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The 12 Best Movie Twins Ranked

Most films are only as compelling as their cast of characters. That's why filmmakers go to great lengths to give their characters interesting traits and personalities. Sometimes, they may be suffering from a mental affliction. Other times, they might have some sort of a physical identifier like a hook hand or an eyepatch. And sometimes, they might have a twin. 

There's something about giving a character a twin that opens up all sorts of storytelling possibilities. Maybe one of the twins is evil and scheming to dispose of the other. Maybe the twins were separated at birth and need to find each other again after many years. Perhaps the existence of one of the twins has been kept a secret all along, or maybe the twins grew up together and had a deep influence on each other's personalities and the plot of the film.

Hollywood and other film industries around the world have long made use of twins to add drama to their stories. Over the years, certain sets of twins have stood out from the crowd and had a major impact on pop culture for various reasons. So let's take a look at some of the most famous twins that movies have given us so far, whether they be identical or fraternal, and find out which two siblings are the best of the bunch. 

12. Ma Yau and Bok Min - Twin Dragons

Jackie Chan is one of the greatest action stars in the history of world cinema. Since his early years, Chan has played all types of badass characters, from lazy students forced to become drunken kung fu masters to city cops who have to use every piece of available furniture in a comical manner to take down their enemies. 

And what's better than one Jackie Chan beating up bad guys? Two Jackie Chan beating up bad guys. Enter 1992's "Twin Dragons." While the film sees Chan going through the regular motions of excellent physical comedy topped off by even better fight scenes, the movie throws an intriguing new element into the mix by having the action star play twin brothers. 

The premise is that Ma Yau and Bok Min, both played by Chan, are twin brothers separated at birth. Although unaware of each other's existence, the brothers share a special connection — one that makes them mimic each other's body movements at certain times. This leads to a lot of comedy early on in the movie and provides an unusually entertaining climax fight in which Bok Min is trapped in a room and has to fight the enemy by proxy through controlling Ma Yau's body.   

11. Charlie and Donald Kaufman - Adaptation

Nicolas Cage is generally considered one of the most eccentric actors in Hollywood, one with a fondness for taking on unusual roles. This made Cage a perfect match for screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who collaborated with the actor on the 2002 meta dramedy "Adaptation," based heavily on Kaufman's own struggles with his creative process.

"Adaptation" focuses on a fictionalized version of Kaufman, played by Cage, and his completely made-up-for-the-movie twin brother, Donald, also played by the Oscar-winning actor. Charlie is a writer struggling to get through his next assignment, adapting Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief" into a screenplay. Meanwhile, Donald is a freeloader who wants to become a writer like his brother. Things get complicated when Donald ends up becoming more successful as a screenwriter, courtesy of a schlocky thriller.

As the brothers work on their separate screenplays, clash heads, and run into big trouble investigating the truth behind Orlean's book, we get to watch Cage at his very best. On the one hand, he's dumb, affable, and utterly sincere as Donald. On the other hand, he's antsy, neurotic, and on the verge of mental collapse as Charlie. In his review, Roger Ebert lavished both the film and the actor with praise, writing, "Nicolas Cage, as the twins, gets so deeply inside their opposite characters that we can always tell them apart even though he uses no tricks of makeup or hair."

10. Anju and Manju - ChaalBaaz

Mark Twain's 1881 novel "The Prince and the Pauper" has long been a source of inspiration for filmmakers. The central premise of the novel, in which two characters who look exactly alike swap lives upon discovering each other, has been used in all manners of films around the world. One such movie is Bollywood's 1989 action-comedy "ChaalBaaz."   

Twin sisters Anju and Manju, played by Sridevi, are separated at birth and grow up in very different environments. While Anju is raised by wealthy relatives, they treat her cruelly and keep her frightened and submissive. On the other hand, Manju is raised in a poor home but learns to be strong and self-reliant. As adults, a series of mishaps cause Anju and Manju to switch places, where Anju finds freedom and happiness for the first time in her life while Manju sets about asserting herself and putting her abusive relatives in their place. 

A bit overlong with a convoluted plot, the success of "ChaalBaaz" rests squarely on the shoulders of its leading lady, and Sridevi more than rises to the occasion. Her alternating turns as the timid Anju and the cocky Manju breathe life into the proceedings, and an able supporting cast makes the entire story into an entertaining farce punctuated by catchy song-and-dance numbers. 

9. Julius and Vincent Benedict - Twins

It's a well-known fact that while identical twins look very similar to each other, fraternal twins often don't look alike at all. The 1988 film "Twins" takes the idea of fraternal twins to the extreme by imagining what would happen if you created twins where one of them gets all the genetic advantages over the other. 

