Goodies in Films

Goodies Character Costumes from Films

Because there are so many books which have been turned into films, many film goody characters may have counterparts in our literary goodies list, but with movie merchandise deals, in many cases there are official costumes available for film character versions. The downside is that, in a franchise situation, with multiple episodes, prequels and sequels, the costumed look of the character may change to keep the merchandise money coming – it’s a bit like football shirts!  The other problem is that only a select group of characters from any given film are made available – not good if you are trying to be original. We have tried to provide a mix of suggestions in our list.

Batman – The comic book hero who has had many movie incarnations. The 1943 version is lost in time, but the  Batman: The Movie (1966) built on the success of the cult TV series and since then there have been many new reincarnations and reboots, the most recent being the Dark Knight series. A future film (due 2016) features Batman and Superman (plus Wonder Woman and Aquaman). Batman’s sidekick Robin has also undergone a few image/costume changes.

Batgirl – Aside from her appearance in Batman & Robin (1997) (the one with George Clooney as Batman), Batgirl’s screen action has mainly been on the small screen.  Nonetheless, with female superheroes in short supply, she is a potential movie hero choice.

Superman – Another comic book character much in demand thanks to his several movie appearances over the years.

Supergirl has had her own movie, but although it was not a great success, Supergirl  can be a popular choice.

Catwoman – There is a debate as to whether Catwoman is good or bad, but she is a popular character. There is even a film featuring a Catwoman (Halle Berry) who has nothing to do with the Batman franchise.

The Avengers – Not Steed and Emma Peel (although there was an Avengers film featuring these two (Ralph Fiennes, and Uma Thurman involved) which was not a great success), but the gathering of Marvel superheroes such as Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow to see off threats to the Earth.

Thor – Originally the God of Thunder in Nordic folklore, and whilst he still retains these roots, many are now more familiar with him as another of Marvel Comic’s group of Avengers heroes. A female warrior from Asgard, Lady Sif, has assisted Thor in his missions. There is also word that in a future development, the position of Thor may be taken by a female anyway.

X- Men – Aside from the Avengers, Marvel’s X-Men have also generated a number of films and potential character choices, notably Wolverine and Storm.

Other comic book/video  heroes who have had movie adaptations include Green Lantern, Spiderman, Mutant Ninja Turtles and Super Mario.

Mr Incredible and Elasti-girl – In a time of comic-book heroes, Mr Incredible and Elasti-girl were originals, at the top of the crime-fighting game, but they then married and raised a family. Unfortunately the rise of a new threat to the world forced the whole family out of retirement and into combating this menace.

He-Man – Alter-ego of Adam, the Prince of Greyskull in the popular 1980s TV cartoon series (and later spin-off film). His female counterpart is She-ra.

Woody the Cowboy  & Buzz Lightyear –  The original Toy Story film created a new standard in animated films and the two follow-ups maintained the same quality of characterisation and humour.

Indiana Jones – Originally created to bring back the ‘Saturday Matinee cliff-hanger hero’, Indiana Jones, the action archaeologist, has now starred in four films. The fedora and whip are key costume elements. His female counterpart is Lara Croft, originally a video game character, but brought to life on the big screen by Angelina Jolie.

Rocky Balboa – Sylvester Stallone created this underdog boxer character who has retained his star quality through several sequel movies.

James Bond – Although a book character, Bond is arguably more familiar from his movie incarnations. As the franchise developed, the plots and characters of the films diversified from the books of the same name. Despite this, within the films, Bond has many incarnations, so aside from the inevitable suit/tuxedo, you can have Commander Bond (Spy Who Loved Me), Scottish Bond (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and Para-HALO jump Bond (Tomorrow Never Dies).

Austin Powers – As a counterpoint to Bond, we have Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. The first film (of three), though made in the 2000s was (initially) set in the 1960s spoofing not only the Bond movies but also cult 1960s film Blow Up (Austin’s ‘day job’ is an internationally famous photographer). His ‘accomplice’ for the first film is Vanessa Kensington, whose outfits range from 1960s Dolly Bird fashion, through Avengers leather catsuit to silver space-dress. He is joined by Foxy Cleopatra (Beyonce) in the second film, and the third features a spin-off Austin movies with Tom Cruise (as Powers) and Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Austinpussy’).

Luke Skywalker – Possibly the best known of the Jedi Knights of the original Star Wars series. There are many official outfits available for this character and others such as Princess Leia and Han Solo, and more may be expected with the new Disney Star Wars films.

Neo  – The Matrix was a ground-breaking film, introducing the concept of a computer generated reality. The Neo look, featuring a long coat and wraparound shades, is not complex, and for Trinity, his co-freedom fighter, a PVC catsuit and shades can create a great impression.

