Just as behind every man, there’s a good woman, behind every hero, there’s a good sidekick. Some of our favourite characters would be near-unrecognisable without their best pal by their side, and like Podge and Rodge, cheese and onion and Jack Daniels and Coke, they make up some of the best pairs around. So without further ado, here’s a rundown of our top five sidekicks in movies. One or two spoilers ahead!
5) Pedro Sanchez (Efren Ramirez) – Napoleon Dynamite
“Vote for Pedro.” Come on, how many of us can hear these words and not think of a short, moustache-bearing Mexican young man handing out badges in a fruitless attempt to become Student Body President? A shy, quiet young man, Pedro doesn’t say much, even while Napoleon is around, but he doesn’t really have to. Pedro is unwavering in his presence by Napoleon’s side, and they readily help each other overcome their personal obstacles at every turn. Pedro may not say much, but we love him for one simple reason – he’s always there.
4) Donkey (Eddie Murphy) – the Shrek series
Sidekicks are normally characters that we, along with the protagonist, quickly grow to love. They’re intelligent, resourceful and brave characters that are a joy to be around. Donkey, however, is the exact opposite – to Shrek anyway. He’s cowardly, unintelligent, highly gullible and prone to trip over his own feet on even the flattest of surfaces. So why is he so loved? Because of his unflinching loyalty. Less than five minutes after we’re introduced to him, Donkey is already tagging along to help Shrek get his swamp back, displaying affection for and a willingness to help the grumpy green ogre in any way he can. All the way through the series, Donkey comes across a number of obstacles – he’s nearly roasted alive and eaten by a dragon, he’s turned into a stallion and back again, he even switched bodies with Puss In Boots, but he does it with more heart than anyone, and always finds his way back to Shrek’s side.
3) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) – Top Gun
Friendships are both made and destroyed by high-pressure situations. In the case of Goose and his best friend, Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), however, it’s definitely the former. Maverick is as reckless as they come while flying a plane, but Goose, as his wingman and Radar Intercept Office, makes sure that there is at least some level of sanity in the cockpit. Despite their vastly different personalities, these two are the perfect team. Goose’s safety is in Maverick’s hands constantly, and Maverick cares much more about the life of his friend than he does his own. Goose is also a devoted family man, happily including Maverick in that aspect. They’re like brothers and never share a cross word for the whole of the film….which make’s Goose’s sudden death all the more heart-wrenching.
2) Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) – the Star Wars franchise
Flying into second place is the hairy, seven-foot-tall co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon. One of the most widely-recognized characters in the entire Star Wars franchise, Chewie is a sidekick who can’t speak English and is in dire need of a haircut (and possibly a flea bath). However, none of that matters on board the Falcon, as Han Solo has in his Wookiee best pal a staunchly loyal and extremely skilled co-pilot who is never too far away from Han’s side. Chewbacca is living proof that actions and expressions, including his infamous trademark roar, definitely speak louder than words, proving himself to be the friend we all wish we had.
1) Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) – The Lord of the Rings series
If there’s ever a character who has been underestimated and brushed off as nothing more than a sidekick, it’s Sam Gamgee. Starting out as nothing more than a humble, timid hobbit residing in the Shire and acting as a gardener to the Baggins’, Sam, at first glance, is nothing to write home about. But beneath than chubby, nervous exterior is a heart of gold, and the courage of a lion, which he displays on a number of occasions, such as standing up to Faramir after Sam and Frodo are captured and brought to Osgiliath, and when he engages the giant spider Shelob in one-on-one combat, which probably would have killed anyone else. He starts out as nothing more than a gardener, but by the time the Ring is destroyed and evil is banished from Middle-Earth, Samwise Gamgee proves himself to be the greatest hero in the entire series.
Got a sidekick in mind who you think should have made the cut? Give them a shout out in the comments!