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Needing the One You Hate: Frenemies from Casablanca to The Eagle

Posted January 07, 2011 to photo album "Needing the One You Hate: Frenemies from Casablanca to The Eagle"

Esca, the Celtic Slave, and Aquila, the Roman master, may appear an unlikely team in The Eagle, but the plot of enemies turned friends is a classic cinematic trope.

Slide 1: Roman/Celt
Slide 2: Apolitical/Collaborator | Casablanca (1942)
Slide 3: The Heiress/the Reporter | It Happened One Night (1934)
Slide 4: Sober/Drunk | The African Queen (1951)
Slide 5: Black/White | The Defiant Ones (1958)
Slide 6: Old/Young | True Grit (1969)
Slide 7: Cop/Crook | 48 Hours (1982)
Slide 8: Prisoner/Keeper | Midnight Run (1988)
Slide 9: Hippie/Straight Dude | Flashback (1990)
Slide 10: Finn/Russian | The Cuckoo (2002)
Slide 11: Old Man/Korean Kid | Gran Torino (2008)
Slide 1: Roman/Celt

Slide 1: Roman/Celt

In The Eagle, Marcus Aquila (Channing Tautum) teams up with his Celtic slave Esca (Jamie Bell) to journey past the edge of the known world in search of the lost Eagle of the Ninth.  Far from best friends, these two are born enemies whose tentative truce springs from a rough gratitude. While Esca, a Brigantes prince whose father was killed by the Romans, has been turned into a slave, he begrudgingly owes Aquila his life. And while Aquila’s father and his legion of the Ninth was supposedly massacred by Celtic tribes (like the Brigantes), Aquila needs Esca to guide him North of Hadrian’s Wall.  As such a marriage of inconvenience is negotiated. But over time, their fragile alliance matures into a real friendship. It is, of course, a classic tale––enemies who become friends. In The Eagle, this bond is forged by and for adventure. But it could just easily be the stuff of comedy or melodrama. In the following slideshow, we look at a handful of these pairs, from Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains finding an unlikely friendship in the classic World War II drama Casablanca to Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy's combative, enforced partnership in the comedy thriller 48 Hours.