Spielberg’s All-Time Best Protagonists!

Audrey Fox at /Film came up with her list of The 15 Best Spielberg Protagonists Ranked.  You know me and lists.  So before you click over, here are my choices for the top 5 and two others that would have made my list, but didn’t make hers.

Indiana Jones — The Indiana Jones franchise.  Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is one of those casting decisions that seems like a no-brainer until we remember that Ford only got the part because Tom Selleck couldn’t make Raiders of the Lost Ark due to his Magnum P.I. commitment.

Quint — Jaws Robert Shaw had the gravitas and acting chops to ensure that Quint wasn’t a one-dimensional character.  We felt safe with Quint running the shark hunt until…

Hooper — Jaws.  This was the part that made Richard Dreyfuss a household name.  The role required Dreyfuss to be intelligent (but not too much a nerd), humorous (but not off-putting) and a foil for Quint (without alienating the audience).  Dreyfuss succeeds on all levels.

John Miller — Saving Private Ryan.  Tom Hanks is great at playing an “every man” put in an unusual situation who then rises to the challenge.  This role required that and so much more.  Hanks has to come off as a strong, thoughtful, brave leader who has the respect of his men but must deal with his own nerves and fears in private. 

Oskar Schindler — Schindler’s List Liam Neeson received a well earned an Oscar nomination for this role.  


Columbo – Murder by the Book.  Sure, it is a television episode.  I’d say it qualifies as a tv movie.  Either way, are we going to leave one of the all-time great protagonists off this list?

Sergeant Horvath – Saving Private Ryan.  This could be Tom Sizemore’s best role. He plays the dedicated Sgt. who has his Captain’s back even when he doesn’t agree with him.