13 Movies You Will Heart If You Adore The Best Telenovela Characters Of All Time!
Telenovelas, culebrones, comedias… however you might call them, televised episodic melodrama is an important cultural industry in all of Latin America and among the huge Spanish-speaking and bilingual communities in the United States.
Telenovelas often involve a central story of love filled with obstacles and intrigues. The two main characters usually come from very different socioeconomic origins. All of this is spiced up with romantic triangles and often with secret identities… And of course steamy kisses and slaps, lots of head-turning slaps!
Central to the success of a telenovela are legendary characters that have no shades of gray: they are either too good or the meanest SOBs on Earth. If you love to love or love to hate some of these characters, you will enjoy some of these movies.
1. If you love to hate Soraya from Maria la del Barrio…
The best villain of all time and now a worldwide famous meme. She was bitchy and evil. And incredibly funny.
You will like: Ursula in The Little Mermaid
She is ruthless in her evil ways and is just so dismissive and has zero political correctness. You will enjoy hating her!
2. If you love to love Maestra Jimena from Carrusel…
We have all fantasized with having an understanding and amazing teacher like her…. she was equally tough and caring.
You will like: Louanne Johnson in Dangerous Minds
Michelle Pfeiffer plays an ex-Marine who teaches literature at a rough high-school and gets the kids straightened up and motivated. You go, girl.
3. If you love to hate Catalina Creel from Cuna de lobos
She was evil beyond belief and didn’t hesitate to kill even family members in her journey to total power and vengeance.
You will like: Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians
She wanted to make a coat out of puppy fur… let that sink in. Point made.
4. If you love to love Juan Del Diablo from Corazón Salvaje
The late Eduardo Palomo played a sexy and cheeky pirate in this classic period telenovela about a love triangle in the Mexican beachside.
You will like: Dr. Peter Blood in Captain Blood
Errol Flynn plays a savvy and adventurous captain in this 1935 Hollywood classic!
5. If you love to love Marimar from Marimar
Of all the Maria characters that Thalia played in the 1990s, Marimar is the most adorable: a girl who grows up in the beach, with sun-kissed skin and a killer smile.
You will like: Amelie in Amelie
Our favorite naive French coqueta. She is as shiny and cute as Marimar, and just as secretly cheeky.
6. If you love to love Tanya and Ana Maria from Dos mujeres un camino
Bibi Gaytán and Laura León play a couple of women, the lover and the wife, who are in love with the same man. They don’t really hate each other, which makes for an interesting and different plot.
You will like: Vicky and Maria Elena in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz play a couple of free spirits who are both in love with a Spanish bon vivant painter.
7. If you love to hate Aurelio Casillas from El señor de los cielos
Based on the real kingpin Amado Carrillo Fuentes. This character is so charming he makes us forget about his evil wrongdoings and the pain he brings to thousands of people affected by drug violence.
You will like: Tony Montana in Scarface.
Al Pacino plays this character to perfection. Montana is a violent and powerful drug dealer who thinks he is above the law and anything else.
8. If you love to love Betty from Yo soy Betty, la fea
Dozens of versions of this Colombian telenovela have been made, which talks about the appeal of the archetypical story of a woman who blossoms after falling in love. However, it is problematic in terms of how it deals with body image issues.
You will like: Gracie in Miss Congeniality
Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent who finds her inner femininity by participating in a beauty contest. She is so damn funny and so damn cute!
9. If you love to love Fernando Mendiola Saénz in La fea más bella
Jaime Camil played Betty’s romantic counterpart and boss to the dot in the Mexican version. This might be the role that got him a job in Jane the Virgin as Rogelio De la Vega!
You will like: Professor Henry Higgings in My Fair Lady
The archetypical character of a high class man who finds the beauty and intelligence in a lower class woman. Kind of sexist, but a bit charming.
10. If you love to hate Rubí Pérez Ochoa in Rubí
Deliciously played by Bárbara Mori, Rubí is a complex character that has a poor background, but hangs out with the rich kids thanks to her hardworking sister who puts her through a private university. She is de cuidado!
You will like: Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liasons
Glen Close plays a socialite who knows how to wreak havoc among the rich and beautiful, just like Rubí. Aguas con ella!
11. If you love to hate Rodrigo Montalvo Santos from Destilando amor
The typical rich jerk who goes overseas and promises his poor girlfriend to come back. Sorpresa! He doesn’t.
You will like: Tony Stark from the Iron Man franchise
He is the rich heir who just teases his romantic interests (his assistant in this case) but never fully commits. Que pase el desgraciado!
12. If you love to love Gaviota from Café, con aroma de mujer
This Colombian culebrón on which the Mexican Destilando amor is based. Instead of agave plants the rich family harvests coffee. The female lead is a young and passionate woman who falls ill of love. Saquen los kleenex.
You will like: The girl in The Lover
In colonial Indochine (now Vietnam) a young woman falls in love with a rich businessman and starts a torrid romance. Steamy as it gets. We never get to know the characters´names.
13. If you love to love María Inés Domínguez de Sanmillán from Mirada de mujer.
This telenovela broke with a taboo in Mexican society. It showed a love affair between a middle-aged woman and a younger lover, played by Ari Telch (think Mexican Tom Selleck).
You will like: Liz Gilbert in Eat Pray Love
Julia Roberts played the main character beautifully, helping millions of women believe that it is not only men who are entitled to change their life.