Top 10 Movie Rivalries

StudioCanal releases Ron Howard’s Rush on EST on the 17th Jan, and on DVD & Blu-ray in the UK on the 27th Jan. Here’s a top 10 list of movie rivalries to celebrate the release…

10. James Hunt vs. Niki Lauda – Rush (2013)

rush_chris-hemsworthThe reason why the movie rivalry in Rush rings truer than most is dedicated to the fact that everything you see in Ron Howard’s latest is real. Playboy schmoozer James Hunt and uptight perfectionist Niki Lauda – two figures who would never have met if it wasn’t for Formula 1 – clashed on the race course like no other ever has (with disastrous consequences, caught brilliantly on screen.)

9. Rocky vs. Apollo Creed – Rocky (1976)

Rocky, II, 2, Sylvester Stallone, Boxing, Sports,World heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) comes up with the idea of allowing a local underdog a shot at his title when his opponent drops out of the championship due to an injured hand. Selecting Rocky Balboa when he takes an interest in his nickname (‘The Italian Stallion’), what occurs is a rivalry of the most professional kind. The film culminates in the fight to end all fights, with the two clashing in a monumental battle – the winner? If you’ve not seen it, I’m not going to spoil it for you here.

8. Woody v. Buzz Lightyear – Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story 2, Film, Pixar animationIt’s actually pretty difficult to recall a time when Woody and Buzz Lightyear weren’t each other’s favourite deputies. Yet the entire first half of Pixar’s groundbreaking 1995 original is moulded around Woody’s jealousy of Buzz’s presence as Andy’s new toy of choice. Forcing to contend with the deluded space toy, Woody even attempts to trap Buzz in a gap behind Andy’s desk before the plan goes disastrously wrong and he is forced into a rescue mission which helps the two from a close bond for the films to come.

7. Neo vs. Agent Smith – the Matrix trilogy (1997-2004)

The Matrix, Film, Top 10 Films, Keanu ReevesA rivalry that extends throughout The Wachowski’s famous Matrix trilogy, Keanu Reeves begins the series as Thomas Anderson – an ordinary guy who doesn’t realise that he lives in a virtual reality world. A hacker in his spare time (he goes by the name Neo), he becomes aware of the matrix which leads him to suspect the world he lives in – forcing the agents to come after him – namely, Hugo Weaving’s unstoppable Agent Smith.

6. Professor X vs. Magneto – the X-Men franchise (2000-)

best-dressed_magneto_x-men_ian-mckellenIf you’ve seen X-Men: First Class (2011), you’ll know from James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Professor X and Magneto that the two mutants started off as friends when they were otherwise known as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. The latter’s need to avenge his mother’s death causes the paralysis of Xavier sparking off a dark side which spills into the remaining films of the franchise – with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen starring as the two.

5. Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort – the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsIt could be argued that the true rivalry at the heart of the Harry Potter franchise is with his fellow student, Slytherin’s Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). However, save for a few scuffs during Transfiguration, it’s ole’ Lord Voldy (Ralph Fiennes) who Potter must ultimately do battle with. Inextricably linked since being a mere babe in a blanket, Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘boy who lived’ survives his attack, instead adorned with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, always there to bring him down whenever he seems to win a Quidditch match or be drinking a Butterbeer, causing him pain whenever Voldemort’s plan to take over the wizarding world is stepped up a notch… but you already knew all of this.

4. Thor vs. Loki – Thor (2010) / Avengers Assemble (2012) / Thor 2: The Dark World (2013)

Thor-Film_chris-hemsworth_tom-hiddlestonIt all started off so well; brothers ‘til the end. Well, until Tom Hiddleston’s Loki realises he is in no way related to Thor, a Norse God banished to earth from Asgard for defying the orders of his King father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Before too long, Loki is plotting to kill the man he believed to be his father so he himself can take over the reign of Asgard, not to mention attempting to destroy New York City in Avengers Assemble. Betrayed by these actions, Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) is the one who must stop Loki’s plans from coming to fruition time and time again.

3. Cady Heron vs. Regina George – Mean Girls (2004)

meangirls_rachel-mcadamsA high-school rivalry like no other, Lindsay Lohan’s Cady attempts to infiltrate ‘the plastics’ by becoming the faux friend of Regina George – and attempting to bring her down in the process. As the film goes on, Cady becomes more embroiled in the inner-group of the high school clique she so desperately wanted to destroy. Regina gets more jealous as Cady gets more ruthless paving the way for one hell of a showdown.

2. Robert Angier vs. Alfred Borden – The Prestige (2006)

the-prestigeIn Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, the rivalry between Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Borden (Christian Bale) stems from the consequent tragedy of a magic trick gone wrong; what ensues is a rivalry between the two small-time magicians who attempt to outdo each other in spectacle as their profiles rise. As the film goes on, the two reach extraordinary lengths to discover the secrets of each other’s tricks – building to a climax that’ll leave you jaw on the floor.

1. Batman vs. The Joker – Batman (1989) / The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight Rises, Top 10 Superhero Films,Although branched out in Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman, in which Jack Nicholson took the equally-as-psychotic yet lighter approach, it was Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins (2005) which solidified the character pairing of Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne and Heath Ledger’s unnamed Joker as a serious case of classic movie rivalry; an unstoppable force truly meets an immovable object, and the repercussions have consequences which spill over into trilogy-closer The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

Rush is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 27th January 2014 from StudioCanal

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  1. Avatar
    Louise Reply

    Love this list – I wrote a similar one when Rush was released in the cinema, it really is a fab topic. I think the only one we have in common is Hunt/Lauda. I definitely missed a trick not including Woody and Buzz – love that rivalry.

  2. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    Excellent list that spans a wide variety of genres. You surprised me with inclusions like Toy Story and Mean Girls, both of which definitely deserved to be on here. Plus there are two Christian Bale movies! His characters are intense competition for just about anyone he faces off against, so it seems natural he’d take the number 1 and 2 spots. Maybe one rivalry that I’d include as an honorable mention is Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty in Game of Shadows. I enjoyed the way those two played off each other, especially in their climactic “game of chess.” Bond and Silva were also great as adversaries in Skyfall. Oh and who can forget about Johnny Utah and Bodhi from Point Break? For me it would be hard to lock in just 10 great rivalries.

  3. Avatar
    Lights Camera Reaction Reply

    My main flaw with Rush was how poorly the rivalry was handled, so I disagree with that. Rest of the list is pretty good, Batman and The Joker would be my main choice too.
    Mean Girls is a great pick too, haha.

  4. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    What about Veronica versus all the Heathers! Sorry (laughing) I love that film

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