15 Greatest Fictional Doctors in Movies and TV Shows

Whether they're gifted surgeons, have brilliant minds, or have an amazing bedside manner, there is no shortage of captivating fictional doctors. Someone on a popular online forum asked for examples of the absolute best doctors of all time. Here are the top 15 responses from TV shows and movies.

1. Dr. Gregory House (House)

house hugh laurie
Image Credit: Universal Television.

Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) would never win any awards for his kind demeanor with his patients. He's harsh and blunt and his methods are often unorthodox. But if you have a rare disease, there is no better doctor to turn to than House.

His sarcastic attitude and personal demons make him entertaining to watch. But as a doctor, House has a brilliant and unparalleled ability to diagnose the most puzzling ailments. And he is always unrelenting in his pursuit of the truth.

2. Dr. Mark Greene (ER)

ER mark greene
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

ER has a multitude of talented and intelligent doctors, such as Doug Ross (George Clooney), John Carter (Noah Wylie), and Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle). But none of the physicians from the long-running series are more impactful and inspiring than Mark Greene (Anthony Edwards). 

Greene isn't perfect, but he always cares for his patients and colleagues. That same care and respect reflect back to him when he receives a cancer diagnosis. This storyline remains one of the most heart-wrenching in television history.

3. Dr. Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce (MASH)

mash alan alda
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

One fan of M*A*S*H stated that “Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) will always be the correct answer.” Indeed, Hawkeye is one of the most notable TV doctors because he embodies what the series does so splendidly. He is affable, charming, and can make us laugh. But his vulnerability, compassion, courage, and ability to take each situation seriously when necessary make him an incredible doctor and character.

4. Dr. Jack Shephard (Lost)

Lost jack shepherd matthew
Image Credit: ABC Television.

From the moment Jack Shephard comes upon the plane crash in the pilot episode of Lost, Jack springs into action and establishes himself as the leader the survivors need. In flashbacks, we see that Jack is an exceptional surgeon but also has a willful need to fix everything.

These indelible character traits act as both a strength and weaknesses. Jack will go farther than anyone to save a life but has an unrelenting stubborn streak and difficulty letting go. He's always captivating to watch, and his journey is a deeply profound one.

5. Dr. Dana Scully (The X-Files)

the x files dana scully gillian anderson
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Dana Scully is an FBI agent who works with her partner, Fox Mulder, on cases of unexplained phenomena. She is logical and calm, which provides a valuable contrast to Mulder. But she is also a vastly intelligent doctor and scientist. Her character inspired many young women to enter into various STEM professions in what's known as “The Scully Effect.”

6. Dr. Christina Yang (Grey's Anatomy)

greys anatomy sandra oh
Image Credit: ABC Television and Shondaland Entertainment Once.

Although the series is named after Dr. Meredith Grey, for my money, the most worthy doctor from Seattle Grace is Christina Yang (Sandra Oh). Her skills as a surgeon are unparalleled compared to her colleagues. And her highly competitive nature and often stoic demeanor put her at odds with others. But when Christina Yang shows her vulnerable side, the floodgates open. Christina is a loyal friend and one of the most exceptional in her field.

7. Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes)

jude law 2
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

The partner of the famed detective Sherlock Holmes has many incarnations: Nigel Bruce in the 1940s film, Martin Freeman in Sherlock, Jude Law in Guy Richie's movies, and Lucy Liu in the series Elementary. And every version of the character shares crucial things in common. Dr. Watson is always portrayed as incredibly smart, brilliant at deduction like Holmes, and an extremely loyal companion.

Watson's medical experience as a doctor proves imperative with cases at hand or injuries that befall the characters. He's also the doctor whose name is in the cultural lexicon more than any other. Those unfamiliar with the books or films still know the phrase, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

8. Dr. Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange)

doctor strange benedict cumberbatch
Image Credit: Marvel Studios.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no other character is quite like Dr. Stephen Strange. The superhero is a master in the mystical arts and can manipulate time and space. But before his foray into the superhero realm, Strange was a brilliant but arrogant surgeon.

