Villians of all Time
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Bryce Hammons
What makes a great bad guy? Is it superior intelligence? Strength?
The will to do whatever it takes, no matter the cost? Or is just that great scenery chewing dialogue they get to spew forth?
Whatever it is – most likely, a combination of all those varying facets – bad guys hold our attention, terrify us, and sometimes even have us rooting for them in all their diabolical glory.
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So, this definitely isn’t a list comprised of Mr. Freeze, Hector Hammond, or Nuclear Man. This is the real deal, full of mask-wearing psychopaths, heartless killers, and sociopathic clowns. These are the top ten villains of all time.
10. Amon Goth – Schindler’s List
A sadistic, evil man, Ralph Fiennes played Amon Goth as a Jew killing soldier to cold perfection. The actor is so talented he’s made his way onto this list not once, but twice.
9. Hans Gruber – Die Hard
There’s something coldly calculating about this money-hungry pseudo terrorist played by Alan Rickman in the very first Die Hard. As action classics go, Die Hard is right up there with some of the best ever made. And this is partially due to Rickman’s nefarious turn as the greedy, vile villain testing the hero, Bruce Willis, at every turn. Gruber has a plan and plays it out to near perfection.
8. Terminator – The Terminator
“I’ll be back.” The Terminator was an unstoppable killing machine as it hunted down Linda Hamilton’s character, Sarah Connor, in an attempt to change history in the robot’s favor. Arnold’s performance is one for the ages as he chases both Hamilton and Michael Biehn through the streets of L.A. Undergoing various forms of mutilation, the robotic endoskeleton never ceases to come back over and over again, the true hallmark of a great villain.
7. Shark – Jaws
Looking back at it now – with the advent of superior special effects – the shark might appear slightly dated. But at the time, this was the freak-out hit of the summer, with audiences holding onto a lifelong fear of the water thanks Steven Spielberg, Robert Shaw, and that fearsome creature cutting through the water, ready for a meal.
6. Lord Voldemort – Harry Potter
And we’re back to Ralph Fiennes. For Harry Potter lovers out there, his turn as the nose-less, serpent-like Voldemort, tormenting poor Daniel Radcliffe, was near perfect.
5. Wicked Witch of the West – The Wizard of Oz
Portrayed by Margaret Hamilton in the 1939 classic film, the Wicked Witch of the West was a hodgepodge of flying monkeys, creepy green make-up, hourglasses, and broomsticks. But she’s what you remembered years after watching the film – that cackling laugh still resonates today.
4. Anton Chigurh – No Country for Old Men
There’s something about a mop-topped psychopathic villain who kills everyone in his path. Oh, and he flips a coin to help decide your fate. Javier Bardem burst onto the scene (for American audiences) in this diabolical role in the soon-to-be-classic No Country for Old Men. The tension elicited when Bardem took the screen was truly palpable. It was a performance for the ages.
3. The Joker – The Dark Knight
There have been previous actors who have inhabited the role in the Dark Knight universe, but never has an actor so completely lost himself in it. Heath Ledger turned in a stunning performance as the maniacal clown hell-bent on destroying Gotham and its inhabitants. He won a much-deserved Best Supporting Oscar for his turn as the Joker in the film and will be forever remembered as one of the best to ever put on the clown makeup.
2. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs
He likes Chianti and… certain other unmentionables. Anthony Hopkins’ performance soon became the thing of legends in Hollywood. By turns charming, psychotic, and (did we mention psychotic) magnetic, Hannibal Lecter is the prototype for serial killers in film. With prequels, sequels, and soon-to-be tv pilots, Hannibal has stood the test of time quite well.
1. Darth Vader – Star Wars
“Luke, I am your father. Also, please don’t make those prequels. Please!” James Earl Jones lent his booming voice to the character that snaps necks, chokes people without the use of his hands, and stars in Volkswagen commercials.
All kidding aside, the Star Wars films encompass some of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made. This is due in large part to the villainy that is Darth Vader, one of the best villains of all time.
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Honorable mentions: xenomorph from Alien, Predator from Predator, Norman Bates from Psycho, Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street, Jason from Friday the 13th, Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Noah Cross in Chinatown, Gordon Gekko from Wall Street, and many more.
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