Vincent (Danny DeVito) was raised in an orphanage and grows up believing his biological family abandoned him, whereas in reality, he's the accidental product of a genetic experiment. Meanwhile, his secret twin brother, Julius (Arnold Schwarzenegger), was raised by a scientist in a life of luxury. On his 35th birthday, Julius is told about his sibling and sets out to track him down. At first, Vincent refuses to believe Julius is his twin brother, but eventually, the two team up to find their birth mother.  

Much of the comedy and drama of "Twins" comes from the clear physical differences between DeVito and Schwarzenegger and the idea that they could be twin brothers. The two actors have a surprisingly warm chemistry and a real sense of camaraderie despite having very different acting styles and careers. Together, the musclebound action star and the diminutive comedy legend earned a whopping $216 million at the box office, proving twins can provide two times the laughs and earn two times the cash.

8. The Borden brothers - The Prestige

In the mid-2000s, filmmaker Christopher Nolan was riding high on the success of "Batman Begins." Getting a serious raise in the amount of money studios were willing to invest in his projects, Nolan elected to make a bold new original film, 2006's "The Prestige," a story about warring stage magicians set in the 1890s. 

The rivalry between illusionists Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) starts after the accidental (but preventable) death of Angier's wife. As Angier falls deeper into darkness and vengeance, he becomes obsessed with cracking Borden's ultimate trick — an illusion where he steps through one door and immediately comes out the other. Convinced that there's a secret here beyond Borden using a double, Angier loses himself in spiral of stagecraft, deceit, and scientific horror.

"The Prestige" is a rumination on the cost of creating great art and the sacrifices that artists have to make in their personal lives to create something truly memorable. This is best exemplified by one of the film's final twists. As it turns out, Borden accomplished his trick with a secret twin, going so far as to share a life for decades. The two were so committed to their craft that when one Borden lost his fingers, the other mutilated his own hand to match. It's a decision that leads to relationships falling apart, a decades-long war with Angier, and even death ... but their trick is unparalleled.

7. The Grady twins - The Shining

Twins have long been a staple of horror fiction. You can make one of them evil, a secret clone, an imposter, or give the twins a mental connection they use to terrorize others. Even the mere act of standing still in a scene with your twin next to you can have unsettling implications in a horror film, and there's no better example of this than the Grady twins in 1980's "The Shining."

Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece relies on atmospheric tension rather than over-the-top scary visuals to get a reaction out of audiences. It's this atmosphere of terror that makes for truly startling images, such as when young Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd) suddenly comes across a set of young twin girls who are standing motionless in the hallway of the Overlook Hotel. 

The girls are revealed to be the ghosts of the daughters of Delbert Grady (Philip Stone). Despite looking like a regular set of twins holding hands, everything about the girls, from their expressions to the monotone voice in which they encourage Danny to play with them forever is deeply unsettling. Interestingly, the script for "The Shining" and the novel it's based on both mention that the Grady girls aren't actually twins. But because they're played by twin actresses, they're referred to as the Grady twins in popular culture. 

6. Fred and George Weasley - The Harry Potter series

With its fantastical adventures and memorable spells, the "Harry Potter" series is one of the most successful franchises in the history of Hollywood. But aside from its complex plots and magical world-building, the "Harry Potter" series has given fans a multitude of memorable characters. 

Among the most beloved characters are the twins Fred and George Weasley, played by real-life twins James and Oliver Phelps. Fred and George start out as merry pranksters who can always be depended upon to keep things light. They're also shown to be smart students and shrewd businessmen who start their own immensely successful joke shop after dropping out of school.

But more than their merry-making, fans love Fred and George for their deep sense of loyalty and courage. They're always the first ones to help Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his allies when danger is around. Fred and George stick with Harry all the way to the bitter end, when Fred dies in the middle of a battle against the Death Eaters. Fred's demise sent such giant shockwaves across the "Harry Potter" fandom that series author J.K. Rowling apologized for killing him off back in 2015. 

5. Hallie Parker and Annie James - The Parent Trap

Few child actors have ever managed to make as big an impression with their very first film as Lindsay Lohan did in 1998's "The Parent Trap." The film is a remake of the 1961 feature of the same name, which in turn was based on the 1949 German novel "Lisa and Lottie," and it finds more than a few echoes of the underlying premise of "The Prince and the Pauper." 

Hallie Parker and Annie James, played by Lohan, are girls who bear a striking similarity to each other, but they've never met before running into each other at a summer camp. After a rough start, the duo bond over their shared interests and discover they're long-lost sisters whose parents divorced when they were infants and moved to different countries to raise the girls separately. The twin sisters then decide to switch places in an effort to bring their parents together again.   

