Real estate agents are not spies like James Bond. They’re not gods like Thor or space renegades like Han Solo. They’re not Old West cowboys or political leaders.

But they are, it turns out, in all sorts of movies.

Though agents may not have the kind of job that obviously translates into cinematic action, they’re both the background characters and protagonists of films in virtually every genre. Sometimes agents are villains, other times protagonists. But whatever the case, the profession has proven a rich well for screenwriters looking to explore ideas about love, death, home, aging, parenthood and more.

In honor of this Sunday’s Academy Awards, Inman decided to dive into cinema history and look at both the best and worst agents on screen. At the one end, there are agents who are literal monsters and murderers. And at the other, there’s a real life Dorian Gray.

A few notes, though. First, this list is not comprehensive. There are hundreds of movies that feature real estate agents and we didn’t have time to go that deep. If your favorite real estate movie didn’t make the cut, let us know in the comments.

And second, all rankings are subjective. In an effort to bring some rigor to this particular project, we looked at agents based on their enthusiasm, helpfulness to their clients, ethics and personality. But it’s still tough to compare agents in realistic movies with agents in, say, sci-fi or horror flicks.

This is also not a ranking of movie qualities. Some very low quality movies feature agents that perform their duties well, and some good movies feature absolutely terrible agents. So, we’re looking here at how well these cinematic agents perform, not if they’re part of a well-told story. Also, be forewarned, spoilers ensue.

So here is the best and worst of what Hollywood has to offer:

42. Vivarium (2019): Martin

Vivarium is a sort of cerebral horror movie, so it’s not surprising that real estate agent Martin, played by Jonathan Aris, is immediately creepy. He has a kind of uncanny valley quality.

The movie follows a young couple, played by Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, who want to buy a house. Early on the couple visits a real estate sales office and encounters Martin, who convinces them to drive out to a spooky and empty suburb called Yonder. All the houses in Yonder are identical. Martin gets creepier and creepier, before finally vanishing. The young couple end up trapped in the suburb and are forced to raise an alien child. The child grows up abnormally fast, the couple dies, and the child goes to the city and replaces Martin as a real estate agent.

Look, Martin deserves some major criticism for luring a young couple into a weird and fatal sci-fi prison. But on a more superficial level, his stilted behavior perhaps offers some lessons for real estate professionals. Don’t stick too closely to a script, for example, or disappear right when your clients need you the most.

Enthusiasm: 1

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 1

41. Bay of Blood (1971): Franco Ventura

This 1971 Italian slasher film has a convoluted plot, gauzy cinematography and captures the essence of a very niche type of low-budget, midcentury European cinema. The film revolves around the machinations of several characters who are trying to acquire the estate of a murdered countess. Franco Ventura, a real estate agent, is not only among those hoping to get the land, but also ordered the murder in the first place.

Ventura’s plans are all for naught, however, when he — along with most other characters — are eventually murdered as well. It’s arguably a fitting, moralistic ending to a tale about unbridled avarice, but that doesn’t change the fact that Ventura is a pretty terrible agent in every possible way.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 1

40. Nosferatu (1922): Herr Knock

Nosferatu is a masterpiece of the silent era and seminal text for the vampire genre. But few remember these days that it’s actually a story about real estate: The story is set in motion when protagonist Thomas Hutter goes on the orders of his real estate agent boss Herr Knock to finalize a home purchase with Count Orlok — who turns out to be a vampire.

Knock is depicted as a twisted older man who can somehow read the strange, occult-looking writing of Orlok’s letter. And he clearly knows that Orlok is indeed a vampire (Knock could be the vampire’s familiar). Still, he urges his young assistant to go to Orlok, and even to offer him the house across the street from where Hutter and his wife live.

The movie’s title cards note that Knock pays his people well, but he nevertheless intentionally sends his employee into harm’s way, and possibly to his death, apparently so he can earn a sales commission. Hutter survives, but the vampire gets his wife. For that reason, Knock — who ultimately goes mad and falls under the vampire’s “spell” — is about as bad as they come.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 1

39. Female on the Beach (1955): Amy Rawlinson

Agent Amy Rawlinson (Jan Sterling) is a secondary character in this noir-ish drama, with less screen time than Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler, who play the movie’s main couple. The main story is about that couple getting together, while Crawford’s character gradually comes to believe Chandler’s character may actually have murdered a woman.

