Throughout the history of film and television there have been countless fantastic characters, but arguably none so colourful as some of those seen in cartoons. In honour of the laughs and the tears shed over these larger-than-life (and often very strange) creations then, here we will look at the top 10 cartoon characters of all time. Whether Saturday morning cartoons, or epic full motion pictures such as those from Disney and Pixar, these top 10 cartoon characters have entertained generations of children and adults alike.
10. Jessica Rabbit
Jessica rabbit has to make this list of top 10 cartoon characters for being perhaps the only cartoon to have grown men drooling. If this was a list of top ten sexiest cartoon characters rather than the top 10 cartoon characters in general, then Jessica Rabbit would surely be number one – though for many men she still tops the list and is a highly popular Halloween costume for many women too.
9. Inspector Gadget
As cartoon heroes go, Inspector Gadget is certainly one of the most inspired and imaginative and has a special place for most of us born in the 80s or 90s. Sadly the film adaptation was severely lacking proving that the top 10 cartoon characters do not always translate well into live action.
8. Fred Flintstone
The first Hannah Barbera entry on our top 10 cartoon characters of all time is Fred Flintstone, a brilliant pastiche of the typical husband and one half of one of the best comedy parings in cartoon history (the other half of course being the equally iconic Barney Rubble).
7. Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse of course has to have a place on any list of top 10 cartoon characters simply for being one of the first recognisable cartoon characters and one of the most iconic. Many people would argue that he should be number one on any top 10 cartoon characters list – but unfortunately for most of us the character is actually a little bland and hasn’t really been modernised in a convincing way (though the recent game Epic Mickey was certainly an enjoyable revamp).
Cartman is a departure from the other top 10 cartoon characters in that he is aimed squarely at adults being highly foul mouthed and insidiously twisted. However that’s what makes the character so great and still consistently funny despite the South Park franchise being over a decade old. It’s a testament to the character that despite being so despicable, the audience are always secretly routing for him…
5. Bugs Bunny
Just as Mickey is the flagship character for Disney, so Bugs Bunny is the flagship character for Warner Bros. However unlike Mickey, Bugs Bunny is actually full of character and very funny to watch. Bugs Bunny is a typical ‘trickster’ archetype and was said to inspire Johnny Depp’s take on Captain Jack Sparrow. Constantly getting the upper hand on his opponents and always ready with his catchphrase ‘what’s up doc’, he is one of the most enduring and entertaining of these top ten cartoon characters.
4. Buzz Lightyear
Okay so technically Buzz is CGI, but in a world where CGI has all but replaced feature length cartoons it seems only right that this medium be represented in the list of top ten cartoon characters. At the same time Buzz Lightyear is a completely inspired character with infectious optimism and being a great action hero in his own right as well as incredibly sympathetic in some of the highly emotional scenes where he comes to terms with his own mortality (sort of), Buzz Lightyear transcends his medium to be one
3. Optimus Prime
For many of us growing up Optimus Prime was the ultimate father figure and good influence. Unlike the other top 10 cartoon character, Optimus Prime has also enjoyed countless re-inventions in series like Transformers Armada and the new Transformers: Prime series and even made the successful transition to film making him more than just one of the top 10 cartoon characters of all time, but one of the top characters of all time full stop. For proof of just what an impact this character can make, look no further than the death scene in the 80s cartoon motion picture which caused a barrage of angry mail from parents and marks a dark day for many of our childhood’s. A cartoon character has never been so deeply mourned.
2. Homer Simpson
Homer Simpson is always cropping up on lists of top 10 cartoon characters and often making it to the number one spot for being the loveable idiot that almost all of us can associate with on some level. With a series of his own catchphrases (and ‘Doh’ even making it into the English Dictionary) and as star of the longest running cartoon series of all time, Homer Simpson is well and truly a part of popular culture and nothing short of legendary among cartoon characters.
However the number one spot on this list of top 10 cartoon characters is reserved for a certain blue/grey cat called Tom. The character himself – particularly during the Fred Quimby era – is brilliantly evil and sadistic while always seeming put upon at the same time. With brilliant facial expressions and a wicked sense of humour, Tom was well ahead of his time when the first MGM cartoons came out and many of the other top 10 cartoon characters on this list wouldn’t exist without him.