Top Five… Movie Brothers

With the release of sibling mixed martial arts fightfest Warrior this week, Ross McD and Ross McG from, who aren’t related, decide to take a look at the best sets of brothers in cinema.

5. Get Carter

Even running away from home, Michael Caine looked tough

Not exactly a tale of brotherly love, more a tale of ‘My name is Jack Carter. You killed my brother. Prepare to die.’ Michael Caine is electrifying in Mike Hodges’ 1971 British revenge classic set in the north east. But as Jack is going around Newcastle killing lots of people, you almost forget it’s all because of loyalty to his dead bro Frank, who we only meet in his coffin near the beginning of the film. There are no lame flashbacks to the two siblings playing with toy trains or racing to the fridge to get the last Kit Kat in the packet, but the bond is implied by the determination with which Carter goes about his goal of avenging his brother’s death. The fact that Jack uses Frank’s shotgun (even though he never fires it) to do so just reinforces things.

4. The Goonies

See that up there? Thats the height none of our careers will ever reach

The great part of the sibling rivalries in The Goonies is that there is something for everyone. Every older brother had an annoying little one like Mikey Walsh (Sean Astin), who would steal your stuff, wreck your head and tie you to a chair with your gym equipment. On the other hand, every younger brother had a stupid older one like Brand Walsh (Josh Brolin), always putting you down, going off kissing girls and spoiling your adventure. In the end, of course, the Walsh boys each decide that the other is alright – it’s amazing how a greedy quest for treasure can bring family together. Although that is more than can be said for the film’s other set of brothers, the Fratellis. My favourite is the opera-singing one who stormed Nakatomi Tower.

3. Napoleon Dynamite

'Swayze said something about the rythym of you heart or something'

When you’re younger, sometimes you have no choice but to hang out with your brother. When you live in a one-horse town, you’re really screwed. The relationship within Napoleon Dynamite which hogs most of the focus is the title character’s with his new buddie Pedro, but the real gold is to be mined in his various dealings with his brother Kip. It’s clear Nap and Kip don’t really like each other, yet they come to some sort of understanding in which they can co-exist. And when your goofy brother has dreams of becoming a cage fighter or travelling back in time, sometimes you have to just put your differences aside and support him. Don’t ask him to bring you your chapstick though.

2. The Game

The game is... see who can stick their lower jaw out he furthest; Okay go!

An often overlooked, bizarre gem of a movie, David Fincher’s WTF-is-going-on-er has one of the most believable set of brothers in Hollywood history. On paper asking Michael Douglas to play Sean Penn’s big brother sounds a bif iffy, but on screen it works perfectly. It helps that both men have made brilliant careers out of playing total jerks. As a result, pairing them as siblings becomes a no-brainer. So often you watch films (we will give Twins a free pass on this one) where it’s just not likely that two characters could be related because of the terrible decisions made when choosing actors. But Douglas and Penn (as Nicholas and Conrad Van Orton) elevate The Game to a level it would not have reached with some crappy stunt casting. And to think initially they tried to get Jodie Foster for Penn’s role! One gives the other a pretty crappy gift too, which, as every brother knows, is as realistic as it gets.

1. Rain Man

...but I dont WANNA join Scientology!

Does it matter that Dustin Hoffman is almost a quarter of a century older than Tom Cruise? Not a bit. This movie did for brothers what Star Wars did for special effects. And Charlie (Cruise) and Raymond (Hoffman) Babbitt are two of the greatest. Brilliant and brilliantly flawed characters played by two actors on top of their games, it’s a study in a brotherly relationship. Resentment and misunderstanding eventually giving way to realisation and love. That may sound a bit sappy, but this wasn’t Princess Diana’s favourite film for nothing. It’s interesting how different the brotherly bond in Rain Man could have been. Hoffman had originally been slated to play Charlie but changed his mind, then he wanted Bill Murray to play what would eventually be Cruise’s role. Even more bizarrely, Dennis and Randy Quaid had been considered as the two brothers during the writing of the script. They definitely, definitely got the right casting in the end.


