30 Great Movies That Celebrate Unlikely Friendships

10. The Fox and the Hound (1981)

The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Based on the novel of the same name by Daniel P. Mannix, this American animated drama was the 24th film of the Walt Disney Classics series. The film tells the story of a fox named Tod (voiced by Mickey Rooney) and a hound dog named Copper (Kurt Russell) and their struggle to preserve the friendship they developed in childhood, both growing and discovering that they’re expected to be enemies.

What’s unique about their friendship:

Copper and Tod face enormous conflicts while their instincts flourish and the social pressures of their species become more and more demanding, they find themselves being pulled further away from their friendship as they grow into adults. But, despite adversity the two realize that no matter the differences they cannot control, they’ll have unconditional respect and love for one another – even between a fox and a hunting dog. Their dedication to companionship even teaches some humans a lesson or two.


9. As Good as it Gets (1997)

As Good as it Gets (1997)

American romantic comedy-drama film, directed by James L. Brooks, starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, and Cuba Gooding Jr.. The film follows the life of a homophobic, racist, misanthropic, obsessive-compulsive novelist (Nicholson), a gay artists (Kinnear), and a single mother (Hunt) with a chronically ill son. After Kinnear suffers a serious accident, the three develop a very unexpected friendship.

What’s unique about their friendship:

Although, the film largely revolves around the growing relationship between Nicholson and Hunt, the even more unique relationship that appears in the film is that between Nicholson and Kinnear.

Melvin (Nicholson) being the homophobic, misanthropic neighbor of Simon (Kinnear) – it’s truly remarkable when Simon finds that Melvin is, perhaps the least likely to show empathy, the only one that really does. Their unexpected, uplifting friendship is one of the most enjoyable and inspirational ever to appear in a film.


8. Bicentennial Man (1999)

Bicentennial Man (1999)

Based on the novel The Positronic Man co-written by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, Bicentennial Man is an American science fiction family comedy-drama that explores issues revolving around slavery, prejudice, conformity, humanity, maturity, intellectual freedom, love, sex, and, possibly above all else, mortality. Starring Robin Williams as the NDR series android “Andrew,” the film follows his journey throughout many years, losing many people.

What’s unique about their friendship:

Andrew experiences many friendships throughout the film, from his beginning with “Sir” Richard Martin (Sam Neill) who first acknowledges Andrew’s extraordinary uniqueness and intelligence. Following with “Little Miss,” Robert Burns, and Portia Charney, although some may be reluctant at times, all end on the same note: completely in awe of Andrew and his brilliance – even with a mechanical heart, he has more soul than most humans.


7. Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille is the final Pixar and Disney release to appear on this list. This computer-animated comedy tells the extraordinary tale of an exceptionally talented rat that befriends a young man in order to live out his lifelong dream of being a chef. This movie stars the voice talents of an all-star cast including Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Brad Garrett, Brad Bird, and Peter O’Toole.

What’s unique about their friendship:

It’s obviously very unusual for a human to befriend a rat – generally rats are considered vermin and are very unwelcome in all places, especially the kitchen. But this moving film paints another picture for all of us, showing that talent, love, and compassion are things that can be found in anyone or anything. Remy and Linguini praise open-mindedness in the most unconventional relationship to hit Pixar and the hearts of families yet.


6. The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side (2009)

This American semi-biographical sports drama is based on the extraordinary true story of Michael Oher’s emotional journey from his poverty stricken upbringing to his future career in the NFL. As a teenager, he was accepted into the home of an upper-class family that propelled his future in football. The film stars Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, and Tim McGraw.

What’s unique about their friendship:

Although, many films on this list resemble the emotional attachment of “family,” this film resembles it in nature as well. The friendship and family characterized in The Blind Side teaches everyone a valuable lesson about acceptance and faith.

Leigh Anne Tuohy welcomes a boy of different race, upbringing, and personality into her home out of sheer kindness, but quickly discovers his unyielding talent in sports and finds herself determined to offer him encouragement for the first time in his life. The two develop an incredible relationship that will stay with audiences forever.


