Sometimes the lead of a film is billed as an intelligent character that makes well-informed decisions, leading them on grand adventures or to great glories. At other times, they act like complete fools for comedic reasons or even to advance the plot of the film.


Writers forcing a character to do something stupid, so they can move the plot forwards, is common. Just look at horror films where a character wanders off alone for no reason other than to let the killer get them. This is frequent, but seeing it happen to the main protagonist is rarer.

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7/7 Ron Burgundy (Anchorman)

Ron Burgundy generally isn’t the smartest character in cinema. There are a number of decisions he makes and things that he says that are of questionable intelligence. Whether it was the announcing of his relationship with Veronica on-air right after she asked him not to, or his reading absolutely anything off the teleprompter, there are several moments in Anchorman where Ron is just too stupid to believe, all so the plot can continue.

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The film is outrageous and completely satirical, and so the stupidity of Burgundy’s character can be explained by the fact that the writers didn’t care how blatantly idiotic they made him in order to advance the plot. Still, it is ludicrous the levels he reached while still somehow functioning (mostly) as a human being.

6/7 Jason Bourne (The Bourne Identity)

The entire premise of the Jason Bourne films is that Matt Damon’s character is one of the most intelligent, resourceful, and talented agents ever to exist, if not the single greatest of them all. However, he is shot in the back twice during a botched assassination attempt prior to the events of the first film.

The reason for the assassination failure is that the child of the intended victim was in the room with the target as he was about to kill him, and it made him hesitate. There is no way that Bourne didn’t both know and not care that this man had a child beforehand. A man with this many kills under his belt wouldn’t have behaved in this manner unless it was necessary for the plot.

5/7 James Bond (Skyfall)

In Skyfall, James Bond takes M to a completely undefended area where he is unlikely to be able to protect her. He does this because it is off-grid, yet, the enemy they faced had already demonstrated knowledge of Bond’s past. Why did Bond take M to his ancestral home, which Skyfall villain Raoul Silva must have known about?

All of this wouldn’t be quite such an egregious fault in Bond’s logic if he didn’t then fail to protect M, but Silva gets what he wants and kills her, succeeding in his goals. What does Bond accomplish except acting like a fool and get the person he wanted to protect killed?

4/7 Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

Was Aragorn intent on making a sacrifice of himself and everybody else that he brought to the gates of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings? Because unless he got incredibly lucky and Frodo was creeping up the side of Mount Doom as they stepped forward to face and distract Sauron, it would have been a completely useless waste of all their lives.

This time it all worked out. In a blatant case of plot armor, the earth fell away around the armies of Mordor as Frodo and Sam destroyed the ring, leaving the armies of Gondor and Rohan completely untouched. But this should never have worked. Aragorn and company didn’t even know Frodo and Sam were anywhere near Mount Doom, or alive, at this point. The Lord of the Rings ends on a massive stroke of luck.

3/7 Indiana Jones (Raiders Of the Lost Ark)

Indiana Jones is one of the most famous adventurers in the world, despite being completely fictional. However, nobody has ever claimed that he is an incredible detective, he doesn’t commonly work out complex puzzles, and he generally manages more to entertainingly bumble through his adventures with the help of smart sidekicks.

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However, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he knows that the Nazis are digging for the Ark of the Covenant in the wrong place. Yet, he decides to dig it up from the real place where it lies right in front of them. This was a baffling decision when it seemed unlikely they were going to find it before giving up. He could have just waited until they left and dug it up then.

2/7 Edward Cullen (Twilight)

Edward Cullen has never been accused of being the smartest character in the world of cinema. However, he immediately jumps to the conclusion in New Moon that Bella has died, purely based on a vision by his inaccurate sister.

Jumping to this conclusion without even checking, and then immediately deciding to go to Italy and kill himself because of her death, is simply the most dramatic thing that he could do at that moment. He has been alive hundreds of years. Hee wouldn’t pull such a rash, dramatic decision out unless it was for the story to move forward.

1/7 Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)

Obi-Wan Kenobi makes a lot of interesting, sometime questionable decisions throughout the Star Wars saga. But the entire original trilogy of films wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been dumb enough to leave Anakin writhing in pain, but still alive.

The assumption that Anakin wouldn’t make it off Mustafar was one that cost Obi-Wan and the entire galaxy on a supreme level. A quick hit with his lightsaber on the defenseless Anakin would have ended things there and then. It could be argued that he simply didn’t have the stomach to finish the job, but that is idiotic in lieu of the pain and punishment he would know could come from Anakin’s survival.

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