145 Responses to “Top Five… Movie Brothers”

  1. Haha … GOONIES! Any post that mentions Goonies rocks — such a formative movie from my childhood!


  2. Will have to add Rain Main onto the queue. It’s been a while…

  3. Stepbrothers. 🙂 Just my 2 cents.

  4. Napolean and Kip Dynamite – comedic gold.

    Fantastic post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  5. thebigbookofdating Says:

    I felt so guilty reading this, I haven’t seen ANY of them ! Must check them out now (:

  6. Awesome top 5, thoroughly enjoyed

  7. Fun post, I think the Walsh brothers (Goonies) are some of the most realistic I’ve seen. Also, bravo on the screen shots, the pictures and captions cracked me up, especially Dustin Hoffman. Classic photo!

  8. Great list! Once the Arrested Development movie gets made you can update it! *crossesfingers

  9. I really liked Rain Man. It never occurred to me to view it as a depiction of a fraternal relationship.

  10. wadingacross Says:

    Napoleon Dynamite was awesome… truly funny. The relationship between Kip and Napoleon is one for cinema history.

  11. My vote… THE GOONIES of course.. Cool blog and congrats on F.P.! How awesome!

  12. I am going to have to watch Get Carter. Thanks 🙂

  13. Great post about movie brothers! Thank you! (I wish my brother was cool like Rain Man)

  14. #3 wins!

  15. Interesting ! I’d love to watch these movies ^^*

  16. Rain Man 🙂 Realy No.1 😉

  17. myglitterywings Says:

    The most stunningly successful example of actors brought together to play brothers that I’ve seen is in the Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited. I adore that movie specifically because the family dynamic seems so real to me. It reminds me of me and my siblings with so many perfect little details.

  18. Wahey! Congrats on Freshly Pressed

  19. Oh yes, how’s about Elliot and Beverly Mantle, the twin gynaecologists in Dead Ringers played by Jeremy Irons and… Jeremy Irons. Chilling stuff

  20. ‘Hello there little lady!’
    Couldn’t agree more Whoa!
    I will admonish the other Ross when he gets back

  21. Umm Boondock Saints? FTW. Seriously.


    Where are Dale and Brennan?

  23. oh this is a good list. here are some more – the two brothers in Stuck on You; The Blues Brothers; Into the West (Irish film). There are many many more.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  24. Johnny Depp’s Gibert and Leo’s Arnie in “What’s eating Gibert Grape” and Connor and Murphy MacManus from “The Boondock Saints” have to make my list

  25. All of these are great movies. I agree with The Game. It is often overlooked, but is a great movie. Sean Penn and Michael Douglas play their parts so well.

    Great post and Congrats on Freshly Pressed

  26. My 2 cents: “A River Runs Through It”

  27. Ha, the Dynamites! Cruise and Hoffman portrayed the brother relationship really well, too.

  28. It’s always interesting to me how directors pick actors to be family members, especially siblings, who you expect to have some family resemblance. Great post, I enjoyed! And I love your comment under the Goonies picture…too funny.

  29. jason, owen & adrien in wes anderson’s darjeeling limited!

  30. lordianoitall Says:

    What about the two sets of brothers in the Lost Boys – especially Edgar and Allen Frog? Or maybe the La Mottas in Raging Bull?

  31. Fun post. I’m one of five brothers, myself.

    My favorite movie brothers would be the Three Stooges. I know only the Howards were brothers, but Larry was close enough.

  32. Great List! I’m thinking about a shout-out to The Blues Brothers as well and since someone mentioned twins… perhaps Devito & Schwarzenegger in their comedy classic? 🙂

  33. Oh yeah tayto in into the west! Great shout

  34. No Undercover Brother? Good!

  35. The Frog Brothers in Lost Boys were the best brothers ever. Pity one of them is dead now.

  36. Hilarious! Great post.

  37. Love your number one. That’s such a great movie. What about Stand By Me or Sabrina? Oh, and Ordinary People– though the brother’s more of a presence since he’s, you know, dead, but the rivalry is there. Finally, Godfather Part II?

  38. I enjoyed this post a lot. If I could add to it, hmm, I think “Step Brothers” with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly would definitely be on this list. Still, great stuff though.

  39. the goonies, haven’t seen that movie in ages

  40. two words: Strange Brew. Bob and Doug Mackenzie. It’s a jelly, eh?

  41. Haha I LOVE Kip and Napolean. Especially the scene where Kip is like: “Try and hit me Napolean. I said come down here and see what happens if you try to hit me.”