5. Leon: The Professional (1994)


English-language French thriller, Leon: The Professional, written and directed by Luc Besson. The film features the début of Natalie Portman, as well as stars Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. The films storyline revolves around Leon (Reno), a professional hitman, who takes in 12-year-old girl Mathilda (Portman) after her family is murdered. Little did he know, this young girl would soon become his assassinating prodigy.

What’s unique about their friendship:

Mathilda was born into an abusive and disturbingly inadequate family – who subsequently find themselves murdered for their “sins.” When she and Leon join together they develop a controversial, scintillating, and tragic relationship. Their friendship serves as more than mere friendship – it offers each of them a family they lack.


4. Good Will Hunting (1997)

good will hunting

Directed by Gus Van Sant while co-written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, this American drama stars Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgard.

The film follows Will Hunting (Damon), a 20 year-old laborer in South Boston who’s forced to see a therapist (Williams) after assaulting a police officer. Will Hunting, an unrecognized genius who’s faced years of abuse and foster homes, soon finds that, through his therapy sessions, he’s re-evaluating his relationships as well as himself. Damon and Williams dominate the screen, even today the film remains critically acclaimed and a common favorite.

What’s unique about their friendship:

Will Hunting and Dr. Sean Maguire develop a thought-provoking, emotionally charged, and powerful friendship. The two surprising each other each step of the way – reluctant to expose themselves emotionally, yet finding it inevitable. The emotional impact they equally cause one another has just the same effect on all who watch the film. Their friendship may be one of the most unlikely of all, surely the foundation of the films impact, as well as the enduring success of the film itself.


3. Ponyo (2008)

Ponyo (2008)

Japanese animated fantasy comedy Ponyo, English released as Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki – this was his eighth film released for Ghibli and his tenth overall. The film revolves around a goldfish named Ponyo who befriends a five-year-old human boy named Sosuke, causing Ponyo to desire being human as well.

What’s unique about their friendship:

On top of one being a magical fish and the other a human boy, their kinship like connection warms the hearts of all. Ponyo and Sosuke share fantastic adventures of compassion, creativity, and courage, redefining the limits of childhood imagination and the power of love. The fantasy elements of Ponyo combined with the real-life elements create a powerful and visually stunning film for the whole family.


2. The King’s Speech (2010)

The King's Speech (2010)

Directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler, The King’s Speech is a critically acclaimed British historical drama. The film revolves around King George VI, played by Colin Firth, and his struggles to cope with a stammer. He visits an Australian speech and language specialist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, in an attempt to heal is impediment.

The two become dear friends in the midst of George VI becoming king, due to his brother abdicating his rightful place on the throne, and in preparation of his first wartime radio broadcast.

What’s unique about their friendship:

King George VI “Bertie” and Lionel become very close, dear friends throughout their many emotional sessions. Bertie finds, not only a friend, but his first truly honest relationship. It was through his emotional barriers finally releasing their guard that the two develop an odd, brilliant, and emotive relationship. Watching their exchanges and growth as companions, as well as Bertie’s extraordinary recovery, is an uplifting, poignant journey drenched in endearing characters and adoring scenes.


1. Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away (2000)

American survival adventure-drama Cast Away stars Tom Hanks while written by William Broyles Jr.. Tom Hanks independently tells the story of a FedEx employee who, after his plane crashes in the South Pacific, becomes stranded on an uninhabited island. In his four years of being stranded, he only made one friend – the volleyball “Wilson.”

What’s unique about their friendship:

It’s only natural that a man trapped alone on an island would find companionship somewhere and that companion would have to be the most antic. Chuck (Hanks) and Wilson certainly share the most uncommon friendship, but so much more than that, it’s earnest, heartbreaking, and utterly memorable. Wilson saved Chuck’s life on that island – a bloody faced, tired looking volleyball saved a desperate man’s life in the most dire of circumstances. Their friendship is certainly the most unlikely of all.