50 Movie Sibling Rivalries

Image for 50 Movie Sibling Rivalries

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane

The Siblings:** **‘Baby’ Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) and Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford)

What puts them at odds?** **‘Baby’ Jane was a child star, but later in life found herself overshadowed by the more talented Blanche. But when the latter’s career, and freedom, were ended by a tragic accident, Jane becomes her sister’s keeper.

Families take care of one another, and that’s generally a good thing. But what if you were left helpless and in your sister’s tender hands, knowing that she doesn’t like you very much? What if, in fact, she was losing her mind and developing increasingly violent tendencies? That’s the dilemma featuring Joan Crawford’s Blanche in this classic slice of Grand Guignol. Of course, the on-screen rivalry nicely reflected the stars’ well-publicised real-life antipathy, with reports that Crawford wore weight belts for scenes where Davis had to drag her along and that Davis was a little over-enthusiastic when acting the scene where Jane beats Blanche. The result is an immensely creepy chiller with a multi-layered battle between the two leads.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Godfather II (1974)

The Siblings:** Fredo (John Cazale) and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino)
What puts them at odds? **When younger brother Michael is chosen as head of the Corleone family business, oldest surviving brother Fredo is resentful, and turns to Michael’s rivals for help in reasserting himself.

In most families, resentment is dealt with by years of silence and the occasional insult at weddings or Christmas get-togethers. In Mafia families, however, such disagreements can lead to assassination attempts, conspiracy, betrayal and internecine murder (but only after the death of the siblings’ dear old mum). The moral of the story, then, is that one should try to talk these things out before it’s too late, especially if you’ve known all along that your brother tried to kill you. Oh, and that fishing can be extremely bad for your health.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Adaptation (2002)

The Siblings:** **Charlie (Nicolas Cage) and Donald Kaufman (Nicolas Cage)

What puts them at odds?** **Serious, neurotic screenwriter Charlie is attempting the difficult job of adapting a novel called The Orchid Thief when his more outgoing brother Donald achieves success with a dumb action movie.

There are undoubtedly cases in life where a sibling’s example has spurred someone on to greater heights of success, but there are very few in movies. Generally, when one succeeds onscreen the other comes under unbearable pressure to measure up, and the result is that they crumple into a small heap of failure and addiction to something-or-other. But in Adaptation, Charlie overcomes his professional jealousy and utter astonishment at his brother’s overnight success when the pair are threatened by a homicidal author in a Florida swamp and Donald helps his brother escape. So begins a new and more understanding era in their relationship – which lasts for at least the next few minutes.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Cruel Intentions (1999)

The Siblings:** **Step-siblings Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe)

What puts them at odds?** **Sebastian falls in love and develops a conscience – something that Kathryn cannot forgive.

We never meet the parents of these step-siblings, so we only speculate when we say that they must be awful, awful human beings. Their precocious offspring are so thoroughly corrupt, cynical and amoral that their progenitors must be something along the lines of Hannibal Lecter or there’s no explanation. One would be tempted to suggest that this pair deserve each other save for Sebastian’s redemption when he falls for the saintly (at least in comparison) Annette (Reese Witherspoon). And it’s really important to remember here that they’re step-siblings, not blood relations, otherwise the whole plot wherein Kathryn offers to sleep with Sebastian if he wins their bet goes from rather discomfiting to unbearably gross.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Lion King (1994)

The Siblings: Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Scar (Jeremy Irons)

What puts them at odds? Mufasa is big, magnificent and leader of his tribe. Scar is so jealous, his eyes have quite literally turned green.

The name “Mufasa” means “King” in the Manazoto language. The name “Scar” presumably means “treacherous, backstabbing bastard with a lust for power”, because that’s the appropriate description for Mufasa’s little brother. Bitter, we guess, because he has an English accent like the local birds, instead of lion-like African-American tones, Scar plots against his brother for leadership of the tribe, and shows himself willing to resort to murder for his own ends. It doesn’t end well for him, however, because while Scar might succeed in the short term, Mufasa’s son, a veritable chip off the old block, has the last laugh.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

In Her Shoes (2005)

The Siblings:** **Rose (Toni Collette) and Maggie (Cameron Diaz)

What puts them at odds? Rose, the older sister, is strait-laced and a little resentful of her free-wheeling younger sister Maggie even before the latter steals her precious shoes and sleeps with her boyfriend. Then she gets really angry.

An unusual film that treats sisterhood as seriously as brotherhood, In Her Shoes is not another chick-flick. Two women raised by a bipolar mother, one grows up repressed and sufficiently stressed to italicise an entire encyclopaedia, while the other can’t commit to a job, a relationship or even to overcoming her dyslexia enough to learn to read. But while it takes a total break in their relationship to inspire each to sort out her life, it also becomes clear that neither feels complete without the other. While there are great heels and a couple of love interests in the mix, this is about as far from Sex & The City as you can get. It’s more like Jerry Maguire – if the little kid was Shirley MacLaine and the goldfish was a pair of designer shoes.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Step Brothers (2008)

The Siblings:** **Brennan (Will Ferrell) and Derek Huff (Adam Scott)

What puts them at odds?** **Brennan and Derek are polar opposites, the younger brother (Derek) an unstoppable striver while his older brother languishes in the parental nest.