    They are such dorks! I LOVE it!

    Great blog post! =) ❤

  42. Very cool post! Short, sweet, and humorous. This is the perfect blog entry for Freshly Pressed. I like the use of joke captions for the pictures. I do the same for my posts as I am a fan of and their use of caption gags.

    You’ve inspired me to put a blog together I’ve been thinking of for a while. Be on the look out for X Amount of Awesome Movie Inspirational Speakers.

  43. I think the brothers off the movie The Fighter are pretty good too! And I loved the Napoleon Dynamite brothers as well!
    Great Post!

  44. Aw thanx madhauz! Will defo keep an eye out

  45. Great post! I like “The Game” most. Congrats on being FP 🙂

  46. What a great post. I’ve got to check out The Game now. You are so right about Kip and Napoleon D, they are two of my favorite brothers ever. What’s next, movies with Crazy Uncles? Uncle Rico would be a good start.

  47. Will have to add Rain Main onto the queue. It’s been a while…

  48. I really liked Rain Man. It never occurred to me to view it as a depiction of a fraternal relationship.

  49. Oh yes, how’s about Elliot and Beverly Mantle, the twin gynaecologists in Dead Ringers played by Jeremy Irons and… Jeremy Irons. Chilling stuff

  50. Great blog. Really enjoyed your pics & relationship reviews! Well done!!

  51. Great one! I like Napoleon Dynamite. 🙂

  52. While they’re not even biological brothers in the film, the guys in “Four Brothers” really sold the relationship from the way they bicker, annoy, and ultimately support one another.

  53. Napoleon Dynamite is my favorite……….”dont vote for pedro”

  54. lol i love Napoleon Dynamite !! :]

  55. HAHAHA “I don’t wanna join Scientology” what an awesome caption!!

  56. napolen? haven’t heard of. guess i’ll have to try and find it and give it a whirl.. cheers

  57. Good list. Really wish A Night at the Roxbury made the cut. That movie taught us all so much.

  58. Blues Brothers?

  59. Tweedledum and Tweedledee…

  60. @natasiarose Good call! I love when they say, “Hello, Brother.”

    Also, how about Ryan Reynolds and Chris Marquette in Just Friends?

  61. Getting Carter,eh?Well i’m going to do that right now.Thanks!!

  62. Screwtop Reviews Says:

    Jake and Elwood Blues deserve a spot on this list.

  63. Great list 🙂 But what about Step Brothers or Twins?

  64. The Dynamites! haha

  65. Good one there with Rain Man – the forced brotherhood that Cruise is oh so reluctant to take responsibility for. Thought it was kind of cute (even though slightly weird) that his girlfriend kisses Hoffman in the lift. Interesting what you say about the cast-swapping for Rain Man – I hear that Hoffman is quite high maintenance, and loads of people refused to work with him for a while!

  66. haha cool 😀 wanna have a brother like one of them ^^

  67. I actually thing the film ‘brothers’ with spiderman coming back from a tour in iraq should be here, emotional film

  68. Benny Brewer Says:

    Like it like it!

  69. I am a HUGE film fan. This was a fantastic post and really sums up the things I love about movies. Fantastic job!

  70. OMG. Kip is such a loser, God I love Napoleon Dynamite. And the idea of him becoming a cage fighter? Bahahahahah. Yeah, he and his girlfriend were a power couple. Love them, LOVE! 😀

  71. I think it’s wonderfully ironic that the movie “Brothers” didn’t make it onto this list.

  72. this is a great list… but no STEP BROTHERS?!?!? They were hilarious!

  73. My vote for real life brothers is Jack and Robert Kennedy!

  74. Great list (and well done for being on the freshly pressed wordpress page!)

    I kept nodding whilst reading this list but my reaction for Rain Man in the number one spot was awww then great choice!

  75. Don’t forget to feed Tina!

  76. I saw a Follow icon at the down right corner of your blog.

  77. @lordianoitall GREAT CALL! DeNiro & Pesci as the LaMotta brothers in Raging Bull!

  78. Great list. I also liked Jeremy Irons in “Dead Ringers.” He plays twin brothers (both gynecologists) who have an affair with the same woman. Very dark and stylized …

  79. This list is great. The Dynamite brothers are definitely one of the most unique in movie history.

  80. Goonies.. Hands down. Childhood movies bring such a warm gooey feeling especially ones that touch on teenage angst like kissing, braces, and booby traps.

