Cinema began with a pair of brothers. Auguste and Louis Lumiere ushered in the art form with their epochal screening in December of 1895. That filmmaking tradition continues to this day with sibling director pairings like the Coens, the Farrellys, the Hughes and the Wachowskis. It’s the other side of the lens, though, that we’re taking a look at today, in honor of Universal’s upcoming comedy, Your Highness, hitting theaters on April 8th. Arriving from David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), the R-rated fantasy epic stars James Franco and Danny McBride as brothers Fabious and Thadeous, two princes who team with a female warrior (Natalie Portman) and embark on a quest to save Fabious’ bride-to-be (Zooey Deschanel) from the clutches of an evil wizard (Justin Theroux). To celebrate the unique pairing of Franco and McBride, CraveOnline is taking a look at five of the best fictional brothers from the history of film.
Charlie and Raymond Babbit in Rain Man
Perhaps the definitive movie take on brothers who don’t quite get along, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman play the mismatched pair of Charlie and Raymond, who are forced to travel across country together to receive their father’s inheritance. Cruise’s Charlie is a spoiled rich kid who never even knew he had an autistic brother in Hoffman’s Raymond, but who also can’t claim any of the money without Raymond’s help. The film’s road trip storyline is a funny, accurate tale of familial bonding.
Mark and Lee Gor in A Better Tomorrow
Chow Yun-Fat stars as twins in the epitomic Hong Kong action series, directed by John Woo. Not only does he play both parts in the first film, he returns for the sequel with a focus on the opposite brother. It’s a trick that has been done in other films like Adaptation and Dead Ringers, but only Chow Yun-Fat’s performance was good enough to base an entire franchise on.
Jake and Elwood Blues in The Blues Brothers
It’s 106 miles to Chicago, they’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and they’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it. John Belushi and Dan Akroyd are Jake and Elwood Blues, and they’re on a mission from God in John Landis’ classic comedy that represents the ultimate brother/brother comedy team in a dual performance that could never be imitated — not even by Akroyd, who reprised his role for the decidedly less-than-stellar Blues Brothers 2000.
Denny and Gordie Lachance in Stand By Me
John Cusack just cameos in Rob Reiner’s 1986 masterpiece, playing the recently-deceased brother to Wil Wheaton’s Gordie Lachance in flashbacks, but the weight of the character has a stranglehold on the entire film. Throughout the story, the loss of Denny is felt and, thanks to our familiartiy with Cusack, it’s a rare performance enchanced by the negative space. When Keifer Sutherland’s bully character steals the hat that Gordie’s older brother gave him, it’s actually painful to watch. Add to the film the fact that, years later, the world lost River Phoenix (part of another famous pair of Hollywood siblings) and you’ve got one of the most tragically accurate deciptions of brotherly love ever committed to celluloid.
Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx in Duck Soup
True, they aren’t actually playing relatives on-screen, but there’s not a more famous band of cinematic brothers than Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo and, despite appearing in a dozen fine features, Duck Soup is their crowning achievement (and the final film to feature all four). Groucho stars as Rufus T. Firefly, appointed leader of Freedonia, a nation under attack from the neighboring Sylvania. Zeppo appears as Firefly’s assisant and Chico and Pinky appear as Sylvanian spies, Chicolini and Pinky in the film that landed the number 60 spot on the AFI’s 100 greatest American films of all time and the number five spot for the greatest American comedies.