The Rival: Real Life
Famous rivalries, where either of the two sides can be considered The Rival, depending on your point of view.
open/close all folders
- Joan Fontaine vs. Olivia de Havilland. Rival Golden Age movie stars who fought over Oscars, they are rival sisters to boot. Both of them remained spiteful up until Fontaine's death in 2013.
- Bette Davis and Joan Fontaine.
- Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel. Laurel and Chaplin both performed in the same music hall company. Laurel got a reputation for imitating Chaplin almost perfectly, which didn't please Chaplin at all. Later Chaplin went into movies and became the most famous film star of all time. Laurel expected Chaplin to give him a phone call later on, but this never happened. As a result, Laurel had to struggle another 15 years before he made it big with partner Oliver Hardy. Chaplin mentioned Laurel only briefly in his autobiography.
- Steven Spielberg and James Cameron.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.
- Harrison Ford vs. Kurt Russell vs. Nick Nolte.
- Natalie Portman vs. Keira Knightley vs. Anne Hathaway
- Saoirse Ronan and Dakota Fanning.
- Abigail Breslin and Chloe Moretz
- Robert De Niro and Al Pacino
- Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson.
- Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler.
- Julianne Moore and Annette Bening.
- Michelle Pfeiffer vs. Sharon Stone, though it's more of a Friendly Rivalry.
- Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.
- Meryl Streep vs. Susan Sarandon vs. Glenn Close.
- Sean Penn vs John Cusack vs. Kevin Spacey.
- Eva Green and Olga Kurylenko.
- Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman. Eventually, even on-screen.
- Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel. Eventually, even on-screen.
- Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
- Amanda Seyfried and Olivia Wilde.
- Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone.
- Scarlett Johansson and Emily Blunt.
- Ryan Gosling and Jake Gyllenhaal.
- Edward Norton and Mark Wahlberg.
- Milla Jovovich and Kate Beckinsale.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
- Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins.
- Daniel Craig and Gerard Butler.
- Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal shared a life-long rivalry. One time the encounter between them turned physical and Mailer punched out Vidal on the floor. Vidal had the last laugh however, by saying: "Words fail Norman Mailer yet again."
- The rivalry between Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa also turned brutal. Llosa once beat him a black eye. A photograph of this was published in 2007. Ideologically they were also different, Márquez was left wing and Llosa right wing.
- Lilian Hellman vs. Mary Mccarthy.
- Vladimir Nabokov vs. Edmund Wilson.
- Hugo Claus and Harry Mulisch also had an envious relationship with each other, where they tried to surpass each others' literary status and success with each new novel. They were friends, but still rivals at the same time.
Cartoonists, comic strip artists and animators
- Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett had a bitter rivalry going on. Jones claimed that Clampett was a egomaniac who took credit for stuff that he didn't invent in the first place and during book signings he even gave fans a list with all the stuff Clampett said, personally debunked and signed by both him and Tex Avery. Jones didn't even mention Clampett in his autobiography.
- Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Trey Parker & Matt Stone (South Park) and Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) are all each others' rivals, though they do show some respect at times for each others' work. Between South Park and Family Guy, however, the rivalry is very bitter.
- Hergé (Tintin) felt threatened by the succes of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's Astérix. In terms of commercial and artistic succes they were certainly equals. Though Hergé did provide a shout-out to Asterix in his final album Tintin and the Picaros where a man dressed like the Gaulish warrior can be seen in the crowd. Goscinny and Uderzo returned the nod by having Thompson and Thomson have a cameo in Asterix in Belgium, which ironically would also turn out to be the final Asterix album for Goscinny who died during the making of the album.
- Willy Vandersteen (Suske en Wiske) and Marc Sleen (Nero). Both were the best known and commercially best-selling comic strip artists in Flanders from the 1940s until the 1960s. After 1965 however Vandersteen soon eclipsed him because he had several succesful series in syndication, drawn by his studio which also sold well in other countries, especially the Netherlands. Sleen on the other hand had dropped all his other series in favor of Nero because he had to do all the work alone. His comics only sold well in Flanders, though they had some cult succes in Wallony and the Netherlands too, but his stories became less interesting for children, while he refused to sell out which made his series only sell well among adults from that point on.
- Disney animation vs. Warner Bros. animation during the 1940s and 1950s, and then again in the 1990s. In the 1930s it was Disney vs. the Fleischers, and in the 1980s it was Disney vs. Don Bluth. Since the 2000s, DreamWorks Animation has been Disney's main rival.