  81. Napoleon Dynamite is definitely one of the best!!!

  82. Everyday is a motion capture in this age.

  83. Saving Private Ryan!!!!! Godfather, Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It….all good ones.

  84. @dorkydame Yes! Michael and Fredo!

  85. moneymakingjus Says:

    Napoleon Dynamite was a classic film.

  86. Napoleon and Kip rock my world. Though not technically brothers, Brenan and Dale in Step Brothers are also a top pair for me.

  87. A River Runs Through It would definitely be on my list, as well.

  88. I second the nomination for The Blues Brothers.

  89. Great List! Goonies are my favorite of all time.

  90. YUSSS!… I love Napoleon Dynamite quotes. I really didn’t like this movie when I first watched it but it grew on me with it’s random quotes like “Make a dang quesadilla”….. awesome. I also fully agree with @diminutiveglamazon Brenan and Dale are awesome brother duo

  91. great list. now i challenge you to identify the top 5 for sisters. ready, set, go…

  92. Wow…trip down memory lane…haha.good ones 🙂

  93. Nice post. Terrific mention of Napolean Dynamite. Perhaps a full post on the film? As it is truely a brilliant film. Let us know. Thanks, and well done once again, JB4PM.

  94. Oooh good challenge….. Standby:

  95. Napoleon Dynamite should have occupied positions 1 through 5, and give the other 4 contestants participation ribbons.

  96. ثقافة الهزيمة .. مغامرات البقرة الضاحكة

    ما قصة لوسي أرتين؟
    ـ لوسي أرتين كانت علي علاقة بالرئيس مبارك والعلاقة بدأت عن طريق زكريا عزمي وجمال عبدالعزيز، و كان فيه رجل أعمال مشهور بيحب يعرف مبارك علي فتيات من دول شرق أوروبا وحسين سالم كان متولي دول غرب أوروبا.

    هل قصر الرئاسة كان يدار بهذه الطريقة؟
    – القصر كان يدار بالسفالة والأسافين والنقار والقمار والنسوان وقلة الأدب ودا كل اللي كان شغلهم ومصلحة البلد بعدين .

    هي سوزان كانت بتحس بالغلط اللي كان بيعمله الرئيس؟
    – هي كانت مقهورة من اللي بتشوفه والنسوان داخلة طالعة قدامها واللي جايين من أوروبا الشرقية وأوروبا الغربية ومش قادرة تتكلم وبتبكي علي طول بسبب اللي بتشوفه وأحيانا كنت بأصبرها وأقولها مصر مافيهاش غير سيدة أولي واحدة، بس بعدها قرر الرئيس أن ينقل جلساته الخاصة في شرم الشيخ وبرج العرب.

    ھل تزوج علیھا؟
    -لا ھو مش محتاج یتجوز .. البركة في زكریا عزمي وجمال عبدالعزیز. …باقى المقال ضمن مجموعة مقالات ثقافة الهزيمة ( بقلم غريب المنسى ) بالرابط التالى

  97. Can’t forget about the Blues Brothers!

  98. list is great! liked it!

  99. Awesome idea for a post, and congrats on being freshly pressed!
    The only one I would have to add is the Whitman brothers from The Darjeeling Limited!

  100. […] Ross vs Ross looks at the best sibling-centered movies.  Anyone for “The Goonies?“ […]

  101. i loved napolean dynomite. it was so funny. noe ugly talking no vulgar issues. it is great!!

  102. Great post. I agree … Cruise and Hoffman – Good stuff right there. Also enjoyed Depp and DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape!

  103. Rain Main is one of my all time favourite movies 🙂

  104. funniest would be ‘napoleon dynamite’ but the saddest brother movie would be ‘hereafter’

  105. Primo & Secondo in Big Night. The last scene always gives me goosebumps

  106. I was just watching Napoleon Dynamite and the Goonies the other day….Weird.

  107. Rain Man is still one of my favourite movies: the acting was exceleent, as well as the story line. You have reminded me that I should pull it out and watch it again.

