The Wise Old Man is an archetype as described by Carl Gustav Jung. It is also a classic literary figure, and may be seen as a stock character.

In works of fiction, this kind of character is typically represented by an kind and wise, older father-type figure who uses personal knowledge of people and the world, to help tell stories and offer guidance, that in a mystical way illuminate to his audience a sense of who they are and who they might become.

The Wise Old Man is often in some way "foreign," that is, from a different culture or nation than those he advises.

Examples of notable wise old men in popular fiction:

  • Merlin from the Matter of Britain and the legends of King Arthur
  • Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth series
  • Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars
  • Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid
  • Shinyuki from American Ninja
  • Hoo-Lan from Bruce Coville's My Teacher is an Alien series
  • Albus Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series
  • Professor X from the X-Men
  • Uncle Ben from Spider-Man
  • Rafiki from The Lion King
  • King Kai from Dragonball Z
  • Morpheus from The Matrix
  • Gorion from the first Baldur's Gate RPG game
  • Professor Ochanomizu from Astro Boy
  • Dr. Light from the Mega Man and Mega Man X game series
  • Gen from the Street Fighter game series
  • Hyrum Graff from Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series
  • Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Chef from the South Park cartoon series
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X
  • Hatake Kakashi from Naruto
  • Red-Haired Shanks from One Piece
  • Owl from Winnie the Pooh
  • Adalard, Petrus and Bélibaste from Pilgrim adventure game
  • Monterey Jack from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers