted on Thu. Oct 27, 2011 at 07:37 AM

Pastor Jeff wrote:

Many people find Jesus and Santa Claus to be very similar. Combined, there is no contest. 1164.

Comment posted on Fri. Oct 28, 2011 at 10:17 AM

miko wrote:

it is napoleon bonaparte!!

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Erik wrote:

Not bad. Napoleon is 337 times:
http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0027456/

Hitler's coming up fast: 335 times.
http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0027857/

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Bob Lundegaard wrote:

Teacher!! I know!! I know!!

Answer: Jerry Lundegaard

Comment posted on Thu. Mar 29, 2012 at 01:25 PM

Erik wrote:

I've found a character that supercedes Santa Claus: 848 to 819. Any guesses?

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 06, 2012 at 02:27 PM

Extra-strength UncleVinny wrote:

Do archetypes count? I'm thinking of “Jester”, or “Clown”...

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 06, 2012 at 02:46 PM

Erik wrote:

IMDb appears not to do archetypes. I.e., they have 13 different versions of the character “Clown”: this one from that series, that one from the other.

That said, the 848 character is KIND OF an archetype ... but still specific.

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 06, 2012 at 03:02 PM

Claudine wrote:

U.S. President?

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 06, 2012 at 03:37 PM

Erik wrote:

Claudine: Same as “Clown” above. No office, Mr. Presidents.

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM
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