The Top Five Homeless Characters in Movies

The homeless aren’t people to make fun of or deride in any way. They are those that have either made poor decisions in their lives and must now pay for them, or those that have fallen on financially hard times that have left them without the means to afford the luxury of a home. They’re not pity cases, nor aimless, shifty beggars that are looking to fleece anyone willing to give them money. There are exceptions obviously, as there are those who will beg and even steal what they need to get ahead. But in truth a lot of homeless persons are those that have no other choice but to take to the streets and find what they can to survive. In movies the pendulum swings both ways, meaning that some homeless people in the movies are swindlers and others are those that still hold their heads high and at least try to live with dignity.

Here are just a few.

5. Eddie Murphy-Trading Places

It’s never really explained why Billy Ray Valentine is homeless or what brought him to this life, but the truth is that he’s a survivor and looks to swindle and cheat whoever he can to get ahead. Once he learns the value of money and having nice things though he does a complete 180 and becomes a responsible and very conscientious man that is all for giving the Dukes a little taste of their own medicine.

4. Mel Brooks-Life Stinks

Brooks starts out as a rich man but thanks to a bet he makes with a rival he gives up all his wealth and resources to see if he can survive on the street for 30 days. Needless to say he survives, somehow, but when the time comes to cash in on the bet it’s no real surprise to find that he’s been swindled and must find a way to get back at the man that double-crossed him.

3. Thomas Haden Church-Cardboard Boxer

Thomas Haden Church is a seriously underrated actor. In this film he’s shown as a homeless man that can barely read, and can’t read cursive at all. At one point a bunch of rich kids are trolling about the homeless areas looking for those that they can pit against each other as they make bets on the homeless fighting one another. Church’s character partakes of this for a while until he realizes that he can’t do it anymore, and eventually finds a way to get payback on the young men.

2. Bernie Mac-Above the Rim

Flip isn’t the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet but he doesn’t deserve the treatment he gets from Kyle at all. Thankfully Shep is there to back him up when Kyle gets a little too rough, though it’s obvious from the way that Flip walks off that he’s not too happy to see Shep doing nothing about the two young men that were harassing him.

1. Joe Pesci-With Honors

I get this thrill of joy every time I watch a movie in which a pretentious, snobby elitist gets shut down by someone they think is so beneath them. The fun of watching it comes from the realization that just because someone is homeless and even calls themselves a bum doesn’t mean that they are inferior when it comes to their intelligence.

The homeless are those without a home, not mentally deficient individuals that deserve scorn.


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