Lifestyles of the Rich and Crazy: The 10 Best Eccentric Wealthy Movie Characters

Over the weekend, I finally caught Grey Gardens (1975), the documentary about Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale. There really isn’t any other way of saying it- the pair of women were nuttier than squirrel feces. Naturally, it made my synapses turn towards other eccentric and affluent characters. Here are the ten best.

Howard Hughes, The Aviator (2004)
The way of the future. The way of the FUture. The way of the future. The WAY of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future.

Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
His products were potentially lethal at worst and highly damaging at best. He was a rogue, violating all sorts of labor laws with his army of tiny orange minions. He spent all of his money on candy and luring children into his palace of sweets. I love the movie, let’s have no doubt about it, but Willy Wonka was a dangerous man.

Norma Desmond, Sunset Blvd. (1950)

There is nothing normal going on here.

She was desperately clinging to her past fame. She owned a monkey… and then gave it a very proper burial. Her whole world was propped up by bull stool. She was a study in eccentricity in every way imaginable.


Daniel Plainview, There Will be Blood (2007)
Not only was he eccentric and wealthy- his wealth drove his eccentricity. Unfortunately, it’s only over the last half hour that we get to see his full-on madness. But my, oh my, what madness it was. Howling at the top of his lungs about milkshakes; bastards in baskets in reference to his own child; and a really great bowling alley in his basement (and why?). The man had checked out of normal society long ago and he was really letting the chicanery fly.

Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, Grey Gardens (1975)
What’s so shocking about this pair is that this was a documentary. These women were real human beings, not the machinations of a screenwriter using hyperbole to entertain. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it because I wouldn’t believe that these people were real without having seen the documentary.

Bernie Lomax, Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)
How eccentric was he? HE DIDN’T EVEN BREATHE. Your move, Howard Hughes.

Jack Gurney, the 14th Earl of Gurney, The Ruling Class (1972)
Peter O’Toole plays Jack Gurney, a wealthy British heir… who just happens to think that he’s Jesus Christ.

A leg full of beer? Will you marry me, Miss Port-Huntley?

Lady Helen Port-Huntley, The Saddest Music in the World (2003)
If I was a beer heir (or heiress, in this case), I’d be damned if I’d offer someone $25,000 during the Great Depression to make me cry with their music. I might, however, have a prosthetic glass leg full of beer. It just seems like a good idea.

Patrick Bateman, American Psycho (2000)

Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!

Let’s talk eccentricities. Bateman waxed poetic about the Phil Collins oeuvre while dancing around in people’s blood. He showed off his business card as if it was made of gold. His narcissism was perverted and hilarious. Oh, and he was also loaded.


Royal Tenenbaum, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
He shoots b.b.’s at his own kids, mockingly refers to his adopted daughter as not his daughter, fakes stomach cancer, and had his own tombstone engraved with a fantastic obvious lie. Royal, you just made the cut. And that cut came from Pagoda.


Filed under Movies

9 responses to “Lifestyles of the Rich and Crazy: The 10 Best Eccentric Wealthy Movie Characters

  1. Great description of Daniel Plainview.

  2. Don

    OK, I just have to ask this, and it seems like a dumb question to me, but did you not know that Howard Hughes was real too? You only mentioned the Beales as real people, but Howard was too…Just checking. 😉

  3. rtm

    Agree with lots of your choices here. Bateman isn’t just eccentric, he’s well, psycho! I’d add Iron Man’s Tony Stark too, charmingly eccentric and filthy rich!

  4. @da_Rhettster

    When I see Grey Gardens I thank heaven above they never perfected Smell-O-Vision

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