The stepbrothers of the title, Brennan Huff and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly), actually get along very well once they realise how much they have in common. The real rivalry here is between Brennan and his over-achieving little brother Derek, who has married, produced two beautiful children and taught his brood to sing obnoxiously in close harmony. The slovenly Brennan can’t compete on preppiness or grooming, but finally manages to connect with his brothers thanks to a moving rendition of ‘Por Ti Volare’ at the Catalina Wine Mixer. Music really does make the people come together. Just like Madonna said.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Addams Family (1991)

The siblings:** **Gomez (Raul Julia) and Fester Addams (Christopher Lloyd)

What puts them at odds?** **‘Gordon’ has been raised by a manipulative loan shark as her own son and is sent to pose as the long-lost Addams brother and steal the family treasure. But he really is the long-lost Fester Addams!

Amnesia: it’s not just a problem for your love life or the search for your wife’s killer. It can also seriously mar family gatherings, when clinical forgetfulness leads you to believe you are in fact an outsider who hates your own clan and is out to get them. Amnesia could lead you to lock your family out of the family mansion and reduce them to penury – at least until you get struck by lightning and regain your memory. The Addams would be horrified by the notion of a moral, however, so we won’t draw one from this little tale. We’ll just note that Fester was always a natural Addams.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The King's Speech

The siblings:** **Prince Albert, the future King George VI (Colin Firth) and Prince Edward (Guy Pearce)

What puts them at odds? The small matter of who will run the country after the death of their father, King George V. No pressure.

Bertie, the second son of King George V, never wanted to be the monarch, so you understand his frustration with playboy prince brother Edward, who enjoys the high life and causes a scandal by pulling the eject cord on the throne with the Wallis Simpson affair. The pair bicker about responsibility even as the newly crowned George VI struggles with his unkingly stammer and worries about the crushing weight of the royal gig. It’s the sort of meaty fraternal dispute and personal drama that nabs awards, so we imagine Paul Bettany is still kicking himself for passing on the part, which won Colin Firth an Oscar.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (2004)

The siblings:** **Ronald Joseph Aaron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn)

What puts them at odds?** **Burgundy’s the peacock anchorman at Channel 4. Wes is the central news talent at Channel 9, stuck in second in the ratings. And, as a deleted scene reveals, Wes is Ron’s half-brother. It sort of puts all that talks of Dorothy Mantooth and sainthood into a new light, doesn’t it?

Even if you never knew of the secret connection between Wes and Ron, their burning rivalry is surely enough to hint at a family link. Wes hates Ron – hates him – but goddamn, does he respect him. While the insults flying thick and fast, it’s Wes who comes off worse initially. And their rumble provides for one of the film’s comedy highlights as the clash between the two channels ends up as a massive brawl with various news crews, and at least one trident-induced death. We don’t know what Mantooth will be up to in the sequel, but we’re looking forward to finding out.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

The siblings:** **Mary (Scarlett Johansson) and Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman)

What puts them at odds?** **Mary becomes mistress to Henry VIII, putting her entire family in line for advancement and favour. But as the King’s affections wane, her sister Anne leaps into the breach.

Blame the father and the uncle – or perhaps the patriarchy. Firstly, they tried to set up Anne with the king in order to gain riches and positions of power for themselves. When that didn’t take, they pushed Mary to fill the gap. Then, when Mary was confined following her pregnancy with Henry’s son, the devious pair brought Anne back from abroad and once again thrust her at the King – with first regal and later headless consequences. Even so, one can’t help thinking that if the sisters had talked a little more, they could have avoided all those accusations of adultery, treason and witchcraft against Anne and their brother George (Jim Sturgess).

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Duel In The Sun (1946)

The siblings: Jesse (Joseph Cotton) and Lewt McCanles (Gregory Peck)

What puts them at odds?** **Family loyalty and a violent disagreement over their shared affection for Pearl Chavez (Jennifer Jones) at a time when such things were usually settled with gunfire.

There was already tension between Jesse and Lewt before Pearl is brought to live with their family. Jesse has sided against the family with railroad men, which conflicts with Senator Jackson McCanles’s (Lionel Barrymore) interests. Soon Jesse is ostracised and Lewt is free to make a lecherous run at Pearl, who initially gives in to his advances until he refuses to marry her and goes on to kill the man she does decide to wed. Naturally, everything ends happil… Actually, spoiler alert! It doesn’t end well for Pearl or Lewt.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Weird Science (1985)

The siblings:** **Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Chet Donnelly (Bill Paxton)

What puts them at odds?** **Chet is the demanding, military-obsessed older brother to nerd Wyatt, and constantly blackmails his younger sibling.

It’s John Hughes again, once more finding emotional truth in a bizarre situation. In this case, Wyatt and best pal Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) conjuring up a seemingly perfect woman (Kelly LeBrock) using a computer and a little supernatural assistance. While things soon get out of control, it’s eventually Lisa who solves Wyatt’s sibling problem, briefly turning Chet into a blobby grey mutant creature until he apologises and promises to stop torturing his younger bro. Please note that solving family issues in this way is something that only works in movies, or if you’re related to Dumbledore.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Margot At The Wedding (2007)

The siblings:** **Margot (Nicole Kidman) and Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh)

What puts them at odds?** **Pauline announces she’s getting wed to slacker Malcolm (Jack Black), who Margot cannot stand. Soon, the bubbling cauldron of family secrets and strain comes to a boil as the sisters spar.