- Coca Cola and Pepsi
- Playboy and Hustler
- The Belgian comic book magazines Tintin and Spirou and Fantasio. And their publishers, Casterman and Dupuis.
- MSNBC vs FOX News, for the title of the most loudmouthed/opinionated/rude/biased/partisan "news" network. With the most public fight being that between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly .
- Got so bad that the bosses allegedly tried to make a truce, which didn't last long.
- In the U.S., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus versus Cirque du Soleil — the two biggest circus companies in the world, each with a distinctive approach to the form. Ringling is "traditional", with three tours that crisscross the country and are relaunched with new acts and themes every one-to-two years; Cirque is "contemporary", in that each show is a unique, theme-driven piece of theater that can run for years on end with few changes. Also, the former uses live animals and the latter does not, with the exception of some doves in Criss Angel BeLIEve. Because Cirque shows are usually performed under tents in big cities and Ringling Bros. travels the broader arena circuit, this rivalry was largely one of style (though Ringling attempted a Cirque-style tour, Barnum's Kaleidoscape, at the end of The Nineties in addition to their traditional shows) until Cirque started adapting its older shows for arenas in 2007 to expand its audience.
- Online magazines Slate and Salon can be considered this, having different stances, editorial positions despite both being generally liberal (though Salon leans considerably more into the left-wing). Both sites have also included among their ranks some major pundits and journalists (such as Christopher Hitchens for Slate and Glenn Greenwald for Salon), adding even more fuel to the rivalry.
- The Polish computer game magazines Top Secret and Secret Service. The latter was made up of the old Top Secret personnel who all went and left back in 1993 to start their own mag. These were the old days of videogame journalism, when they still could pepper their issues with very thinly veiled Take Thats at each other.
- Marvel vs. DC Comics!
- In the Philippines, TV networks ABS-CBN and GMA, both of which control most of local TV and radio stations, as well as publications and overseas outlets. The rivalry between the two goes back from their humble beginnings, though with the recent entry of TV5 as a major competitor, the situation has slightly changed.
- Most neighbouring towns, cities and countries have a rivalry going on.
- Ever since the Cold War the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. have been rivals.
- China and Japan. Also, Japan and South Korea.
- The United Kingdom and France (sometimes Germany too). Historically, England and France were like this a great deal, fighting a number of wars against each other all the way up to the 1800s. However, they've stopped since World War I broke out. These days, it's mostly sporting rivalries that the British media plays up to.
- France and Germany
- Michigan and Ohio. Both states are still a little miffed over Toledo.
- This creates a strange problem every year for fans of Michigan State University's sports teams: on one hand, Michigan State's biggest rival is the University of Michigan, but on the other hand, Michigan's great rival (as mentioned above) is Ohio State. The great majority of MSU students/fans are from Michigan, raised on a diet of hatred for everything related to Ohio. The result is that a perpetual debate in East Lansing is whether one should root for Ohio State or Michigan when they face each other. Consensus is somewhere around Henry Kissinger's observation about the Iran–Iraq War: "Too bad they can't both lose."
- Chicago and New York City. Boston and New York as well.
- Useful Notes/Italy and Austria-Hungary, historically. Also, Subverted between Italy and France: often enough they have acted as this, but when World War I provided the chance for them to fight Italy stayed neutral until they got a chance to join the war on France's side (incidentally, that meant fighting Austria-Hungary), and when Benito Mussolini got around to actually declare war and announced it the Italian people booed him (they had cheered him on announcing the war, but changed their mind when he specified against who), and the Italian and French soldiers had an unwritten agreement amounting to the Italians advancing, getting shot at, firing back a couple salvoes and then retreating.
- Italy and Yugoslavia, the latter replaced by Slovenia and Croatia after the break-up, due various events happened between 1918 and 1960 on which is better not to elaborate here.
- Sydney and Melbourne. The two biggest cities, the rivalry really picked up over which should be capital after Australia became a Federation (the government simply decided to found the city of Canberra in between the two, although both Sydneysiders and Melburnians consider their city as the true capital), and now compete in virtually everything; finance, culture, sports, importance, you name it.
- The University of Oxford and The University of Cambridge, ever since the 13th-century, most famously manifests in the annual boat race between the two schools.
- Similarly (if less old), The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal College of Music; unlike Oxbridge they don't have a specific contest, but expect at least one representative from each to reach the latter rounds of music competitions. Each institution has been known to jokingly refer to the other as That Other Place.
