In a lawsuit against John Travolta, it's alleged that the actor once screamed at a masseuse, "Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.” Crazy, yes, but it does tap into a well-worn cultural trope: Jews run Hollywood. You'd think, though, that if that were the case, there'd be tons of incredible Jewish movie characters. Not entirely the case. There are just as many terrible ones as there are good ones, and they're all usually remembered in equal measure.
Yet, the Jewish movie characters that we can recall and love are distinctly memorable, either for having a very explicit Jewish identity, or, in some cases, a very sly and implied one (just as, if not more important than the former). Their greatness comes directly from Judaism and the values that come with it. In other cases, they're just incredible characters who happen to be Jewish.
So let's forget about the politics of characters playing up Jewish cliches, or political correctness as soap-boxers will no doubt try to force on moviegoers' tastes. Complex's Jewish movie character discernment team might have a Jew leading it, but we'll be damned (or rather, guilted) if that's going to stop us from being lost in the desert of shitty Jewish movie characters for 40 years, let alone thinking Charlton Heston's Moses wasn't really that great.
You want chosen people? We've got chosen people right here. Complex is pleased to introduce: The 25 Greatest Jewish Characters in Movies. L'chayim.
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