Ghosts like Nearly Headless Nick from Harry Potter who are in the background or Malcolm from The Sixth Sense who’s front and center in a movie have always intrigued us. Although the thought of an actual ghost can send shivers down your spine, let’s face it, this is humanity’s greatest fantasy. Some of it comes from story writers who ruminate about death and where we go to after we die. Coming back as a ghost seemed like the most creative way to wrap our heads around the question we will never find answers to. On the other hand, thinking is for losers and a good scare is for winners. For those of you who love ghosts and can sleep after watching a scary movie, ghosts are creatures you’d absolutely love to meet.
Here are some of the best movie ghosts:
Héctor Rivera, Coco
The character of Héctor’s is voiced by Gael García Bernal the actor from The Motorcycle Diaries, Amores perros, Y Tu Mamá También, Babel, Coco and Mozart in the Jungle.
Hector’s true identity wasn’t revealed throughout much of the movie Coco, though people would figure his secret out soon enough. Instead, the plot takes us on the journey of the mischievous, good-natured spirit that acts as a much-needed guide through the Land of the Dead for Miguel who is voiced by Anthony Gonzalez. Miguel is a human boy who’s been accidentally transported there. Interestingly, the unique bond that Héctor and Miguel forge is nothing random since Héctor is the long-lost relative that Miguel is seeking to help bring music back into his family. These two characters or should we say ghosts, are made excellently matched duet partners.
Let’s face it, haha, this is definitely one of Michael Keaton’s best roles because it’s so 360 to what he normally does. Beetle juice is a much watch if you want to a ghost who’s half jerk and half feisty making this character lovable in a unique sense.
In the movie, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis die at the beginning of the film and soon become the most confused and relatable spirits ever, because we get confused as well. When they find rules from The Handbook for the Recently Deceased and their obnoxious new occupants of their beloved house, Beetlejuice makes everything very hard while Lydia Deetz played by Winona Ryder gives us a new perspective, when she has a dance party with her ghostly second set of parents.
Anakin Skywalker, from the Return of the Jedi
The ghoulish visage of English thespian Sebastian Shaw stood as the only human representation of Darth Vader. When he appeared to Luke Skywalker at the end of Return of the Jedi, he was dressed in a Jedi robe and had a spooky light blue aura surrounding himself and other revered Jedi ghosts, Yoda and Old Ben Kenobi. The updated versions of Return of the Jedi now have Hayden Christensen standing in amongst the Original Trilogy Force Ghosts–but Sebastian Shaw will always be the definitive Skywalker.
Malcolm Crowe, The Sixth Sense
Haley Joel Osment’s acting stole the show in this movie but you can’t deny that Bruce Willis did an excellent job of hiding the fact that his character was a ghost. Child psychologist Malcolm tried in every way to help the young kid and let’s face it, this movie had one of the best endings in Hollywood history with the line “doesn’t know he’s dead”.
Child psychologist Malcolm (Bruce Willis) chips away at his own issues while helping a shell-shocked kid named Cole (Haley Joel Osment) deal with his terrifying ability to see ghosts and no one will believe the kid.
Cole finally opens up about his “gift” to his mother about how he has to help the spirits that demand his attention and Malcolm has to die in order to realize he was a workaholic who should have paid a little more attention to his wife. Sad, but this is one of the greatest movies that will put your life into perspective.
Sam Wheat, Ghost
Sorta like Malcolm in The Sixth Sense, this ghost needs to take care of the unfinished business he left behind.
Sam played by Patrick Swayze, is just trying to live his best life with his true love (Demi Moore) when he quite innocently calls his asshole co-worker’s attention to some unusual activity at their banking job. Turns out, of course, that the co-worker is caught up in all kinds of illegal stuff, and he’s willing to have Sam killed to keep his secret. Sam’s ghostly task is to take care of the unfinished business he left behind, which includes avenging his own death and watching over his lover until he’s certain she will be safe from the evil forces that ripped him from her side.
