Best Movie Wizards, Good & Bad

MSN Parallel Universe has a story or rather brief snippets with pictures of their compilation of best movie wizards & witches, both good ones and bad ones.  A lot of the usual suspects are there.  The Wizard & the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.  Growing up in an age when, for the earliest part of my life, there were only 4 TV channels, the showing of Oz every year was a big event.  And for a child, at least for me, it was usually pretty scary. From the tornado, which is still one of the best special effects ever, to the flying monkeys & the cackling evil of Margaret Hamilton’s inspired performance.  Although I have to admit that the picture they use in the article I’ve referenced makes the Wicked Witch look pretty hot.  But maybe that’s just me.

There’s also Merlin & Morgana from the 1981 Excalibur both brilliantly played by Nicol Williamson & Helen Mirren.  Of course, there is Gandalf and Saruman from the Jackson abomin…er, Lord of the Rings films.  James Earl Jones as the sinister Thulsa Doom & Mako as Akiro in Conan the Barbarian.  Warwick Davis as Willow & Jean Marsh as Bavmorda in Willow.  There are a few others I’ve left out because I really never saw the movies referenced.

Oh, there are two wizards who are near & dear to us here on the list.  Dumbledore and Voldemort.  Although I really have to take exception to one particular line in their blurb: “…kindness radiates from both actors who have portrayed him [Dumbledore], the late Richard Harris and Michael Gambon.” I really can’t believe someone who could write a sentence like that has really seen the movies.

Anyway, feel free to share your thoughts on their choices of best movie wizard and witches.  Any ones you felt were left out or should have been included?  I hesitate to mention this because of the gender wars that seem to have arisen lately on this site, but it is quite obvious in their list that the three women sorcerers they picked are all bad. Are there no good women sorcerers in the movies?  Or at least none that stood out enough for the compilers of this list to take note of them?

Feel free to check out the story and offer your comments here.  (Please note, I found their site to be rather difficult to navigate at times and kind of buggy so hopefully you will have better luck with it.)

17 thoughts on “Best Movie Wizards, Good & Bad

  1. In answer to your question about good women sorcerers in the movies, I can think of a few. Glinda the witch of the north in Wizard of Oz, the Kim Novak role in Bell, Book and Candle, and the Elizabeth Montgomery role in TV’s Bewitched.

  2. Wow, what a horrible website. I tried to visit a couple of times so I could comment, but my browser won’t have any of it.

  3. I watched the first couple of seasons of the TV series “Charmed” and like the three sisters who played good witches. Over the course of the first few years, they became more powerful and it was cool to see how advanced they were becoming with their craft. But as with a lot of shows, it began to get silly and I lost interest. Fun while it lasted, though!

  4. Another good witch from a movie would be Wendy from Casper Meets Wendy. There are a number of good witches on TV shows, such as Sabrina Spellman from Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Alex Russo from Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. There are also a few Disney Channel Original Movies which feature good witches as the main characters – Marnie & Sophie Piper from the four Halloweentown movies (and their grandmother Aggie Cromwell) and sisters Alex Fielding & Cam Barnes from the Twitches movies. It seems like Disney, at least, appreciates a good female witch. Some more evil witches include the White Witch from Narnia and the witch from Snow White (Disney, again!).

  5. Brent, yeah, sorry about that. I found the site hard to use. I was on Google Chrome first & couldn’t get the site to respond at all. Finally switched over to Firefox & got better results even though it was still funky at times.

    Good thoughts everyone; keep ’em coming.

  6. No worries, Revgeorge, you warned us it might not work. Don’t know if I’m going to install a new browser just to make the site work.

  7. I reluctantly have to agree with Brent.

    I’ve said elsewhere that I actually think Gambon has done a pretty good job when well directed, so I won’t beat that to death here.

    I’d say maybe Galadriel, but in this context that would make it sound like I was saying ‘Cate Blanchett’, so I won’t.