  108. Hi, folk! How are you? Your blog is awesome! I’m here because I have a blog about classic movies and I would like you to pass by and see if you enjoy. The address is I’m waiting for you! Lê ^_^

  109. love the article have quick check of mine just started and any advice would be great

  110. Hello?????
    Legends Of The Fall?
    Great post.

  111. Cool list.
    Now it is time for the list of stepbrothers 😉

  112. Well don for making freshly pressed.

    Would have liked to have seen the Frog brothers on the list.

  113. very nice blog! ha want to check out mine?
    it’s just a bunch of funny pictures/videos, which may make your day a lot better! haha, check it out at

  114. Sarah Parin Says:

    I want to watch Rain Man and The Game for sure!

  115. How did Lost Boys not make this list? Maybe it just needs to be longer.

  116. […] 4. Movie Brothers + sibling mixed martial arts movies, Warriors […]

  117. Solid list. I like the selection of the brothers from Rain Man as the chart topper. If the list were to ever expand to a Top 10, I would like to make a case for the sibling pairs in The Fighter (Wahlberg & Bale) and The Boondock Saints (Flanery & Reedus).

  118. Goonies is the BOMB! I have not watched it in ages! Guess what I am doing tonight? Digging out my Goonies t-shirt, popping some corn and watching myself some delicious 80’s gold!!! Ahh childhood where for art thou?
    Yes I actually have a Goonies tshirt and No I am not afraid to admit it… or wear it!

  119. @Jen, I was totally just gonna mention Lost Boys! But Goonies is pretty flippin’ rad! Any movie opinions that are based heavily in 1980’s films are alright by me. 1980’s represent! Congrats on the freshness of your pressing.

  120. nice list, though I agree with Get Carter, the game and Rainman only.

  121. Rain man!!!!! 😀

  122. Good & amazing liste of movie !!! 🙂

  123. Ive been wanting to comment on your blog forever but ive been staring at my screen, my wordpress blog thinking of something to write as cool as yours. Nice thoughts on Napoleon Dynamite. My fave on your list

  124. If I was Michael Douglas and Sean Penn did to me what he did in “The Game” I would have changed my last name.

  125. Glad you included Rainman, they look nothing alike yet I believed it.
    The Game sounds good, i’ll have to watch it. Ta.

  126. Very cool on getting Pressed. I like the list, especially that you included The Game at #2. That’s a pretty good flick that a lot of people missed.

  127. “…but I don’t WANNA join Scientology!” hahahaha the captions are brilliant! And the post itself was fantastic as well! 🙂

  128. jmorehouse12 Says:

    The Goonies is a classic I still watch everytime it is on TV. Also I am excited to see Warrior! Any reviews from people who have seen it?

  129. I agree with others here about the Blues Brothers making the list but I loved Rainman also. Terrific post.

  130. LOL! I love the caption for Rain Man. Hilarious.

  131. I’ve only seen 2 of these movies…that’s embarrassing, but I do love Rain Man! I’ve just started doing Top 5 lists, and it’s fun to try to think of random topics. Guess I better not do brothers though. Maybe second cousins twice removed…

  132. I think Napoleon and his brother should’ve gotten number 1, LOL.

  133. Super good article! Awesome. But I hate the Dynamite brothers. I hate that movie… I think there are some other brothers that could have beat them. How about Ryan Reynolds and that kid from Just Friends? They were the only good part of that movie.

  134. There are a lot of great options to choose from. I thought of two others: Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie that is actually called ‘Brothers,’ and Kevin and Buzz in the first two ‘Home Alone’ movies.

    Good list though. And you’re right, ‘The Game’ is often overlooked, but I expected bigger things from Fincher. It’s a decent movie.

  135. realanonymousgirl2011 Says:

    Oooh good choices!

  136. chandlerswainreviews Says:

    If I might add a few titles essential to such a list: Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger in “On the Waterfront”, “The Long Riders” all about outlaw brothers all portrayed by real-life brothers, “East of Eden”, “True Confessions” and the aforementioned “Big Night”.

  137. Thanks for the post! I’m also a huge fan of Bob and Doug MacKenzie… “You Hoser!”

  138. Warrior was a very good film. I haven’t seen the others though. Have a read at my review of Warrior,

    What do you think?

  139. […] treat to see his rich businessman put through the mill by his little brother Sean Penn. They make perfect feuding siblings and this is a perfect little mind-bending […]

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