We love a good duo. Whether they’re a crime-busting team or romantically involved, Hollywood has shown us how a little bit of chemistry can go a long way. Some of the best pairs have proven to last the test of time, too – becoming iconic in their own right and standing as an example of wonderful cinematic experiences.
Ahead, we highlight some of the most iconic double acts that cinema has given us.
Brad Pitt and Edward Norton – Fight Club
This adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel was deemed ‘unfilmable’ until David Fincher got his hands on it and cast the wonderful Pitt and Norton as the iconic Tyler Durden and ‘Narrator’. The chemistry between the two of them balances power, humor, trust, and, corruption. They’re inseparable – in more ways than one.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet – Titanic
These two actors star in the highest-grossing film of all time and raise the bar for romance in this incredible journey of the fateful ship. As Jack and Rose, Winslet and DiCaprio play off each other as lovers offering the escape both characters need. It would end in tragedy, with film fans debating whether he could fit on the door for decades after.
John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino’s sophomore masterpiece explores the dark underworld of LA, with these two leading some of the biggest action and drama scenes of the film. Fortunate to have Tarantino’s unique script to play with, Travolta and Jackson appear as old friends and colleagues who discuss anything from murder, foot massages, to quarter-pounders and cheese.
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson – Starsky and Hutch
There are many examples of Stiller and Wilson working together (shout out to Zoolander!) but we chose Starsky and Hutch as the best example of their onscreen chemistry. Based on the TV show, the two cops complement each other with their vastly different approach to work and saving the community from crime.
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones – Men In Black
Another example of the straight man acting against the funny man, these two act as perfect opposites in saving the world from aliens. Will Smith’s young naivety and enthusiasm perfectly contrast Tommy Lee Jones’s aged and tired persona – making for a strong start to a franchise entering its third decade.
Robin Williams and Matt Damon – Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting highlights many great things, not least the chemistry between its two stars. Damon co-wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay about a genius janitor at MIT and his relationship with a therapist, with Williams acting as the perfect father role. The film was praised by Roger Ebert for the ‘individual moments’ between the two as they discuss life, relationships, and what it means to embrace who you are.
Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon – Thelma and Louise
This power couple appeared on our screens in 1991 and showed audiences how badass a female car chase film can be. The two support each other as they race to the Mexican border with dramatic, comedic, and romantic elements all merged into one.
Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox – Back To The Future
The inspiration for today’s Rick and Morty, Marty and Doc entertained audiences in the 1980s with their time travel masterpiece. Maybe better not to think about how the 17-year-old Marty befriended the old scientist – but their chemistry and support for each other covers space and time entirely, as they take it in turns to save each other’s lives.
Adam West and Dick Ward – Batman and Robin
Perhaps the most iconic duo spanning over 70 years, Batman and Robin were brought to the screen with West and Ward, who played off each other with charm and poise in 1966’s Batman: The Movie. Following the iconic television show, it’s a partnership that has not been successfully recreated since.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – Grease
Another entry for Travolta, this time against the charming Newton-John in the 1978 hit Grease. Tapping into the American ‘greaser’ subculture from the 1950s and 1960s, these two play young lovebirds who subsequently inspired millions of teens for 40 years after its release.
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman
This duo has appeared in a few films over their respective careers, but Pretty Woman stands out as their most iconic. As far as romantic comedies go, this pairing is near perfect – Gere as the romantic businessman falling in love with Roberts’ tough prostitute will inspire filmmakers for years after its release.
Beavis and Butt-Head – Beavis and Butt-Head
These two have been described by audiences as ‘crude’, ‘ugly’, ‘thoughtless’ and ‘self-destructive’, but managed to make teens laugh over the show’s initial five-year run in the 1990s. The fact it is considered so divisive among critics and parents shows that the two characters clearly made an impact, which is what makes them worthy of appearing on this list.
Tom Hanks and Tim Allen – Toy Story
This cowboy and spaceman appeared on our screens in 1994 and changed the way audiences view animated films. Pixar’s exploration into Americana and its changing times against technology, embodied here by Woody and Buzz, are voiced by two actors that have become icons in their own right.
John Cho and Kal Penn – Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle
This stoner classic sees Cho and Penn journey into the night in a mission for some fast food. Despite its modest financial performance, the film has become a cult classic and spawned two sequels. The two can be compared to Cheech and Chong. Their loveable stoner personas show how close two friends can be.
Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew – Star Wars
How could we leave these two off the list? Star Wars introduced the world to a lot and can be responsible for changing the cinema landscape – with much credit going to these two actors. What’s even more impressive is how the two communicate so well, considering Mayhew being wrapped up in heavy costume.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman – Sherlock
The BBC miniseries reimagined these classic characters with Cumberbatch and Freeman easily becoming the best new crime-fighting duo. Watson’s sympathetic yet fragile character supports the high-functioning sociopath as he solves mysteries with the power of deduction. With a total of four novels and 56 short stories, we won’t run out of stories anytime soon for these two.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad has been named one of the best shows of all time – and for good reason. The time bomb of Walter White and his descent from ‘Mr. Chips to Scarface’ is mirrored against his partner, the conscientious Jesse Pinkman. The two characters are supportive of each other, despite their turbulent relationship. The actors have such great ‘chemistry’ that writer and showrunner Vince Gilligan actually spared Jesse’s death, scheduled for the first season.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson – The X-Files
Talk about a connection! These actors have played Scully and Mulder for 25 years, perfectly encapsulating what it means to be one of a pair. Their chemistry, sexual tension, partnership, and loyalty to each other has been enjoyed on screens both large and small by audiences all around the world.
Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan – When Harry Met Sally
The film that is responsible for kickstarting the romcom genre, When Harry Met Sally tells the story of two friends over 12 years and how their relationship invariably changes over time. Crystal and Ryan play off each other amazingly, her uptight personality against his relaxed vibe complement them both – resulting in a satisfying and believable end to their story.
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels – Dumb and Dumber
This 1994 hit is one of Jim Carrey’s breakout performances, and for good reason. They both perform alongside each other with lovable respect, despite being… well… dumb. Jeff Daniels managed to ‘turn his brain off’ for the role, and the duo created these classic characters who inspired Halloween costumes and endlessly quotable lines.
Mike Myers and Dana Carvey – Wayne’s World
These two debuted their characters on Saturday Night Live, and the chemistry between the two led to their spin-off film. It became a cult classic and helped younger generations fall back in love with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Unfortunately, the relationship between the actors has faded, so don’t expect a reunion any time soon.
Did we miss anyone off our list? Let us know who we are missing!