But as it turns out, it was in fact Rawlinson who killed the woman out of jealousy. Like many films on this list, not much of Rawlinson’s career makes it onto the screen, but being a killer in your personal life is a decent indication that you’re probably struggling in your professional like as well.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 2

38. Parker (2013): Leslie Cienfuegos Rodgers

Parker is a conventional Jason Statham vehicle: The British action star plays Parker, a double-crossed thief. The first act follows him as he nearly dies, then he starts going after those who betrayed him.

Eventually, Parker makes his way to Florida where he teams up with Leslie Cienfuegos Rodgers, a real estate agent played by none other than Jennifer Lopez. Rodgers is on the verge of losing her car, and appears to be generally failing at real estate, so it’s perhaps no surprise that she soon resorts to a sneaky and unethical trick in order to steal a rival agent’s client. That client turns out to be Parker, and after doing some background research, Rodgers offers to help him on his violent journey. In the end, she kills a person and ends up with a fortune from stolen jewelry.

Lopez plays Rodgers with charm and the character is a bright spot in an otherwise middling film. But as an agent she proves to be neither very good at her job nor to have any scruples when it comes to things like ethics. There are many worse movie characters, but not many worse movie real estate agents.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 3

37. Duplex (2003): Kenneth

Duplex is a relative rarity on this list for being a movie that is actually about real estate, as opposed to just featuring real estate on the periphery. The story follows a young couple, played by Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore, who buy a duplex in Brooklyn and have to contend with the troubles it brings. The movie is very much of its time, with a noticeable lack of things like cellphones and some initial comments about “settling” for a massive mansion in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan.

Harvey Fierstein plays Kenneth the real estate agent, who sells the couple the house. Kenneth appears briefly at the beginning of the movie to sell the property — which ends up coming with a nightmare tenant. Kenneth seems like a decent agent, but in a surprise twist he returns at the end of the film and turns out to be in cahoots with the tenant. The entire sale was a scam designed to make money off a tormented couple. That means he’s a bad agent.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 2

36. Empire of the Ants (1977): Marilyn Fryser

This is a classic B-movie (even if it was made somewhat after the classic B-movie era). It stars Joan Collins as real estate agent Marilyn Fryser, who takes a group of prospective buyers out on a boat ride in an attempt to sell them beachfront property. Unfortunately, the property is infested with ants, and even more unfortunately those ants have been exposed to toxic waste that made them huge.

As it turns out the land is worthless and the ants eventually come after the group. Most of the characters in this movie come off poorly, but Fryser specifically reads as both a rather unpleasant employer and as someone trying to pull one over on her clients. In fairness she didn’t intentionally lead the group into the jaws of monsters — which is better than what some other agents on this list did — but she’s still not doing a great job looking out for her clients.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 1

Personality: 2

35. Pocket Listing (2015): Jack Woodman

Despite taking its name from a niche real estate concept, this movie seems to fundamentally misunderstand how agents work. And as a result it opens with a montage of agent Jack Woodman (James Jurdi) seemingly representing multiple buyers and manipulating them into bidding up a property that previously had no offers. He’s a sleazy agent and annoying to boot, both before and after getting himself fired from his brokerage.

This is one of those movies that makes its main character as despicable as possible up front in order to make his fall from grace and general character development seem more significant. Unfortunately, that project is undermined by this being an absolutely terrible movie. Pocket listings, as a real estate concept, deserve a better movie than what feels like a pastiche of intro scenes from the least sexy pornos of the 1990s.