- University College London (UCL) and King's College London also have a similar rivalry.
- Across the ocean, there's Yale and Harvard in America and Queen's and McGill in Canada.
- And MIT and Caltech.
- University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have their own boat race, presumably in parody of the Oxbridge one. Both unis famously dislike each other, UCD being formerly 'Catholic University of Ireland' and Trinity being famously Protestant has an unfortunate role in this hatred.
- Army and Navy.
- University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. Sheer, undiluted hatred in the Bluegrass State.
- Averted in the case of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart vs. Antonio Salieri, who were friends in real life. The rivalry was made up by in a play by Pushkin long after the both men were dead.
- Played straight with George Frederic Handel and Domenico Scarlatti, two virtuoso megastars of the Baroque keyboard. It was later conceded that Handel was the more accomplished organist and Scarlatti the superior harpsichordist. Interestingly, Johann Sebastian Bach, the other obvious candidate for this trope knew Handel by reputation only; the two maestros famously never met all.
- Maria Callas vs. Renata Tabaldi. Two polar opposite opera singers, they did manage to work together in the end.
- As of late, the media's been setting up Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus as this.
- Considering Taylor Swift was in Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana movie, this is not very likely.
- At one time, many fans always pitted Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams as to who was the better composer although both were good friends in real life (Goldsmith even stated that Williams deserved his Oscar win for Jaws, although one of the defeated scores was The Wind and the Lion... by Goldsmith!).
- Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. Childhood friends who both gained a reputation for making groundbreaking bizarre avantgarde music. It was Zappa himself who started off Beefheart's career by having him record his voice in his studio. Beefheart tried his own career, but by 1969 he felt disillusioned about the Executive Meddling and lack of album sales. Zappa produced his next album Trout Mask Replica and gave him total creative freedom, but the record hardly sold and Beefheart blamed Zappa for this. For years they remained bitter towards each other until Beefheart found himself broke and contractually unable to record anything. Zappa took him up for the Bongo Fury (1975) tour, until they once again had a fall-out. Only when Zappa fell terminally ill with cancer in the 1990s did the two friends reconcile.
- The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, though the rivalry was more among their fans than the bands themselves.
- Michael Jackson and Prince during the 1980s. Near the end of the decade, however, Jackson felt more threatened by Madonna, whom he didn't consider to be musically talented at all.
- He and Paul McCartney also had a fall-out after Jackson bought up the right to the entire Beatles catalogue.
- blur and Oasis.
- Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
- The media tried to set up such a thing with Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but the two never had any trouble with each other. Mariah and Madonna, however, is the real deal.
- Most political parties are each others' rivals.
- During the Cold War the U.S.A and U.S.S.R. were each other rivals.
- Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative) vs. William E Gladstone (Liberal), considered to be one of the most famous of political rivalries, lasting a decade and a half. Two consummate politicians who loathed each other, clashed over the post of the British prime minister. (Gladstone served longer as PM).
- Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton. Ended in a duel, Hamilton was killed, and the resulting public outcry destroyed Burr's political career.
- Miyamoto Musashi vs. Sasaki Kojiro. Both were legendary swordsmen from the Warring States period of Japanese history. Their duel at Ganryujima, where Musashi killed Kojiro with a BFS fashioned from a boat's oar, is particularly famous.
- Another famous rivalry from the same era was between Takeda Shingen, the Tiger of Kai, and Uesugi Kenshin, the Dragon of Echigo. While countless stories portray this rivalry as being one of the utmost respect between the two (even suggesting that the two were great friends when their nations were not at war), this probably originated sometime in the Edo period; Kenshin is recorded to have quite strongly hated Shingen.
- Two Canadian Fathers of Conferederation, George Brown and John A Macdonald, were rivals. George Brown, the founder of the Globe and Mail, was much fiercer in the rivalry; his quest for power was ultimately fruitless (in other words, he was appointed a member of the Senate), whereas Macdonald was knighted and served as Prime Minister for 19 years.
- Brown got a college named after him, though.
- One of the reasons Brown didn't succeed, though, was that he wasn't given the chance: he was assassinated.
- Brown got a college named after him, though.
- A number of leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties of Canada fall into this trope, most famously John G. Diefenbaker (Conservative leader 1956-67, PM 1957-63) and Lester B. Pearson (Liberal leader 1958-68, PM 1963-68). The two men were extremely intelligent, accomplishished individuals who were able to be civil to one another.
