The greatest hero introductions of all time to movies, ranked

Some of the greatest movie characters of all time make the biggest entrances. Whether it’s doing despicable evil, something incredibly heroic, or something in between, we as the audience can never forget the first time we saw these characters on screen. While many villainous characters have memorable introductions, so do several heroic characters. Let’s discuss some of the best hero introductions in movies.


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6/6 Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean_ The Curse of the Black Pearl - Jack Sparrow
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Admittedly, Captain Jack Sparrow’s loyalties are…well…it changes with every scene. However, later films imply that the reason Jack was called a pirate in the first place was because he let a ship full of slaves go free, saying, “People aren’t commodities. , my friend.” Our first introduction to the maniacal pirate sees him sailing towards Port Royal, standing atop his ship, as Klaus Badelt’s explosive score plays. Of course, Jack isn’t sailing a mighty ship. He sails on a very small ship… and he sinks. Jack valiantly tries to scoop the water out with a bucket, but to no avail. The next shot of Jack sees him back at the top, which is now level with the dock. All this is done without words. Jack’s first line comes as he bribes a harbor master with three shillings not to record his name in the visitors’ log, then steals the bag containing the charges from all the other ships. It’s iconic, it’s hilarious; that’s all we need to know about Captain Jack Sparrow.

5/6 Simba – The Lion King

Rafiki (1)
Pictures of Walt Disney

Simba’s introduction is the very first scene in the film, the iconic song “Circle of Life”. As the sun rises, we hear that famous opening song in Swahili. For those wondering what is being said, the first part is a very simple statement“There’s a lion, father. Oh yes, it’s a lion.” Still, it sounds like the grandest, most epic statement ever made. Big and epic are also the perfect descriptors for the visuals, as we see all the animals of the African savannah, from elephants to ants, congregating at Pride Rock to see Simba’s presentation, the newborn cub of the current Lion King, Mufasa. Mandrill Rafiki then takes the child for every animal to see, rays of sunlight burst through the clouds and land on Simba as all the animals cheer and bow. It’s big, it’s beautiful, all for what is essentially the equivalent of a baptism into the animal kingdom.

4/6 Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Indiana Jones
Distributed by Paramount Pictures

South America, 1936. An American and his native guides walk through the jungle where the Hovitos people live. The natives are spooked by things like stone statues and cool poison darts, but the party continues. So far, we haven’t seen the face of the American leading them. All we can say about him is that he’s wearing a brown jacket and a fedora and he’s examining something written on paper. One of the guides decides to pull a gun on the American, who instantly snatches the gun from his hand. As the American emerges from the shadows, we see his face for the first time: Indiana Jones. Only then does he enter the temple, where one of the most iconic action scenes in history movies takes place.

Related: Harrison Ford Says He’s Done Playing Indy After Indiana Jones 5: “That’s It!”

3/6 Han Solo – Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Star Wars_ Episode IV - A New Hope - Han Solo
Distributed by 20th Century Fox

We first meet Han Solo in the Mos Eisley canteen as old Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and future Jedi Luke Skywalker seek to travel to the planet Alderaan. Demanding an upfront fee of ten thousand, Obi-Wan sweetens the deal down to seventeen thousand, a price Solo happily accepts. Just after Obi-Wan and Luke leave, bounty hunter Greedo shows up, intent on collecting a bounty placed on Solo by a notorious gangster, Jabba the Hutt. We all know what happens next. Han shoots first, Greedo dies, and one of the most lovable thieves in the galaxy gets quite the introduction.

2/6 Batman – Batman (1989)

Batman (1989) - Batman
Distributed by Warner Bros.

Prior to the release of Tim Burton’s landmark superhero film, the perception of Batman was more campy, a la Adam West, cradling a box of Bat-Shark repellant, some sort of territory. Casting Michael Keaton as main character also met with derision, as most found hard to believe that Mister Mom was going to be Batman. Keaton silenced doubters for good in the very scene where we see him in the iconic cape and cowl. Two muggers rob a wealthy man as his family is forced to watch, unaware that someone else is watching them. They discuss another criminal being captured by a mysterious “bat” while from the shadows a silhouette of a bat falls to the ground behind them. No doubt who it could be. Batman makes quick work of the two attackers, swinging one over a ledge. The unfortunate attacker asks “What are you?” to which we get one of the simplest, yet most iconic answers to that question: “I am Batman.” Yes, you are, Michael Keaton. Yes you are.

Related: The Best James Bond Movies, Ranked

1/6 James Bond – Dr No

Dr. No
United Artists

John Strangways, Jamaica’s MI6 Section Chief, has been assassinated. Due to jet lag, London learns of this in the middle of the night, but they know exactly what to do: assign MI6 agent James Bond to the case. But where is Bond? It turns out he’s playing chemin de fer, a variant of baccarat, at a posh club in London. One of Bond’s adversaries is the beautiful Sylvia Trench, who loses several hands to our favorite secret agent. So far, we’ve yet to see Bond’s face; but when Trench asks his name, we see him in full for the first time. Sean Connery, cigarette in mouth, looking as suave as possible, delivers the most iconic introduction of all time: “Bond, James Bond.” This instantly recognizable 007 theme plays as Bond introduces himself, making the moment even better. In the past sixty years, no living moviegoer has forgotten Bond, James Bond.

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