Characters: No Country for Old Men

Llewelyn Moss

Played By: Josh Brolin

A trailer park inhabitant who accidentally comes across the remnants of a Mexican drug shootout while hunting, and decides to take the money he finds, sparking the events of the movie.

Anton Chigurh

Played By: Javier Bardem

A Mexican hitman, and the primary antagonist of the story. He is tasked with obtaining the money lost in the shootout, but he goes rogue, and starts killing everyone in his pursuit of the money.

  • Ax-Crazy: A subversion. Even if they don't make sense to a normal person, Chigurh has his reasons, and he's more coldly logical than crazy. He does, however, have one of the primary traits of a true Ax-Crazy, which is the immense amount of danger involved in even speaking to him.
  • Badass: Even discussed by Moss and Carson
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Moss is killed, though not by him, but Moss' murderers fail to obtain the money, and he instead finds them. He subsequently kills Carla Jean, and escapes justice perfectly. He gets injured in the car crash, though.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: His ridiculous haircut says nothing about the ruthless and implacable killer he actually is.
  • Big Bad: Of the film
  • Blue and Orange Morality: He has his own set of moral codes, completely incomprehensible to everyone else.
  • Creepy Monotone: Never raises his voice
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Once Moss gets rid of the tracker device, Chigurh switches strategy to killing Carson and threatening Carla Jean to draw Moss out
  • Deadpan Snarker: Demonstrated in the gas station.
  • Determinator: He's basically a human Super-Persistent Predator
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Inflicted by him on the shop owner early on. He tries conversing with Chigurh, who responds by having him call a coin toss for his life. The salesman guesses correct, but still....
  • Dissonant Serenity: One of the most chilling aspects of him.
  • The Dreaded: In the drug business.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: He looks like death warmed over.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first scene of the movie has him strangling a deputy with his handcuffs, and then killing a random driver with his air canister. Also, when he buys gas at a highway store, he makes the coin toss on the salesman for trying to small-talk with him.
  • Evil Is Petty: As Carson puts it, he doesn't have a sense of humor. He is willing to belittle and possibly kill a gas station attendant for trying to make small talk with him. This only makes him more terrifying.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: he has a really deep voice.
  • For the Evulz: Either this or It Amused Me. The book describes in the opening, how he allows himself to be arrested, just in order to see if he can escape with his supreme act of will. He can.
  • Genius Bruiser: Just another reason to be terrified of him, he is incredibly intelligent, planning tactical entries into rooms before doing them and able to patch up a wound from a shotgun blast. All of that mixed with being one of the most dangerous and unstoppable assassins in movie history.
  • Hates Small Talk: The reason why he nearly kills the gas station attendant.
  • Hero Killer: Toyed with because he never gets to kill Moss
  • I Gave My Word: Villainous case. He "promises" Moss that Carla Jean will be hurt if he does not comply. He does not, and is killed, and Chigurh retrieves the money, and he still kills Carla Jean just because he gave his word to do so.
  • Implacable Man: See Determinator
  • Karma Houdini: Partially. He survives, but with a fracture that leaves his arm bone sticking out.
  • Kick the Dog: Frequently. Notably, making the coin toss on the salesman for trying to make small talk with him, strangling the deputy to see if he could, killing the driver, and eventually killing Carla Jean.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Shooting Wells in the groin, and also his pursuit of Moss.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Chigurh's true strength is his ability to get the element of surprise. When that is no longer in his favor, he's not nearly as effective.
  • Lack of Empathy: Because he's The Sociopath
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant:
  • No Sense of Humor
  • Professional Killer: His profession, though he is much more than that.
  • Psycho for Hire
  • Race Lift: Or at least implied Fake Nationality. In the book Chigurh's nationality is ambiguous. In the movie he's played by Spanish Javier Bardem and most assume him to be mexican.
  • Rogue Agent: After killing the drug executives accompanying him to the crime scene with the Mexicans.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Not so much because he's relying on the tracker in the money suitcase.
  • Slasher Smile: Has one when he's choking his arresting oficer to death.
  • The Sociopath: He is such a potent one that he's basically a walking force of unstoppable evil.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: See Creepy Monotone above.
  • The Spook: Absolutely nothing is known about him, except for, maybe, his name.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The closest he gets to this, and justice in any way in general, is when Carla Jean refuses to call his coin toss, completely wrecking his moral conception of the world. He kills her anyway.
  • Weapon of Choice: His captive bolt pistol and oxygen canister. As well as his silenced shotgun.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Javier Bardem intentionally muddied his natural Spanish accent to make Chigurh's nationality more ambiguous.

Ed Tom Bell

Played By: Tommy Lee Jones

The elderly sheriff of the unspecified county where the events of the novel takes place, and the narrator of the story.

  • Despair Event Horizon: After the death of Moss, and presumably Carla Jean, although we don't see him react to it, he retires finding himself incapable of reacting to all the pointless violence around him.
  • When I Was Your Age: Does not say it outright, but he laments all the violence spreading in Texas, when compared to in his youth.

Carla Jean Moss

Played By: Kelly Macdonald

The wife of Llewelyn Moss, and involuntary object of a wide range of problems caused by his ordeals.

Carson Wells

Played By: Woody Harrelson

A hitman hired by the same drug runners that previously hired Chigurh, in order to track down the money and kill Chigurh.

Man Who Hires Wells

Played By: Stephen Root

An enigmatic businessman who hires Anton Chigurh to recover the money, and Carson Wells when Chigurh goes rogue.

  • Bigger Bad: The money Moss finds and that Chigurh is after belongs to his organization. In the book, however, he is only middle management. After killing him, Chigurh returns the money to his boss, an even more mysterious Biggest Bad.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Hires Carson Wells to kill Chigurh after the latter goes rogue, but it backfires.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He is this combined with Corrupt Hick. He has a nice office in a Houston highrise, from which he apparently runs the day-to-day operations of a Texan drug cartel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shows shades of this in his interactions with Carson Wells.
  • No Name Given: We never learn his name. Or anything else about him.
  • Oh Crap!: The look on his face when Chigurh bursts through the door says it all.
  • Properly Paranoid: Gives transponders to both Chigurh and the Mexicans, which backfires spectacularly when Chigurh takes offense at this and kills him. Also, his office is only accessible by entering a secret code into the elevator, which changes after every use. In the film version, he keeps a pistol in his desk drawer.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Only appears in two scenes, and in the second one he gets blasted in the throat with birdshot before he can have any lines, but his actions have a large impact on the plot.
  • The Syndicate: Runs one in Texas that does business with their counterparts south of the border.