Woodman does work to get back his place in the real estate industry. But he does commit a variety of other ethical and moral transgressions such as sleeping with his client’s wife, stealing and becoming an accessory to murder. So, that’s about as bad as they come.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 1

Personality: 1

34. Common Wealth (2000): Julia

Carmen Maura stars as Julia in this Spanish dark comedy as a real estate agent who, after fooling around with her husband in an empty apartment, happens upon a a stash of money left behind by a newly deceased neighbor. Julia ultimately decides to keep the money, which ends up bringing her into conflict with other residents of the building — who had been planning on keeping the cash themselves.

The conflict between Julia and the other residents gradually escalates to the point that she threatens them and gets beat up herself. It’s unclear how she might have handled other real estate-related situations, but this one goes very south very fast, suggesting she might not be in the right job.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 1

Personality: 2

33. Clean and Sober (1988): Daryl Poynter

Michael Keaton plays real estate agent Daryl Poynter in this story of addiction and self-destruction. Poynter is a capable and successful agent when the movie begins, but is also addicted to cocaine and ends up stealing money from his brokerage — a large chunk of which he then loses.

Eventually the theft costs him his job. He enters a rehab program in an attempt to hide out, but then experiences some success in the program. A romantic interest emerges but eventually dies, and the movie’s conclusion is somewhat ambiguous, but hints at Poynter’s redemption as a character. That said, there’s no indication his real estate career ever gets back on track, and since it ended with him stealing money, he is not a particularly shining example of a Realtor.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 1

Personality: 2

32. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992): Shelley Levene

This is the first of several entries on this list from Glengarry Glen Ross, one of the most famous movies ever about real estate. The story — which is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play — follows four real estate agents as they face the threat of being fired. Much of the film’s dialog involves the salesmen complaining about the low quality of the leads they get from their brokerage.

Generally the agents in the film have a flaw or make a major transgression, and Jack Lemon’s Shelley Levene has several. First, he’s so desperate and unsuccessful that he repeatedly offers to bribe his broker, lies to prospective clients, and participates in another agent’s deception of a client. More significantly, it’s later revealed that he actually broke into his own brokerage and stole leads.

Levene may be the most sympathetic character in the movie. But he’s a failing agent and his failures lead him into a series of transgressions. That’s probably the theme of the movie, but it also means Levene is the worst agent of the lot.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 1

Personality: 2

31. The Amityville Horror (2005): Edith

In this horror remake of a 1979 cult classic, Annabel Armour plays an agent named Edith who ultimately sells a young couple a Long Island house that, as you might have guessed from the title, turns out to be haunted.

Edith seems like a nice lady who under normal circumstances is probably a perfectly capable agent.

But it’s also clear that she knows there’s something else going on. She won’t go in the basement while showing the property, and she even sees a pretty suspicious shadow that is maybe a ghost. House hauntings fall into a gray area as potentially stigmatized properties but either way setting your clients up to live a horror story kind of makes you a terrible agent.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 1

Ethics: 2

Personality: 2

30. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992): Dave Moss

In an era when top agents have the upper hand, routinely fielding recruitment offers and generating their own leads, Glengarry Glen Ross and its story about firings and lead quality feels like quite the relic. So too do comments from Dave Moss (Ed Harris) about a 90-10 commission split in the brokerage’s favor. Clearly, this was a different era.

Moss is disgruntled about having to fight for survival, among many other things, and spends much of the first half of the movie discussing competitors’ business plans. He’s knowledgable, and if the film ended after 30 minutes he’d be at the top of the list. But sadly for him, the film doesn’t end after 30 minutes and he ends up being the person behind the plan to break into the office and steal leads. For all of his knowledge, he turned out to be a thief.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 2

Personality: 3

29. Triple Frontier (2019): Tom “Redfly” Davis

This Netflix original stars Ben Affleck as one of a band of military veterans who get together to steal money from a Latin American drug cartel. Affleck’s character, Tom “Redfly” Davis, is willing to go along with such a dubious proposition because in the time since leaving the military he has embarked on what appears to be a particularly depressing and unsuccessful career as a real estate agent.

