1. & 2 Cornelius & Zira-Played By Roddy Mcdowall (Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes) And Kim Hunter (Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from the Planet of the Apes) 1968-1971
Without question the most likeable Apes characters in the history of the series, Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter both shine in their respected roles as a devoted couple, who could be my favourite couple in screen history, no lie. While in the first film Hunter shines more than McDowall I must say, and definitely gets more screen time, and in the second McDowall was replaced and it kinda wasn’t the same, in their third and final outing together there a double team this time, being lovely, funny and wholly endearing that it’s utterly tragic the horrific fate that they receive.
3. Caesar-Played By Roddy McDowall (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes) 1972-3
Continuing on in the series playing his own son, McDowall not only gives his best performance in his first go around as Caesar, it may also be his best role period! In Conquest McDowall went through the wringer as Caesar, going from a frightened, embittered pet, to a hostile slave, to a rageful and forceful revolutionary leader, and McDowall expertly handles it. The bit where he’s in tears that turn quickly, ever so quickly into rage after his kindly master as been killed in Conquest also is McDowall’s crowning acting moment in the whole series, but let’s not also rule out his climactic speech at the end of Conquest too, but chilling and scene chewing in equal measure. He may not have been as likeable as he was playing his Dad, but he sure was better this time around.
4. Col. George Taylor-Played By Charlton Heston (Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes) 1968-1970
Hammy and dated by today’s standards of acting sure, but Heston sure did deliver the best human character the series has ever had, one that has never been topped, and at this rate unlikely to. Playing a cynical, disillusioned astronaut who’s really a prick when you think about it, who’s put through the wringer when he lands on earth centuries later dominated by Apes, Heston memorably scene chews his way through the film, screaming his most memorable lines (“It’s A Madhouse!”, “You Maniacs! You Blew It Up! Oh Damn You! God Damn You All To Hell!”) and detractors of Heston’s performance should be noted that he came down with a bad case of the flu while filming, which greatly helped however when he delivered his first immortal words to the apes (“Take Your Stinking Paws Off Me You Damn Dirty Ape!”) so think about it, how many actors could deliver a lively, classic role with gusto as well as Heston did here hmm?
5. Koba-Played By Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) 2014
The dopest Ape ever created, Koba is as Iv said before spine chillingly terrifying, along with the scars on his body also helping, as well as equally badass in full measure. Every single moment with Kebbell’s Koba is just amazing, and each scene of his just gets better and better, best of all is when he’s leading the battle against the humans, riding on horseback and firing two guns like a pimp, as well as eventually jumping onto a tank and taking over (hands down the best shot in the film) kind of like a gremlin. An already dark character, however he manages to get darker as the film goes on, but it’s just utterly gripping and Kebbell completely sells, and very nearly even gives original series star Roddy McDowall a run for his money. I hope he returns for the next and that his fate is not sealed, because this is just too good a character to just have for one film, and if I were in charge of nominating and even giving out Oscars he’d not only get a nod for Best Supporting Actor, he’d win it. Yes he’s that good!