17. NANCY DREW
WHY HER: The first female hero embraced by most little girls, Drew lived in an endless summer of adventures and unlimited potential.
BEST ACCESSORY: Flashlight.
COPYCAT DESCENDANTS: Scooby-Doo‘s Velma, Veronica Mars.
16. JACK BAUER
TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB: Defusing scary bombs; interviewing terrorist suspects ”the hard way”
WEAPON OF CHOICE: Bare hands (for his patented Jack Bauer sleeper hold)
CATCHPHRASE: ”Dammit! We’re running out of time!”
PERSONAL BAGGAGE: Wife killed; estranged from daughter
14. WILL KANE
WHY HIM: In High Noon, Gary Cooper’s retiring lawman faces down a killer and his goons despite being deserted by the rest of the town.
MOST HEROIC MOVE: When Kane’s last ally gets cold feet, he tells him to go home to his family, and then refuses the help of a teenager.
13. FOXY BROWN
WHY HER: In the ’70s, it was nothing short of revolutionary for a supersexy female vigilante (Pam Grier) to demand payback from every scumbag who crosses her path.
MOST HEROIC QUOTE: ”You just take care of the justice, and I’ll handle the revenge myself.”
COPYCAT DESCENDANT: Rapper Foxy Brown.
WHY HIM: Sure, Peter Parker (played on film by Tobey Maguire) has powers beyond those of mortal men…but he’s just a kid, trying to land a job, care for his aunt, and make nice with his dream girl. And he still finds time for feats of bravery.
MOST HEROIC MOVE: Risking life and limb to stop a runaway el train in Spider-Man 2.
LEAST HEROIC MOVE: That alien-goop-prompted emo strut he whips out in Spider-Man 3.
9. ROBIN HOOD
WHY HIM: As the champion of Sherwood Forest, Errol Flynn best embodies the swashbuckling rogue in 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood.
MOST HEROIC QUOTE: ”Men, if you’re willing to fight for our people, I want you!”
BEST ACCESSORY: His posse of merry men.
WORST ACCESSORY: His green tights.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Fair maidens.
4. HARRY POTTER
WHY HIM: Orphaned, cast out, and in the throes of adolescent hormonal revolt, J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard (played by Daniel Radcliffe on screen) is the embodiment of the corny bumper sticker: Why be normal?
MOST HEROIC MOVE: Obliterating Voldemort by deploying his secret weapons: love, loyalty, and the good ol’ Expelliarmus.
BIGGEST WEAKNESS: Misses his mommy and daddy.
Played by: Christopher Reeve
Film: Superman (1978)
Despite standing for truth, justice, and the American way, the Big Blue Schoolboy (né Kal-El) is indeed an alien. An alien who will compress coal into diamonds, (usually) refrain from using his x-ray vision to see through clothing, and turn back time to save the woman he loves. Also, he’s built like a friggin’ linebacker. —Marc Bernardin
2. INDIANA JONES
WHY HIM: Thanks to Steven Spielberg’s rollicking direction and Harrison Ford’s rough charm, the brainy, brawling Indy is an old-fashioned champion of good who takes us on breathless, timeless thrill rides across the globe.
BEST ACCESSORY: Bullwhip, coiled at the hip.
COPYCAT DESCENDANTS: Romancing the Stone‘s Jack T. Colton, The Librarian‘s Flynn Carsen, Tomb Raider‘s Lara Croft.