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Top 10 Wrongfully Accused Movie Characters

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Telly Vlachakis. Don’t you just hate it when nobody believes you’re innocent? These characters certainly did. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 wrongfully accused movie characters. For this list, we look at those big screen characters that were blamed or framed for crimes they did not commit, regardless of whether they were convicted or not. And there might be a few spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users jkellis and Andrew A. Dennison for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Telly Vlachakis.

Top 10 Wrongfully accused Movie Characters

Don’t you just hate it when nobody believes you’re innocent? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 wrongfully accused movie characters.

For this list, we look at those big screen characters that were blamed or framed for crimes they did not commit, regardless of whether they were convicted or not. And there might be a few spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Lucas
“The Hunt” (2012)

This seemingly quiet Danish film follows a recently divorced kindergarten teacher as he comes to terms with being falsely accused of sexual misconduct with one of his very young female students. Thanks to her over-active imagination, and her older brother’s taboo stash, she blurts out some things she can’t take back, and all hell breaks loose. Mads Mikkelsen’s amazing performance is remarkably reserved as he tries to clear his name in a town that’s all too quick to label him as a pedophile. The role earned him the Best Actor award at Cannes, while “The Hunt” itself was nominated at the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film.

#9: John Anderton
“Minority Report” (2002)

This Steven Spielberg classic gives the wrongfully accused trope a sci-fi twist by blaming Tom Cruise’s character for something he will do. The neo-noir thriller is set in a future where psychic entities are able to see crimes take place before they actually happen, which allows the PreCrime police division to make preventative arrests. When police Captain John Anderton learns he is the latest PreCrime suspect, he finds himself on the run not only to try and clear his name, but also to find out why he would even attempt to murder someone in the first place – and the result is a thrilling and visually stunning ride.

#8: Richard Hannay
“The 39 Steps” (1935)

Some people just don’t know how to keep to themselves. While helping what seems to be a damsel in distress, after witnessing what seemed to be an assassination, young Richard gets mixed up in a thrilling world of espionage, murder, manhunts and double-crosses. This early Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, an adaptation of the classic adventure novel of the same name, gave us one of the earliest and finest cinematic depictions of an innocent man rushing to clear his name, which was also a topic Hitchcock would reuse time and time again.

#7: Sirius Black
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)

Every member of the wizarding world Harry inhabits believed that the eponymous prisoner was an insane and notorious mass murderer. But when Sirius Black escapes Azkaban, he makes it his duty to find Harry and warn him of bigger dangers, while also attempting to clear his name. An old friend of Harry’s deceased father, Sirius was just trying to protect the Potter family when he took the fall for a number of murders. Gary Oldman’s character masterfully goes through a complete 180, in Harry’s eyes and the audience’s, as he transforms from frightening killer to endearing guardian.

#6: Roger Thornhill
“North by Northwest” (1959)

Hitchcock once again takes a page out of his own book to create this thrilling manhunt across the U.S. In this tale of mistaken identity, Cary Grant’s confused character is pursued from set-piece to set-piece, and always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. After a mysterious organization of spies is convinced he has an important piece of microfilm, they stop at nothing to get it from him, dead or alive. This creates some of the most memorable and breathtaking action sequences in cinema history.

#5: Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter
“The Hurricane” (1999)

The only film on our list that’s based on a true story, “The Hurricane” follows the life of former middleweight boxing champion Rubin Carter, who was wrongfully imprisoned after being charged with a triple homicide due to faulty eyewitness testimony. The movie focuses mostly on his time in prison, as a group of activists tries to re-open the case that was seemingly thrown away, while Carter fights for his innocence from the inside by writing his autobiography and tackling racial prejudice. Denzel Washington’s heartbreaking performance earned him a Golden Globe award and his fourth Oscar nomination.

#4: Tom Robinson
“To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962)

This courtroom drama finds lawyer-with-a-heart-of-gold Atticus Finch taking on the impossible task of defending a poor black man accused of raping a white girl in the American Deep South in the 1930s. Although not the main character, Tom Robinson and his trial sparks some deeply controversial issues of inequality and racial tension in the town, while Atticus’s children, Scout and Jem, try to make sense of the hate and violence they witness through their innocent eyes. Both the film and the novel it was based on continue to be considered some of the best ever made, and both raised several sensitive issues that are still touched upon today.

#3: Dr. Richard Kimble
“The Fugitive” (1993)

Based on the ‘60s TV series of the same name, this tightrope thriller sees Harrison Ford’s character falsely accused of his wife’s murder after he catches the killer in the act. Narrowly escaping when his police transport crashes, he is suddenly thrust into the role of a fugitive, with an unrelenting U.S. marshal, played by Tommy Lee Jones, at his heels. The resulting energy-packed manhunt allows him the chance to search for the one-armed man he witnessed attacking his wife. The surprise blockbuster hit spawned a sequel, a spoof, and an updated TV series in 2000.

#2: Andy Dufresne
“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

Based on a Stephen King novella and directed by frequent King collaborator Frank Darabont, this critical favorite follows Tim Robbins as a banker who is sentenced to life in prison after being accused of killing his wife and her lover. His pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. After 19 years of wrongful imprisonment alongside his friend and co-lifer Ellis Boyd Redding and after struggling to stay safe within the corrupt prison system, we see Andy take matters into his own hands – and thanks to realistic acting, thought-provoking themes and a captivating story, “The Shawshank Redemption” still has us hooked.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Kenny Waters
“Conviction” (2010)
- Roger Rabbit
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988)
- Jean-Claude Van Damme
“JCVD” (2008)
- Ben Richards
“The Running Man” (1987)
- Gerry Conlon
“In The Name of the Father” (1993)

#1: John Coffey
“The Green Mile” (1999)

Taking our top spot, we have once again a Frank Darabont-Stephen King collaboration. This time, it’s a prison story about a gentle giant who’s sent to death row after he was accused of raping and murdering two young girls. Tom Hanks plays one of the guards who starts suspecting not only that Coffey is innocent, but also that he carries mysterious healing powers. Who wouldn’t want to let this guy go? Michael Clarke Duncan’s breakthrough dramatic role in the fantasy drama earned him numerous critical accolades and awards, including Oscar and Golden Globe nods.

Do you agree with our list? Which characters do you think deserve a pardon? For more exciting Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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