Given how much pressure weddings and their associated stresses put on families, it’s a wonder anyone on film agrees to get hitched at all. But when you’ve got a sister as startlingly unpleasant as Kidman’s Margot, you’re probably safer trying to keep her away from the event as much as possible. Who would ever trust that woman with anything said in confidence? Only family could be so blind and unaware. To help build that dysfunctional relationship, Kidman, Leigh and Black all shared a house. Wish we could’ve been a fly on the wall at those improv sessions…

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

America’s Sweethearts (2001)

The siblings:** **Kathleen “Kiki” (Julia Roberts) and Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones)

What puts them at odds?** **Gwen is one of the world’s biggest movie stars, who has split from long-term love Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and taken up with Latino lover Hector (Hank Azaria). Now Eddie is falling for Gwen’s sister Kiki…

This is a frantic, insider Hollywood farce that finds egos flaring like supernovas and multiple layers of double-dealing. Gwen is typical movie star material – blindly egotistical, self-obsessed and driven by passions – while Kiki, working as her assistant, has lost a lot of weight and suddenly looks like Julia Roberts. It’s no wonder there’s competition. Throw in various lovers and hangers-on and you’ve got a headache for any publicist, in this case Billy Crystal’s Lee Phillips. While it’s hardly in the same league as, say, The Player, Joe Roth liked the script so much it became his first directorial job in 11 years, taking over from Crystal.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Warrior (2011)

The siblings:** **Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton)

What puts them at odds?** **There’s history here, but in the short term both desperately need to win the Sparta mixed martial arts tournament to provide for a needy family (Brendan’s own, or the family of one of Tommy’s former Marine buddies).

Testosterone practically drips off the screen in this fairytale about big muscly men learning to forgive one another and express brotherly love via the medium of shoulder dislocation. Both fierce fighters, former Marine Tommy and teacher Brendan have had a tough break: growing up with an alcoholic father forced them to choose between their needy parents and each carries some resentment for the other’s choice. But as they head for a final showdown here, it’s good to know that they achieve some sort of reconciliation by beating seven bells out of each other. The result is enough to reduce the manliest man to manly tears.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

The siblings:** **Danielle (Drew Barrymore), Marguerite (Megan Dodds) and Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey)

What puts them at odds?** **The clue is in the subtitle there: Danielle is supposedly the basis for the Grimm brothers’ Cinders, though only Marguerite in this version treats her step-sister badly; Jacqueline is portrayed as sweet, kind and clumsy.

In what could be called Cinderella: Origins, Danielle is a downtrodden orphan whose stepmother (Anjelica Huston as the domineering Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent) treats her like a servant until our heroine meets Prince Henry (Dougray Scott). Barrymore makes for a pleasingly proactive Cinders, more Merida than the Disney original, and she still deals with plenty of sisterly opposition, with Marguerite a scheming Mean Girl in this forced family. Drawing from both the Grimm brothers’ take and Charles Perrault’s 1729 version, and throwing in some Leonardo da Vinci for good measure, it’s a fairytale with a little bit of added bite amid the schmaltz.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The siblings:** **Ferris (Matthew Broderick) and Jeanie Bueller (Jennifer Grey)

What puts them at odds?** **Ferris is the king of school slacker pranks, and displays a Teflon-like ability to get away with it. Jeanie is endlessly frustrated by this. When he skips school for a day, she aims to prove he’s a truant.

Brothers and sisters often have a tough time getting along, and when your younger bro is a smug, smart and charming brat, it’s even worse. So you can understand why Jeanie might get sick of Ferris’s schemes and try to throw a spanner in the works. John Hughes plays up the sibling tension perfectly here, using it as just one plot in a funny, linked story about Ferris deciding to spend the day in Chicago with best pal Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara). As ever with Hughes, there’s genuine emotional honesty underpinning the comic madness and the Bueller family feels real, but we’re still relieved that a quick snog with Charlie Sheen’s drug addict gives Jeanie a kinder perspective on her errant sibling.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Scanners (1981)

The siblings:** **Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) and Darryl Revok (Michael Ironside)

What puts them at odds?** **Let’s just say they have very different ideas on how to use their incredible telepathic powers.

Everyone remembers the exploding head bit – it’s one of the most iconic horror scenes in cinema history – but the relationship between Vale and Revok goes deeper than that. After all, the former learns that he’s actually the latter’s brother and that their powers are the result of side effects from a drug supplied to pregnant in a dastardly plot to round up and use “Scanners” as security officers. Revok plans to take over the world with an army of Scanners; Vale is understandably pretty iffy about it all. A telepathic duel commences and the outcome, we suppose, sees the brothers united. In a sense.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

27 Dresses (2008)

The siblings:** **Jane (Katherine Heigl) and Tess Nichols (Malin Akerman)

What puts them at odds?** **Jane is sick of always being the bridesmaid, never the bride. When her sister Tess gets engaged – to the man Jane is in love with – she’s enraged.

Her sister is more outgoing, relaxed and bubbly than Katherine Heigl’s Jane herself, but she’s okay with that. What Jane is less okay with is her sister stealing her would-be boyfriend (and boss) George (Ed Burns), especially since she’s done it by pretending to be a vegetarian hiker with a keen interest in the environment. And then Tess merrily books the venue where Jane had always hoped to get married, and cuts up their mother’s wedding dress for good measure. In the circumstances, she should probably consider herself lucky that Jane only sabotages her wedding rehearsal dinner and stops short of actually punching her.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The siblings:** **Boromir (Sean Bean) and Faramir (David Wenham)

What puts them at odds?** **Denethor (John Noble) loved Boromir more. Boromir went off to help the Fellowship and ended up as an Uruk-hai arrow pincushion. Denethor was irate.

