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13 Movies Where Rival Characters Who Hate Each Other Have To Team Up

Updated June 10, 2021 142 votes 27 voters13 items

List RulesVote up the arch-rivals who made a surprisingly good pair.

There is an ancient proverb that reads, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” These movies where rival characters have to team up remind us that the fourth-century BCE proverb still remains true today. 

Even mortal enemies like Butch and Marsellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction, who are trying to end each other, find a bigger mutual enemy in Zed that unites them. Rocky and Apollo, Woody and Buzz, and even Dom and Hobbs are able to join forces in order to defeat a greater adversary. 

Make your voice heard. Vote up the arch-rivals who put their hatred aside and made a surprisingly good team.

  • Pixar's 1995 computer-animated comedy Toy Story answers the age-old question of what Andy's toys do when he leaves his bedroom. It turns out they all come to life and take on very human characteristics like jealousy and anger.

    Andy's favorite toy is his cowboy named Woody. However, when spaceman Buzz Lightyear enters Andy's world, Woody suddenly gets put aside. The cowboy grows jealous and resents Buzz for taking over his reign as Andy's "favorite toy." Woody does everything he can to remove Buzz from the picture.

    However, the arch-enemies get stranded at a gas station and are then captured by Andy's toy-destroying, vicious next-door neighbor Sid. Woody and Buzz both realize the only way they can escape from Sid and get back to Andy before he moves is by putting their differences aside.

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  • In the original 1976 Academy Award-winning Rocky movie, world heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) and underdog Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) go head-to-head in an epic boxing match for the ages. The Italian Stallion defies the odds by going the distance and even getting a knockout against the undefeated Creed. It's a split decision, but Creed is able to keep his title.

    In 1979's Rocky II, the two rivals aren't through beating each other up in and out of the ring. Creed thinks Rocky marred his reputation and goes about publicly lambasting the now-retired boxer for not giving him a rematch. Against medical advice, Rocky comes out of retirement. The pugilists have yet another bruising, close fight. Balboa is able to best the cocky Creed and take the title. 

    For 1982's Rocky III, Balboa must defend his title against Clubber Lang (Mr. T), a bigger, stronger opponent who looks like he could pick Rocky up and use him as a toothpick. Rocky loses the first match, his belt, and his trainer Mickey (Burgess Meredith). The only chance Rocky has to defeat Lang in a rematch is with the help of Creed. The guys who once nearly beat each other to death are now in the same corner against the biggest opponent either will ever see (until Rocky IV).

    Thanks to Creed's training and Rocky's boxing strategy, the Italian Stallion regains his world heavyweight boxing championship belt. Creed and Rocky, once sworn enemies, become best friends.

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  • Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) pays boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) to throw his match in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 game-changing Pulp Fiction. The crime lord warns the pugilist, “The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride f**king with you. F**k pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.”

    But Butch has other plans. He bets on himself and knocks out his opponent. The slighted gangster vows to “scour the Earth for that motherf**ker.”

    During “The Gold Watch” segment of the film, Butch hits Marsellus with his car. The two wind up as hostages in Maynard’s pawn shop. Zed (Peter Greene) is in control and commits unspeakable acts to Wallace in his twisted dungeon. Butch is able to escape, but his conscience brings him back to save Marsellus. The two sworn enemies who were willing to end each other just hours before unite so Marsellus can go about going medieval on Zed.

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  • In James Cameron's original The Terminator (1984), the cyborg machine is sent to slay Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her unborn son. The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is relentless; he won't stop until his mission is complete. Connor heroically squares off against the indestructible cyborg in order to try and save humanity.

    The script is flipped for Cameron's wildly successful 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This time around, the T-800 cyborg has been reprogrammed to protect Connor and her son John (Edward Furlong) from the upgraded cyborg, the T-1000. It's incredibly difficult for Connor to trust the Terminator, but she knows she has to in order to save humanity. Connor will only succeed in her mission to eliminate Skynet with the help of the machine. 

    Once again, the Terminator will do anything and everything it can to complete its mission. The cyborg even insists on self-destructing at the end of the movie. The Terminator's friendship teaches Connor a valuable lesson and gives her hope for the future. 

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