    Do Jedi count as wizards? (That’s a geek question if I’ve ever asked one…)

  8. What, no Sword in the Stone???? Even though it was animated, that was a fun, fun movie to watch. The scenes where Merlin had to duel with a shape-sifting witch were loads of fun to watch, at least for the first time. I’d give the animated Merlin an Honorable mention in the category of good film wizards.
    For good wizards, it’s hard to disagree that Gandalf deserves first place, followed closely by Albus Dumbledore, as portrayed by Richard Harris in the first two Harry Potter films.
    For good witches, Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz takes the first place. Second–I’m putting in a tie between Minerva McGonagall and Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter films. Honorable mention to Mary Poppins, who is not officially classified as a witch, but who clearly has magical talents.
    Now, for bad witches, it’s hard to not go with The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. Second place to the evil Queen/Witch of Snow White, as Nicole mentioned above and who was quite scary when I watched the film as a young child. Honorable mention to Bellatrix Lestrange in the Fifth and Sixth Harry potter films.

  9. Since I’m a Star Wars geek, Mr Pond, I’d have to say that, yes, Jedi count as wizards, so we’d have the whole array of good and bad wizards (more good than bad, I think) from the Star Wars epic. Only a few get to be Jedi, since they are able to channel the Force from the high concentration of metachlorions (sp?) they have in their system. It takes years of training in order to cultivate the natural Jedi abilities, Paduan Learners (Jedis-in-training) work with a mentor, and they face many challenges. I figure that counts for wizarding lore….

  10. In Star Wars doesn’t Uncle Owen can Ben Kenobi a crazy old wizard? He’s in in my books.
    I was glad Egg Chen and Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China got a look in.

    The site sucked. I had to manually change the page number in the address bar to get through the list.

  11. Many of you seem to be having trouble with the MSN web site. My browser is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8. I had no trouble navigating the site as soon as I figured out how to do it. I hesitate to make a plug for Windows because my all-time favorite application is WordPerfect 5.1, the DOS version, and I still use a DOS program for home finances. It works on Windows XP; I don’t know if it will work on later versions of Windows.

  12. Great post, Revgeorge. Wish I wasn’t such a failure at watching the wizard movies. I’ve seen Harry Potter, LotR, The Wizard of Oz, and Willow.

    Too bad they were only taking one good and one evil from each movie, because that totally sells Harry Potter short. Minerva McGonagall could totally hold her own–she doesn’t get tons of air time, but Maggie Smith’s portrayal is one of the few things I really love about the movies. I think she’s spot on. Bellatrix, as Fricka pointed out, could serve as the evil half of that equation.

    I’m also with Fricka on the mention of Mary Poppins.

  13. Merlin is an obvious contender for top-spot, as are Dumbledore and Voldemort. Given that the Doctor from Doctor Who is said to be Merlin I suppose he could count as a wizard. After all, to the primitive mind any form of advanced technology would appear to be magic. The same goes for The Master.

    Stephen King has given us some rather evil wizards such as Randall Flagg, Leland Gaunt and Andre Linoge.

    On the subject of evil, Morgana Le Fay could hold her own against Merlin.

    Hmm. Let me think of some other wizards I admire. Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, Sauron, Ra’s al Ghul, Nicholas Flamel, John Dee, Skulduggery Pleasant, Harry Dresden, John Constantine and the Jedi and the Sith from Star Wars.

  14. Good choices, Tom.
    The list is about movie wizards, though.
    Jacksonsised LOTR didn’t have any mention of Radagast. Should have, though. Just don’t get me started.

  15. How about Tim the Enchanter from Holy Grail?

    Mary Poppins is a Time Lord. Seriously… she arrives mysteriously whenever there’s a problem, fixes it with bizarre tools and strange adventures–and her bag is bigger on the inside!

  16. Top 3

    Malcolm McDowell as the Wizard in Just Visiting Totally at home in whatever century he finds himself, no issues with being blasted to smithereens, and totally able to adapt to the local technology. Reminds me a lot of Scotty on Star Trek.

    Nicol Williamson as Merlin in Excalibur. Totally cynical and with no illusions about the “heroes” in his story, and as neurotic as can be, but with a lot of personal force and conviction – you believe that he could be a wizard, which is 99% of the game.

    Selena Gomez as Alex Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place The good looks and charm don’t hurt, but again it’s the attitude that wins her a place in my top 3: totally insouciant about everything, including her wizarding powers.

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