The friends-to-enemies trope is easy to find in the film landscape. Whether in animation or franchise media such as Star Wars, this outline is popularly used by filmmakers to add tension and depth to the characters. But not all of these movies are great, so it’s worth checking out the ones that bring the required entertainment value.
The trope is found in everything from drama, action, comedy, and the superhero genre. Effective films build up the connection between the characters for viewers to be invested in before they become enemies. As such, audiences are in for a whirlwind experience when they watch these stories about friendships gone sour.
10 The Fox And The Hound
The Fox and the Hound has a sad ending, a change from the norm for the animated genre. The story is about the titular animals, Tod and Copper, who become friends as cubs and continue this relationship into adulthood. This breaks down when they reach adulthood, as Copper’s devotion to his master puts him at odds with Tod, whom he’s supposed to hunt.
The Fox and the Hound has a number of heartwarming moments when Copper and Tod are young. But this becomes bittersweet when the former best friends battle one another. Since the film goes for a realistic approach, Copper and Tod are unable to mend their friendship and stick to their natural climate.
9 X-Men: First Class
The titular superhero team’s origins play out in one of the strongest X-Men films released. It follows Magneto and Professor X in their younger days as they become friends and start the X-Men. Their cause for the mutant race hits a big roadblock when Magneto’s contempt for humanity clashes with Professor X’s compassion for them.
X-Men: First Class sets up the main characters’ friendship to the highest degree before it comes crashing down. The two are reluctant to fight each other but have no way around it because of their contrasting values. Their conflict makes X-Men: First Class a highly intriguing movie that adds significant depth to Professor X and Magneto’s feud.
8 Mean Girls
The main characters in Mean Girls aren’t truly friends, and use each other to further their social status at high school. Protagonist Cady is an outsider accepted into the popular group by the conceited leader Regina. Cady and Regina’s initial friendship becomes a battle of wits over who will reign supreme as high school’s It Girl.
Mean Girls is comedic throughout its runtime but does a good at portraying how being popular gets out of hand. Cady and Regina throw away any chance of a real friendship for a meaningless title, along with other relationships they have. The film is an eye-opener that retains its humorous quality.
7 Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3 is about Peter Parker facing off threats from the Venom symbiote, Sandman, and the New Goblin. The latter’s true identity is his best friend, Harry Osborn, who believes Peter killed his father out of malice. This misunderstanding causes a dangerous rift that leads to Harry’s attempts at Peter’s life.
Tobey Maguire’s version of Spider-Man is exceptionally powerful, shown fully in his battle against Harry. The protagonist absolutely destroys his friend-turned-foe under the negative influence of the symbiote, fracturing what was once a firm bond between the two. Spider-Man 3 has many other things going on, but the Peter-Harry dynamic is one of the strongest points.
6 Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith
Anakin Skywalker’s growing temptation for the dark side of the Force finally comes to pass in the final part of the Prequel Trilogy. While Revenge of the Sith might not be the best Star Wars movie, the falling out between Obi-Wan and Anakin remains a tearjerker.
Anakin’s corruption through Emperor Palpatine’s machinations makes him blind toward Obi-Wan’s pleas. The latter is unable to bring back his friend and protégé, resulting in an all-out clash between the two. Anakin’s evolution into Darth Vader permanently ends his association with Obi-Wan – a sad end to a once-loving relationship.
Dreamgirls is about the singing group The Dreams, who taste significant success and become A-list stars. But their rise is hampered by the intrusion of their manager, as he causes friction among the friends to the point where one is ousted completely.
Dreamgirls depicts the trio’s early friendship, which empowers them to face their fears. However, the movie then shows the feud that develops between them because of their crooked manager. The story shifts focus from the characters’ time as friends to enemies before they slowly make their way back to reconciliation.
GoldenEye is a more personal story for James Bond than many of his other films. Here, Bond believes his friend and 006 Agent Alec Trevelyan has died because of him, only to learn that the latter faked his death. Trevelyan reveals he used this event to become the head of a crime syndicate to destroy the British government.
GoldenEye has a humanized take on James Bond, who feels regret and shame over his actions. His connection with Trevelyan seems very genuine until the big reveal of the former agent’s betrayal. Thereafter, the two become bitter enemies as each of them hold the UK’s fate in their hands.
3 Fight Club
Fight Club is about an unnamed narrator who faces several problems in his life. He befriends a man named Tyler Durden, with whom he opens the titular club. However, the protagonist watches Tyler become a dangerous cult leader before realizing the latter is actually a manifestation of his split personality.
Technically, the friendship in Fight Club is between the protagonist and himself since Tyler doesn’t actually exist. But the two personalities are so distinct that they end up on opposite sides in a fight for control of the body. The narrator’s attempts to end Tyler’s maniacal intentions lead to an intense mental battle.
2 Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War begins with the Avengers being threatened to join the government or disband. Steve Rogers’s reluctance to do so clashes with Tony Stark’s views, splitting the superhero team into two opposing sides. Steve and Tony start as firm friends before becoming enemies by the end.
Tony’s contempt toward Steve for withholding information about his parents’ deaths adds fuel to the fire. Captain America: Civil War doesn’t have any reconciliation between friends, as their team is permanently fractured. Their conflict hits mainly because neither side is wrong nor right.
1 The Social Network
The Social Network is a fictional take on the creation of Facebook, detailing Mark Zuckerberg’s rise as a social media billionaire. Zuckerberg’s friendship with Eduardo Saverin leads to the two coming up with the growth of Facebook as a staple in contemporary life.
The movie also depicts the breakdown of Zuckerberg and Saverin’s friendship after the former’s lofty ambitions shut Saverin out of the company’s activities. The Social Network’s primary outline is how they went from friends to enemies, ending with a billion-dollar lawsuit. Although there are a lot of other nuances involved, it’s the falling out between Zuckerberg and Saverin that is the emotional center of the film.
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