Fight Club begins with Edward Norton narration about him specifying his phycological disorders. We – the audience – meet an unnamed character who has insomnia. Before we officially “meet” Tyler, when our main character sits next to him on a plane, we see him in a series of subliminal flashes, like near a copier or behind a doctor. This is our first clue that Tyler is not what he seems.

Then our unnamed character meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) on a plane who introduces himself as a soap dealer. There are plenty of clues to Tyler’s true identity as a figment of our narrator’s imagination. One of our main character’s first remarks to Tyler is “We have the exact same briefcase.” Tyler smirks because he knows that it is the same briefcase…because they are the exact same person.


Tyler Durden is an anarchist imaginary friend whose purpose, ironically, is for our main character to be more honest and real with himself. Our narrator uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism, and Tyler immediately shoots him down: “How’s that working out for you? […] Being clever?”

Durden is everything Norton’s character — who has no name — is not.

In order to keep it real, Tyler blows up our narrator’s apartment (which means he blew up his own apartment), forcing him to move in together (i.e. move in wit himself) and work odd jobs. One of Tyler’s jobs is projectionist:

“Someone has to be there to switch the projectors at the exact moment that one reel ends and the next reel begins […]”

– Tyler Durden

Being a projectionist, this job serves a dual purpose as it enables Tyler to splice porn into family films but is also a commentary on the fact that Tyler is the movie’s projectionist, sending us subliminal hints and tricking us, through the storytelling, into not realizing that he and the narrator are the same person until the end.

Tyler Durden is the devil-may-care anarchist nihilist that is the main character of both the movie directed by David Fincher and the novel written by Chuck Palahniuk.

…funny and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free…

– Tyler Durden described by Palahniuk in his novel “Fight Club”.

“I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.”

– The character adaption by screenwriter Jim Uhls, in David Fincher’s 1999 film.

The brashness, the visceral sexuality, the umbrella of certitude, and the anti-consumerism – define the character until about the 3rd act of the movie. The character then takes on a whole new meaning of his own when the group of men finding a new meaning to life transforms from a fight club into a terrorist movement, with Durden as its leader.

As things get more extreme — Project Mayhem blows up buildings, policemen are threatened with castration — our narrator starts questioning Tyler’s motives. In the end, amidst a massive terrorist attack against an American city, Norton realizes that he actually is Durden — and tries to kill himself.

Tyler Durden is one of the best character played by Brad Pitt. He is the coolest motivational guru ever and probably one of the most defining characters of a generation.


Tyler Durden in Fight Club (1999)




Tyler Durden




We like:

  • Pitt dominates the screen every second he's on it, and it simultaneously represents his weirdest, funniest and most charismatic role of his career.