Both TV and the movies have had their fair share of unforgettable / iconic / legendary / generation-defining / influential characters.
These are the characters that made us feel the extremes of humanity and emotion, and they stuck with us long after they were retired, killed off or the movie simply ended.
Who for you guys are the most influential TV / Movie characters and why?
Let me start.
My generation grew up knowing only one movie certainty: Sci Fi = Star Wars. Any other film with robots, spaceships and ray guns would only be compared to Star Wars and forever come up short. While Luke Skywalker and Han Solo may be go down as two of the most adored good guys in cinema of all time, it was definitely the Sith Lord, Darth Vader, who was the most unforgettable character of that franchise.
Think about it: whenever people think of pure evil or badness whether in teachers, bosses, coworkers, school mates, neighbors and whatnot, they will most likely think of folks like those as "the Darth Vader of --- " The dark side apparently had no trouble crossing over into mainstream society.
That Darth eventually turned out to be Luke's daddy was also one of the most kick-ass twists in all filmdom. "Luke, I am your father!" Shit, that line still chills me to the bone. :-X