The Most Iconic Duos of All Time
- by — Tobias Handke
History is littered with iconic duos. Whether you are talking about real-life people or fictional characters, there have been many celebrated team-ups over the years. These duos are often two very different people whose varied personalities help them combine well as a team. From the weed-smoking pair of Cheech and Chong to FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, the film and TV world is littered with great duos. This also extends to the world of animation, video games, and literature. And let’s not forget reality, where the likes of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and John Lennon and Paul McCartney have made their mark.
So who are the most iconic duos of all time? We’ve attempted to answer that by listing some of our favorites. Enjoy.
1. Batman & Robin
Batman and his trusty sidekick Robin have been together for over 80 years. First debuting as Dick Grayson in Detective Comics #38, Robin has gone through many changes during his time with Batman. While Batman is always Bruce Wayne (for the most part), many different characters have taken the mantle of Robin. As well as featuring heavily in the comics, both Batman and Robin have appeared in animated TV series, video games, and movies.
2. R2D2 & C-3PO
This won’t be the last iconic duo from the Star Wars franchise to feature on this list. Androids R2D2 & C-3PO are responsible for the events of the middle trilogy and play a big part in the films. While they provide comedy relief, they are integral to the storyline and have an interesting relationship that translates well on the big screen.
3. Bert & Ernie
Two of the most popular Sesame Street characters are Bert & Ernie. The idea behind Jim Henson’s creation was to show two complete opposites who have managed to remain firm friends. The sketches involving the two often involved one of them wanting to do something the other was against, and the lessons they learned. While they were not created as representations of the gay community, they have become synonymous with the movement due to the pair’s interactions and the fact that they live together.
4. Mulder and Scully
Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are the leads of the supernatural drama The X-Files. The series focuses on two FBI agents who investigate unsolved cases that dabble in the paranormal. Mulder is convinced aliens exist, while Scully is a skeptic, creating tension in their relationship at first. They soon begin to rely on each other when they find themselves caught up in a far-reaching government conspiracy, eventually becoming lovers. This iconic duo helped The X-Files become a smash hit, with the show running for 11 seasons and spawning two feature films and numerous comics and novels.
5. Calvin & Hobbes
Calvin & Hobbes is the brainchild of cartoonist Bill Watterson. Of the two, Calvin is a playful six-year-old who finds himself getting up to mischief with his stuffed tiger Hobbes. While everyone just sees Hobbes as a toy, to Calvin he is a walking, talking, anthropomorphic tiger. This long-running comic strip appeared in newspapers around the world on a daily basis for ten years during its initial run. It remains one of the most influential comics of all time, often spoofed by newer shows and featuring in many books and documentaries about the evolution of comic strips. It’s so popular that Calvin & Hobbs still appears in newspapers today.
6. Mario and Luigi
When you speak about iconic duos, it doesn’t get any more iconic than these two Italian plumbers. Mario and Luigi are the stars of the Super Mario Bros. video game series. Mario made his first appearance in 1981 as the protagonist of the game Donkey Kong. Luigi first popped up in Mario Bros. two years later in 1983. Since then the lovable pair has appeared in dozens of games and are two of the most popular characters in video game history, helping put Nintendo on the map.
7. Scooby-Doo & Shaggy
These two make a great team and are a well-known famous duo. Shaggy is a bit of a cowardly slacker who is best friends with a dog by the name of Scooby-Doo. Along with their friends Fred, Daphne, and Velma, the group go on adventures and solves crimes. While the heavy lifting is done by Fred, Daphne, and Velma, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy often get involved in mischief concerning food or are chased by a monster or supernatural being. The stoner duo provides plenty of laughs and makes a great animated duo.
8. John Lennon and Paul McCartney
While it all ended in tears, for ten years The Beatles ruled the world. In that time they released 13 genre-defining albums and became arguably the biggest band of all time. Much of their success was due to the songwriting partnership between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They were the heart and soul of The Beatles and one of the greatest duos in history. When their relationship soured towards the end of the 60s, so did The Beatles. The band eventually broke up in 1970 and embarked on their own solo careers. Sadly Lennon and McCartney would never record again. While they remained friendly, Lennon’s tragic death in 1980 put an end to any chance of the two getting together in the studio.
9. Han Solo and Chewbacca
This Star Wars duo is a favorite amongst fans. Harrison Ford’s charming smuggler Han Solo has a roguish quality that makes him so likable. His partner, Chewbacca, is a hairy beast from a race known as Wookies who is a sore loser. While he doesn’t speak English, he communicates in howls and whines which Solo clearly understands. While often bickering, the two have a strong bond that is highlighted when the two are reunited after Solo escapes from his carbonite prison. Chewie hugs Solo like the two haven’t seen each other for over ten years. So sweet.
10. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
These two characters were created by the great author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes is an English detective with a high IQ who solves crimes nobody else can seem to figure out. Dr. Watson is his ever-present sidekick always on hand to help out when needed. The two are best friends who also share a flat, and while Watson isn’t quite as intelligent as Holmes, his contributions to the mysteries they solve are imperative. This iconic duo has evolved from the pages of Doyle’s short stories to movies and television shows, with the likes of Robert Downey Jr. Benedict Cumberbatch, and Will Ferrell having played Holmes, and Jude Law, Martin Freeman, and John C. Reilly having starred as Watson.
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11. Miss Piggy & Kermit
Two of the most successful characters from The Muppets also happen to be dating. Well, they were for the majority of the time they’ve been on our screens. Miss Piggy pursued Kermit the Frog for many years before he finally relented and the two became an item. They split in 1990 before eventually getting back together. Then in 2015, they called it quits for the final time. Despite their turbulent relationship, the two are the most recognized Muppets of all time.
12. Chandler Bing & Joey Tribbiani
The bromance of the 90s features two of the main characters from the sitcom Friends. Not only are Chandler Bing & Joey Tribbiani best friends, but they also live together. Chandler is the smart ass who struggles with the ladies while Joey is the stud who isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the draw. Together they provide some of the funniest moments throughout the 10 series of Friends.
13. Sonny & Cher
Younger readers might not be familiar with this pairing, but during the 60s and 70s, Sonny and Cher were big-time draws in the entertainment industry. They had several big hits, including I Got You Babe and Baby Don’t Go, along with two massive TV shows The Sonny & Cher Show and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. After ten years of success, their partnership came to an end when the duo got divorced, but both remained in the public eye. Cher went on to have great success as a solo artist while Sonny got into politics before his tragic death in a skiing accident in 1998.
14. Tom and Jerry
The classic rivalry between Tom and Jerry is at the heart of these short films from William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The original 161 short features find Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse) trying to get the better of each other. The lifelong enemies always seem to get up to mischief, with Tom usually ending up on the wrong side of things. While the first incarnation of Tom and Jerry ran from 1940 to 1958, there have since been numerous versions of the show released, with several movies accompanying the many TV iterations. This animated delight is still a favorite with kids around the world.
15. Abbott and Costello
Comedy duos don’t get much more influential than Abbott and Costello. The popular pairing of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello became huge during the 40s and into the early 50s. They were the highest-paid entertainers during World War II, helping bring some joy during those terrible times. Their ‘Who’s on First?’ bit remains one of the great comedy routines of all time, while they also featured in 0ver 35 films during their time together. While their popularity declined as comedy evolved in the 50s, the two remain an iconic duo in the entertainment world.
16. Beavis and Butt-Head
Depending on the type of comedy you like might influence how you feel about these two moronic characters. Beavis and Butt-Head is the creation of Mike Judge. The show is about two teenage slackers who are obsessed with rock music, toilet humor, and trying to get laid, although they continue to fail miserably at attracting girls. The duo captured the imagination of the MTV generation and is a satirical take on society during the 90s. There have been eight seasons of Beavis and Butt-Head and a hit film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, with a revival of the animated series set to air sometime later this year.
17. Cheech & Chong
When you think of stoner comedy icons, the first two names to come to mind are Cheech and Chong. The comedy duo of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong found global success in the 70s and 80s with their hilarious Mary Jane influenced bits. Their stoner stand-up routine resulted in the duo releasing a slew of comedy albums that led to their first starring roles in the famous weed comedy Up in Smoke. The two would go on to dominate during the late 70s/early 80s before calling it quits not long after the release of their comedy album and movie, Get Out Of My Room. The two eventually reunited in the mid-00s and have performed on and off since.
18. Thelma & Louise
This movie about two women who have had enough with everyday life really struck a chord when released in 1991. Sick of the way they have been treated, best friends Thelma Dickinson (Geena Davis) and Louise Sawyer (Susan Sarandon) hit the road for a weekend away. Things quickly turn bad when Louise shoots dead a man who is trying to rape Thelma. On the run from the cops, the film details the duo’s friendship and is seen by many as being heavily influenced by feminism. Whatever you think about the deeper meaning of this film, Thelma and Lousie are an iconic duo that still resonate today, while the final freeze-frame shot of the movie will leave you with a tear running down your cheek. Poetic.
19. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse
How could we not include Disney’s favorite characters? Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have been staples of the Disney empire since their debut in the cartoon Steamboat Willie in 1928. Over the course of the next 94 years, the couple has been the face of Disney, appearing in dozens of movies and TV series. Both have received stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and remain two of the most recognized characters in the world. What’s even sweeter is the fact the two still remain together after all this time, with their romance still going strong.
20. Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen
The Olsen twins have had a huge impact on popular culture over their 35 years on earth. The two first came to fame thanks to their appearance on the hit comedy Full House. The twins played Bob Saget’s youngest daughter on the show, Michelle Tanner. The duo quickly found their profile on the rise and featured in numerous commercials, TV shows, and movies during their youth. They built their own media empire alongside several fashion brands that have netted them millions of dollars. While they have shifted their focus from the entertainment world to the fashion world, the Olsen twins remain a driving force in the creative fields.
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