The 10 best ‘Shrek’ characters, ranked

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The ever-popular Shrek franchise has become one of the most successful animated franchises in cinematic history, with a total of four movies that have long satisfied moviegoers with its family-friendly comedy that is influential to all ages. Over the years, the franchise has garnered a strong cult following that stretches to viral memes and parodies on TikTok and YouTube — all of which include tributes to a handful of the franchise’s most beloved characters.

From minuscule characters like the Three Blind Mice to franchise staples like Dragon, there are a plethora of Shrek characters that have captured the hearts and minds of fans for decades. And while most characters in Shrek undoubtedly hold importance to the franchise’s overall storylines, some lovable characters are higher up on the scale than others. Without further ado, here is our definitive ranking of the 10 best characters in the Shrek franchise.

10. Pinocchio

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Despite the fact that the franchise is saturated in comedy, Pinocchio still manages to bring an extra helping of comedic antics to each Shrek movie. What makes his presence so enduring is his panicky nature to overreact in high-pressure situations — which includes other characters goading him into lying just to witness his nose grow. Because of his hilarious, incoherent rambling and determination to help the rest of the team whenever he is needed, Pinocchio easily shines as one of the very best characters in Shrek — despite his tendency to lie.

9. Prince Charming

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Of course, the Shrek films would cease to be as memorable without a snarky villain like Prince Charming at the center of it all. And even though Charming’s overall performance is limited, his presence easily established him as one of the best characters in the entire franchise. With his boyish good looks and ever-present arrogance, Charming was meant to be one of those characters you hate. Instead, diehard Shrek fans gravitated toward his true nature as a momma’s boy and fell in love with his hilarious one-liners.

8. Doris

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If anyone disagrees that Doris is one of the best characters in Shrek, they’re probably lying. Commonly referred to as the “Ugly Stepsister,” Doris — voiced by the late Larry King — is a bartender at the Poison Apple, where she regularly offers advice to others, despite often being judged in the process. Over time, Doris forms a close bond with both Shrek and Fiona, where she specifically becomes a strong confidant of Fiona and is seen in her inner circle of friends. Because of her no-nonsense type of attitude and otherwise surprising confidence, Doris is truly one of the best characters in Shrek.

7. Lord Farquaad

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As another standout villain in this list, Lord Farquaad is truly one of the best animated characters of all time. Voiced by the incredible John Lithgow, Farquaad is the overbearing and pompous ruler of Duloc. Shrek initially travels to Duloc to negotiate the terms of his swamp, but during an intense battle, Farquaad persuades Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona and return her to him. As a result, Farquaad delivers a handful of memorable lines of dialogue and easily provides some of the original movie’s best moments.

6. Gingerbread Man

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Despite having a limited role in the Shrek movies, “Gingy” is undoubtedly one of the best characters in the beloved franchise. His fast-talking sarcasm and never-say-die attitude have easily established him as a fan favorite. He has proved himself useful when assisting Shrek and others in high-stress situations. And even in the face of adversity — which includes his close encounters of being dunked into a glass of milk — the Gingerbread Man refuses to keep his opinions to himself, simultaneously making him one of the most confident Shrek characters.

5. Princess Fiona

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Amongst the many memorable characters in Shrek, Princess Fiona definitely ranks as one of the best, and easily one of the most relatable. Introduced as a potential love interest for Lord Farquaad — and Prince Charming! — Fiona is a princess who is placed high up in the tallest tower of a castle after a horrid spell is placed upon her as a child. In the original movie, Shrek is tasked with rescuing her, where the two eventually fall in love and build a family together. Fiona certainly brings an element of softness and love to the franchise, which is ultimately what makes her such an elegant and beautiful character.

4. Fairy Godmother

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As far as villains in Shrek are concerned, there is truthfully none better than the Fairy Godmother — who quite frankly, steals the spotlight in Shrek 2. Rather than adhering to the typical Fairy Godmother representation in Cinderella, the creators of Shrek opted for a villainous character that tries to break up the relationship between Shrek and Fiona — all to get Fiona to fall in love with her son Prince Charming instead. Despite being introduced as a villain, it’s not hard to understand why fans immediately fell in love with Fairy Godmother, considering her snappy one-liners and comedic side pack plenty of fun for the second film in the franchise.

3. Puss in Boots

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If you ask any Shrek fan about their favorite character, chances are Puss in Boots is at the top of that list. As the sword-fighting, confidence-radiating, fast-talking feline with a heart of gold, Puss in Boots brought incredible depth to the franchise as a whole. As a result, Puss was awarded with his own series of spin-off movies that have proved to be highly successful. And with a memorable voice portrayal from actor Antonio Banderas, it’s not difficult to understand why Puss in Boots is one of the best Shrek characters of all time.

2. Shrek

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It would seem silly to include the best Shrek characters without including the titular character himself — the intimidating green ogre with a particular softness underneath all of that ear wax. Because of his stature as the main character, Shrek has resonated well with folks for many years — and has proved to be a high influence on mainstream Shrek memes in the media. And while his no-nonsense attitude is surely admirable, at the end of the day, it’s his interior kindness and willingness to help others that made him such a popular character.

1. Donkey

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Donkey is to Shrek as bread is to butter — it’s simply the perfect combination. While Shrek is undoubtedly the lead character, most fans would choose Donkey as the best character in the franchise. Voiced by the hilariously funny Eddie Murphy, Donkey provides a slew of endless entertainment that is both funny and worthy of some tears on occasion. Donkey has plenty of memorable lines, moments, and interactions with other characters that remind fans as to why he sits at the top of the list for best Shrek characters. Plus, his eventual relationship with Dragon (and their cute little babies) is too adorable for words.