Affleck’s character is a capable soldier in the movie — which overall is entertaining in a grim sort of way — but he’s an absolutely terrible real estate agent. He over divulges information about pricing. He makes no real effort to make the property seem appealing. And his lack of enthusiasm is palpable. How he ended up representing the property is a mystery, but it’s no wonder he opts to go gallivanting through the jungle instead of sticking with his day job.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 2

Personality: 3

28. The Pretty One (2013): Laurel

Technically The Pretty One shows two twin sisters who both act like real estate agents at various points. One of the sisters is an actual agent who is also outgoing and successful. However, early in the film she dies in a car crash and her more timid twin takes her place. That twin, Laurel, is the protagonist of the film and eventually learns to embrace herself and stop living in the shadow of her sister.

However, along the way she proves herself to be a fairly incapable real estate agent. She’s inept at showing properties, and ultimately gets herself (or, technically her dead twin?) fired. We never get to see the outgoing twin at work, so all we can really do is rate the quieter sister’s skills at home-selling. And while the film has its charms, she is ultimately not great at real estate.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 2

Personality: 3

27. Human Capital (2019): Drew Hagel

Liev Schreiber plays agent Drew Hagel in this somewhat dour indie flick about a pair of interconnected families. Hagel comes across as something of a sad sack. His story is about getting a $300,000 loan to make an impulsive investment in the hedge fund of his daughter’s boyfriend’s dad.

Hagel has signs around town and his wife doesn’t bat an eye when he claims to be working late on a closing, so it’s clear he does do some real estate work. But it’s not enough to have easy access to $300,000 in cash. He ultimately lies on financial documents and, in the end, attempts blackmail out of financial desperation. So, not great.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 2

Personality: 2

26. Bedrooms and Hallways (1998): Jeremy

Bedrooms and Hallways is notable for being a comedy about openly gay men in the 1990s. It follows the lives of several interconnected people, one of whom is Jeremy, a real estate agent played by a pre-Matrix and pre-Lord of the Rings Hugo Weaving. Jeremy uses the houses he’s selling for sexual escapades, and when a homeowner shows up during once such encounter he flees — leaving his would-be paramour to be caught while handcuffed to the bed.

This movie might have been forward-thinking for its time, but Jeremy seems like kind of a jerk, and one who is using his real estate career for something other than selling real estate.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 2

Personality: 2

25. The Descendants (2011): Brian Speer

Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard) is the closest thing The Descendants has to an antagonist, and he functions as a kind of metonym for the film’s thesis: A thoroughly average man who did something bad but is not wholly bad himself. He’s a family man, a real estate agent and he had an affair with the wife of the film’s protagonist, George Clooney’s Matt King. When King confronts Speer about the affair, Speer cowers and begs to keep the relationship a secret from his own wife.

The only real detail about Speer’s business that’s included in the film is the fact that he stands to make a fortune depending on what King decides to do with his family’s ancestral land. King speculates that financial motivation may have been the real reason for the affair, though Speer denies that possibility. Either way though, Speer’s presence looms over the entire film, despite his minimal screen time, and he doesn’t come off terribly well.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 2

Personality: 2

24. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992): Richard Roma

Al Pacino’s Richard Roma is the top seller in his office, which makes him a contender for the best agent in the film. And unlike other agents who spend the first half of the story desperately scrambling for sales, Roma hangs out in a bar and philosophizes in order to reel in a prospective client.

But alas, Roma too makes a major transgression: He intentionally confuses and then lies to his client when the man wants to pull out of a deal. In the context of this list, which includes things like murder, that seems like a minor sin. Even in the context of the film it’s theoretically less bad than breaking and entering. On the other hand, in the real world it’s pretty bad — and means Roma isn’t a good agent.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 2

Personality: 2

23. Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number (1966): Tom Meade

This 1966 movie stars Bob Hope as small town Oregon real estate agent Tom Meade. He is introduced when he reduces the price of a home for the fifth time, which isn’t a great reflection on his sales acumen. But it’s Bob Hope, so he’s a charming guy who is paired with a brash housekeeper.

