What are the best rivalries that exist in the film world, and who is the top 20 of all time? The reason for their rivalry is not always obvious. Sometimes they may want to be better than the other one. However, some just want to kill each other.
Usually this competition between the two comes in very personal. And when that happens, the film feels more interesting. You know they each go to the extreme to outperform the other guy.
I ranked the conflicts of movie rivalries of all time that I’ve seen. So it’s possible some awesome ones won’t be on the top 20 movie rivalries of all time because I probably haven’t seen it. Or otherwise, I accidentally forgot it!
Top 20 movie rivalries of all time
20. Hector vs. Achilles (Troy)
For those who don’t remember, Troy is a film by Warner Bros. from 2004 about the Trojan War. It all starts when, during a peace mission, a Trojan Prince Paris lures Helena, the most beautiful woman in Greece, away from her husband, King Menelaus of Sparta. And then they started a war over a woman.
A personal vendetta is sparked in the midst of an upcoming battle between Troy and Sparta when the Trojan hero Hector leads a surprise ambush at a Greek encampment. Hector will protect Troy at all costs.
I have always been a fan of rough sword fighting. And this film does not disappoint. You get a marvelous confrontation between the two warriors.
19. Woody vs. Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)
You might not have expected it to be on the list of “Top 20 movie rivalries of all time.” Even if it’s not an obvious rivalry, it’s one of my favorites. I’m mainly talking about the first movie, where Woody gets jealous of Buzz Lightyear.
At first, Woody was Andy’s favorite toy, but that changed with Buzz Lightyear. And yes, of course, that makes him jealous.
The rivalry between the two of them is great to see because Woody can put his competitiveness aside at the end of the film. That’s when he realizes that Buzz Lightyear is really a friend, not a rival. However, it did start like a rivalry.
18. Batman vs. Superman (Batman v. Superman – The Dark Knight Returns)
When Superman saves the world, he also feels like a threat to the world. What do you do against someone who is just incredibly strong and has almost no weaknesses? That’s what Batman intends to change in order to put him in his place.
The only reason it isn’t higher on my top movies of all time, was because the last movie was disappointing. I still liked it, but not great. And when it comes to film, I think others are doing much better. Although The Dark Knight Returns (animated movie) is really amazing, but I’m taking the live-action movie a bit more into account because most of you have seen it.
17. Indiana Jones vs. Ren Belloq (Raiders Of The Lost Ark)
Who is the best archaeologist? The one who finds the antique object, or the one who eventually possesses it. These two archaeologists compete to find ancient objects. When Indiana Jones manages to get hold of an object, Ren Belloq robs him of his prize.
The first Indiana Jones movie will always have a place in my heart. I must say that other rivalries are much more memorable than this one.
16. Sherlock Holmes vs. Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows)
James “Jim” Moriarty was the world’s only “consulting criminal”; a stark contrast to his nemesis’, Sherlock Holmes’, also unparalleled “consulting detective” profession.
Their rivalry is just a mind game. And it’s incredible how it always plays out. It’s one of the best rivalry, period!
Like who doesn’t love a Sherlock Movies, especially with Robert Downey Jr.?
15. Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Captain Barbossa (The Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise)
It’s Captain Jack Sparrow!
Everyone loves Johnny Depp’s character, Jack Sparrow. As much as I like this saga, the first one remains the best.
And Jack is looking for the Black Pearl, but the infamous Captain Barbossa controls it. Each one has a different purpose. Jack wants his boat back while Barbossa gets rid of his curse.
But the Black Pearl is not just a boat you give back. You are willing to fight for it!
And because I love these characters so much, they are also on the Top 20 movie rivalries of all-time list.
14. Godzilla vs. Kong (upcoming movie)
Ok, this one is an exception to the list as I have seen another King Kong vs. Godzilla movie. Yes, there are very old movies of this one, but I am talking about the new version. A movie that I am really looking forward to.
Let’s face it, seeing these two monsters fighting each other can simply be nothing but great.
I really want a big-budget movie about the two most famous monsters ever! On top of that, King Kong, in this version, is as big as Godzilla. But the ultimate question is, who is the strongest of the two of them? My money is on Godzilla! And who knows, once it out, it will maybe rank higher on the top 20 movie rivalries of all time.
13. Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy (the Harry Potter franchise)
Draco Malfoy is a pure-bred wizard and apprentice to Hogwarts in the department of Hogwarts. His parents are very rich and live in a country house. He is portrayed as a false and cunning character and often makes vulgar remarks to others. From the first day of school, he is the sworn enemy of his fellow student Harry Potter.