Maximus Decimus Meridus – Ridley Scott’s Gladiator created this hero of ancient Rome.

Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid – Possibly the best known cowboy pair beyond the more specialist Brokeback mountain duo.

Spartacus – The slave who led a major revolt in Roman Times.

The Lord of the Rings films (plus The Hobbit series) throws up a whole range of Goodies, from Frodo and Bilbo Baggins to Legolas and Gimli to Arwen, Galadriel and Gandalf. Costumes for many of these are available (although the ones for the Hobbits may be on the small side).

John McClane (Die Hard films) – Not so much a question of dressing up as dressing down for this oft-battered action hero.

Rick Dekard (Blade Runner) – Forties Film Noir meets Sci-fi as this cop hunts replicant robots in a future Los Angeles.

Terminator – Of course the Terminator tends to change sides according to his mission – in the first film he’s trying to eliminate Sarah Connor, mother of the future rebel leader, the next he’s a T800 upgraded model defending the Connor family against other robo-baddies.

Clarice Starling – FBI agent involved in a battle of wits with everyone’s favourite cannibal baddie, Dr Hannibal Lector. The problem is portraying Clarice without her evil counterpart.

The Man With No Name (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly) – This role established Clint Eastwood’s star quality.

Ellen Ripley  (Alien Films) – Undoubtedly a ground-breaking goodie, but perhaps not easy to portray in a costume context. A spacesuit is possible, if a little cumbersome.

Spongebob Squarepants Major undersea cartoon hero – the costume is usually in a tabard-style outfit.

Lawrence of Arabia – The David Lean film about TE Lawrence, the Englishman who lead a revolt in the Middle East is a classic and proved the breakout role for Peter o’Toole.

Kick Ass & Hit Girl – When a teenager decides to turn crime-fighting vigilante, he is aided and abetted by Hit Girl, a like-minded feisty female whose supportive father seems to model himself on the Adam West/Batman method.

Baby Doll - The film Sucker Punch sees Baby Doll, wrongly committed to an institution, and her companions Amber, Blondie,  Rocket, Sweet Pea attempt to escape from their imprisonment through a series of fantasy adventures.

Flash Gordon – He started as a Saturday matinee cinema hero, but most now connect him with the 1980 Dino de Laurentiis movie featuring Flash as an American Football star, who saves the Earth. His female partner is Dale Arden, but a subsequent TV series has generated some alternative costuming.

Zorro – At one point this masked swordsman of Old Spanish California was one of the most filmed characters in the movies.

Captain James T Kirk – Although Star Trek has its origins in television, there have been many Star Trek movies covering the two major versions of the franchise (plus new reboot films). Kirk may seem the obvious choice but Spock could work equally well.

The Tramp – Charlie Chaplin presents an iconic image of early silent cinema.

Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell  (Top Gun) – Tom Cruise has starred as a goody in many a film (see also Austin Powers), but this is one of the few you can portray through costume.

Rambo – Sylvester Stallone’s other major screen hero – a Vietnam veteran who’s fighting for right.

Robocop – The law-enforcement cyborg has generated several sequels and reboots.

Shrek & Princess/Queen Fiona – Admittedly originally book characters, but the ogre and his missus are probably better known from their film appearances.

Wyatt Earp & Doc Holliday – Heroes of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Wild West folklore.

Gandhi – Inspirational leader in the Indian subcontinent in the latter days of the British Raj.

Abraham Lincoln – From the foundations of American History, a true historical icon (even if played by a Brit).

The Blues Brothers – On a mission from God to save an orphanage, Jake and Elwood Blues wreak havoc and create some cool music.

The Ghostbusters – Along with the Three Musketeers (and possibly the Three Amigos), one of the few Goodie trios available. In an interesting turnaround, whilst female Ghostbuster outfits have been available for a few years, it is rumoured that a forthcoming Ghostbuster remake may feature a female cast.

Wiliam Wallace (Braveheart) – Okay, the film was not historically accurate and featured a few jarring errors, but a Scottish Warrior with a sword and war paint could prove popular.

Rooster Cogburn (True Grit) – Such a hero, they did a remake which stood reasonable comparison to the original.

Rick Blaine – From film classic Casablanca, a cool look and a white tuxedo can create the right impression.

Inigo Montoya (Princess Bride) – Off the beaten hero track, there is this loveable thief-cum-kidnapper from a film which has become something of a cult favourite. Inconceivable!

Aladdin – Okay, technically a book character, but as with so many books adapted by Disney, Aladdin takes on a life of his own beyond the basic story (helped, of course by the big blue genie – an interesting costume challenge).