Meade’s life as a real estate agent is disrupted when a mistake by a phone switch operator accidentally connects him to French actress Didi (Elke Sommer), who recently ran away from her job in Hollywood. It’s ultimately a weird setup, because the movie plays like a screwball comedy, but Meade is also married to a prudish wife. So he’s not terribly sympathetic as he spends more and more time with Didi. In a different time or with a different star, this would be a drama about a man’s affair amid middle-age ennui.

This movie doesn’t spend a lot of time on Meade’s career. But he doesn’t seem to understand pricing and he spends a whole lot of time doing things other than real estate, so he could probably stand to improve a bit.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 2

Personality: 3

22. Sleeping with the Enemy (1991): Ira Smith

Sleeping with the Enemy was Julia Roberts’ first film after the smash success of Pretty Woman, and unfortunately it never comes close to the latter masterpiece’s highs. The story follows Laura (Roberts), who fakes her death to escape an abusive husband and then flees to Iowa.

After Laura arrives in Iowa, a local real estate agent named Ira Smith shows her around a massive Victorian that’s renting for $700. Ira makes a few encouraging comments. She doesn’t have much screen time or do much to distinguish herself, but she earns her ranking on this list for not doing anything egregiously wrong or for coming off as incompetent — as a number of agents here do.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 3

Personality: 3

21. Evil Laugh (1986): Roger Burns

Evil Laugh is only slightly better than what a kid might have put together with a home VHS camera in the 1980s. It’s a low budget horror film that is frankly hard to follow, but which is about a group of medical students fixing up an old home that is also an abandoned orphanage. Gradually, they all get murdered.

Roger Burns (Howard Weiss) is the high strung and nervous seeming real estate agent representing the building. He spends his limited screen time trying to scrub graffiti off the exterior. Intentionally or not (probably not) the movie at one point seems to hint that Burns himself is the murderer. He isn’t, because eventually he too is murdered.

Burns seems like a hardworking guy, though his wife describes herself as his “meal ticket,” suggesting he’s not having much professional success.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 3

Personality: 2

20. American Beauty (1999): Buddy Kane

American Beauty was one of those movies that seemed really Important™ when it came out, but which hasn’t aged particularly well — in no small part thanks to star Kevin Spacey’s fall from grace.

But the film actually features two agents in prominent roles, the less significant of which is Peter Gallagher’s Buddy Kane. Though Kane is a supporting character, the audience does learn that he’s the biggest name in local real estate and that he’s separating from his wife because he’s too focused on his career. He eventually goes on to have an affair with Annette Bening’s character, the other prominent agent in the film.

We don’t really get to see Kane in action, professionally, and he’s intentionally written as a kind of archetypal businessman with just a hint of skeeziness. But there is a shot of his ad on a bus bench — analog marketing was still big in the ’90s — and he’s clearly successful, so he must be doing something right for his clients.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 3

Personality: 1

19. A View of Love (2010): Marc Palestro

A View of Love stars Jean Dujardin as Marc Palestro, a French real estate agent. The story follows Palestro as he encounters and proceeds to work on a sale of a home to a woman he believes is his childhood sweetheart. Palestro is married, but falls hard for the woman and engages in an affair with her, before leaving his family for her.

As it turns out, though, the woman actually works for a criminal organization and is manipulating Palestro with the help of another agent at his firm. It’s unclear how well Palestro does his job when he’s not going down a rabbit hole of romantic obsession, but he’s made partner in his company so he must be doing okay.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 2

Personality: 2

18. Confidentially Yours (1983): Julien Vercel

Confidentially Yours follows Julien Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a French real estate agent who finds himself the prime suspect in a series of murders thanks to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In order to exonerate himself, Vercel and his assistant go on an odyssey to find the real culprit, who turns out to be Vercel’s lawyer.

Vercel makes some questionable choices during this saga, but they mostly have to do with his investigation into the murders rather than with his real estate business. So, he’s not necessarily a bad agent. This film also deserves a shout out for being the final work of French New Wave icon François Truffaut.

Enthusiasm: 2

Helpfulness: 2

Ethics: 3

Personality: 4

17. Vive L’Amour (1994): May Lin

This Taiwanese film explores the lives of two men squatting in an empty apartment, as well as the real estate agent trying to sell the unit. The agent, May Lin (Yang Kuei-mei), engages in a relationship with one of the men and it is that relationship which ultimately allows him to access the apartment.