A horrific car accident leaves him unable to continue work. But even without those abilities, his knowledge and calm temperament remain, which he utilizes to help keep the world safe. Dr. Strange is also one of the most engaging fictional doctors. His character arc is a moving journey of self-discovery, discipline, and humility.

9. Dr. Frasier Crane and Dr. Niles Crane (Frasier)

frasier kelsey grammar david hyde pierce
Image Credit: Paramount Network Television.

When it comes to fictional psychiatric physicians, none are more influential or memorable than brothers Frasier and Niles Crane. Which brother is the most talented doctor is debatable. Throughout the series run of Frasier, the two were often competing with each other — and we laughed at their antics.

But truthfully, both Frasier and Niles are in a class of their own. They're gifted and compassionate; when necessary, they provide their patients and others with immeasurable guidance.

10. Dr. Michaela Quinn (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)

dr. quinn medicine woman jane seymour
Image Credit: CBS Productions.

Dr. Quinn is a character who has more struggles than the average fictional doctor. The series takes place in the 1860s. That was when the medical field was not only vastly different and more dangerous but also a time when women had to work twice as hard to prove themselves. Michaela Quinn works tirelessly to do just that. But she does so with gentle care, understanding, and a supreme knowledge of her field. She is one of television's most inspiring physicians.

11. Dr. Marcus Welby (Marcus Welby, M.D.)

marcus welby
Image Credit: Universal Television.

Imagine a kindly, elderly doctor, and Marcus Welby is undoubtedly the finest example that comes to mind. Portrayed by Robert Young of Father Knows Best fame, Marcus Welby was a widely successful show due to the nature of his character. He is consistently compassionate and patient, with a bedside manner anyone would hope for. But he's also willing to go against the norm and question things, unlike his young colleague. Marcus Welby is a doctor who always puts the patient first.

12. Dr. Doogie Howser (Doogie Howser, M.D.)

doogie howser neil patrick harris
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Besides Dr. Watson, the only other doctor to be in the cultural zeitgeist to a similar degree is Doogie Howser. He's a unique fictional doctor for one key reason. He's 14 years old. Doogie is a child genius and prodigy with an eidetic memory. He completes Princeton and medical school and becomes a practicing physician before he is old enough to drive.

Consequently, he must deal with the expected pangs of adolescence while maintaining professionalism at work. The show was so prolific that almost anytime we see a young doctor or anyone who finishes school at a young age, they will undoubtedly be given the nickname Doogie.

13. Dr. Julia Ogden (Murdoch Mysteries)

murdoch mysteries
Image Credit: Shaftesbury Films.

Julia Ogden is an underrated fictional doctor but an incredibly worthwhile one for her vast knowledge and considerable skills. The heroine from the Canadian period series has been a medical examiner, surgeon, and therapist. She is also a champion for women's rights, often at the cost of her freedom.

Moreover, she is the ideal match for her life partner, Detective William Murdoch, assisting on many cases and proving herself to be an invaluable asset. Julia may be less well-known, but she is a remarkably inspiring character.

14. Dr. James Kildare (Dr. Kildare)

dr. kildare
Image Credit: MGM Television.

Dr. Kildare is a classic and beloved fictional doctor on film and television. Both the movie and TV versions of the character (played by Lew Ayres and Richard Chamberlin) share crucial characteristics. Dr. Kildare is handsome and charismatic and he works tirelessly and diligently to earn the respect of his mentor. His youth and inexperience may sometimes be a hindrance, but he is more than up to the challenge.

15. Dr. Frankenstein (Frankenstein)

frankenstein kenneth brannagh
Image Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

The creation of author Mary Shelley, Dr. Frankenstein, is the most captivating. With many iterations, the most notable ones always showcase Frankenstein's brilliant mind and questionable morals. He does the impossible and creates life, but at what cost? Is the “monster” he makes monstrous? Or is Dr. Frankenstein the true villain? Regardless of one's interpretation, this classic character is one of the most seminal and influential ever created.

Source: Reddit.

Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disneybound, cosplay, and YouTube video