15 Favorite Paul Thomas Anderson Characters (On His 46th Birthday)

Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest living filmmakers working today. Since his debut "Hard Eight" in 1996, he has consistently created complex and interesting characters for the screen.
  1. 15.
    Sydney (Hard Eight)
    In many ways, Sydney feels too good a character to be true. But like any PTA creation, we learn a complexity lies behind those sad eyes and a past that won't seem to go away. His casino trick he teaches John is really cool too.
  2. 14.
    Roller Girl (Boogie Nights)
    What could've been just a quirky character, Roller Girl is provided layers in PTA's film by showing what the porn industry has done to this young girl.
  3. 13.
    Shasta Fay (Inherent Vice)
    Every appearance of Shasta feels like a dream with her soothing voice and transcendent monologues.
  4. 12.
    Peggy Dodd (The Master)
    The co-creater of The Cause with her husband, one could almost say Peggy is running the show. Her silent stares at the camera are something I'll never forget.
  5. 11.
    Reed Rothchild (Boogie Nights)
    Reed delivers most of the laughs in Boogie Nights which is sometimes all you need to do to be a memorable character. Plus he looks just like Han Solo.
  6. 10.
    Linda Partridge (Magnolia)
    Linda is easily one of the best characters between her constant stream of yelling and crying, but her honest desire to atone for her past with her dying husband makes her one of the most interesting characters in PTA's filmography.
  7. 9.
    Jack Horner (Boogie Nights)
    The director and father figure to his circus of porn actors, Horner's artistic ambitions to create truly great porn stories makes him a noble person to follow around for 2.5 hours.
  8. 8.
    Lancaster Dodd (The Master)
    The leader of The Cause, Lancaster just wants to help Freddie and his other followers achieve his enlightenment—even if that means changing some things in his religion every so often.
  9. 7.
    Eli Sunday (There Will Be Blood)
    A poor pawn to Daniel Plainview, Eli tries to be good for the Lord but ends up meeting a miserable end. Has some of the best yelling sermons I'm sure anyone has ever seen.
  10. 6.
    Barry Egan (Punch Drunk Love)
    A fantastic study of what it's like to bury all your feelings and one day watch them all explode. Everyone has Barry Egan in them.
  11. 5.
    Freddie Quell (The Master)
    The id of The Master, Freddie is fascinating to watch because of how impulsive, loyal, and violent he can be.
  12. 4.
    Phil Parma (Magnolia)
    Probably the only character on this list who exhibits genuine goodness throughout the entire duration of the film.
  13. 3.
    Larry 'Doc' Sportello (Inherent Vice)
    First created by Thomas Pynchon in his novel of the same name, PTA's Doc is a bumbling private eye with a solid heart and wonderful physical comedy skills.
  14. 2.
    Frank T.J. Mackey (Magnolia)
    A quintessential douche in the beginning of the film, Mackey turns into one of the most sympathetic characters in all the movie.
  15. 1.
    Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood)
    One of the greatest screen characters in the history of cinema. Plainview will be discussed and studied until the end of time.