May Lin obviously errs by bringing up a romantic partner and having sex in an apartment she is supposed to be selling. On the other hand, that is far from the worst transgression among the agents on this list. And she is shown legitimately trying to sell the unit. She may have had a lapse in judgement, but she balances that out with real hustle.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 2

Personality: 3

16. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992): George Aaronow

George Aaronow, played by Alan Arkin, is the least prominent of the four competing agents in Glengarry Glen Ross. But given that everyone else is making all sorts of professional and ethical errors, less screen time is probably a good thing. Ultimately, Aaronow comes out on top among the four for two reasons: First, he simply doesn’t do anything terrible. And second, he refuses to participate in the scheme to steal leads. That’s not much, but in this movie it’s enough to come in first.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 4

Personality: 2

15. Nobody (2021): Becca Mansell

Nobody is sort of like John Wick meets Taken, except that it stars Bob Odenkirk as Hutch Mansell. The story begins by documenting Mansell’s humdrum and somewhat emasculating life in the suburbs, then follows the character as he gets pulled back into his former life as a government assassin.

Though she doesn’t have a big role in the film, Mansell’s wife Becca Mansell, played by Connie Nielsen, is actually a real estate agent. Audiences don’t get to see much about Becca’s work life, though the Wikipedia entry on the film (which was presumably combed over by the studio) describes her as “successful.” The only other evidence about her career that’s visible is one of her signs on a bus shelter. But there’s no reason to suspect she’s anything but good at her job, and the family’s lifestyle suggests she makes good money.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 4

Personality: 3

14. Henry Poole Is Here (2008): Meg Wyatt

Henry Pool Is Here is one of those movies where the main character’s journey begins with the purchase of a new home. In this case, Henry Poole’s home happens to have a stain in the stucco that many people believe looks like the face of Jesus. The ensuing story explores Poole’s resistance to faith and struggle with a terminal illness.

But where there is a new home sold there is also an agent. In this case that agent is Meg Wyatt, played by Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Cheryl Hines. Unfortunately Hines’ role is small in the film, but there’s no indication she’s anything but a perfectly competent agent.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 4

Personality: 3

13. First Born (2007): Samantha Lee

Samantha Lee (Anne Wolf) has a small role in First Born, helping Elizabeth Shue’s character and her husband move out of New York City and into a country mansion as they await the arrival of their first child. Things don’t go well for Shue’s character, in terms of mental health, and it’s implied that by the end of the film she has buried her new baby alive.

However, Lee is not involved in any of that drama and appears to have been a straightforwardly helpful agent. There’s not a lot to go on here, but there’s no reason to believe Lee is anything but solid.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 4

Personality: 4

12. Tom and Jerry (2021): Real estate rat

The opening of 2021’s animated-live action hybrid adaptation of Tom and Jerry shows the titular mouse “apartment” hunting with a rat. The rat goes unnamed on screen, but in the credits is identified as “real estate rat.” The part is small, but long enough to show the character as a scruffy figure who knows what he’s doing.

The fact that the character is a rat (and not, say, a mouse like the protagonist) clearly shows that the filmmakers have a somewhat dim view of the real estate business. But despite that attitude, the rat himself comes off fairly well. He seems friendly and, if scruffy, not exactly sleazy. He could perhaps be more attentive to his client, but he does seem to generally enjoy himself, which is more than can be said for many of the fictional agents on this list.