"The Parent Trap" has come to be regarded as a classic of the children's film genre, and much of the praise is directed at Lohan for pulling off her double role with aplomb. "Lohan's the soul of this film," Critic Kenneth Turan wrote for the Los Angeles Time, further noting that the young star is adept "at creating two distinct personalities for the unknowing twin sisters."

4. The Twins - The Matrix Reloaded

Sometimes a character doesn't need to have a big role or even say much to make a big impression on audiences. That's what happened with the unnamed twins seen in 2003's "The Matrix Reloaded," who only come into focus during an awesome action sequence in the middle of movie. However, they're remembered as one of the most memorable parts of the franchise. 

Played by real-life brothers Neil and Adrian Rayment, the Twins are ghostly henchmen who serve the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson). Very little concrete information is given about the Twins, but it's believed they come from an earlier version of the Matrix, where the world was populated by monsters. Now, they live in hiding, doing the bidding of their posh boss, which involves fighting against Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne).

The Twins are best remembered for their arresting physical appearance and their ability to fight violently without showing any visible emotion beyond remarking once, "We are getting aggravated." What makes the Twins particularly dangerous is their ability to pass through solid objects at will, resulting in an awesome — if short-lived — battle with Morpheus. They're also pretty skilled at driving, as they give Trinity a tough time on the world's most treacherous highway.

3. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff - The Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe contains a great many tragic figures. Yet few of them have seen as much personal tragedy as Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) Throughout her life, Wanda has lost every person dear to her, and that includes her beloved twin brother, Pietro, aka Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Wanda and Pietro are first introduced in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" as antagonists. They hold a personal grudge against Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) that extends to the rest of the Avengers. The twins work with Hydra to take down the heroes using their respective superpowers of speed and energy manipulation. Yet it's made clear that the duo are simply misled in their beliefs rather than being truly evil.

By the end of the movie, the twins learn the error of their ways and work with the Avengers to take down the supervillain Ultron (James Spader). Unfortunately, Pietro loses his life in the process, and his death leaves Wanda heartbroken. Years later the two are reunited when Wanda encounters an alternate Pietro (Evan Peters) in the town of Westview, only to lose him and the rest of her new family once again. Little wonder that the Scarlet Witch went from being an Avenger to a full-on supervillain after suffering so much loss.  

2. Austin Powers and Doctor Evil - The Austin Powers series

Few parodies have every reached the level of popularity of the "Austin Powers" series, which lampoons the "James Bond" franchise specifically and the spy genre in general. Mike Myers shines as the titular Austin Powers, a swinging, dancing super spy from the '60s who's brought into the modern world to put a stop to the machinations of Dr. Evil, also played by Myers. 

While Austin is the hero of his franchise, it's Dr. Evil who became the breakout favorite among audiences. A parody of Bond villains like Ernst Blofeld, Dr. Evil is a fussy, childish, but still formidable villain. He dreams of holding the world ransom, using one deadly device after another, even though Dr. Evil is never quite sure how modern currency works or what his asking price should be from world governments. 

After chasing each other around the globe for years, it's finally revealed in "Goldmember" that Austin and Dr. Evil are in fact brothers who were separated at birth. This leads to Dr. Evil denouncing his nefarious ways and joining Austin on the side of good. But the story isn't over since Dr. Evil's son, Scott (Seth Green), has a vendetta against both his father and his now-uncle.

1. Luke and Leia Skywalker - The Star Wars series

There are no more famous twins in the history of cinema than the Skywalker duo, Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia (Carrie Fisher). As the lead characters of one of the most successful franchises in the history of Hollywood, Luke and his sister are beloved heroes to several generations of fans.

The only problem is that the revelation of their status as twins came as quite a surprise after a bit of awkward PDA. In "The Empire Strikes Back," we actually get a scene where Leia lays a kiss on Luke, which, when viewed in retrospect, produces the same icky feeling that you get watching Jamie and Cersei Lannister lock lips in "Game of Thrones." 

That bit of weirdness aside, cinematic twins don't get any better than Luke and Leia and the familial love they feel for one another is deep. When their father, Darth Vader (James Earl Jones), suggests he'll turn Leia to the Dark Side, Luke goes on the attack, determined to defend his sister. In "The Last Jedi," we get to see a touching goodbye between the two characters, made all the more impactful due to Carrie Fisher's death in real life. While they come from totally different worlds — one a royal, the other a farmer — the two are united by blood, the Force, and a bond forged in saving the galaxy.