The 25 Greatest Jewish Characters in Movies

8. Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose in Drive (2011)

Notable Jewish Moment: He grew up Jewish in an Italian neighborhood, and the only other Jewish kid who grew up with him is now, also, a Jewish gangster (Ron Perlman).
Classic Quote: "The money always flows up, Izzy. You know that."

The ultimate minimalist action movie, a lot happens in Drive, but those looking for 90-minutes of car-chasing spectacle need to look elsewhere. At its heart, director Nicolas Winding Refn's film is about characters: Ryan Gosling's silent, nameless stunt driver of the title who will save a single-mother Angelino damsel in distress (Carrie Mulligan) at any cost, or Bryan Cranston as his hapless mentor.

And yet, the most memorable character of the film is handily its most evil: Bernie Rose, in a less-than-comic role for Albert Brooks. Shylock he ain't: Rose is the rare, modern-day Jewish gangster, whose defining qualities aren't greed, or slyness, or sleazy hucksterism, but empathy (though not enough to stop him from being evil). At the end of the day, Bernie Rose just wants his money right, and when his muscle creates a problem with the East Coast mob, he feels his hands are tied in the situation, and has to kill (much to his disappointment).

In a movie built around the power of regular human beings, Bernie Rose exhibits superhuman qualities for just how human of a villain he can be.

Honorable Mention: Ron Perlman as Nino, Rose's right-hand man, a Jewish gangster who actually aspires to be an Italian gangster, and also owns a pizza shop.

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