Fortunately, they are both in a different department. Harry Potter is part of Griffondor and Draco Malfoy of Slytherin. It started out as teenagers hating each other but grew into a much more dangerous war between these two individuals.
One of the most memorable scenes was the duel in the second film. I replayed that scene a lot of times.
12. Thor vs. Loki (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
One of the favorite villains in the MCU is, without a doubt, Loki. He was also the first bad guy to take on the Avengers. But his rivalry in his previous film, the first Thor film, is why he belongs on this top 20 movie rivalries of all time.
Thor and Loki grew up as brothers, but Thor was the heir to the throne of Odis. This made Loki envious of him, and wanted the throne for himself. During the film, he also discovered other secrets of his true origins.
Sometimes it feels as if Loki wants to kill Thor and at other times not. Thor will stop him, but you do feel that he still thinks of Loki as his brother and not just a rival. That’s what makes it so special. They are arch-enemies, yet they regard each other as brothers.
I don’t know if their relationship is similar in the comics because I’m more of a DC reader.
11. Neo vs. Agent Smith (The Matrix trilogy)
Smith is the main opponent of Neo (Keanu Reeves). The battle between them forms an essential part of the plot in the movies. Although the first Matrix film ends with the destruction of Smith, he returns in the later parts.
Neo, under the guidance of his mentor Morpheus, frees himself from the Matrix and fights the machines’ domination. Smith is one of the agents introduced into the Matrix to fight the rebels, albeit in a leading role. Initially, Smith is only one of the ‘agents’, anti-virus programs whose job it is to maintain order in the Matrix.
Smith and Neo are fighting with each other in cool scenes, where the one famous slow-motion scene is from.
10. Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin Skywalker (The Star Wars saga)
As a Star Wars fan, this was definitely going to make the top 20 movie rivalries of all time!
Anakin Skywalker was initially Obi-Wan Kenobi apprentice. For a long time, he was a Padawan under the guard of his mater. He was known to be stubborn but didn’t hate Obi-Wan back then, although he wanted to prove to himself towards Obi-Wan that he can handle his own.
However, we all know what Anakin became in the end. Yes, he turned to the dark side to become Darth Vader. They started out as friends, but in the end, it felt like brothers who were fighting each other because of their different beliefs.
I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of the prequels, but the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan was just incredible. It’s till this day, one of the best lightsabers fights on the big screen.
9. Captain America and Iron Man (Captain America: Civil War)
Yes, this is mainly because of the latest Captain America movie, Civil War. It’s not that they see each other as a threat that would end the world or something like in Superman vs. Batman. It’s more about the new measures the government wants to take.
Iron Man is all in with the new rules that the government wants to impose, such as that the superheroes should be supervised and can’t just do what they want. This is what Captain America is against, who stands more for freedom. If something goes bad, Captain America will go there with or without permission. The question is, who is right or wrong? But in both parties, there is a part that is positive and negative.
The movie does a great job of questioning yourself about what is right or wrong. And that rivalry is well portrayed in Captain America: Civil War, and therefore is one of my favorite Marvel movies.
8. Maverick vs. Iceman (Top Gun)
Top Gun’ was one of the most commercially successful films of that period, and the famous soundtrack was – or still is – in the closet of many. The U.S. Navy also benefited from the film’s success as they received more applications than ever in those years. Top Gun’ was a typical eighties blockbuster that was well received by both male and female film audiences.
Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is talented but reckless. Instead of facing a dangerous stunt, he and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are sent to the elite United States Navy Fighter Weapons School. Here, one percent of U.S. pilots are trained to become the best of the best, hence the name Top Gun. It soon becomes clear that this first place is either for Maverick or his rival, Tom “Iceman” Kazanski (Val Kilmer).
What’s nice is that both of them are actually not bad guys, but they are just competitive towards each other. Every Top Gun Fan will agree with me that they deserve a place on the list of top 20 move rivalries of all time.
I’m still waiting on the new Maverick film!
7. Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort (The Harry Potter films)
As everyone knows, Harry Potter is known for surviving as a baby at the confrontation of Voldemort. His parents were murdered, but a spell protected him from the evil force.
That caused one of the most known rivalries in the film world, or in the book world.
There is a clear struggle between evil and good. Voldemort wants to kill all people without powers and create a world for magicians. Harry Potter fights against evil to stop his archrival. He is honestly destined to defeat him.
This rivalry can be felt in all 8 Harry Potter movies.
6. Batman v The Joker (The Batman films)
Batman vs. Joker is the best-known rivalry. Everyone knows it, otherwise, you are living in a cave. We had different interpretations of these two characters, each with a different approach to the characters. However, in all cases, they are the complete opposite of each other. Batman stands for justice and order, while Joker stands for chaos.