Poor old Faramir, a proud warrior who just wants to prove himself and win acceptance from his dad. Sadly, pop has been driven nuts (as we learn in Return Of The King and the extended Two Towers) and even before that, preferred his older brother Boromir. So you can almost sympathise with Faramir when he spots a chance to take The One Ring to Gondor. Despite his desire to please the old man and offer some comfort after his brother’s death, however, he wises up and lets Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) go on their way. Oh, and if his dad’s favouritism for Boromir being the better son wasn’t bad enough, Denethor is also obsessed with someone called Peter in another univ… Hang on, no, that’s Fringe.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Alice In Wonderland (2010)

The siblings:** **Iracebeth of Crims, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway)

What puts them at odds?** **It’s the old story of one queen usurping the other’s throne. The Red Queen rules as a tyrant while the White Queen remains in her own castle, too afraid of her power to fight back.

One has a massive head and the soul of a toddler. The other is a punk-rock princess with a shock of white hair and an overly pleasant attitude that hides a spine of steel. You can see why these two don’t get on. Of course, it all ends like any sisterly dispute: with a whopping great battle, although admittedly few arguments outside Wonderland also feature a Jabberwocky. Tim Burton’s billion-dollar adaptation might hinge on the story of Mia Wasikowska’s Alice, but the warring women drive the plot and in Bonham Carter’s case, offer a lot of the laughs.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

The siblings:** **Dewey (John C. Reilly / Conner Rayburn) and Nate Cox (Chip Hormess)

What puts them at odds?** **Tragedy strikes when seven-year old Dewey accidentally slices his brother Chip in half with a machete. The trauma – and his parents’ reaction to it – informs Dewey’s life as he rises to become a musical superstar.

Of course, it’s a ridiculous incident that sparks all of Dewey Cox’s trouble. What else would you expect from a film that acts as a distinctly underrated (and definitely under-seen) parody of biopics like Walk The Line and Ray? But Reilly plays it straight, dwelling endlessly on the accident that left him “smell-blind” and powered his musical success. It doesn’t hurt that his father (Raymond J. Barry) spends most of the film declaring that, “The wrong kid died!”. With co-writers Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow in full flow (plus plenty of improvisation from the cast), it’s a sweet, silly and ultimately beautiful ride, while serving as a warning that kids really shouldn’t play with machetes.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

The siblings:** **Kym (Anne Hathaway) and Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt)

What puts them at odds?** **A wedding should be a happy event to bring families together, but stress and drama can also lurk around every decorated corner. Especially when the bride-to-be has chosen a friend over her troubled, addict sister for maid of honour and said sis is released from rehab to attend…

Jonathan Demme’s film focuses on one very messed up family, whose patriarch (Bill Irwin) largely refuses to acknowledge its failings. There’s crackling tension between Rachel and Kym, and Kym’s painful, tragic past – including an incident that led to their younger brother’s death – weighs heavily upon the attempted happiness of the wedding as old wounds tear open and doses of salt are poured in. All the performances are incredibly raw and honest, none more so than Hathaway, who was handed an Oscar nomination for her unflinching portrayal of a young woman haunted by her past and scared by her future.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Stardust

The siblings:** **Primarily Primus (Jason Flemyng) and Septimus (Mark Strong).

What puts them at odds?** **On his deathbed, the King of Stormhold (Peter O’Toole) throws a ruby into the sky, decreeing that the first of his seven sons to find it will win the throne. Soon, only two are left in the running.

Squabbling princes Primus and Septimus are just the tip of the fratricidal iceberg in this one, with five dead – but not gone – brothers in between, played as sarcastic spirits by Rupert Everett, Mark Heap, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adam Buxton and David Walliams. Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman distil Neil Gaiman’s fantasy tale for the big screen, and while it doesn’t carry across all the magic, the sibling squabbling – and fratricidal enthusiasm – is a joy to behold. Gaiman himself approved: “It's a parallel Earth version of Stardust, which has Robert De Niro and stuff.” In the end, it’s down to lost sister Una (Kate Magowan) and her son Tristan (Charlie Cox) to take the crown.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Brothers (2009)

The siblings:** **Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal)

What puts them at odds?** **When Captain Sam Cahill goes off to fight in Afghanistan, ex-con younger bro Tommy arrives to live with Sam’s wife Grace (Natalie Portman) and kids. But then Sam is shot down and imprisoned overseas, and upon his return, suspects he’s been cuckolded…

Dealing with a screw-up of a brother must be difficult enough, but leaving your wife and kids to live with him, getting shot down and tortured in a foreign prison and having to come back while dealing with serious PTSD? We can easily imagine why Sam Cahill flips out. Adapted by director Jim Sheridan (and Game Of Thrones TV co-creator David Benioff) from Susanne Bier’s original, it channels all the same fraternal frustration while somehow feeling a little less than Bier’s film. Still, Gyllenhaal’s heightened emotion here isn’t entirely acting, as he learned of friend Heath Ledger’s death in the middle of production and took time out to mourn.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

A League Of Their Own (1992)

The siblings:** **Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty)

What puts them at odds?** **Dottie, who’s pretty, proper, popular and a heck of a ball player, overshadows her younger sister Kit, who is pushing for her own moment in the limelight.

It’s professional rivalry that’s the problem here, although there’s a sense that Kit has been under orders to measure up to her sister’s standards long before league baseball became a prospect. Dottie’s the immediate star, and when she becomes de facto coach of the sisters’ team Kit begins to seriously resent her elder sister’s success and feel that it’s standing in the way of her own progress. Their final confrontation on the field, where Dottie drops a ball and Kit’s new team wins the league, allows Kit the success she’s craved – but there’s always been a question in our minds whether the sticky-handed Dottie fumbled the catch on purpose and gave her sister the victory.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Fighter (2010)

The siblings:** **Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale)

What puts them at odds?** **The early years of boxer Micky Ward’s life saw him living in the shadow of half-brother Dicky. But after the elder man suffers a defeat in the ring and dives into addiction hell and crime, Micky’s star begins to rise.

