Archaeology trumps M16 as Indiana Jones is named the greatest movie character ever, putting 007 firmly in second place.

Actor Harrison Ford also took the number three spot for his character Han Solo in the Star Wars series in a poll conducted by Empire magazine.

Editor Morgan Rees said: "It was truly heartening to see one of my personal favourite film heroes voted as the Empire readers' greatest-ever movie character —Indiana Jones, played so brilliantly by Harrison Ford in Steven Spielberg's evergreen pulp adventure series.

"It's not hard to see why he's so beloved: handsome, heroic, capable, but he's also got flaws — not only is he afraid of snakes, he also makes mistakes. You can relate to Indy. He's human, not superhuman.

"There's an element of knowingness and irony to him, too, that only heightens his appeal further. Plus of course, he really knows how to rock a fedora".

72-year-old Ford has portrayed the archaeologist Jones in four films, beginning with Raiders Of The Lost Ark in 1981 as well as in 2008's Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

According to James Bond's creator Ian Fleming, the British spy "was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war".

Perhaps Bond was beaten into second place because of his reliance on gadgets such as such as the booby-trapped attaché case in From Russia with Love. The increased use of technology led to an accusation that Bond was over-reliant on equipment, particularly in the later films.

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien Ridley Scott

The only female character to make the list was Ellen Ripley, Sigourney Weaver's character in Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien. She took fifth place, just behind Batman.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America president John Scalzi called Ripley "Clearly the Best Female Character in Scifi Film.

"She's not a sidekick, arm candy, or a damsel to be rescued".

The poll, voted for by over 10,000 people on also named the top 10 greatest TV characters, with Breaking Bad's Walter White topping the list.

Top Ten Greatest Movie Characters

1. Indiana Jones

2. James Bond

3. Star Wars' Han Solo

4. Batman

5. Alien's Ellen Ripley

6. The Joker

7. Die Hard's John McClane

8. Fight Club's Tyler Durden

9. Star Wars' Darth Vader

10. The Big Lebowski's The Dude

(Source: Empire)