Every film needs a good villain. It’s a staple of the genre, and helps give the audience a chance to root for someone. So today, we’re taking a look at twenty one such vile antagonists.
The catch? These are the villains who don’t have a super-hero or Sci-Fi protagonist to battle against. We’re talking the pyschos, the evil and the sinister, today in Top List Thursday.
In no particular order, let’s start things off with a bit of crazy;
Mr Joshua – Lethal Weapon
A former Special Forces soldier so badass, he didn’t even need a first name. Powered by pure Gary Busey, Riggs was in for the fight of his life when he crossed paths with this psychopath.
Nurse Ratched – One flew over the Cuckoos nest
Cold, clinical and calculating, Ratched ran her asylum with a psychological fust, quickly crushing and lobotimising any of her patients who dared to grow a spine. It wasn’t until Jack Nicholson threw the nuthouse basin through her kingdom, that she truly felt challenged, but even that had dire consequences for the clever con-man.
Francis Buxton – Pee Wees big adventure
We’ve all come across rotten, spoiled kids before, but now imagine that little turd as a grown-up man-child with his eyes on Pee Wee Herman’s prized red bicycle, all while trying to pull off the neckerchief look.
Norman Bates – Pyscho
The leading cause for women refusing to use the shower decades ago, this momma-killing, cross-dressing maniac with a taste for propping up corpses made certain that checking into a motel would never ever be a comfortable experience again.
Dean Wormer – Animal House
School and varsity deans are already walking shells with little to no humanity, but Dean Wormer was the man who set the precedent, when he grew tired of the wacky hijinks emanating from Animal House on his campus.
After all, who puts someone on double secret probation?
Auric Goldfinger – Goldfinger
The first Bond villain to truly think big, Goldfinger possessed all of the skills that would become trademarks in later fights. Henchmen, gimmicks and world-crippling plans? Check!
The audacity to try and castrate Sean Connery with a laser? Egads man, that’s a place that no German should ever venture into!
Bill – Kill Bill 1 and 2
What happens when you abandon one of the most dangerous men on the planet, and run away from his covert organization of assassins? You get the mother of all wedding-crashes, as Bill taught his former lover that no matter where she ran too, he’d be there to put a bullet straight into her skull and steal her child in the process.
Bill Lumbergh – Office Space
We’ve all that had boss before, the one with the high position, that works his employees to the bone and somehow manages to stay smug about it, while hogging all the glory.
That white suburbia drawl was reason enough to want to cave his skull in with a stolen stapler.
Annie Wilkes – Misery
All Annie really needed, was a little love and compassion. That, and a straight jacket, several tranquilizers and a permenant stay at the asylum, to prevent her from hobbling any more writers.
Frank Booth – Blue Velvet
Dennis Hopper didn’t even even have to pretend that he was being drunk, horny and loud on the set of Blue Velvet. That was all him baby. Throw in some lipstick, and Hopper chanting “Pretty pretty!”, and you’ve got Hopper turned up to 11 on the madness-stereo.
Mr Blonde – Reservoir Dogs
You’ll never listen to “Stuck in the middle with you” the same way, after seeing Michael Madsen use that iconic track as working music.
The French Knights – Monty Python and the Holy Grail
There were many things to fear back in the Medieval age. Disease, war, famine and John Cleese verbally abusing you while launching cows at you silly Eenglish peeples with your knees bent backwards running abouts!
Bill the Butcher – Gangs of New York
He may have been a racist, womanising, murdering, abusive thief and master criminal that kept the growing population of New York living under an iron cleaver of terror, but at least he loved America and bunnies enough to fight for it with his xenophobic knives.
Keyser Soze – The usual suspects
A name alone that could strike fear into the hearts of anyone who heard it, while running a criminal empire from the shadows. The genius bit though? No one even knew what he looked like.
Alex Delarge – A clockwork orange
Mixing Beethoven with ultra-violence and gobbledy gook words, Delarge was a psychopath with charm and wit, who knew how to run a gang and keep them in line.
Max Zorin – A view to a kill
Trust Christopher Walken to take a cheesy role for Roger Moore’s final outing as James Bond, and turn it into a masterpiece. The film itself, while terrible, was saved only by Walken and his perfect deadpan delivery.
After all, who else could make blimps threatening?
Hans Gruber – Die Hard
Remorseless, rigorous and ruthless. Just a few of the many reasons why Alan Rickman was chosen to portray master-thief Hans Gruber, the man who made McClane a household name.
Plus, he had Jeremy Irons pop in as a revenging brother, in the third film. Double win!
Hannibal Lecter – The silence of the lambs
The lip-smacking cannibal with a taste for fine chiantis and fava beans may have popped up in novels and an unknown film before Hopkins came along, but it was his very performance that set a standard not only for the industry, but for actual real life serial killers as well.
Brick Top – Snatch
Do you know what the definition of nemesis is? Well cross Brick Top, and you’d soon discover that for yourselves, as the British gangster was all to happy to feed anyone who got on his bad side to the pigs.
Punish ’em for me Harold.
Amon Goeth – Schindlers list
When your morning ritual consists of waking up and shooting Jewish concentration camp prisoners for a job for leisure, you know you’ve crossed over into realms of pure evil and twisted ideology, that no man should ever even gaze into.
Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom – Con Air
John Malkovich, as a driven, violent and intelligent sociopath, who will stop at nothing to break free. Plus, how evil do you have to be to take a stuffed bunny hostage?
Last Updated: June 7, 2012
June 7, 2012 at 15:10
I know we’re trying to avoid fantasy here but pastel-pink wearing Dolores Umbridge from the latter Harry Potter films was a brilliant, believable villain even without the wand. You encounter people like her all the time. Way scarier than Voldemort.
June 7, 2012 at 15:28
Amon Goeth wins hands down. With everybody else on that list, even the face-wearing, brain-eating Hannibal Lector, you could find something to like.
Goeth? That was pure evil incarnate. And to make matters worse, he wasn’t some fictitious character that some twisted writer thought up. He was a real man who personally killed more than 500 people and ordered tens of thousands to their deaths.
June 7, 2012 at 15:47
WHERE IS CLARENCE BODDICKER?
June 7, 2012 at 16:01
Tim Robbins in Arlington Road is still one of the best bad guys for me… makes me think twice about all the normal people who invite me into their homes
June 7, 2012 at 16:17
Great list – I’m really glad Hans Gruber got the nod.
But where’s Gary Oldman in either in 5th Element or The Professional/Leon?
Also, Michael Wincott in The Crow.