You can expect many things when watching a movie made by Joel and Ethan Coen: unusual storylines, beautiful cinematography, witty dialogue, a strange fascination with hair and, above all, unique characters.

In their latest, "True Grit," opening today, the brothers Coen put their signature twist on the Charles Portis novel's lead characters, especially on the aging, one-eyed drunkard Marshall Rooster Cogburn (the role that garnered John Wayne his only Oscar win, and played by Jeff Bridges here). Truer to the novel than the 1969 movie version, the Coens' influence on Portis' characters shine through, as their distinct banter and colorful traits are hard to miss.

But this is just the latest in a long line of characters fashioned by the Coens in their careers. Who could forget the creepy private eye Loren Visser in their 1984 debut feature, "Blood Simple," or Nicolas Cage's memorable performance as small-town crook H.I. McDunnough in "Raising Arizona." Coen characters are diverse and anything but, well, normal. Sometimes the brothers specifically choose their favorite actors, such as John Goodman, John Turturro and Frances McDormand (who's married to Joel), to flesh out zany characters, while other times they cast people you'd never think could pull off what they want, like Tim Robbins or Brad Pitt. Regardless, many of the characters have become fixtures in the minds of cineastes.

Here we've taken on the arduous task of selecting the 10 most memorable Coen brothers characters. Did yours make the cut?
categories Features