The original Ghostbusters (1984) is considered one of greatest comedies of all time. Constantly ranking near the top of greatest movie lists, it’s a film that’s still beloved by both audiences and critics alike. The film spawned numerous cartoon series, a sequel, and a reboot that releases this week. It’s easy to point to Bill Murray or Ivan Reitman as reasons for the film’s lasting appeal. Yet any movie with this type of success must have a variety of moving parts, including great writing, timing, acting, and of course memorable characters.
The Ghostbusters are a team. Each member, permanent or temporary, are equally important. But everybody has a favourite. It doesn’t mean any of them are unworthy of the proton pack, but when we ask “who was the best Ghostbuster to suit up?” nobody enters the conversation without an opinion. With that out of the way lets move on to ranking the Ghostbusters. Put on a proton pack and a jumpsuit? You’re a Ghostbuster. Plain and simple.
10) Janine Melnitz
Janine is originally the receptionist of the Ghostbusters and is the first person hired once they move into the firehouse. Throughout the movies she never backs down from anyone and is very sarcastic to both her employers and callers. She obviously knows what she wants and tries to take it. This can been seen in her romantic involvement with Louis Tully in Ghostbusters II and her flirting with Egon in Ghostbusters. But is she a Ghostbuster? In the expanded universe, Janine does suit up on multiple occasions to join the team, but based on the movies alone, maybe not. It’s a grey area that puts on this list in the first place, but also why she falls down this low. We just do not get enough of that mouthy New York redhead.
9) Winston Zeddmore
Winston is the only member of the original four who does not have his Doctorate. While he originally takes the job for a steady paycheck, as the story advances he begins to become more interested in the history and theory behind ghostbusting as a practice. He is the first one of the Ghostbusters to theorize that the events in the first movie may be part of end of days prophecies mentioned in the Bible. While the idea is not completely hashed out within the movie, it does add to the theme of the franchise in both the original and the sequel of the supernatural versus the practical. His dry humor and matter of fact attitude about his job makes him on of the most dependable characters, and of course he gives some of the best advice to Ray when he says “Ray. If someone asks you if you are a god, you say, YES!” He only falls so far down the list due to the lack of any backstory to the character outside of expanded universe materials.
8) Louis Tully
Louis is the socially awkward accountant who lives down the hall from Dana Barrett. He has romantic feelings for her that are not returned unless the pair are both possessed. He provides some great comedy moments in the first movie during a party in his apartment in which he is able to explain to how each part of the buffet is a good return for its investment. By the second movie he has earned a law degree, although the focus was in tax law. He represents the Ghostbusters in their trial and then later is able to get them released from the hospital where they were undergoing medical evaluations, thus twice having a major role in saving the city. In addition to helping get the Ghostbusters out of jail, by the end of the movie he believes he had a major role in defeating Vigo. While having a significant role in the sequel, spending a good amount of the first possessed by a demon named “Vince” moves him down the list.
7) Patty Tolan
Patty is a transit worker who meets the other four girls when she shows up to their office to report a encounter with a ghost. She is a native New Yorker who loves her town and knows all the local stories and legends around town. In addition to being the street smart member of the crew she is also the one that provides the most real assessments of what they are experiencing, whether it is the refusal to walk in to room that she knows will give her nightmares or calling out a crowd of concert goers for their behavior. Patty is the character that connects what most of us would be thinking if we were Ghostbusters.
6) Abby Yates
Abby along with Erin Gilbert have written the book on paranormal activity. Literally. Abby is the one that has dedicated her life to testing the theories that are explored with the book to see if they can be substantiated, even if it means making professional sacrifices. She is the backbone that holds the dream together when others question if they are making the right choices.
5) Erin Gilbert
Initially she has given up the idea of exploring paranormal activity while she tries to advance her career at Columbia University. She is following this dream not only to prove her theories but also to prove to everyone who has ever doubted her including her parents that ghosts are real. While reluctant at first to be part of the exploration, by the end she is the heart of the team that gives them the passion, while also grounding them in reality.
4) Jillian Holtzman
Works as a nuclear engineer with Abby Yates and designs the equipment that is used in the crews Ghostbusting adventures. Yates is the quirky character that you would expect to find in an underfunded lab, exploring what many people might not consider real science. Most of her equipment is put together with spare parts that she comes across and is not truly tested until it is used in the field. Her character is the one that people are going to walk away from this movie remembering for her over the top actions, great one-liners, and mad scientist like look.
3) Dr Egon Spengler
The original mad scientist Egon is the character that is there to keep the other two focused on their tasks. He is focused totally on his job even being completely oblivious to romantic advances from Janine. He is also willing to make the sacrifices needed to test his hypothesis, even if it means spending some private time with pink slime to see how it reacts. Without Egon, Ray and Peter would have no way to catch the ghosts nor would they have a place to store them once they are caught. He falls just a bit down the list because while he enjoys his Ghostbusting, you get the feeling that Egon would be just as fulfilled with many other scientific endeavours, including his collection of spores, moulds, and fungus.
Editors Note: Clearly there is something wrong with this list if Egon is not number one. Rogues Portal apologises for what should have been an obvious mistake – Billy
2) Dr Peter Venkman
Peter is the face of the fictional business. He is the person that is going to be sent in to negotiate and get people to believe in what they are doing as a group. Sometimes his actions may be motivated more by the fame and fortune that may come from this line of work, but in the end he believes in what they are doing. The character sees the most growth throughout the two movies as he goes from being preoccupied with flirting and bedding any female he finds attractive to caring about his future with Dana by the end of the Ghostbusters II.
1) Dr Raymond Stantz
Why Ray? It’s very simple. When ranking the Ghostbusters, we have to consider how important each member is to the team. Without the character of Ray, there is no Ghostbusters. Period. Although the other two characters help come up with many of the ideas behind paranormal activities it is Ray who continues to push exploring the theories. In addition it is Ray who keeps the idea of the Ghostbusters alive after they have been shut down by working children’s birthday parties in order to make extra money. It is because of the characters dedication that the group is able to overcome their obstacles and be successful. He of course has some of the best lines and almost has a childlike innocence when it comes to dealing with the Ghosts. Finally the fact that he is the one responsible for bringing the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man to life catapults him to the top of the list.
Ranking the Ghostbusters: Honourable Mentions
Although this list was about Ghostbusters, I want to quickly mention 3 characters from the franchise that just missed the cut. In no particular order: Dr. Janosz Poha, Kevin, Dana Barrett
Dr Janosz is the head of Restoration at the Manhatten Museum of Art, who has a crush on Dana Barrett, which leads to a few funny moments in the opening act of Ghostbusters II. However, most of his most memorable scenes come after he has been controlled by Vigo.
Kevin is the receptionist for the Ghostbusters in the 2016 reboot of the franchise. He is hired not for his abilities as a receptionist but more for his looks, which leads to some very funny scenes. Once again, he struggles to be justified as an actual character with some of his best times coming from after he is possessed.
Dana Barrett is the character that people will be surprised was left off the list. The reasoning is simple. There is no character growth seen throughout the movies. She never fights for herself or her child and instead is just the damsel in distress that is used to show Peter Venkman’s growth as a person.
So those are my picks. Do you agree? Disagree? Have a favourite I never even considered? Tweet to us at @RoguesPortal and tell us how YOU would go about ranking the Ghostbusters!