Ghost of Christmas Present, The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppets in this warm-hearted take on the holiday classic. Ghosts range from hilarious and charming to downright nightmarish (from the antics of Statler and Waldorf as Jakob Marley to the nightmarish doll muppet mutant that is the Ghost of Christmas Past). But it also gives us the sweetest Ghost of Christmas Present ever. This jovial, forgetful, giant piece of felt and plush is one of the most charming things about the Christmas Classic.
He appears just after the scene where Scrooge (Michael Caine) has relived the moment in his past where he missed out on true love, and his jovial presence injects the movie with Christmas happiness, showing Scrooge how his employee Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) manages to celebrate with his family despite their health and financial struggles.
Casper the Friendly Ghost
Aw, is there a ghost you would rather be haunted by? Wherever you saw Casper in comics, video games or the ‘90s movie Casper, he is an endearing ghost.
Bloody Mary may be spending her time in the ghostly realms waiting to be summoned so she can scare kids but Casper, “The Friendly Ghost” is the white-outlined, smiling ghost who tries not to scare people.
The cute, young, dimpled ghost is kind and understanding, he can shapeshift at will and is always there when you need to have a deep conversation on top of a lighthouse.
In the Harvey comic book series, Casper had friends such as Wendy the Good Little Witch and Hot Stuff the Little Devil. These characters were made benign and kid-friendly with the addition of “good,” “friendly,” and “little” to their names.
Frank’s Ghostly Partners, The Frighteners
Starring Michael J. Fox as Frank, a psychic, he sends his ghostly partners to haunt houses, and then gets himself hired as a ghostbuster. Cool huh?
Frank hangs out with his goofy pals but this R-rated horror movie also get complicated when an actual very bad ghost is involved. Fortunately, by that point, The Frighteners have made it clear that some ghosts can be written as good guys too. Did you know that this special effects-laden movie nudged Peter Jackson down the path to making Lord of the Rings.
The Dead Men of Dunharrow, The Lord of the Rings
One powerful ghost is great. An army of ghosts is epic.
In The Lord of the Rings movies, the Dead Men of Dunharrow are a swarm of spirits cursed to linger under a mountain as punishment for breaking their promise of military aid to Isildur, who is Aragorn’s ancestor. It is when they fight for Aragorn in the war against Sauron, that are they released to their eternal rest.
King Hamlet, from Hamlet
Though ghosts appear in several of Shakespeare’s plays (such as “Mac Beth” and “Julius Caesar”), King Hamlet is among the better known of the Bard’s ghosts and plays an integral part in “Hamlet.” Hamlet may be the central character in the play named after him, but without his father’s ghost, there would be no story.
The ghost who exposes the truth to Hamlet says that he was murdered by his treacherous brother Claudius and asks Hamlet to avenge his death.
While other ghosts move through the afterlife to haunt, King Hamlet is a ghost on a mission. Trapped in purgatory because he died without receiving his last rites, King Hamlet urges his son to avenge his murder at the hands of his brother. This is a ghost with true class.
Frank, Ghost Town
Ghost Town is kind of a murder-free spin of the movie Ghost, and if Ghost was told from the Whoopi Goldberg character’s point of view.
A wry dentist named Bertram (played by Ricky Gervais) emerges from a near-death experience with the ability to see what appears to be every single ghost in New York City. So cool! But he’s mainly paired with one Frank (Greg Kinnear), who needs Bertram’s help to steer his widow away from marrying the wrong guy. Frank’s kind of a pain—in life, he was a bit of a sleaze; in ghost form, he’s still not always totally honest—but he ends up helping Bertram just as much as Bertram helps him as they begrudgingly become friends, and everyone gets the happy ending they’ve earned.
Danny Phantom, from Nickelodeon’s Danny Phantom
Danny Phantom is a half-human, half-ghost who is 14-years old juggling puberty and a secret identity. In addition to all that he is single-handedly responsibility to keep his small town safe from a menacing horde of ghosts. Plenty of ghosts on this list are good hearted, but Danny Phantom is a ghost who’s a hero.