Werewolves haven’t enjoyed quite as much popularity as vampires in the movies. Perhaps this is because the image of the vampire has become more seductive while many still cannot see the appeal of a wild beast. Nonetheless, there are some movies which have tackled the topic well and created characters which capture the complexity of a human not in full control of themselves. Here’s a sampling of famous movie werewolves, again appearing mostly before 2000.

Will Randall (Jack Nicholson) – Wolf:

Few actors can bring quite so much conviction into a role as Jack Nicholson, and this was no exception. Will Randall, while not completely comfortable with his transformation, doesn’t dislike the heightened senses and other benefits it brings. In fact, at one point, he relishes in them. He is a savage businessman, and revels in this new savagery to other aspects of his life.

Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) – The Wolf Man:

Over the years, werewolves have undergone a dramatic change in the movies to become more animalistic in nature. This was one of the iconic movies to introduce a partial transformation, in which the character retained human characteristics, with the wolf-like qualities restricted mainly to the hands and face. Unfortunately for Lon Chaney Jr. he portrayed the role so well that he was typecast for the rest of his career.

Ginger & Brigitte Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle & Emily Perkins) – Ginger Snaps:

While this movie was made in 2000, it just had to be on the list. These two young actresses gave a stellar performance in what many have termed a coming of age tale wrapped up in the cloak of a horror movie. The lead character of Ginger especially managed to capture the two qualities of vulnerability and dangerous allure.

David (David Naughton) – An American Werewolf In London:

Few true horror movie fans could have missed this movie, and David Naughton gives a compelling performance as the all American, slightly goofy lead character. Bitten by a werewolf on a lonely moor, he goes through the requisite denial and disbelief but must ultimately face facts. David leaves you wishing that there could be a happy ending for him, even though you know in your heart that it’s not going to happen.