Whoever that is the most iconic, that question I leave it to you! Although most of you will go for either Christian Bale/ Heath Ledger or Michael Keaton/ Jack Nicholson. However, one can argue that the rivalry in Batman 1989 was more personal as the Joker was also the killer of Bruce’s parents.
I would think that sometimes this would even be number one as I am a Batman fan, but I watch this based on the film. There are some rivalries in movies that are superior.
5. Alfred Borden vs. Robert Angier (The Prestige)
In The Prestige, we follow the lives of the two magicians Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale). We get to know them as two young men who want to master magic. During one of their tricks, something goes terribly wrong. The incident causes the two to become enemies of each other and fight each other. Everything revolves around The Prestige of tricks: what is the secret of the other? What is the trick, and more importantly: can this trick be surpassed? Neither one of them is reluctant to get his hands dirty while searching for these questions. This is the beginning of mysterious, exciting, and dark events.
The Prestige’ keeps you in suspense from the very first seconds. Magnificent images, unprecedented tension, and mystery, and very good acting performances. Christian Bale is well on his way as Borden and possesses the quality that you love and would like to beat him at the same time because of his slyness. Of the two illusionists, he’s the one with the brilliant tricks, but he’s not a showman; he doesn’t know how to present it to the audience. This role is reserved for Hugh Jackman, who exudes arrogance to perfection, but in the end, ‘lowers’ himself to steal Borden’s tricks.
Honestly, I can’t emphasize how much I loved this rivalry. The magic tricks that they were bringing into this was great and mindblowing. And they are willing to go far to be better than the other one. The Prestige will blow your mind!
4. Derek Zoolander vs. Hansel McDonald – Zoolander
Who is the best model? Zoolander or Hansel? It’s the battle for the most handsome looks!
Zoolander is one of my favorite comedies. I can’t even explain why I love it so much because it’s so goofy. And honestly, this rivalry is completely absurd. They’re competing with each other to be the most handsome, successful model.
Models are often thought not to be too smart. Stiller took this idea and made a hilarious movie around it. Actually, with the film, he’s taking the whole of Hollywood by storm. Everything is so over-the-top that it’s almost an art to make it all so ridiculous. But the wildest scene is, without a doubt, the ‘walk-off’ (catwalk competition) between Hansel and Derek.
3. Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed (Rocky I and II)
The boxer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), also known as the Italian Stallion, is preparing for his life’s biggest competition. He gets the chance to participate in a 1vs1 match against boxing champion Apollo.
Apollo wanted to organize a match with an amateur as a marketing stunt for more viewers. What he didn’t expect was that the amateur would train hard and be better than expected. Apollo expected to win the game effortlessly and thought to play and pretend with Balboa. That was quickly brought to an end when Balboa gave his first strike.
The film really gives one of the best battles of all time on film. It gives me goosebumps when I think about it. In the first film, he doesn’t win the match, but his perseverance makes him reach the match’s end. And that was a great victory for the amateur boxer.
In the second film, he makes a comeback and defeats his rival, and is crowned champion.
2. Luke vs. Darth Vader (Star Wars)
The best father-son confrontation goes to Luke vs. Darth Vader.
Luke Skywalker joins the rebels to go against the Empire. On top of that, he follows a Jedi training, just like his father. For this, Yoda teaches Luke the necessary skills.
To defeat The Empire, he must first defeat Darth Vader. Although that Darth Vader turns out to be not just a villain, but also his father. This discovery confuses and frustrates Luke, but somewhere he feels that the good side is still present in his father.
Star Wars is and always will be part of film culture. And so will this rivalry.
1. Professor X vs. Magneto (The X-Men franchise)
And the number one spot of the top 20 movie rivalries of all time goes to Professor Xavier and Magneto. The filming of their connection, friendship, and rivalry are so amazing.
Both are fighting for a better future for the mutants. Humanity fears for the powers that mutants have and see them as freaks. This causes a lot of hatred.
Professor Xavier tries to create a world where mutants and ordinary people can live together. He does everything in his power to show the world that mutants/humans have nothing to be afraid of.
Magneto, on the other hand, wants to wipe out humankind without powers. He views mutants as the evolution of mankind. On one side, he wants something positive for the mutants, but in a negative way. Also, he has one of the darkest origin stories in comics ever
However, they may have different views on helping Mutants. In some way, they still see themselves as friends. It’s a complicated friendship! My favorite parts are when they sit with each other and play chess peacefully.