It’s bad enough to see your own glory fade; it’s quite another to watch someone else – your brother and former sparring partner, no less – achieve much more than you ever could. And when such a situation occurs between brothers who know how to throw punches? Stand well back. Wahlberg was just as frustrated for years with this movie, having shepherded his passion project through financial struggles and multiple directors (he wanted Scorsese, and had Darren Aronofsky attached for a while) before Bale suggested David O. Russell. The resulting film scored six Oscar nominations and statuettes for Bale and Melissa Leo as the lads’ mother. We like to think that its success is down to the brothers’ decision to bury the hatchet and work together.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Ginger Snaps (2000)

The siblings:** **Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle)

What puts them at odds?** **Ginger’s bitten by a lycanthrope and starts to turn into a werewolf, with accompanying paranoia, anger-management issues and murderous tendencies.

The Fitzgerald sisters are so alike! Unhealthily obsessed with death, a bit weird, fond of black. Then Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf and it all goes from Goth to gory. Soon there’s a body in the freezer, a couple more around the school and a disembowelled boy in the pantry. Brigitte is then in the tricky position of being stalked by a vicious beast that is also her beloved sister. This does not make for comfortable conversation around the family dinner table.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Sixteen Candles (1984)

The siblings:** **Samantha (Molly Ringwald) and Ginny Baker (Blanche Baker)

What puts them at odds?** **Sam is trying to celebrate her 16th birthday, but her family are too caught up planning older sister Ginny’s wedding to notice – or even remember.

Coming of age agony. Romantic complications. Panties. It might sound like something out of the American Pie years, but this is John Hughes in his directorial debut at the beginning of a heck of a run. Ringwald cemented a working relationship with the director that later brought the world The Breakfast Club and (albeit only Hughes-scripted) Pretty In Pink. It’s an often honest portrayal of teenage frustration and family failings, laced with sibling issues as Sam’s older, seemingly sorted sister spurs the younger to embrace life.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

The siblings:** **Chas (Ben Stiller), Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Richie (Luke Wilson)

What puts them at odds?** **The pressures of growing up as child geniuses in the Tenenbaum household have driven the three gifted Tenenbaums – businessman, playwright and tennis player respectively – into mature failure and isolation from one another.

The sibling rivalry isn’t immediately obvious in Wes Anderson’s examination of this overachieving clan of New York intellectuals, but it’s there all the same as the three offspring compete for their parents’ attention even in adulthood. All driven back into the maternal nest by various crises, they lick their wounds and find a renewed sense of family as they forgive their errant father for past misdemeanours and consider starting a relationship (in the case of the adopted Margot and Richie, at least). The rivalry, ironically, is best given voice by clan outsider Eli Cash (Owen Wilson), who always wanted to be one of the Tenenbaums and never quite managed it.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Stuck On You (2003)

The siblings: Bob (Matt Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear) Tenor

What puts them at odds?** **Bob and Walt are conjoined twins, so when Walt pursues his dream of becoming a Hollywood star, Bob is dragged along for the ride.

Having a family is hard enough when you only see them semi-regularly. But when your brother is attached to you at all times, your differing interests can really put a strain on the relationship. So it is for conjoined twins Bob and Walt, as their closeness (both physical and otherwise) is put under pressure when they head to Hollywood in pursuit of Walt’s acting career. The Farrelly brothers’ film is ridiculous from soup to nuts, as you’d expect, but it has a warm heart under all the silliness and Cher cameos.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

W. (2008)

The siblings:** **George W. (Josh Brolin) and Jeb Bush (Jason Ritter)

What puts them at odds?** **One is the child groomed for political life and encouraged by his family to rise up the ranks. The other becomes President of the United States of America.

The real-life tension between America’s most misunderestimated President, the man who single-handedly won the war in Iraq, and his brother Jeb is a relatively small part of Oliver Stone’s film about Dubya. But it’s there, driving some of the elder Bush’s ambition and pushing him to transform from a college drunk and make something of himself. While we might have been better off with Jeb as the leader of the free world, the former Florida governor hasn’t ruled out making a run in 2016, although he has yet to make a formal announcement on the matter. Stone brought the difference between the two to vivid life, which is impressive considering Brolin’s natural charisma.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Prince Of Persia (2010)

The siblings:** **Nizam (Ben Kingsley) and Sharaman (Ronald Pickup)

What puts them at odds?** **Nizam wants the Kingdom for himself; Sharaman isn’t aware of this until Nizam engineers his murder.

The rivalry here is mostly off-screen, but it boils down to this: Nizam’s fed up of being number two and decides to take the throne for himself. There are only three tiny problems: his brother and two nephews. Oh, and adoptive nephew Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) who twigs the whole scheme and after many adventures (and some fights with his own brothers) travels back in time and unwinds Nizam’s entire scheme with a magical doohickey. Of course, Sharaman should have known all along. There has never been a Grand Vizier-type who’s been anything but bad news.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

East Of Eden (1955)

The siblings:** **Cal (James Dean) and Aron Trask (Richard Davalos)

What puts them at odds?** **The moody, bitter Cal is obsessed with the idea that his father Adam (Raymond Massey) loves his brother Aron more than him.

