Movie heroes get the lion’s share of the glory, but they don’t always deserve it. So often, they run blindly into the fray, hurtling headlong into adventure, and while them being front and center undoubtedly makes them the star of the show, there’s almost always at least one person standing behind them that really deserves more of the limelight.
For practically every larger-than-life hero, there’s at least one sidekick that’s perhaps more deserving of their place at the forefront of the story. They’re always there, allowing their respective protagonists to stand on their shoulders in order to achieve their goals.
Usually, these supporting characters do so without any thought for personal glory, and all too often their protagonist pals seem entirely comfortable with disregarding their input. But here at Corner of Film, we believe that minor characters can shape their movies, and that underappreciated supporting ones deserve to be recognized as the heroes they are – so here are 10 supporting characters who are actually the unsung heroes of their respective films.
10. Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir – Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones may have made it onto our list of underrated movie franchises, but its titular hero is anything but underrated. In fact, Indiana Jones himself may be iconic, but sometimes he’s downright inept, and it’s often his sidekicks that end up saving the day just as much as the fedora-wearing, whip-toting adventurer.
One such sidekick is Sallah, who is featured in both Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade played by John Rhys-Davies. He’s a loud and mostly gentle figure who mostly tries to stay out of the trouble that Indy causes, but – as is often the case with sidekicks of adventurer types – almost always gets dragged into the fray.
However, Sallah is a key player in the Indiana Jones franchise, and while the term “hero” may be something of a stretch, he’s certainly far more important than he gets any credit for. Particularly in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Sallah is instrumental in helping Indy find the Ark: he has all the contacts in Cairo that allow Indy to decipher the medallion and find the correct location to dig, and helps him organize locals to dig in the correct place. However, he’s also responsible for saving Indy’s life more than once in Raiders of the Lost Ark alone.
First, he saves the franchise’s hero from eating the “bad dates” that had killed his monkey – presumably poisoned – and second, he sends his own children into the line of fire to rescue a grieving Indy from rifle-wielding Nazis. Child endangerment aside, Sallah’s actions certainly saved his friend’s life, enabling the archaeology professor to enjoy many more years of adventuring, and so he deserves a little more recognition.