- Others include Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Sir Robert Borden, W.L. Mackenzie King and Arthur Meigen, Pierre Trudeau and Joe Clark, and John Turner and Brian Mulroney.
- Pierre Trudeau (prime minister of Canada) vs. Rene Levesque (leader of Parti Quebecois, a mainstream political party advocating for the separation of Quebec). The duo fought bitterly over ten years over the independence of Quebec. The rivalry culminated during the drafting of the Canadian constitution, Trudeau, fearing the trouble Levesque is going to cause, had to trick Levesque by waiting until he was asleep before starting the backroom deals that was ultimately to produce the document. Levesque and the province of Quebec never forgave the trick, they still have not signed the constitution.
- Josef Stalin vs. Leon Trotsky. Most now agree that Trotsky would have made a better leader, but Stalin won the argument by having a ice axe stuck in Trotsky's head.
The two most powerful men in Russia are Stalin and the last man who spoke to him.
- Appositely summarised by comedian Yakov Smirnoff thus:
- Revisionist historians, working from newly released archival evidence, have argued that Stalin actually was the better leader, and that Trotsky lost because he simply was not as politically savvy. His account of Stalin's rise to power is regarded as smear, insofar as it portrays him as a political non-entity of average ability who achieved power through sinister Obstructive Bureaucracy, and that the real Stalin was a multi-talented Magnificent Bastard.
- It's often joked, though with much substance, that the true bitterest enemies and rival Generals of World War Two, were General George Patton and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
- There was a legend in the Army of the Potomac that McClellan and AP Hill had been rivals for the same girl and she had married McClellan. When they were hard pressed the soldiers said, "Why didn't you marry him?"
- It's true. McClellan only won Mary's hand because her father forbade her from marrying Hill as he was a career officer. McClellan, on the other hand, was expected to retire from the army soon and dedicate himself to the administration of the family fortune and industrial businesses. Unfortunately he did not retire soon enough and made the Union Army suffer through his incompetence for a good while.
- Otto Von Bismarck vs Ludwig Windhorst (leader of the German Centre Party). Windhorst was by far the ablest and most dangerous critic of Bismarck's policy. The iron chancellor said once:"Everyone must have someone to love and someone to hate. I have my wife to love and Windthorst to hate."
- Isaac Newton vs. Gottfried Leibniz. Clashed over who actually discovered calculus (now most agree that Newton came up with the idea first, but Leibniz probably came up with calculus independently from Newton). The rivalry was mostly one sided, with Newton and the UK treating Leibniz as an personal insult. This resulted in English mathematicians refusing to acknowledge developments in math from the rest of Europe, ultimately holding up English mathematics for about a century.
- Newton and Robert Hooke were also rivals, probably even more so than Newton and Leibniz.
- It began when Newton presented his first paper on the nature of light. He argued that light was composed of particles and that white light was made up of all colours of light in the spectrum. Hooke attacked these conclusions and Newton's methods viciously, believing that light travelled in waves. Newton responded in anger and became very defensive. They became so antagonistic towards each other that Newton threatened to leave the Royal Society.
- Hooke accused Newton of plagiarizing his ideas about gravitation because he had suggested to the latter in a series of letters that it was a universal force that and an inverse squared relationship with distance between two bodies. However, it was Newton that mathematically proved it. Newton grew furious and disputed Hooke's claim that he would never have come up with the relationship alone. He removed from his book all references made to Hooke and his ideas on gravitation before publishing.
- There was likely a large amount of jealousy involved on both parts. Initially, Hooke was taken much more seriously than Newton and had access to more resources due to his large contributions to science before Newton. Hooke also didn't have the ability to do the math necessary to prove gravitation like Newton did, and as time progressed, Newton's fame increased while Hooke faded from prominence.
- Newton and Robert Hooke were also rivals, probably even more so than Newton and Leibniz.
- Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla. Fought over the early electricity market, especially over whether power should be supplied as Direct (Edison) or Alternating (Tesla) current. Edison undertook a particularity vicious smear campaign against Tesla, which resulted in Tesla being pushed off public life and dying penniless and alone. Although Tesla has now been vindicated in that alternating current was better for transmission of electricity (if Edison had won, the electrical grid would have been so complex that electricity would probably never have replaced steam power as the driver of modern society).
- Joseph Priestley vs. Antoine Lavoisier. One of the first ever rivalries over science, Priestley once sent a spy to steal Lavoisier's research on gases.
- Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould over the idea of gradual evolution or punctuated evolution.
- Pioneer paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. In their case, it got ugly.