5 Unforgettable Will Ferrell Roles!

Will Ferrell is, without a doubt, among the most famous comedic actors in history. With roles ranging from hilarious cameos like that of Mustafa in the Austin Powers franchise, to being a mild-mannered father in Daddy’s Home, Will Ferrell has provided us with enough laugh-out-loud moments to last a lifetime. 

Upon hearing the news of Netflix purchasing Will & Harper, a documentary following Will Ferrell and his longtime writing partner, Harper Steele, on a cross-country roadtrip, we were inspired to dive into Ferrell’s most unforgettable roles. Some of them induce never-ending laughing fits, while others may bring a tear to your eye. Here’s our list!

The Lego Movie – Lord Business/The Man Upstairs

You might not think of The Lego Movie when discussing Will Ferrell movies with friends or family, but that’s really a compliment to how impressive his filmography is. Playing an evil businessman in the animated portion of the film and Finn’s father during live-action moments (both of whom parallel each other), Ferrell transitions from having a cruel, perfectionist vision of the world to being understanding and open to change. It’s really a beautiful character development and makes for a sentimental ending to the movie.

Oh yeah, and The Lego Movie owns a near-perfect 96% on Rotten Tomatoes’ “Tomatometer,” making it Ferrell’s third-highest score on the movie and television rating website.

Zoolander – Jacobim Mugatu

Like in The Lego Movie, Ferrell isn’t the loveable protagonist of the story. Instead, his character, Mugatu, is a ruthless higher-up in the fashion industry who attempts to brainwash Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) into killing the prime minister. Mugatu’s look is iconic; with his poofy haircut, ridiculous outfits, and accompanying white poodle all helping Ferrell execute the part perfectly.

Furthermore, the latter half of Ferrell’s line, “It’s that damn Hansel! He’s so hot right now!,” has become a bit of a meme over the years, often used to describe someone or something trending in pop culture.

Step Brothers – Brennan Huff

Step Brothers might be Ferrell at one of his more immature moments, but not including his role as Brennan on this list would be downright sacrilege. Ferrell and John C. Reilly turn Brennan and Dale, respectively, into somewhat likable characters despite their lack of motivation and overall dimwitted nature.

The poster to the movie alone is a comedic staple even to this day, and has been parodied countless times over the years. A recent example of this phenomenon was Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners creating their own version after breaking their 21-year playoff drought in 2022.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – Ron Burgundy

Everything works for Ferrell in Anchorman, from the mustache and the red suit, to the countless one-liners like “You stay classy, San Diego,” and “It’s so damn hot…milk was a bad choice!” It seems as though every other sentence is a memorable quote, and that can be attributed to the fact that Ferrell-led improvisation helped keep ideas fresh.

The film, which holds an 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and Ferrell’s role now claim legendary status in the comedy world, as evidenced by a 33rd-place ranking (the highest-ranked movie from the 21st century) on BBC’s “100 greatest comedies” list.

Elf – Buddy the Elf

Elf is one of those movies that, like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, is considered a classic in its genre. Notorious film critic Roger Ebert called it “one of those rare Christmas comedies that has a heart, a brain and a wicked sense of humor,” while Variety ranked Elf as one of the “45 Best Christmas Movies of All Time.”

Part of what makes Elf so effective is Ferrell’s wit and expressions in simple scenes, like when he’s eating spaghetti with sweets or riding an escalator for the first time. As Buddy the Elf, Ferrell is outrageous, no doubt, but also keeps a sincere enough tone that leaves him as an endearing yuletide character year after year.

About the Author

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Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes is a Junior at Iona University, majoring in media and strategic communications, and an intern at AfterBuzz TV. In his free time, Robert loves to spend hours practicing the bass guitar and hunting for his favorite artists at vinyl record shops.