Grandpa Edwin Hoover
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Codger Cred: Grouse-happy, s**t-stirring malcontent Edwin lives to complain, moan and insult most of his family, though he loves his grandkids (even if he doesn’t understand the sulky side of Paul Dano’s Dwayne).
He’s unrepentantly sweary too, which we love.
Grouchy Gust: “You're not gonna shut me up! F**k you I can say what I want!"
Cheer Up! Grandpa has a heart of gold beating under that spiky exterior, and truly bonds with granddaughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) as she struggles to enter a beauty contest.
Burgess Meredith, Rocky (1976)/Rocky II (1979)/Rocky III
Codger Cred: The cantankerous, crusty old trainer who took on Sylvester Stallone’s punch-drunk fighter gave as good as he got, even when it came time to make a man who could clearly pummel him into pulp chase a chicken around.
Grouchy Gust: “You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!”
Cheer Up! For all of his grimacing, Mickey truly believed in and loved Rock. Plus, though he didn’t exactly change much, he managed to make it through to Rocky IV and V even though he’d died.
Flashbacks are a wonderful thing.
Henry Jones Sr
Sean Connery, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)
Codger Cred : Few can deliver a withering put-down like Shir Shean, and his disapproving dad act meshed perfectly with Harrison Ford’s endlessly frustrated Indy.
Grouchy Gust: “We named the dog Indiana!”
Cheer Up! The mission to stop the Nazis getting the Holy Grail helps the pair reach more of an understanding, but the squabbles remain solidly in place.
We’re annoyed to learn Henry’s dead by the time of Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, but he’d only have hated it like most of us anyway.
Alastair Sim, A Christmas Carol (1 951)
Codger Cred: There have been many versions of Charles Dickens’ ultra-sour miser through the years, right up to the CGI Carrey version coming this Christmas.
But few can touch Sim’s channelling of the caustic old blighter, with “humbug” never far from his lips.
Grouchy Gust: “I'm too old and beyond hope! Go and redeem some younger, more promising creature, and leave me to keep Christmas in my own way!”
Cheer Up! He’s the ultimate example of redemption, helped by the ghost of his old partner and three seasonal spirits to see the error of his ways.
Jack Palance, City Slickers (1991)
Codger Cred: One of the toughest codgers to happen along, Curly is not the sort of bloke you argue with – he’s tougher than old boots, he spits, he curses and he could shoot you dead with one eye closed. Or both.
Grouchy Gust: “I crap bigger than you!”
Cheer Up! In reality, he’s a little more cheery than most of the misery guts on our list, but he’s still a moody sod when he wants to be.
But he does teach Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby a little something about being real men.
Lionel Barrymore, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
Codger Cred: Potter is a grasping, gritty old cur who pushes to end the “sentimental hogwash” of home loans for the poor.
When George Bailey (James Stewart) decides to commit suicide, the vision he’s given shows Potter winning out and making Bedford Falls into a nightmare.
Grouchy Gust: “You're worth more dead than alive!”
Cheer Up! Potter's plans get thwarted. We don’t see what truly happens to him, but we bet he’s pissed off when the citizens of Bedford Falls rally round to help Bailey. He probably chokes on the milk of human kindness.
Ian McDiarmid, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Codger Cred: He rises to power as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, hiding his Sith Lord side so effectively that even Yoda has no idea of his true identity or intent.
By Return, he’s the fully powered-up, surprisingly spry wrinkle-laden, elderly git with a nifty line in force lightning.
Grouchy Gust: “The alliance... will die. As will your friends. Good, I can feel your anger."
Cheer Up! He does seem to love having the ultimate power in the universe,but it doesn’t go so well for Palpatine, as his apprentice finally turns on him and he gets the shaft.
Old Biff Tannen
Thomas F Wilson, Back To The Future, Part II (1989 )
Codger Cred: The Biff of 2015 has grown into a bitter, twisted, hobbling, but still quite sprightly gremlin.
Delighting in torturing anyone within cane range, he ends up stealing the DeLorean so he can change his past.
Grouchy Gust: “Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly! Think!”
