The 10 Best Non-Sports Movie Underdogs

While we’ve seen a slew of websites give their take on the best underdogs in sports movies, it was time for a new topic on the subject.  Granted the sports movie is the easiest medium to focus on an underdog that doesn’t mean they don’t exist in other movies.   After all, sports is easy.  You take a person who isn’t likely to succeed in a sport, they work hard, and there’s your story.

But there are plenty of down on their luck, crappy situation people who somehow managed to defy the odds to make a better life for themselves or at least position themselves to improve.

These 10 characters are inspirational…..

Rabbit in 8 Mile

I never thought I’d put Eminem in a “best of” list but you have to admit that he was pretty decent in 8 Mile and his character sure fits the description.   Living in a crappy neighborhood and working in a car factory, white boy rapper eventually shows up a local gang in a battle contest after having gotten beaten up and constantly told he wouldn’t amount to anything.

Mikey in Swingers

It took the whole movie and a lot of laughs in between but poor Mikey who was out of a relationship and single finally gets the courage and acts like the man when he meets Lorraine in the end.   Plus he has an agent who specializes in magicians.

Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump

The entire movie Forrest is told he’s stupid, dumb, worthless.   What does he do?  Only save 8 lives in a war, become a millionaire, father, loving husband, and responsible for the success of Elvis and the dude who paints smiley faces on T-Shirts.

Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman

It’s not often a hooker who is down on her luck meets a billionaire and woos him like Vivian does Edward in Pretty Woman.   It’s just funny because in real life she’d have been kicked out after an hour.  But it’s Hollywood and dreams do come true as that homeless guy says in the beginning of the movie.

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars

Granted Luke was a Jedi and always had the talent, but let’s face it, he sure as hell didn’t have the greatest situation to start off in.  He had no family and no one to point him in the right direction except for an image of Obi Wan.   Same could be said about Anakan since he was a little piss ant growing up and eventually becomes the dark Lord.

Vincent Freeman  in Gattaca

His dream was to go to space but in a world where humans are engineered to be perfect, Vincent was for from it and his chances were limited to enter the space program.  He was a natural birth and wasn’t even supposed to live until 30.  But after going to extraordinary lengths, Vincent shows that the impossible is possible.

Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings

Yeah right, like these two little shits could have really done anything?  The world of fiction is powerful I guess.

John McLane in Die Hard

One man versus an entire German contingent of terrorists?  This is why you gotta love Hollywood.  It’s also why you gotta love that scene where he runs over the broken glass.  Yippie Kay Ay!

Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption

Probably my favorite underdog in any movie ever.   Andy is wrongly accused of murder and is sentenced to life in prison.  He is abused by the warden and consistently overcomes struggle.   After years upon years of struggle, he eventually escapes from prison getting the best of the warden and his horrible prison experience.

*Chris Gardner in Pursuit of Happyness

The reason I gave this one a star is because this is a true story whereas the other nine are fictional.   Still though, it deserves a spot on here.  Gardner couldn’t have been any more down on his luck than having his wife leave him and be homeless with a son to take care off.  Still however, he beat the odds and became a successful stockbroker and eventually millionaire owning his own firm.





  1. Patty May 31, 2011
  2. bossa_nova May 31, 2011
  3. Bert May 31, 2011
  4. cutter May 31, 2011

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