A retelling of the Cain and Abel story, this is fraternal friction on a Biblical level. Set in 1917 as World War I rages, the brothers compete for daddy’s affections through business, and spar over their feelings for Abra (Julie Harris), who becomes engaged to Aron but secretly loves Cal. The stress leads to Adam suffering a stroke, which actually helps knit the family back together. The tension onscreen was created partly through director Elia Kazan encouraging Dean to get drunk for emotional moments, which led to the actor provoking Massey so the father-son conflict had more spark to it.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Home Alone (1990)

The siblings:** **Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and Buzz McCallister (Devin Ratray)

What puts them at odds?** **It’s a pure sort of sibling rivalry, this one: they just hate each other because they’re different ages and at different stages of development.

These two just don’t get along. It may be partly down to the fact that Kevin’s an insufferable know-it-all with a smart mouth and Buzz is a natural bully without a smart anything, but really we suspect that even if they were more alike there’d still be friction. There’s only room for one alpha male among the McCallister offspring, and at an age where siblings are almost guaranteed to fight, these two were always going to rub one another the wrong way. What’s more, we can’t help feeling that Kevin might have a point: how come Buzz gets a pet deadly spider and Kevin gets nothing comparable?

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

A History Of Violence (2005)

The siblings:** **‘Tom Stall’ / Joey Cusack (Viggo Mortensen) and Richie Cusack (William Hurt)

What puts them at odds?** **Years before, Joey’s penchant for violence left his brother Richie in hot water with the mob in Philadelphia – but Joey vanished. When Richie rediscovers him, he’s still holding a grudge.

It’s one thing to renounce violence, change your identity and go into hiding. It’s quite another to renounce family, and it turns out here that Joey Cusack’s brother took it rather personally when his troublemaking family member disappeared. The usually rather cuddly Hurt gives a chillingly vicious turn here as Richie, the brother who was left behind and who saw his own Mob career suffer following his brother’s actions. Violence clearly runs in this family, and the extent of Richie’s grudge makes it clear to Tom/Joey that only one sibling is likely to walk out of the room alive. It’s like Thunderdome for brothers.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Hannah And Her Sisters (1986)

The siblings:** **Hannah (Mia Farrow), Lee (Barbara Hershey) and Holly (Dianne Wiest)

What puts them at odds?** **Lee has an affair with Hannah’s husband; Holly borrows money from her sister before marrying Hannah’s ex.

This is a Woody Allen film, so here is the sort of sibling relationship that involves a lot of talking and hand-waving rather than the sort that devolves into violence. Everyone’s analyst gets a work-out, as successful actress and generally pulled-together sister Hannah props up her messier siblings and deals with the fallout from their emotional entanglements. That support holds even when she gets pulled into their tangled weave via her philandering husband. One of Allen’s best films, this remains funny and unexpectedly warm, but it’s the darker, sadder undercurrents that really give the characters a sense of life.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Man In The Iron Mask (1998)

The siblings:** **Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Philippe (Leonardo DiCaprio)

What puts them at odds?** **As soon as the Queen of France (Anne Parillaud) gives birth to twins, one is spirited away to be raised elsewhere lest there be a succession crisis. In adulthood, this lost brother, Philippe, is stuffed into an iron mask so no-one will see his similarity to the King.

Poor Philippe. While his brother gets to cut a swathe through the noblewomen of Europe, live in luxury and generally be the King, he is given a permanent ferrous facial and packed off to prison. Who’d be a twin? In fairness, the younger brother’s imprisonment here is more a matter of political expedience than personal malice, but Louis doesn’t exactly bend over backwards to right any wrongs when informed of his brother’s existence – and he’s so callous that it’s hard to argue when four musketeers decide to stage a quiet fraternal coup.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Hamlet (1948)

The siblings:** **Claudius (Basil Sydney) and King Hamlet (voiced as a ghost by Laurence Olivier)

What puts them at odds?** **Claudius decides to off his brother and marries his wife, Gertrude (Eileen Herlie), which doesn’t sit well with Prince Hamlet (Olivier). But can our hero prove the foul deed?

Admittedly, one of the brothers here has been dead for about a month before the play even starts, but it’s the alleged fratricide (which – spoiler for those who haven’t read the original Shakespeare – turns out to be very real) that sets everything else in motion, leading to a blood-soaked tragedy of ever-increasing proportions. That’s just how Elizabethan audiences liked it and how Laurence Olivier adapted it. So a royal sibling kills his brother and his king, takes over the throne and marries his brother’s widow. It’s a bit more serious than your sibling breaking your favourite toy, whichever way you look at it. Luckily (or perhaps not), young Hamlet is there to ferret out the truth (with the help of his father’s ghost) and mete out justice.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

The siblings:** **Martin (Jake Thomas) and David (Haley Joel Osment)

What puts them at odds?** **When Martin awakes from a coma, his parents no longer need robotic substitute son David. They abandon him on the side of a road.

Technically, this is not a sibling relationship at all, but the way in which David is dealt with here serves as a microcosm of many family battles: one son is loved whatever his condition; the other finds that the affection shown to him is only an afterthought when his ‘brother’ is not available. It all ends tragically for David, abandoned by the woman he considers his mother when she chooses her real son over the robot boy. But David’s love is steadfast, and endures through millennia under the ice, the end of civilisation and his rediscovery by robots. The heart-rending ending (envisaged by Kubrick and not Spielberg) sees David briefly reunited with his mother and finally given his own moment of family love.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Dead Ringer (1964)

The siblings:** **Twins Kate and Patricia Bosworth (both Bette Davis) / Margaret DeLorca and Edith Phillips (ditto)

What puts them at odds?** **In A Stolen Life, Kate replaces her sister after she’s washed overboard during a sailing trip. Dead Ringer finds Edith murdering Margaret and assuming her rich life – so the same basic idea.

