Top 10 Old Wise Men in Movies

Script written by Sean Harris. We’ve heard it said that “age is an honor,” but when it comes to these guys, the honor is certainly ours. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 old wise men in movies. For this list, we’re focusing on the helpful elderly supporting characters of cinema. To make our list, they have to be human, so much respect but very sorry to Yoda and Master Splinter! We’re also excluding wizards, since they have their own list of the Top 10 Movie Wizards, and since wisdom is their job requirement! Special thanks to our users viliguns, Ryo Bakura, freethinker600, Cook75, JosephT, beastlanky, Luis Vega, Devin A. Morales, audiogosling, Crazy Davey, MJdawg10, Brian Silva, dundunDUN, Drew Spera, Andrew A. Dennison, JakeCrusher, Siv Chan, hopfenator, Christian Nielsen, aldqbigsquare and stormglass425 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 Old Wise Men in Movies


We’ve heard it said that “age is an honor,” but when it comes to these guys, the honor is certainly ours. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 old, wise men in movies.

For this list, we’re focusing on the helpful elderly supporting characters of cinema. To make our list, they have to be human, so much respect but very sorry to Yoda and Master Splinter! We’re also excluding wizards, since they have their own list of the Top 10 Movie Wizards, and since wisdom is their job requirement!

#10: Patches O’Houlihan
“DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story” (2004)

A legend on the court and a legend on the screen, Patches is a prime example of age meets experience. An inspiration to all who compete in the sport, he’s been there, done that and got the ball-dodging t-shirt. As a teacher he’s tough and a little unsound, but there’s a method to his madness and he sure gets results! Certainly, in the case of this Irishman, it’s more judgment than luck.

#9: William Forrester
“Finding Forrester” (2000)

A reclusive author guilt-ridden by his past, Connery’s genius is forced to adapt when a gifted youngster breaks into his world. Jamal, champion sportsman and exceptional wordsmith, is a student with a lot left to learn; Forrester, terminally ill and hiding away, is a tutor with a lot left to give. As virtuous as the classic “untouchable” cop, Jim Malone, and as brave as “Highlander”’s Ramirez, Forrester is Sean Connery’s wisest elderly role.

#8: Dr. Sean Maguire
“Good Will Hunting” (1997)

In this movie, great minds may think alike, but the greatest minds think differently. Though both intellectually gifted, Dr. Maguire has one thing over the title character: experience. Age provides him insight with which he can tackle the hooligan Hunting, identify a younger version of himself, and eventually solve his problems. Robin Williams shines as this deep-thinking therapist, reminding mentors everywhere that you require more than brainpower to be considered wise.

#7: Pai Mei
“Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004)

The Martial Arts master, just edging out “Seven Samurai”‘s Kambei Shimada, Pai Mei has it all: Ability, agility and brains. As Beatrix Kiddo’s mentor, he champions some murderous moves, and his Three Inch Punch and Tiger Crane style serve our protagonist well. But it’s his Five-Point Exploding-Heart Technique that realizes the movie’s title. Second best to no one, Pai Mei wields a wisdom both as long as his beard, and as old as time.

#6: Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding
“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

A younger entry than most on our list, Morgan Freeman’s jailbird is an old-timer in the prison yard. As the “man who can get things,” he’s canny, caring and criminal all rolled up into one. Though he’s long since paid for his misdeeds, Red worries he’ll never make it on the outside – and that kind of self-awareness is very wise. His rant to the parole board about rehabilitation keeps him in our conscience. And we, like Andy, were lucky to meet him.

#5: Mickey Goldmill
“Rocky” franchise (1976-82)

To tame “The Italian Stallion,” you’ve got to be clever, and this tough trainer was surely that. Stallone, as Balboa, provided the muscle, but Burgess Meredith had the brains behind the brawn. An ex-fighter himself, he drew on experience to mastermind a quite incredible rise to success. Sometimes in boxing, you’re only as good as the men in your corner, and you’re a mighty good fighter if you’ve got Mickey Goldmill.

#4: Alfred J. Pennyworth
“Batman” franchise (1966-)

As Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred is a friend and confidante to the Dark Knight – and in some incarnations, even his legal guardian. An astute old man and father figure, he shows patience and prudence as Batman’s mentor, and has since Bruce’s parents were murdered during his childhood. When Wayne needs guidance, Alfred is there. When Bruce needs advice or reassurance, Alfred’s there. When he needs to be saved, Alfred never fails. A butler and then some, “Master Wayne” would be lost without his Alfred.

#3: Charles Xavier
“X-Men” franchise (2000-)

Technically a mutant, but still a human being, Professor X is wisdom incarnate. The master of his own mind as well as everyone else’s, his knowledge knows no bounds, and his influence is endless. As Magneto’s better half, he fights for justice and, with the help of his X-Men, equality, while also protecting the innocent. Xavier’s immaculate brain not only counteracts his physical constraints, but also saves mankind, and earns him a top 3 spot.

#2: Mr. Miyagi
“The Karate Kid” franchise (1984-94)

This unassuming handyman turned kung fu master extraordinaire had every boy dreaming of the dojo. As Daniel’s mentor, and eventual friend, Miyagi balances roles as karate tutor and life coach to ensure that his protégé ends up on top. A recipient of the Medal of Honor himself, Miyagi has been around the block, realizing that martial arts are not to be used as a weapon, but as a way of life.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The Stranger “The Big Lebowski” (1998)
- Don Diego De La Vega “The Mask of Zorro” (1998)

#1: Obi-Wan Kenobi
“Star Wars” franchise (1977-2005)

They don’t come wiser than a Jedi, and there isn’t another Jedi quite like Obi-Wan. As a hermit on the planet Tatooine who saw corruption first-hand, he fully understands the delicate balance of life and the universe. He’s Luke Skywalker’s guide and purveyor of the Force, and the wise and kind mentor we all wish we had – even though he tends to present the truth from “a certain point of view.” Best of all, even death doesn’t keep him from lending advice!

Do you agree with our list? Which of the great wise men is your favorite? For more exciting Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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