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Top 10 Character Transformations in Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Craig Butler. Sure almost all movie characters going through some kind of personality based or psychological transformations by for this list, we are focusing movies that feature a character undergoing an impressive onscreen physical transformation. Welcome to, and today we are counting down our picks for the top 10 movie transformations. Special thanks to our users sarahjessicaparkerth, Daniel John, Arthur Gleizer, LordJeffries and Andrew A. Dennison, for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Craig Butler.

In a good movie, a character needs to change and evolve; these movies take that idea to a new level. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie transformations.

For this list, we’re focusing movies that feature a character undergoing an impressive onscreen physical transformation.

#10: Weakling to Warrior
“Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)

Captain America wasn’t always Captain America. He started out as Steve Rogers, a scrawny, sickly little guy who was soundly rejected for military service in World War II. Determined to help the Allied cause, Rogers volunteers for a highly experimental “super solider” program. But you know what they say: no pain, no gain. However, we’d say it was worth it in this case, with results that have to be seen to be believed.

#9: Changing for the Ladies
“The Nutty Professor” (1996)

The 1996 version of “The Nutty Professor” is full of transformations. After all, Eddie Murphy’s Sherman Klump – as well as most of the other members of the Klump family – are played by a very much transformed Murphy. But it’s the moments when clumsy, affable Sherman Klump metamorphoses into suave, smooth Buddy Love that take the prize in this hilarious double identity comedy.

#8: Good Truck; Better Hero
“Transformers” (2007)

If “Nutty Professor” was full of transformations, then “Transformers” is jam-packed-to-overflowing with them. After all, the movie is based on toys that change from one form to another. They all make an impact, but there’s nothing quite like the moment when Optimus Prime and the other Autobots make their real selves known to Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox. It’s almost like this is the reason CGI was invented.

#7: Big Green Guy
“The Incredible Hulk” (2008) / “The Avengers” (2012)

It’s not Bruce Banner’s fault that getting him angry turns him from a reasonable, likable guy into a rampaging monster with anger management issues. That’s just what happens when a guy gets stuck in the middle of a deadly gamma ray explosion. As inconvenient as it may be for Banner, audiences are thrilled with his split personality problem; and the transformation sequence is always a highlight of any film that features the Incredible Hulk.

#6: Greed Makes the Gollum
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

Gollum is one of the most fascinating characters in the whole “Lord of the Ring” trilogy. And Peter Jackson brilliantly shows the lengthy transformation from the normal hobbit Smeagol to the creepy Gollum as he’s corrupted by the power of the One Ring, letting the audience observe the startling change over a lengthy passage of time, rather than in one moment. The effect is excruciating yet thrilling; and the viewer feels he is part of the painful process.

#5: Don’t Mess with Mystique
“X-Men” franchise (2000-)

The mutant known as Mystique is a shape shifter, so her entire screen career is about transformations: impersonating Wolverine, Magneto, a United States Senator, Jean Grey – whoever it’s hand. Sometimes using her powers to manipulate others; sometimes using them just to mess with people’s minds, Mystique is a vital ally of Magneto. Picking one single transformation as the most impressive is impossible; it’s the cumulative effect that really counts here.

#4: Pulling Himself Together
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

The T-1000 is the ultimate killing machine. Designed to be unstoppable, it can take the form of just about anything, making it a true master of disguise. Throughout “T2,” the T-1000 takes on a range of identities and shapes, but the most memorable occurs after he has seemingly been blasted into a million molten pieces – but then manages to reform.

#3: Leaving While Still A Head
“The Thing” (1982)

John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is about an alien creature that physically mimics other life forms. The film has its most memorable moment when a doctor is operating on a body, which turns out to be the creature. The grotesque imagery involving teeth where they are never meant to be and a metamorphosis into a head with spidery legs is nightmare-inducing – in the best possible way. Kill it with fire, Kurt Russell – kill it with fire.

#2: A Lengthy Evolution
“The Fly” (1986)

In the original version of “The Fly,” the creation of the title character took place in an instant; in David Cronenberg’s amazingly reimagined version, the viewer watches as Jeff Goldblum’s scientist is slowly ravaged by the effects of his experiment. The transformation takes the bulk of the film’s running time, and every dropping tooth and every piece of skin turning gloppy and gooey, is shown in horrifying, if fascinating, detail.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Becoming an Ass “Pinocchio” (1940)
- What’s Bugging Edgar? “Men in Black” (1997)
- Lights, Camera, Manhattan “Watchmen” (2009)
- The Lady is a Vamp “From Dusk till Dawn” (1996)

#1: From Man to Wolf… Painfully
“An American Werewolf in London” (1981)
Ever since Lon Chaney, Jr. donned fur and fangs in “The Wolf-Man,” werewolves have been enormously popular on screen. While more recent screen wolves, such as “Harry Potter’s” Remus Lupin, carry on the lycanthropic tradition, the top prize for movie transformations remains that in John Landis’ “An American Werewolf in London.” We always knew changing into a wolf had to be uncomfortable, but this film showed us just how involved – and how intensely painful – that transformation could be.

Do you agree with our choices? What other miraculous movie transformations should we have put on this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to


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