Davis seems to have an affinity for playing twins, doing it twice to acclaim. As if mirroring the leads, these two films also have near-identical plots – how thematic! Stolen Life chronicles what happens when a woman assumes her sister’s life and moves in with her husband, who she also loved back in the day. Dead Ringer has more of a crime noir feel, with Edith Phillips’ scheme unravelling when old boyfriends come back into the picture and complicate matters. It’s almost as if both films are trying to tell you that it’s a bad idea to kill or replaced your twin. That, or it’s a warning that one of every set of twins is born evil.

Which sibling is your favourite in A Stolen Life?
Which sibling is your favourite in Dead Ringer?
Back to the menu

Ran (1985)

The siblings:** **Taro (Akira Terao), Jiro (Jinpachi Nezu), and Saburo (Daisuke Ryû) of the once-mighty Ichimonji clan.

What puts them at odds?** **This Japanese reworking of King Lear sees Lord Hidetora Ichimonji decide to divide his kingdom among his three sons, a plan denounced by the youngest, Saburo, as foolishness.

Akira Kurosawa didn't precisely intend to re-imagine King Lear here - he was inspired by a real slice of Japanese history - but the results were much the same. After his father decides to divvy up his kingdom between his three sons, it turns out that youngest son Saburo was right to denounce it as a bad idea, and the kingdom soon dissolves into war and chaos. Taro’s wife uses the transfer of power to seek revenge for past wrongs by turning the brothers against their father and one another, and a lifetime of tyranny bites both the aging ruler and his sons in the ass. If you thought Shakespeare’s warring daughters got nasty, you ain’t seen nothing until these warlords take sibling rivalry to a bloody, massacre-filled new level.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

The siblings:** **Kat (Julia Stiles) and Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik).

What puts them at odds?** **Bianca wants a normal school life – boys, dating, parties. Kat is more of a… how shall we put it, “heinous bitch” in the view of the school’s men.

The Taming Of The Shrew is not so subtly reimagined in this successful rom-com, which finds Bianca and Kat bickering over the freedom they’re allowed. Their father Walter (Larry Miller) has hit upon a genius idea to stave off teen pregnancy: Bianca can’t date until Kat does. Cue screaming matches! But then Kat meets the rebellious, charming Patrick Verona (the late, lamented Heath Ledger, who could fill lakes with his buckets of charm here) and everything takes a turn for the flirtatious. Nothing like finding the prospect of love to warm a family’s heart. And terrify a father…

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Prince Of Egypt (1998)

The siblings:** **Rameses (Ralph Fiennes) and adopted brother Moses (Val Kilmer)

What put them at odds?** **A burning bush.

Once, this pair were inseparable, racing their chariots around the half-built temple and having a merry old time. Then Moses learns the truth of his ancestry, accidentally kills an Egyptian guard and runs away into the desert to become a shepherd. After an encounter with some flaming shrubbery / the Almighty, he returns to lead his people to the Promised Land. Rameses has different ideas about letting his entire slave population bugger off, and so the stage is set for a quite-literally Biblical confrontation. If you’re wondering who to bet on, it’s the one with a direct line to Jehovah.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Ordinary People (1980)

The siblings:** **Conrad (Timothy Hutton) and Jordan “Buck” Jarrett (Scott Doebler)

What puts them at odds?** **It’s tough when your older brother is the crown jewel of the family and you largely live in his shadow. But what happens when he dies? For Conrad, that means the heavy weight of survivor’s guilt and a suicide attempt.

Robert Redford proved himself as a director with his very first time behind the camera. The painful family fallout from their older son’s death and the twisted emotions that followed saw Redford win Best Director and Hutton Best Supporting Actor, while the film took Best Picture and Best Adapted screenplay along with two other nominations. It’s not tough to see why. Adapted by Alvin Sargent from Judith Guest’s book, this is an unflinching look at a young man’s breakdown and recovery following his brother’s death, and the impact on everyone around him.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Legends Of The Fall (1994)

The siblings:** **Alfred (Aidan Quinn), Tristan (Brad Pitt) and Samuel Ludlow (Henry Thomas)

What puts them at odds?** **When Samuel brings home a girl from college, Susannah (Julia Ormond), both his brothers fancy her, but she and Tristan can’t quite help themselves from getting it on.

Ah, l’amour, that perennial thorn in the side of previously close families. The gorgeous Julia Ormond manages to thoroughly tear through this lot, falling madly in love with Tristan even after she’s engaged to Samuel. All three brothers go off to fight in World War I, but Samuel’s death just makes everyone more tortured and tormented (albeit still ravishingly handsome). Cue agony, scalpings, grief, an ill-advised marriage between Susannah and Alfred, guilt, bootlegging and a fight with a bear. “Thou shalt not covet thy brother’s wife” is good advice for a reason, guys.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

The Lion In Winter (1968)

The siblings:** **Richard (Anthony Hopkins), Geoffrey (John Castle) and John (Nigel Terry)

What puts them at odds?** **It’s 1183, and scheming King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) plays his three sons off against each other to find a successor. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

As Stardust proves, having Peter O’Toole as king means the kids are going to be end up jostling for the throne. This episode is more historically based, however. While the majority of the plot is taken from James Goldman’s play, the destiny of the various princes is accurate: Richard becomes King but dies young; Geoffrey pre-deceases him, and John eventually takes the throne to Robin Hood-bothering effect. Lion In Winter draws together truly great actors, with Katharine Hepburn as formidable queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and even a young Timothy Dalton as the King of France, and won three Oscars for Hepburn, Goldman’s adaptation and John Barry’s score.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Legend Of The Guardians (2010)

The siblings:** **Soren (Jim Sturgess) and Kludd (Ryan Kwanten)

What puts them at odds?** **After the brothers are abducted by the “Pure Ones” at a young age, Kludd buys into their philosophy and trains as a soldier, while Soren continues to believe in the saintly Guardians of Ga’hoole.