Enthusiasm: 5

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 4

Personality: 3

11. The Vagrant (1990): Judy Dansig

The Vagrant tells the story of Graham Krakowski (Bill Paxton) a man who is maybe insane and is tormented by a vagrant former psychiatrist. The story begins when Krakowski buys a new home, which Judy Dansig (Colleen Camp) sells to him. This is not a good movie by any definition. And like several other agents on this list, Dansig ultimately ends up murdered. But before she dies she shows herself to be extremely enthusiastic.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 4

Personality: 3

10. The Face of Love (2013): Jan

Annette Bening is the main character of this somber romantic drama about a woman who falls for a guy who looks exactly like her husband (Ed Harris plays both men). Bening’s character is a `house stager, and she’s shown working with Jan (Linda Park), a local real estate agent. Jan has a small role in the film, but her scenes help the movie pass the Bechdel test because she and Bening’s character talk shop. Jan, for example, notes that she’s had to lower the price on the home (the movie came out just a few years after the Great Recession). And she’s obviously working with a skilled stager — all things that count in her favor as an agent.

Enthusiasm: 3

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 4

Personality: 4

9. American Beauty (1999): Carolyn Burnham

Annette Bening plays Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty, the second and more prominent real estate agent in the story. Bening’s performance captures a delicate balance between forced relentless ambition and suppressed desperation.

That said, while Carolyn Burnham’s personal life grows increasingly frayed during the film, she works hard as an agent. Early on, for example, she strips down to her slip to thoroughly clean a filthy listing before an open house. When people start showing up, she’s chipper and enthusiastic. Given the recent debate on diversity in real estate, it’s also probably worth noting here that Bening’s enthusiasm doesn’t wan as she shows the home to prospective buyers of various ethnicities and sexual orientations.

The house doesn’t end up selling and the character has a bit of a breakdown when the prospective buyers all leave. But there’s no reason to believe she won’t continue working hard as an agent even after the film’s tragic finale. Even her affair with Gallagher’s character began with an inquiry about how to be a better agent.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 3

Personality: 4

8. Things I Never Told You (1996): Don Henderson

This 1996 dramedy has mostly been forgotten, but is notable for giving off serious Gen X vibes. It’s basically about two people who are depressed, one of whom is real estate agent Don Henderson (Andrew McCarthy). In his spare time, Henderson volunteers to talk to people with depression over the phone, which is how he encounters Ann, the movie’s other main character.

Don seems like a good guy, and the end of Things I Never Told You jumps ahead in time to a point where he has progressed to becoming a corporate agent. It’s unclear if he ends up with Ann, but one thing is clear: he’s succeeding in real estate.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 4

Personality: 4

7. Beetlejuice (1998): Jane Butterfield

Spooky comedy Beetlejuice begins when real estate agent Jane Butterfield, played by actress Anne McEnroe, comes to the protagonists — played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis — with an unsolicited offer to buy their house. Butterfield is also the cousin of Davis’ character. Davis and Baldwin’s characters reject the offer, but soon die and Butterfield ends up selling the home anyway.

Butterfield’s role in the film is small, but she seems like a decent agent. She’s out there prospecting and trying to drum up new business, and the fact that she managed to market the home and attract buyers from outside the community — and probably earns top dollar in the process — says something about her resourcefulness. And of course there’s no indication she knows about the supernatural events to come.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 4

Personality: 4

6. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Stan Weasel

Wes Anderson’s first stop motion animation feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a meditation on middle age ennui. Early in the film, George Clooney’s Foxy Fox decides he and his family need to move out of their fox hole and into a more impressive home in a tree. They work with real estate agent Stan Weasel — an actual weasel — who is voiced by none other than Anderson himself.

Weasel shows Fox a house and clearly knows his stuff, running through a long list of features that include an “original dirt floor,” “good bark” and a “skipping stone” hearth. Weasel also introduces Fox to an opossum handyman who goes on to become Fox’s good friend. So he’s also doing a good job being a more general resource for his client. Weasel is also among the coterie of animals that join with Fox and his family as they flee and sometimes battle the nearby humans.

Weasel’s job isn’t easy — he has to offer Fox a dose of reality about his budget — and there’s a question about why Anderson made the agent an animal typically associated with deception. But overall, and despite this being an animated movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox is actually one of the more realistic and positive depictions of a real estate agent in cinema. And later in the film Fox specifically praises Weasel as a “savvy real estate agent.”

