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Top 10 Movie Primates That Aren't Monkeying Around

Caesar represents a long history of cinematic primates that have graced the big screen. With WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES hitting theaters, we run through the top ten apes and other monkeys that have burned into our subconscious for reasons both good and bad. If you think we missed a memorable monkey, let us know in the talk backs below.

#1 - Caesar

Andy Serkis first played a primate in 2005's KING KONG but he turned it into an Oscar caliber performance in 2011's RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Since then, Serkis has evolved his performance just as Caesar has in the story with this weekend's WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES being a stunning cinematic achievement and thrusting this role to the top spot on this ranking. All hail Caesar!

#2 - King Kong

Kong has always been king of the movie apes thanks to the long history dating back to the original 1933 film. While Peter Jackson's 2005 epic was a love letter to a bygone era of Hollywood, this year's KONG: SKULL ISLAND brought the gorilla to the same scale as Godzilla, promising one hell of a battle in the coming years.

#3 - Thade

Tim Burton's reboot of the classic PLANET OF THE APES may have been a critical failure, but if it got anything right it was the evil General Thade. Played by Tim Roth, Thade is the perfect villain that echoes the classic, mustache-twirling foes from the golden age of Hollywood. While some of the other actors play their roles a bit cartoonishly, Roth makes Thade a dastardly and downright scary bad guy.

#4 - Betsy

While friends may have made Capuchins cute and friendly, it was 1995's OUTBREAK that made the little monkeys the modern equivalent of JAWS. Fear of diseases transmitted by primates skyrocketed after this film hit theaters and would only be tempered by the inclusion of Marcel on NBC's sitcom Friends. Still, if I was offered a chance to make contact with any animals, capuchins would be at the bottom of my list thanks to Wolfgang Petersen's film.

#5 - Ella

More of you likely recognize the poster for George Romero's MONKEY SHINES rather than the actual film about an assistance animal named Ella who turns homicidal and tries to kill her owner. I thought the little monkey was a cute pet until she wielded a straight razor and a hypodermic needle. Now, keep that little f*cker away from me.

#6 - Monolith Apes

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY opens with one of the oddest and engaging sequences in film history. Before fast-forwarding to the futuristic space setting, Stanley Kubrick's movie opens with a group of apes that quickly evolve into the first phases of mankind thanks to the presence of the ominous black Monolith. While not the most realistic apes on this list, they certainly are memorable ancestors.

#7 - Rafiki

THE LION KING is memorable thanks to the music of Elton John and Tim Rice as well as an ensemble of great characters. The one I always wanted more of was Rafiki, the mandrill, who also serves as the shaman and wise man of Mufasa's pride. Through Simba's life, Rafiki acts as an Obi-wan like presence albeit one with an insane face and an very long tail.

#8 - Clyde

Clint Eastwood isn't known for his comedy films but EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE was one of the biggest box office hits of 1978. While Eastwood wasn't the funniest performer in the film, he made a great straight man for his sidekick, Clyde, who steals the show as the foulest and funniest orangutan in movie history.

#9 - Abu

Disney's huge hit has been memorable for the anthropomorphic flying carpet, the villainous Jafar, the brilliant Genie voiced by Robin Williams and even the alluring Princess Jasmine. But, one of the best aspects not mentioned is the diminutive monkey Abu who aids Aladdin in pickpocketing and other criminal enterprises. Used primarily for comedic effect, Abu is a smart little guy who should not be trusted around shiny objects.

#10 - Cheeta

While not prominent in any Tarzan adaptations in the last few decades, the chimpanzee called Cheetah was as much a main character in the black and white TARZAN films as star Johnny Weissmuller. Cheetah was always there to lend a hand when it came to saving Jane and Tarzan himself. Debuting in the 1932 film TARZAN THE APE MAN, Cheeta became a name movie audiences would recognize instantly.

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