Top 10 Typical Movie Character Stereotypes

Script written by Radina Papukchieva. How many times have people assumed you’re good at math just because you wear glasses? Or used the color of your hair to decide just how much fun you’re having? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 stereotypical movie characters. For this list, we’ve combined the most popular misconceptions, stereotypes and tropes about men and women of different races and sexual orientations. If you feel a movie is judging its characters a little too harshly, then chances are it made our list. Special thanks to our users Dalneris, Jacob Tiauli, Envy Hohenheim, gman619, Samuel van der Boom, Awesome One, wahidsf01, Marlon Jacques, Eric Lovelock, fighter66 and BlazinHotMoneyProduc for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Radina Papukchieva.

Top 10 Typical Movie Character Stereotypes


How many times have people assumed you’re good at math just because you wear glasses? Or used the color of your hair to decide just how much fun you’re having? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 stereotypical movie characters.

For this list, we’ve combined the most popular misconceptions, stereotypes and tropes about men and women of different races and sexual orientations. If you feel a movie is judging its characters a little too harshly, then chances are it made our list. So sit back and don’t feel offended if you identify with any of these.

#10: The Sexy Foreigner

Women in film go crazy over foreigners, especially if they sound like James Bond or Javier Bardem. Somehow, a lovely accent seems to work like magic and these men always get the girl simply with their smooth talk. Female foreigners, on the other hand, are often shown to be very open about sex, especially if they happen to come from Europe. It’s a Hollywood staple that characters who have an accent when they speak English are sexually aggressive. Whether they like it or not, foreigners have got that going for them.

#9: The Materialistic Woman

It’s one of the most common stereotypes Hollywood has created about the fairer sex: show a girl a Gucci bag and she’ll drop anything and everything. Credit cards are her best friends, and the ideal man will know how to choose just the right diamond for her. Not to mention, the mall is, like, the best place EVAR. For movie women who fall into this trope, the size of a man’s wallet is what matters most. Material girls, indeed.

#8: The Neurotic Jew

Woody Allen is to blame for creating the neurotic American Jew trope, who’s just never satisfied with his life. Hypochondriac, stingy, and deeply intellectual, Jewish people in film who fit this stereotype also never stop talking. They see a shrink about three times a week, and still can’t resolve their mother issues. Even in modern movies, Jewish people are still just as neurotic, and their anxiety is used for comic effect. But to be honest, Jewish characters have self-deprecating humor down to an art.

#7: The Immigrant Convenience Store Owner

Somehow, all convenience stores in movies are run by people who are new to the country – and more specifically, they’re likely Indian, Pakistani or Korean for whatever reason. They speak heavily accented English and are usually quite more talkative. Although it’s an undeniable stereotype, when this portrayal of immigrants appears on film, it’s usually to show social inequality between different classes, or to highlight discrimination against such races. Other times, however, their background is clearly used for comic effect.

#6: The Wise Old Asian Who’s Actually Really Mean

Like Indians, Asians in film have only a handful of roles: they’re either storeowners, geniuses, or wise old men. They can also be extremely rude and heartless. For some reason, those that fall into the “wise old Asian man who’s actually very mean” category never smile, unless it’s after they’ve humiliated someone else. Somehow, the mean Asian man is always right, and his rude behavior is warranted by his wisdom. This stereotype can get even more off-putting when said Asian characters are portrayed by white actors with tons of make-up.

#5: The Italian-American Mobster

Don’t get us wrong; some of our favorite movies ever are about the mafia. But we’d be lying if we said that these films don’t also give birth to a stereotypical image of Italian-Americans. They’re all family guys, who love their mama first, pasta second and cannoli next, but they all make dirty deals for a living. One of the main reasons this portrayal is so popular is because Italian gangsters are just so likeable.

#4: The Funny Minority

Do you ever feel like Hollywood comedies just can’t seem to find a place for characters from minority groups except as sidekicks? Even when they are the leading characters, their racial background is usually used to pump up the laughs. For some reason, they just can’t be taken seriously, and often they don’t even try to. Also, minority characters are often used as the exotic friends of the main non-minority characters.

#3: The Over-the-Top Gay Man

Don’t get us started on gay men in Hollywood films; fabulous doesn’t even begin to cover it. While it may not always be true to real life, the movie men who fit into this stereotype love fashion even more than materialistic women do and are likely even more sexually liberated than the European ladies we discussed earlier. Not to mention the over-the-top gay man’s love of pop-culture and theatre; their way of life alone seems inspired by a Broadway musical. And of course, OF COURSE they have perfectly coiffed hair. Always.

#2: The Ethnic Terrorist

Let’s put it this way: terrorists in most Hollywood productions are not American. Whether fuelled by Cold War mentality, modern-day conflicts in the Middle East, or some other motivation, certain ethnicities are always portrayed as violent criminals. Their motives are unreasonable or unexplained, yet the terrorists are always capable of executing complicated attacks that almost thwart the good guys’ plans. But in the end, the ethnic baddies are always punished by the brave American heroes.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The Smart Guy in Glasses
- The Ditzy / Stupid Woman with Large Breasts
- The Latina Maid
- The Female Lightweight
- The Male Slob

#1: The Co-Dependent Woman

People raised on ‘90s rom-coms will know this one. There’s a difference between being romantic and being totally desperate. In movies, however, even savvy, intelligent women are ready to put their careers on hold the minute a handsome stranger walks into their lives. So blinded by love are they it doesn’t matter who the man is or where he comes from. We guess their choice is validated if the men happen to be sexy foreigners with charming accents.

Do you agree with our list? Which movie stereotype do you think is most common? For more top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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