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10 Movie Characters That Shocked The World

A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell
Warner Bros.

Over the past century, Hollywood has invented its share of larger than life characters; individuals who take hold of the celluloid and walk away with the rest of the picture - even if its a supporting role. This is no accident. They're cooked up in a lab by a sweatshop of undervalued writers and brought to life by dynamic performances and nuanced direction.

But occasionally, as art is wont to do, a character can serve as an avatar for a political or social statement. Their philosophy is intriguing, even if it's repulsive. And this puts audiences in an awkward conundrum: They're fascinated by this figure, perhaps even allured by their ideas, but at the same time the urge to condemn their onscreen antics is equally compelling.

After all, characters that actually achieve a level of popularity must make one question their own values.

It's no accident that many of these characters emerged at times of great political or social anxiety.

Here are just a few that captured the audience, for better or worse.