Nick Charles: Classic Movie Characters with Kickass Confidence

Nick Charles in The Thin Man, as portrayed by William Powell

In 2002, film critic Roger Ebert praised William Powell‘s performance in the 1934 classic The Thin Man, stating that Powell “is to dialogue as Fred Astaire is to dance. His delivery is so droll and insinuating, so knowing and innocent at the same time, that it hardly matters what he’s saying.”

I couldn’t agree more. I saw The Thin Man for the first time as a very young girl, and was captivated by the character (noun and adjective!) of Nick Charles. His poise, his sophistication, and his intense wit and charm were a revelation to a young kid brought up on Dick Tracy and Joe Friday.

Here was a retired detective, brought back into service to find a murderer, who wasn’t afraid of mistakes or mishaps, and took everything with ease, grace, a sense of humor, and a chaser full of cocktails.

William Powell as Nick Charles in The Thin Man
William Powell as Nick Charles

I believe what gives Nick Charles so much kickass confidence is his relaxed sense of himself. It’s that kind of self esteem that draws you in and makes you want to share a drink and a few adventures with him. Cheers, Nicky!

–Michelle Kerrigan for Classic Movie Hub


Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace performance who helps clients achieve success by developing the skills they need to increase their confidence. She shares “Classic Movie Characters with Kickass Confidence” because each of them has inspired her. She hopes that they inspire you too. For more about Michelle, visit


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