5 Memorable Movie Characters with a Napoleon Complex

5 Memorable Movie Characters with a Napoleon Complex

In the world of cinema, height is often just a number. We’ve seen countless spunky heroes, underdog Davids facing their Goliaths, and charming short guys who steal the hearts of many. However, there’s also a unique breed of characters whose frustration with their short stature turns them into little tyrants.

It’s important to note that not all short characters are tyrants. Some, like Tyrion Lannister, are genuinely badass heroes despite their lack of height. But we’re focusing on those who overcompensate for their shortness by displaying a Napoleon Complex. Think of “The Brain” from Pinky and the Brain, who wants to take over the world, or at least their part of it. Here are five unforgettable characters in films who suffer from a Napoleon Complex.

Warning: These guys may not be the most well-balanced examples of humanity.

Vincent Benedict (“Twins”)

While his “twin” brother Julius possesses the strength of ten men and extraordinary intelligence, Vincent has the hubris of ten men. He’s snarky, a hit with the ladies, and racks up debt all over town. However, his character evolves throughout the film, as having a brother who will be his sidekick helps him develop genuine self-confidence to replace his false bravado.

Nicky Santoro (“Casino”)

All it took was a mention of “the little guy” being in the casino, and everyone knew trouble was brewing. Joe Pesci has made a fortune playing gangsters with a Napoleon complex. As Nicky, when he wins, he wins; when he loses, it’s someone else’s fault. He creates his own rules, so how can he break them? In Nicky’s world, everyone else is just living in it. He even beats up Billy Sherbert, played with deadpan seriousness by Don Rickles.

Begby (“Trainspotting” and “T2 Trainspotting”)

Trainspotting is back, and so is Begby, the delightfully psychotic short guy who can hide in a cabinet and jump out at you or go berserk if you forget to bring a deck of cards on a trip. Although based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, where Begby is described as a big dude, the filmmakers couldn’t pass up the chance to cast the 5’8″ Robert Carlyle in the role. His attitude compensates for his size, making the fact that he’s on the short side but acts like a big bruiser all the more enjoyable.

Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

As Senior Undersecretary at the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge had plenty of educational reforms in mind. Played by the incredibly talented Imelda Staunton, this little lady in the pink twin set is quite the tyrant. Don’t let the tea sets and fluffy kitty plates fool you; she has a Napoleon Complex and is mad with power. Thankfully, Fred and George Weasley were around to help put her in her place.

Gus (“Night at the Museum”)

One of Mickey Rooney’s final roles was that of Gus, the vertically challenged, wisecracking, fearless security guard who lets Larry know the score when he comes to take the job as night security at the museum. His nicknames for Larry, like “lunchbox” and “hot dog,” add to the appeal of this supporting character with a Napoleon Complex.

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