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 4

Ethics: 4

Personality: 4

5. Last Christmas (2019): London agent

This George Michael-inspired holiday movie follows a down-on-her-luck Christmas store employee, played by Emilia Clarke, as she learns be less selfish. She also maybe has a pretty severe case of schizophrenia, though the movie plays that point as heartwarming instead of troubling.

In any case, near the end of the movie Clarke’s character has a memorable run-in with a real estate agent in a London flat. The scene is brief, but the agent is pivotal in revealing a Sixth Sense-style twist. He’s also constantly optimistic and keeps highlighting whatever positive features he can see.

Enthusiasm: 5

Helpfulness: 3

Ethics: 4

Personality: 4

4. 40 Carats (1973): Ann Stanley

In 40 Carats, Ann Stanley (Liv Ullmann) is a New York real estate agent who strikes up a fling with a much younger man while on vacation in Greece. Later, she returns to New York, and her work with high-end clients in Manhattan.

Stanley appears to have a solid upper middle class life, suggesting she’s more than capable at her job. She’s high strung and has an array of professional and personal rules she follows, and the conflict of the film eventually emerges when her young lover shows up in New York and wants to resume their relationship. Stanley herself is single, but is troubled by the age difference. But eventually she relaxes and embraces her young lover.

40 Carats is a billed as a comedy, but like a number of films from its era, it’s not exactly laugh-out-loud funny. But it does show an agent in a relatively positive light, and who has clearly had some success.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 5

Ethics: 5

Personality: 3

3. At the Devil’s Door (2014): Leigh

At the Devil’s Door is a horror film, and unfortunately horror films don’t typically end well for their characters. In this case, that includes real estate agent Leigh (Catalina Sandino Moreno) who is shown to be competent, helpful and professional.

Leigh’s time in the film is spent helping a couple try to sell their home. At one point, she notices a girl in the home and as she attempts to investigate is attacked by some supernatural force. The attack kills her — a fate that seems particularly cruel in the context of this list because she’s one of only a handful of agents that doesn’t have some sort of professional flaw, judgmental name (e.g. “weasel” or “real estate rat”) or ethical failing.

Enthusiasm: 4

Helpfulness: 5

Ethics: 5

Personality: 4

2. Date Night (2010): Claire Foster

Claire and Phil Foster (Tina Fey and Steve Carell, respectively) are a vanilla couple from the suburbs who, thanks to a case of mistaken identity on their date night, get caught up in the world of mafia bosses and corrupt cops. Claire also happens to be a real estate agent, and early in the film she shows a couple a home that started out at $1.8 million but has been reduced to around $300,000 (lol). The couple wants to see if the price will fall further, and Claire managed to hold it together despite her frustration.

Later, she relies on a past client who runs a security company to track down crime world contacts and escape, and at another point she breaks into one of her brokerage’s offices to find additional information.

That last move definitely raises questions about her ethics, but the reality is that Claire clearly remembers and has relationships with her clients, and relies on her skills and knowledge as an agent to resolve her adventure. And hey, it’s Tina Fey, so she’s charming to boot.

Enthusiasm: 5

Helpfulness: 5

Ethics: 3

Personality: 5

1. I Love You, Man (2009): Peter Klaven

Need we say more than Paul Rudd as a real estate agent?

I Love You, Man follows the Los Angeles-area agent as he tries to find male friends in the lead up to his wedding. Eventually, Rudd’s character Peter Klaven does make a new friend (Jason Segel), who secretly embarks on a billboard campaign for Rudd’s business. And while the friendship hits some bumps along the way, the campaign is successful and everything works out in the end. The movie feels like a Judd Apatow project (but isn’t) in that it has a mix of warm-hearted and jock-ish humor.

It’s also especially significant for our purposes here because it foregrounds real estate work. Rudd is shown holding an open house and having conflicts with his coworkers. And while he does at one point slap a fellow agent, that guy had it coming. In the end, I Love You, Man tops this list because it shows a hardworking agent who through charisma and perseverance ultimately succeeds.

Enthusiasm: 5

Helpfulness: 5

Ethics: 5

Personality: 5

Email Jim Dalrymple II





Source link