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Top 10 Unlikely Friendships in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Clayton Martino Friendships can grow from the most peculiar places. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Unlikely Friendships in Movies. For this list, we are looking at those big screen characters who, against all odds, became great friends. Special thanks to our users Laballs or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Clayton Martino

Top 10 Unlikely Friendships in Movies

Friendships can grow from the most peculiar places. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Unlikely Friendships in Movies.

For this list, we are looking at those big screen characters who, against all odds, became great friends.

#10: King George VI & Lionel Logue
“The King’s Speech” (2010)

It’s hard to lead a country, especially one preparing for war, if you can’t give an effective speech. That’s the issue facing King George VI, who attempts to overcome a severe stutter as he assumes the role of the British monarch with the assistance of Australian speech and language therapist, Lionel Logue. Although the two come from completely different social backgrounds, they become fast friends. Lionel’s unusual teaching methods occasionally cause tension between the two, but their strong bond helps the King cope with his stammer more than any conventional treatment ever could.

#9: Walt Kowalski & Thao Vang Lor
“Gran Torino” (2008)

Walt Kowalski, a recently widowed Korean War veteran, rarely has a nice word to say about anyone. In fact, almost everything that comes out of his mouth is some sort of insult, and is usually racially offensive. That’s what makes his friendship with Thao Vang Lor, his Hmong neighbor, so surprising. Walt notices that Thao is getting caught up with the wrong crowd, and he begins to teach the boy how to become a man. Walt and Thao’s relationship develops throughout the film, and while it may have a bittersweet ending, the titular Grand Torino is a symbol of their lasting connection.

#8: T-800 & John Connor
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

After nearly being killed by a terminator in the first film, it’s no wonder Sarah Connor has some hesitations about trusting the T-800. This time, however, the T-800 is actually programmed to help her and protect her son John at all costs. John and the Terminator develop a strong bond over the course of the sequel, with the Terminator frequently protecting Connor and the young boy teaching the android about what it means to be a human. While you may not think a boy and a robot could develop any kind of real friendship, their actions toward each other speak louder than words.

#7: Derek Vinyard & Lamont
“American History X” (1998)

It probably would’ve been more surprising if Derek Vinyard hadn’t ended up in prison. A violent white supremacist, Derek gets sentenced to three years in the slammer after he’s found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Throughout his sentence, Derek doesn’t seem to see the error in his ways until he meets Lamont, a black man who is serving half a dozen years for assault. Derek and Lamont work together in the prison laundry, and although Derek refuses to speak to him initially, the pair ultimately develops a strong relationship. Lamont even prevents the other black inmates from attacking him. Because of their friendship, Derek is able to leave prison a changed man, with a different outlook on life.

#6: Carl Fredricksen & Russell
“Up” (2009)

Unlikely friendships are at the core of many Pixar films, but never is that more true than in “Up”. Carl Fredricksen became increasingly bitter and isolated after the death of his wife, Ellie. His bitterness causes him to treat Russell, a young Wilderness Explorer, poorly upon their first meeting. After the pair finds themselves accidentally stuck together, however, their dynamic begins to change. Russell becomes the son that Carl and Ellie never had, and the two become more than just friends – they become family.

#5: Legolas & Gimli

“The Lord of the Rings” franchise (2001-03)
Elves hate dwarves and dwarves hate elves. That’s just the way it is. Naturally, this caused some initial tension between Legolas and Gimli, two members of the Fellowship of the Ring. The elf and the dwarf become thick as thieves, however, as demonstrated by the fact that they protect each other and compete to see how many orcs each can kill. By the end of the trilogy, we see how close they’ve truly become, with the mismatched pair treating each other with a mutual respect and as equals.

#4: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III & Toothless
“How to Train Your Dragon” franchise (2010-)

Living on the remote island of Berk, Hiccup does not possess the characteristics of a typical Viking. He’s small, awkward, and worst of all, he can’t kill dragons. When he shoots down a Night Fury, he chooses to train the dragon rather than kill it, and names it Toothless. Although Night Furies are said to be highly dangerous and always go for the kill, Toothless quickly becomes Hiccup’s best pal, and even saves the boy from being killed at one point. Together, they become an unstoppable, franchise-spawning team that proved humans and dragons can not only happily coexist, but can be each other’s most valuable allies.

#3: Elliott & E.T.
“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)

This movie is considered one of the greatest science-fiction films of all-time. Part of the reason for this is because it mixes the genre with relatable human elements and themes. At its very core is the friendship between Elliott and the titular E.T. Although a seemingly unlikely pair, both Elliott and E.T. have been abandoned in a sense, and throughout the flick, they develop a powerful bond that even includes a psychic connection. Elliott accepts E.T. as his equal while E.T. teaches Elliott how to grow up.

#2: Leone ‘Léon’ Montana & Mathilda
“Léon: The Professional” (1994)

It’s hard to find a more unlikely pairing than a 12-year-old girl and a much older, professional hitman, but such a friendship is at the core of this crime thriller. After her family is murdered, Léon reluctantly takes Mathilda in. He even begins to train Mathilda to become an assassin, while she repays him by teaching him how to read and cleaning his apartment. Their relationship becomes more than just one of friendship though: they become the family that is missing from each other’s lives.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Shrek & Donkey
“Shrek” franchise (2001-10)
- Marty McFly & Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown
“Back to the Future” franchise (1985-90)
- Ron Woodroof & Rayon
“Dallas Buyers Club” (2013)
- Zero Moustafa & Monsieur Gustave H.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014)
- Hogarth Hughes & The Iron Giant
“The Iron Giant” (1999)

#1: Copper & Tod
“The Fox and the Hound” (1981)

What do you do when you realize that you’re best friends with your natural enemy? That is the central dilemma of this buddy drama, which tells the story of the friendship between Tod, a fox, and Copper, a hunting dog. Although they were best friends when they were young, Copper and Tod soon realize that society expects them to be enemies. Their friendship is tested at several points in the film, and though it wavers at times, the fox and the hound still maintain an unconditional love for one another that proves friendship is more important than expectations.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite unlikely friendship in the movies? For more friendly Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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