To celebrate his big day, we count down his top five movie characters.
Will Ferrell’s goofy man-baby shtick was at its best in this charming and hysterically funny movie. He’s Buddy, a human who grew up among Santa’s elves at the North Pole, and he’s on a mission to find his real dad in New York City. The flick’s reputation has only grown since its release in 2003, with Empire magazine voting it the second-best Christmas film of all time. Cute-as-a-button Zooey Deschanel makes for a charming love interest, too.
4. Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby
The pitch for this one was supposedly just six word: “Will Ferrell is a NASCAR driver”. Boy, did it work. The role of an ambitious but douche-y speed demon suited Will’s ability to play mock heroic hysterically, channel his rage for exceedingly funny sequences and, of course, give thanks to Baby Jesus for America’s finest cuisine.
3. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy
Ferrell and his frequent collaborator director Adam McKay and producer Judd Apatow turned their satirical attention to the testosterone-fuelled world of 1970s TV news in this cult classic. Resplendent in his red jackets and with his luxe moustache, Ferrell is eye-watering as the deluded misogynist anchorman who’s a legend in his own mind. “I love Scotch. Scotch! Scotch! Scotch!”
2. Everything Must Go
If you claim to be a Will Ferrell fan then you must see this film, for which he deserved an Oscar nomination. Why haven’t you heard of it? Because it’s a drama based on a Raymond Carver short story in which a middle-aged dude loses his relationship and much of his mind and decides the only solution is to have the world’s longest-running garage sale. Gently comedic, it’s hugely touching and shows Ferrell for what he is: a great actor.
But for full-blown Ferrell insanity, look no further than his role as villain Jacobim Mugatu in this 2001 comic classic. Ferrell steals the show as this insane fancy man who believes he’s god’s gift to fashion. This is the character who gave us “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”, “So hot right now” and, of course, the fashion line Derelicte: “Let me show you Derelicte. It is a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique.” Mugatu was even the best thing in the terrible recent Zoolander sequel.