Heroes with moral quests - another film list

Monday, 19 July 2010, 22:47 | Category : Film, Film Lists, Loaves
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Hopefully, this list will be a pleasant contrast to the villain one *grin*
Originally, this was supposed to be a list of characters in the “knightly honour” sort of vein. The trouble was, I could think of only two characters that fitted all the criteria I was looking for, so I dropped the “knightly” part and decided modern heroes would do too. And then my list grew to an astounding three characters ;) So, er yeah, I’m not doing too well with this one…

The Criteria

  • By “moral quest” I mean that the hero has very strong moral beliefs and convictions and they try to apply them regardless of the inconveniences this may cause. For example, they might protect somebody they hate if they feel that is the right thing to do in the circumstances.
  • It’s supposed to be a list of rather archetypal kind of heroes i.e. pure, “white”, perfect, occupies free time by saving damsels in distress… that sort of thing.
  • Only heroes that are very earnest about their “moral quests” make this list. They really have to mean what they say and do.
  • While these sorts of heroes do tend to have a certain innocence about themselves, Forrest Gump type heroes don’t make the cut. The characters on this list should understand and choose their moral quests rather than stumble into them by accident.

Generally, I suppose I’m more into villains and flawed heroes than I am into archetypal heroes, but heroes with moral quests are the exception to the rule - I really, really love them *misty eyes* One of the awesomest things about them are the moral conflicts they get themselves into - I really enjoy watching the melodrama that ensues *grin*
Unfortunately, they’re very rare and very difficult to pull off. Most often what we get in commercial movies are heroes fighting for their own survival or taking revenge for something. And in the relatively rare cases when the hero is fighting “for the greater good”, the greater good tends to mean “get rid of the bad guys by any means possible”.
On a side not, I can’t think of even one heroine that would fit my criteria. It’s only heroes *sigh*

King Arthur
film: Merlin (1998)
performed by: Paul Curran
clip: Morgan Le Fay seducing Arthur

The reason I fell in love with Arthurian legends is this precisely - I have never come across another story which has so many moral quest kind of heroes. Heck, they even go on a moral quest literally speaking - that is exactly what the quest for the Holy Grail is!
Sadly, when the legends get translated to screen, the whole moral quest part of the story is usually removed or performed disearnestly. This is literally the only character in the many Arthurian films I’ve seen that qualifies onto the list.

Rodrigo de Bivar
film: El Cid (1961)
performed by: Charlton Heston
clip: The trailer

I don’t like the film much - IMO it hasn’t aged well. However, as a character and performance Rodrigo is magnificent *grin* The integrity of the character is second to none and the emotional conflicts in the story are amazing.
Like Arthurian legends, it’s based on a medieval romance. That really was the best era for those kinds of heroes *sigh*

Constable Benton Fraser
series: Due South (1994-1996)
performed by: Paul Gross
clip: Fraser has a moral dilemma (ep.2)

I never even realized this until I started writing this list, but Fraser is basically a modern day knight *grin* He believes in much the same values and has many of the same behaviours. He even goes on quests… sort of. It’s just that it’s not dragons and stuff, his quests are a little more modern ;) I suppose this explains why I’ve always taken so strongly to him *grin*
On a side note, I have mixed feelings about whether the third season of Due South (1997-1999) would have qualified. Some of the time in the third series, the character is a bit too farcical to be earnest thereby not making my criteria. He easily qualifies on the merit of the first two seasons though.

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