Barbarella – Well before Princess Leia and her metallic bikini, a different Space heroine enthralled the Universe with her futuristic clothing (or, sometimes, lack of it).

Princess Leia (Star Wars) – Leia was distinctive in being feisty, but also virtually the only female in the early Star Wars films. She upped her profile in the second film with some skimpy slave-wear, courtesy of Jabba the Hutt.

Queen/Padme Amidala (Star Wars prequels) – The follow-up prequel films did not do much better, even if she did spend the first film of the series seeming to be in two places at once!

The Bride/Beatrix Kitto (Kill Bill) – Out for revenge following an incident at her wedding, The Bride takes the action heroine genre to a whole new level.

Historical Goodies

Historical Goodies?  Tricky, because in some cases (notably military history) one person’s goody hero is another’s baddy enemy. Take Napoleon Bonaparte. Undoubtedly a baddy on the field of Waterloo, where his army was beaten by British forces under the Duke of Wellington but in other fields, such as metrication and administration, he did much to shape aspects of the modern world. In other areas of historical heroes, the representation of a particular personage might reply on props relating to his/her major achievement as much as the look and costume. Nonetheless, let’s risk a few suggestions for historical Goodies…

Jesus – Undoubtedly has the right credentials, but perhaps controversial for some. Seems to us if street sellers can offer Instant Jesus kits in St Peter’s Square, Rome, he is a potential contender.

Buddha – Bringing some religious balance, the main costume representation of this most influential entity is a gold statue.

Joan of Arc – Feisty French freedom fighter against the English.

Moses – One of the few biblical choices, but you should be okay if you take the tablets.

Winston Churchill – Renowned wartime leader and British Prime Minister.

King Henry V – English king who took the fight to the French at Agincourt and, thanks to Shakespeare, is better known than he might otherwise be.

Sir Francis Drake – Major sailor, explorer and privateer of Elizabethan/Tudor times.

Sir Walter Raleigh – The ‘other’ famous Elizabethan explorer, legendary for laying his cloak down for the Queen and introducing tobacco and the potato to western civilisation (or vice versa).

Queen Elizabeth I – Aside from her current counterpart and Victoria (who presided over the expanded British territories), possibly the best known of English Queens.

Pochahontas (& Captain John Smith) – The Native American Chief’s daughter and the English explorer whose life she saved and fell in love with.

Mother Teresa – A modern sainted soul whose charity works amongst the poor of India were tireless.

Cleopatra – There were actually several Cleopatras in Egyptian history, but this is the famous one who attempted to save her kingdom through romance with two of the military leaders of Rome.

George Washington – Founding Father of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln – Probably the second most famous American historical figure from the British point of view, noted for his Gettysburg address on the matter of slavery at the end of the Civil War. Although he was tall already (around 6’4’’), he was also noted for his stovepipe top hat in which, it is said, he kept important official documents.

Mahatma Gandhi – Pacifist who led the Indian sub-continent to Independence from British rule.

William I – William the Conqueror may not be seen as a hero by some, but like his later compatriot Napoleon, his skill with administration  and quelling of meaningless Saxon violence was admirable.

Robert the Bruce – Scottish leader of early times who, legend has it, was inspired to continue his fight against the English invaders after watching a spider taking several attempts to build a web.

Napoleon Bonaparte – The little Frenchman with big ideas for a European Empire, built out of the foundations established by the French Revolution.

Horatio Nelson – Opposing Napoleonic forces at sea was Rear Admiral Nelson whose heroic leadership lead to the Victory at Trafalgar and his unfortunate death.

Duke of Wellington – Military strategist whose skill with land forces defeated Napoleon’s attempts to establish a European Empire, capitalising upon the Frenchman’s failed campaign against the Russians.

William Shakespeare – The greatest and best-known of English authors.

Queen Boadicea – As leader of the Iceni tribe in Eastern England she took on, and almost defeated the Roman Invaders.

Captain Scott – Arctic explorer whose attempts to reach the South Pole ended in disaster.

Charles Darwin – British scientist whose work on the science of evolution proved controversial but influential.

Emily Pankhurst – Leader of the Suffragette movement to gain voting rights for women.

Isaac Newton – Scientist best known for his ‘discovery’ of the principles of gravity and motion of objects.

Jane Austen – Possibly the best known British female author.

Florence Nightingale – Miss Nightingale’s work in the field of battle during the Crimean War set groundbreaking standards for nursing care. For those choosing this character, she had a small pet owl – Athena.

And finally, if you are still having trouble with suggestions for Historical Goodies why not check out our Historical Character section.