There are three things that guys love. We’re not going to list the first two things, because we’re a family site (sometimes). But number three is monkeys. Apes, to be specific, and trust us, there is a difference. They’re nature’s clowns! That is, unless you make eye contact with them… then they’re tiny monsters with big teeth. But we’re going to get away from our fear of challenging simian dominance to celebrate one of the oddest plot devices cinema has ever given us. While movie fans might be aware of the ape apocalypse, we’re pretty sure that humans will be able to hold their own. We might not be as fast or as strong as they are, but we sure as hell have Navy SEALS. So, with that, we’re going to count down the top 10 movie apes!
10. Dunston (Dunston Checks In)- Let’s make one thing clear: Apes aren’t exactly compelling characters. There’s no Academy Award for Best Chimp, and usually when the plot hinges on any sort of simian, the chances of it being thought-provoking are pretty slim. With that being said, yes, Dunston Checks In did make this list. Sam the Orangutan delivered a compelling performance that complimented Jason Alexander perfectly. Damn it, there aren’t the many memorable apes, O.K.?!
9. Amy (Congo)- Ah yes, Congo. I like to credit this movie for helping me to learn sign language. Of course, the only thing I learned was “Ugly gorilla. Go away!” To be fair, Amy wasn’t a real gorilla, but we’re willing to look past that. While it might be argued that Congo isn’t what we would traditionally consider a “good” movie (in the most academic sense), it still had gorillas and lasers in it. In the end, we have to tip our hats to Misty Rosas for playing a quite convincing Amy the gorilla.
8. Random Ape (2001: A Space Odyssey)- Look, we’ve had our differences in the past with 2001: A Space Odyssey, but when it comes to iconic apes we kinda have our hands tied on this one. Sure, the bone matches up perfectly with the transition to the spaceship and it’s all pretty and junk, but the furball didn’t even have a name, which means that we can’t rightly put it in the top five. Now, now movie nerds, there’s no need to start foaming and chanting Stanley Kubrick’s name. We’re of the opinion that his greatness is just that, an opinion. While we love his other films, this one fails to dazzle us… Despite the monkeys. And that’s saying something.
7. Cheeta (The Tarzan films)- Tarzan has always had his faithful friend Cheeta (or Cheetah or Cheta or Chita) by his side. To be fair, Cheeta isn’t exactly crucial to Tarzan’s heroics, but she certainly provided comedic relief… At least that’s what they called it in the 1930s and 40s. Over the years, 16 chimps stepped into the role of sidekick, and each movie featured different apes in different scenes. So, we’re not going to take the time to recognize all of them—just the ones with the funniest names: Jiggs, Zippy and David Holt. RIP, you magnificent bastards.
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