We take you through some of the most memorable screen pairings of all time from slap-stick stars Laurel & Hardy to foes turned friends Stallone and Weathers (Rocky & Apollo). If you enjoy this you may also like our Comedy Double Acts Top 10.
1. Laurel & Hardy
Now the subject of a film biopic starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, no list of on screen pairings would be complete without the inclusion of comedy heroes Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy. Their career as a double act spanned from 1927 to 1955 beginning with silent short films. Repeats of their films on television from the 1960’s meant their influence has been felt by generations of comedians including Steve Martin, Peter Sellers and John Cleese to name a few.
2. Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall
Its rumoured that husky voiced cinema siren Lauren Bacall coined the term ‘rat pack’ for Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and friends upon seeing their hungover state. Together with her husband Humphrey Bogart, she was part of the same group of entertainers associated with the Las Vegas casino scene in the 1950’s. Born Betty Perske, Bacall started her professional life as a model before being cast opposite Bogart in ‘To Have and Have Not’ (1944). The pair fell in love on set and married a year later. They starred in four films together demonstrating a shared knack for delivering sharp dialogue and a witty repartee. References to Bogart and Bacall have become shorthand for passionate love despite the odds due to their whirlwind romance and longevity despite a 25 year age gap. Definitely a screen pairing to remember!
3. Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
This pair of course met on the set of 1978’s sing-along coming of age classic ‘Grease’. Olivia was at first reluctant to take the role, but John encouraged her knowing how well she would work in the role given her girl next door pop sensation status. Despite rumours to the contrary thanks to their undeniable on-screen chemistry, they were never a couple in real life as they were in relationships with other people at the time of filming. Still friends today, dream screen pairing Olivia and John have reunited for fan pleasing duets at various intervals over the years.
4. Jason Mewes & Kevin Smith
Part of filmmaker Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse, his and Mewes’ characters Jay and Silent Bob have appeared in nine films, one animated television series, two comics and two video games. The pair are mostly depicted selling drugs outside of their local convenience store. They have a dysfunctional relationship which mostly consists of – as the name would suggest – Silent Bob being mute and Jay being loud and rude to anyone he encounters. Although they may not be the most obvious choice, there’s no denying what a cult screen pairing they have become.
5. Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn
Appearing in nine films together from 1942’s ‘Woman of the Year’ to 1967’s ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’, Tracy and Hepburn had a 26 year romantic relationship despite his marriage. Their off-screen romance no doubt played a part in the magic of their silver screen pairing. They are known for their light-hearted battle of the sexes style comedies. Their last movie together saw them star as an older couple whose attitudes are challenged by their daughter’s relationship with an African-American man (Sidney Poitier). At the time interracial marriage was still illegal in seventeen US states, so the film was controversial in its portrayal of a positive interracial relationship. Its considered to have debunked the myth that it was impossible to market movies including key black characters to mass audiences.
6. Elijah Wood & Sean Astin
The screen pairing of Elijah Wood’s Frodo Baggins with Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee is perhaps the sweetest friendship in film history. They would sacrifice anything for the sake of one another and their friendship. Their tear-inducing friendship gripped audiences worldwide throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003).
7. Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder
Comedy legends Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder appeared in four films together beginning with ‘Silver Streak’ (1976) and ending with ‘Another You’ (1991). They met on the 1970’s comedy club circuit. Pryor was due to star with Wilder in landmark comedy ‘Blazing Saddles’ (1974) which he co-wrote, but the studio ultimately opted for actor Cleavon Little over controversial comic Pryor. Its been suggested that their comedy double act constituted the first mixed-race equals screen pairing. You can read our top 10 Comedy Double acts article here.
8. Michael J Fox & Christopher Lloyd
Playing an eccentric scientist, cult character actor Christopher Lloyd stars in the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990) opposite pint-sized teen hero Michael J Fox. With a friendship that defies even the laws of space and time, this screen pairing is undeniable friendship goals; its a cold hearted viewer who wouldn’t want the Doc and Marty as their best mates. What’s more, they’re also friends in real life with Lloyd supporting Fox’s campaigning to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1991 only a year after the third Back to the Future installment.
9. Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis
We know they’re only in one film together, but best friends Thelma & Louise from the film of the same name (1991) deserve special mention. The screen pairing embark on a road trip together to escape their uninspiring home lives. Considered by many as a landmark feminist movie, it certainly instigated conversation about the portrayal of women in cinema. Despite being over twenty five years old, the friendship between Thelma and Louise is still frequently referenced in popular culture from The Simpsons to Lady Gaga & Beyoncé’s ‘Telephone’ (2009).
10. Sylvester Stallone & Carl Weathers
Performing in the first four Rocky films alongside Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers portrays boxer Apollo Creed. The relationship between Rocky and Apollo is a vitally important part of the Rocky film franchise; the pair begin as rivals and move to a teacher (Apollo) student (Rocky) dynamic becoming great friends as a result.