The Hero Index

Ranking the most popular movie heroes of all time

We all have our favourite movies. Whether it’s a chick flick, gritty crime drama or something to have on in the background while treating yourself to a little game of online bingo, the characters involved are what make certain movies stand head and shoulders above the rest. While the villain of the story is often the most memorable for their heinous acts and antagonistic ways, the heroes’ less-shocking behaviour means they can be more easily forgotten than their “evil” counterparts.

What makes a hero truly stand apart from other characters is their ability to face adversity and overcome it, to push the limits of what they, or we as an audience, believed they were capable of. This is what makes us want heroes to succeed, and is why we root for them over the bad guy (in most scenarios).

Many heroes have a huge fan-base, and inspire all sorts of spin-offs and merchandise. These can include anything from animated series and online games, to clothing, alcohol, or the classic themed mug.

With such cultural weight behind them, we wanted to find out which movie heroes are the most popular of all time. Having looked at hundreds of movies going back to the early days of black and white, we’ve created the movie hero index, your guide to the biggest on-screen heroes.

The top ten most popular movie heroes


Harry Potter

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Taking the top spot as the most popular movie hero of all time is Harry Potter. Created by author J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series spans 8 novels and movies, in addition to multiple spin-offs including the popular movie Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which released in 2016.



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Our second most popular movie hero is Batman. Having also lost his parents at a young age, Bruce Wayne adopts the identity of Batman and uses his superhero status to fight crime and protect the city of Gotham from darker forces.


Peter Parker

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Peter Parker is another classic hero, donning the guise of Spider-Man after receiving spider-like powers from a radioactive spider bite. Parker’s time is spent fighting crime and protecting his last surviving relative, Aunt May, as well as love interest Mary Jane.


Sherlock Holmes

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Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective Sherlock Holmes is universally recognisable and widely thought of as the ultimate sleuth. Using his immense intellect and eye for detail, Holmes foils all manner of plots and murders.



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The most recognisable superhero of the lot, it should go without saying that Superman would have a spot in the top ten. The Kryptonian orphan raised in small-town America protects the world from the evil deeds of villains like Lex Luthor, and routinely rescues his human love interest Lois Lane from the clutches of evil.


Wonder Woman

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Wonder Woman gains her powers from her ancestry as part of the mythical all-female Amazonian tribe. She also uses her powers to fight evil and joins the Justice League alongside Batman and Superman to confront immense threats that the galaxy throws in earth’s direction.


Robin Hood

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The definitive hero of the people, the tale of Robin Hood goes back hundreds of years, and has been adapted into a plethora of novels and films. On his return from the crusades, Robin Hood finds the country overrun with tyrannical nobles under the rule of “Bad King John”.



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The irreverent and witty Deadpool brings a touch of humour to the otherwise overly serious world of superheroes. His immortal body is both a blessing and a curse, allowing him to defeat countless bad buys but robbing him of place in mortal human society.


Hermione Granger

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Hermione Granger is the genius friend and class-mate of Harry Potter. Her struggles to fit into wizarding society led her to strive for excellence in her studies, leading to her becoming an excellent witch in her own right. Through the books and films, Hermione is an invaluable part of the team that confronts the Dark Lord Voldemort, preventing his return to power.


Black Widow

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Part of the Marvel universe, Black Widow, A.K.A. Natasha Romanova, is a Russian spy turned American operative who joins the espionage and law-enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Without any super powers to speak of, Black Widow relies on her training to dispatch enemies and undo villainous plots.

The most popular movie heroes

We’ve created a list of the top 50 most popular movie heroes, so whether you’re a fan of Ron Weasley or Indiana Jones, you’re bound to see a few recognisable names. If you need inspiration for your next movie night, then look no further.

So, featuring characters from all genres, from fantasy epics to chilling thrillers to straight-up action fests, here’s our top fifty leaderboard.



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We wanted to find out which movie heroes are the most popular. To do so, we first compiled a list of popular movie heroes, using a range of online articles and sources for inspiration. We then wanted to compare the heroes against a number of factors to create an overall score which would allow us to rank them in terms of popularity.

Firstly, we wanted to find out how much each hero had been searched for over the last year. To do this, we adapted each hero’s name into a search-friendly term and used Google Keyword Planner to find each hero’s search volume over the previous 12 months. Next, we looked at each hero’s most popular film on Rotten Tomatoes. We took down both the critics’ score and the audience score, using the average between the two figures as a reliable rating for the movie.

Lastly, we found each hero’s dedicated Wikipedia page and noted down the number of visits each page had received over the previous 30 days. This would give us an indication of the level of interest each hero currently has.

We combined all three of these factors into one score, weighting each factor equally. This allowed us to then rank the heroes by this new score and unveil the most popular movie heroes.