Cheer Up! Biff creates a horrific, alternative 1985 where he’s a Bill Gates-wealthy scumbag. But it doesn’t last long.
The older Biff carks it shortly after returning from his chrono-meddling trip.
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino (2008)
Codger Cred: Angry as hell, war vet Walt wants to keep to himself. But the local kids – and gang members – just won’t leave his neighbourhood in peace.
So what’s a man to do? Grab up a shotgun and growl at ‘em, that’s what!
Grouchy Gust: “I used to stack f***s likes you five feet high in Korea... use ya for sand bags.
Cheer Up! Walt’s experience with Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang) changes him for the better.
But – spoiler alert! - his understanding is short-lived when he decides to take matters with the gang into his own, gun-laden hands.
John Gustafson/Max Goldman
Jack Lemmon/Walter Mattau, Grumpy Old Men (1993)/Grumpier Old Men (1995)
Codger Cred : Two of the best known cine-complainers arrive as Lemmon and Mattau re-kindle their epic comedy pairing for this quarrelling double bill.
Bitching like girls in a playground, the twosome nevertheless remains pretty loveable.
Grouchy Gust: Max: “Good morning, dickhead.”
John: “Hello, moron.”
Cheer Up! The sequel might not exactly live up to the original, but it does give them some measure of peace and calm.
John Noble, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)
Codger Cred: Mired in mourning, Denethor has let his stewardship of Minas Tirith sink into a sea of corruption and bad advice.
Upon seeing his unconscious son Faramir (David Wenham), he cracks and makes up a funeral pyre for him and his boy. Unfortunately, Faramir’s not actually dead.
Grouchy Gust: “No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No long, slow sleep of death embalmed. We shall burn, like the heathen kings of old.”
Cheer Up! Um, no. Thwarted, Denethor makes a dash for it, only to throw himself off the giant fortress.
Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt (2002)
Codger Cred: Dialling down his usual sharp sarcasm for the slumped shrugs of Schmidt, Nicholson embodies Warren as a man deflated.
Sure, he can snap and scrape when with the best of 'em, but it’s a more nuanced turn fuelled by angst and uncertainty.
Grouchy Gust: “Relatively soon, I will die. Maybe in 20 years, maybe tomorrow, it doesn't matter.”
Cheer Up ! He comes to some understanding at the end. But it does mean experiencing a naked Kathy Bates along the way. Shudder.
Robert De Niro, Meet The Parents (2000)/Meet The Fockers (2004)
Codger Cred: Jack has spent his life ferreting out lies and injustice, so you can sort of see where he’s coming from. He’s understandably suspicious when a strangely named male nurse wants to marry Jack’s beloved daughter.
Set in his ways, Jack is a slow-burn ball of fury waiting for the right match to set him off.
Grouchy Gust: “If I find that you are trying to corrupt my first born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown.”
Cheer Up! Byrnes loves his family and his cat, Mr Jinx, and he even learns to open up a little in the sequel.
Jonathan Harris, A Bug’s Life (1998)
Codger Cred: The species isn’t known for its kindness to the males, what with the females snacking on them after sex.
Manny has his own reasons for his grouchy demeanour, as no one appreciates his magic show art, and he’s reduced to performing in a cheap flea circus.
Grouchy Gust: “You listen to me, my boy. I've made a living out of being a failure, and you, sir, are not a failure.”
Cheer Up! He gets a second chance on life when Flik (Dave Foley) hires him to help save his ant colony from marauding grasshoppers, and ends up a hero.
Larry David, Whatever Works (2009)
Codger Cred: Woody Allen finds the perfect moody muse in David, who has made a living playing a thin-skinned, easily frustrated fool.
Boris is a mixture of the two, a ranting, endlessly annoyed soul who lets loose on anyone around.
Grouchy Gust: “I’m dying! Not now… I mean, eventually.”
Cheer Up! Drifter Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood) makes him realise that you don’t have to look for a pattern in life, just - title alert! - whatever works.
For Boris it’s falling (literally) for a woman named Helena who can put up with his shtick and his s**t.