Look, just because they’re surrounded by a whole lot of silly nomenclature doesn’t mean that their sibling rivalry is any less valid. Boiled down to its essence, this owl story sees two brothers choose rival ideologies, with devastating consequences for their family and in particular younger sister Eglantine, who ends up “moon-blinked”. Hmm, maybe we can’t get past the silly names after all. Anyway, she’s reduced to a fugue state and it turns out that Kludd is responsible. Gasp! Will these two ever reconcile? Only if they make a sequel and the apparently-doomed Kludd manages to survive somehow...

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

The siblings:** **Anna (Abigail Breslin) and Kate Fitzgerald (Sofia Vassilieva)

What puts them at odds?** **Anna was conceived and born to be a match for her sick older sister, in order to provide blood, tissue and organs as needed. But Anna finally sues for control of her own body and her own life.

This is a case where one sister is entirely justified in feeling aggrieved by the other: Anna’s whole life has been about keeping her older sister alive. Bred and harvested for Kate’s medical needs, it would be hard to blame Anna in her quest for medical emancipation from her parents. But there’s a shock twist! (Look away now if you have neither seen the film nor read the book and/or care) Anna’s actually acting at Kate’s behest, with the elder sister determined not to fight to stay alive any longer, especially at the cost of her younger sister’s kidney. So in the end this is less about sibling rivalry as mother vs. daughters conflict. Still, we’re putting it in here because it’s a rare case where one sister is actively conceived for the other's benefit, which has got to cause some issues.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Deadly Sibling Rivalry

The siblings:** **Callie and Janna Chalmers (both Charisma Carpenter)

What puts them at odds?** **Years after their father’s tragic, suspicious death, Janna is a successful businesswoman, while twin sis Callie is a lying, criminal tramp. Bet you can’t guess what happens.

We couldn’t resist including this one just for the title. It’s a TV movie for the Lifetime channel that appears to have been shot on a budget to which a shoestring would offer to lend money. One sister is rich and successful, but tortured with guilt after she accidentally caused her father’s death (or did she?!); the other is a trashy criminal. Can you guess where this is going? Evil twin Callie causes a crash that leaves Janna in a coma, and then pretends that she’s Janna so she can take over her affluent life. You can probably guess the resulting twists, which include amnesia and murder by, er, giant freezer. Firmly in the so-bad-it’s-fun category, let’s just say no-one is winning awards for this and leave it at that.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland

The siblings:** **Joan Fontaine and, er Olivia de Havilland.

What puts them at odds?** **How much time have you got?

This is not an on-screen feud, although both are famous actresses. Instead, real-life star-sisters Fontaine and de Havilland have a near-constant conflict that seemed to stem from childhood. Olivia was unhappy that the pitter-patter of tiny feet meant the arrival of a younger sister, and a soon-mutual antipathy shaped years of bitter spats. The sisters vied for roles and awards, and demanded that their friends in Golden Age Hollywood also take sides. They even fought over their mother’s funeral. Though at times both have claimed that others invented or exaggerated some of their clashes for the sake of PR, the fact remains that they live on different continents and have barely spoken since 1975, even refusing to attend events if there’s a chance the other might show up. Now that’s a fight.

Which sibling is your favourite?

Back to the menu

50 MOVIE SIBLING RIVALRIES
The brothers and sisters who just can’t seem to get alongWith Thor: The Dark World approaching its release and the warring siblings Thor and Loki adorning this month's Empire cover, it seemed like a good time to take a look at other sibling rivalries in cinema history. These family feuds run the gamut from murderous to mawkish, in everything from broad comedy to (of course) Shakespearean drama. Read on to see if you can spot your family-alikes in this selection, and choose the sibling you're inclined to side with...

  1. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? 19. Scanners 37. A History Of Violence 2. The Godfather II 20. 27 Dresses 38. Hannah And Her Sisters 3. Adaptation 21. The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers 39. The Man In The Iron Mask 4. Cruel Intentions 22. Alice In Wonderland 40. Hamlet 5. The Lion King 23. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story 41. A.I. Artificial Intelligence 6. In Her Shoes 24. Rachel Getting Married 42. A Stolen Life / Dead Ringer 7. Step Brothers 25. Stardust 43. Ran 8. The Addams Family 26. Brothers 44. 10 Things I Hate About You 9. The King's Speech 27. A League Of Their Own 45. The Prince Of Egypt 10. Anchorman 28. The Fighter 46. Ordinary People 11. The Other Boleyn Girl 29. Ginger Snaps 47. Legends Of The Fall 12. Duel In The Sun 30. Sixteen Candles 48. The Lion In Winter 13. Weird Science 31. The Royal Tenenbaums 49. Legend Of The Guardians 14. Margot At The Wedding 32. Stuck On You 50. My Sister's Keeper 15. America's Sweethearts 33. W. 51. Dishonourable Mention 16. Warrior 34. Prince Of Persia 52. Real-Life Bonus 17. Ever After: A Cinderella Story 35. East Of Eden 18. Ferris Bueller's Day Off 36. Home Alone Empire Breaking Back Interviews EMPIRE'S THOR: THE DARK WORLD ISSUE! OUT NOW!
    Thor vs. Loki! On set for the biggest ever superhero sibling smackdown.
    Click here to subscribe to Empire magazine today or download the digital edition.