Cinema heroes and villains: How do your top picks measure up?

Bond, not surprisingly, tops the list of heroes, but his villains are nowhere to be seen; plus free popcorn offer this Sunday

The suave and sophisticated James Bond has been named as Britain’s favourite big screen movie hero according to new research1. Quite right, too, he’s my No 1.

The study, carried out by Showcase Cinemas (the people behind the cinema at Bluewater) in celebration of the recent post-lockdown return of the big screen, sees 007 take the top spot with almost a quarter (24%) of cinemagoers choosing him as their favourite hero.

The secret agent was also a huge hit with the ladies, as one-in-five females picked him as their number one choice. 

In second place was Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones with 16% of the votes. And folklore legend Robin Hood came in joint third place alongside DC superhero Superman (10%).

However, there is a generational gap when it comes to our favourite big screen heroes, as almost one-in-five 18-24-year-olds crowned Marvel’s Avengers head honcho Iron Man as their number one hero, compared with one-in-10 33-44-year-olds who picked Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker.  

But every big screen hero needs a villain to overcome. And while Bond has had his fair share of arch enemies to defeat over the years, surprisingly, none of them make an appearance on Britain’s top 10 list of ultimate villains.

Nearly one-in-five people chose Hannibal Lecter, who became a household name following Anthony Hopkins’ Academy Award-winning performance in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, as the greatest movie villain of all time.

In second place, accompanied by The Imperial March, Star Wars villain Darth Vader took 16% of the vote. However, the pop-culture phenomenon clearly captured the imagination of a certain generation more than others, with a huge 25% of 45-54-year-olds turning to the dark side. The late Heath Ledger’s iconic performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight won third place (13%), narrowly beating Harry Potter’s nemesis Voldemort into the top three.

The Showcase Cinemas study also investigated what cinemagoers missed most about the cinema during lockdown, with the extra-large screens (34%), the cinema atmosphere (28%), and the excitement of a new movie (27%) making the top three.

Mark Barlow, UK General Manager for Showcase Cinemas, said: “The big screen has provided us with so many heroes over the years, it is almost impossible to pick a favourite.

“However, James Bond has been a constant of British cinema for decades, and it seems rather fitting that with the hugely anticipated No Time to Die on the horizon (sue early October), 007 is named as the ultimate big screen hero.

“And who can argue with Hannibal Lecter taking top spot as the nation’s favourite villain? No matter whose side you are on, these are the type of characters that are made for the big screen, and Lecter is certainly one that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

“We have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming guests back through our doors again and seeing how happy they were to settle down with their popcorn and engross themselves in the cinematic screen experience. With so many great films to be released through the rest of this year, the big screen is most definitely back.”

Speaking of popcorn, if you fancy some for free, keep scrolling down.

Showcase Cinemas reopened across the UK on May 17, operating the Be Showcase Safe programme that was implemented successfully last year, meaning guests can enjoy the big screen experience as safely as possible.


  1. James Bond – 24%
  2. Indiana Jones – 16%
  3. Robin Hood – 10%
  4. Superman – 10%
  5. Forrest Gump – 8.9%
  6. Harry Potter– 8.5%
  7. Jason Bourne – 8.2%
  8. Batman – 7.9%
  9. Iron Man – 7.7%
  10. Luke Skywalker – 7.5%


  1. Hannibal Lecter – 23%
  2. Darth Vader – 16%
  3. Joker – 13%
  4. Voldemort – 12%
  5. Freddy Krueger – 10%
  6. Scar – 9%
  7. The Child Catcher – 8%
  8. Miss Trunchball – 7%
  9. Hans Gruber – 6.9%
  10. Pennywise – 6.8%

1Research based on a survey of 2,000 respondents undertaken in April 2021

Free popcorn this Sunday

Showcase Cinemas is offering its Insider members a free portion of popcorn on Sunday, June 6.

It was supposed to be National Popcorn Day on January 19, but, of course, no one was able to chomp down on the moreish cinema snack while gazing at the big screen thanks to Covid.

Showcase Cinemas has therefore announced it will be celebrating a belated National Popcorn Day on Sunday, the perfect way to reward guests who have waited so long to return.

To claim, guests will need to be an Insider member and have a ticket for a film showing on Sunday. Those who aren’t a member currently can join for free via the Showcase website. Not only do Insider members have the chance to claim their free small popcorn on June 6, but they will also be able to earn 10% rewards on tickets, snacks and drinks, discounted admission after 7pm Sunday and all-day Monday and Tuesday, and exclusive access to advance screenings.

Showcase Cinemas UK general manager, Mark Barlow, says: “It has been amazing to see so many smiling faces back inside our cinemas this month. People have missed a lot over the past 12 months, but we don’t want to wait until next year to celebrate our favourite film snack and so will be hosting a belated National Popcorn Day this Sunday. Insider members can grab their free small popcorn at their local Showcase (Bluewater), so sign up now for this and many more benefits.”

*Insider members must be 15 years of age or older.


David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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