10 Movies Where Friends Become Enemies

When it comes to relationships between characters in movies, there are a number of different dynamics and conventions screenwriters like to follow in order to create conflict and strengthen development arcs. Take the enemies-to-friends trope, where two people who were originally at odds find common ground and are able to relate to each other. Then there’s the popular enemies-to-lovers relationship, where two characters who initially can’t stand each other end up falling for one another.

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There’s also what may be the most tragic and high-stakes relationship – that of friends to enemies. Two people who once confided in and cared for each other are drawn apart due to newfound opposing beliefs or other external circumstances. It’s a story vehicle that has been utilized in many films over the years, and most recently in Creed III, the latest entry in the long-running Rocky franchise.


10 ‘Creed III’ (2023)

Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson and Michael B Jordan as Adonis Creed in Creed 3
Image via MGM

Creed III sees Michael B. Jordan return as Adonis, son of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), where he also makes his directorial debut. Adonis is thriving in both his personal and professional life, when an old childhood friend named Damian (Jonathan Majors) resurfaces.

Damien was a boxing prodigy before serving time in prison and is now keen to prove himself in the ring after having been released. This is much more than a simple fistfight, as Damien believes Adonis took the life and glory that could have been his. With everything to lose for Adonis and nothing for Damien, the stage is set for a tense showdown.

9 ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ (2021)

Young Namaari and Raya in Raya and the Last Dragon

Set in the divided fantasy world of Kumandra, Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon follows the titular Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) as she seeks out the titular last dragon (Awkwafina) in order to save Kumandra from an all-consuming plague.

At the beginning of the film, a young Raya befriends Naamari (Gemma Chan), the daughter of the Chief of the Fang tribe. When Raya shows her the location of the orb that protects Kumandra, Naamari betrays her, giving her own tribe a chance to steal the orb. As adults, the two become enemies as they fight to protect their homes.

8 ‘The Prince of Egypt’ (1998)

Moses and Rameses embrace after years apart

Widely regarded as one of Dreamworks Animation’s best films, The Prince of Egypt is the musical adaptation of the biblical story of Moses. In the film, Egyptian prince Moses (Val Kilmer) learns of his true Hebrew identity and his destiny to lead his people to freedom.

Moses’s brother, Ramses (Ralph Fiennes), rules ruthlessly over the Hebrews as Pharaoh, causing a divide between the siblings who grew up as best friends. While Ramses chooses oppression for the Hebrews as Moses calls for their freedom, the pair’s views are too opposed to one another for there to be any reconciliation.

7 ‘Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith’ (2005)

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan fight on Mustafar in 'Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith'
Image via Lucasfilm

“You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you” is the line that sums up the tragedy of the fallout between Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) after the latter’s turn to the dark side in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

Obi-Wan and Anakin began their relationship as mentor and mentee, where the Jedi Master trained his Padawan in the ways of the force. However, Anakin is tempted by the dark side of the force, betraying Obi-Wan and leading to a fiery battle and irreversible rift between the two.

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6 ‘The Fox and the Hound’ (1981)

Fox and the Hound smiling at each other
Image via Disney

Animated Disney movies sure know how to get the waterworks flowing, and The Fox and the Hound isn’t any different. The film tells the story of the unlikely childhood friendship between Tod (Mickey Rooney), a red fox, and Copper (Kurt Russell), a hound dog.

As the two enter adulthood, Tod becomes a wild fox and Copper a hunting dog. The pair are drawn apart due to the pressures of society and the fact that they should naturally be enemies. They eventually end up on opposite sides of a human hunter’s gun, and what’s most heartbreaking is the external factors that fracture this perfectly functioning friendship.

5 ‘X-Men: First Class’ (2011)

X-Men: First Class, James McAvoy & Michael Fassbender

X-Men: First Class is the origin story movie that sees a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) before they were Professor X and Magneto. During the Cold War, the two mutants team up to find others like them to help prevent a nuclear attack.

While the pair start out as friends with the same goal, they ultimately have different moral values. Erik grew up being tortured by scientists and believes mutants can only thrive if humanity is extinct, whereas Charles believes humans can be educated and live peacefully alongside mutants. The film ends with the two on opposite sides of the ensuing war.

4 ‘The Social Network’ (2010)

The Social Network’ (2010) (1)

The Social Network tells the true story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and the creation of the social media mammoth Facebook. While Zuckerberg is mostly known as the sole founder of the website, the film highlights his fallout with co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield).

Although Facebook turns out to be a huge success, Eduardo is cut out of the business, with his shares diluted, and therefore throws a huge lawsuit upon Mark. Eduardo was the only close friend Mark had before Facebook, and the betrayal is worthy of Eduardo memorably smashing Mark’s computer in front of several employees.

3 ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016)

Captain America Civil War’ (2016) (1)

Formerly the two poster boys for the Avengers, Captain America: Civil War sees the differences between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) boil to new heights when a political disagreement sees them on different sides of the battlefield.

The government decides to push for a law that limits and controls the actions of superheroes, which Tony supports due to the mass destruction of cities. However, Steve believes the government can’t be relied on and is opposed to its implementation. This leads to Captain America and Iron Man no longer fighting side by side against the enemy, but each other.

RELATED:Ways ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Improved on the Comics

2 ‘Spider-Man 3’ (2007)

James Franco as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin in Spider-Man 3

In the first Spider-Man movie, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Harry Osborn (James Franco) are two naive high school students and the best of friends. This is no longer the case in Spider-Man 3, where Harry is set on getting revenge on Spider-Man for the death of his father.

Unaware that Peter is Spider-Man, Harry believes the web-slinging hero is responsible for the death of Norman Osborn (Willem Defoe), even though he actually tried to save him. Harry takes on his late father’s villainous alter-ego, The Green Goblin, and sets out to kill Spider-Man – and his former friend – himself.

1 ‘Goodfellas’ (1990)

Tommy DeVito, Henry Hill, and James Conway huddled and talking to each other in Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro in Goodfellas.

Goodfellas is Martin Scorsese’s mobster masterpiece, following the true story of gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his involvement with fellow criminals Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) in the Italian-American mafia.

Henry’s goal is to climb all the way to the top of the hierarchy of the Mob, and throughout the course of the film, he and Tommy are inseparable. When tensions rise, Henry begins to distance himself, and eventually becomes an FBI informant. Henry helps the organization take down Tommy, proving that loyalty and trust is hard to come by in the criminal underworld.

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