Every movie has a hero. A protagonist, someone for you to root for. However, no hero can really be a hero without a villain, someone for you to detest, fear, or hate. With out this counter, the film is not nearly so entertaining. Though perhaps we don’t want to admit it, evil is a large part of what makes something good. Thus, I’ve created a list of the top ten best bad guys in film (In my opinion). Please enjoy.
10. Tony Montana
While I don’t nourish any fondness for bad guys who are over the top and unbelievable, Tony Montana deserves a spot on this list. Why? Well, despite the mass murders he orchestrates, the back stabbing and drug peddling he gets involved in, and his psychotic mental state, there remains something all together likeable about the man. Is it his uncompromising attitude? The glamour of his life style? Or maybe we can connect to his hatred of the deceitful world we live in. Whatever the reason, we grow to support him, and eventually even cheer for him when he makes his bloody last stand at the mansion. Sure, he’s over the top, but at least he’s fun to watch, and he makes the movie more enjoyable. And isn’t that what any character is supposed to do anyway?
9. Travis Bickle
One of the most famous characters in film history, Travis Bickle of “Taxi Driver” ranks so low on the list because of one problem: is he a bad guy? That is what the film tries to decide. His goals (to clean up the city, and save a little girl from a life of sex slavery) are noble, but his methods for accomplishing them (murdering several people in cold blood with high power firearms) are not. Though he starts off a timid cabbie, Travis is absolutely insane by the end of the movie. And the scariest part is that by the time of the climactic shootout, we still endorse his wholesale slaughter.
8. Nurse Ratched
“One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest” remains one of the greatest movies of all time, even almost 40 years after its release. While the writing and acting are certainly a factor, one other reason is because it has one of the evilest villains in movie history. Nurse Ratched doesn’t have an army of evil drones, or superpowers. She doesn’t even directly attack anyone. She almost always has a sweet smile plastered to her face, and uses kind words and the visage of caring, to control the unhappy mental patients. While she is clearly evil, it is also clear she doesn’t think she’s evil, and has become even more powerful than a dictator or evil warlord. But when one of the patients tries to challenge her authority, she vows to crush him at any cost.
7. Jaws the shark
It’s easy enough to make a bad guy for a horror movie. All you need is a good makeup crew and some teenagers to kill. The shark from “Jaws” however, is far more petrifying than some moron in a mask with knives for hands however. Why? Because as the film progresses, the shark grows smarter. What at first began as a mere desperate hunger, ends with the shark sadistically killing any and all humans… and using it’s mind to outsmart them. Thus, spielberg creates one of the most frightening monstrosities in film history: A creature whose body is the perfect killing machine, but whose mind is more powerful than our own.
6. Max Cady
Perhaps your typical serial killer, Max Cady from “Cape fear” is not unlike the shark from Jaws, in that it’s his intelligence that makes him scary. Robert De Niro is petrifying as a vengeful madman who uses the law as a weapon to reek revenge on the man who wronged him. Plus, the whole tattoo-coated body, inhuman strength, and soul piercing eyes don’t hurt his status as super-stalker.
5. Hannibal Lecter
Yeah, yeah. He’s scary and he eats people. You’ve heard all this before.
of all the myriad westerns in the world today, what makes Frank from “Once Upon a Time in the West” so memorable? How is he a better villain than Angle eyes from “The good, The bad, and the ugly,” or Anton Chigurgh from “No Country for Old Men?” Well, a couple things. For one, Frank was played by Henry Fonda, who was almost always the likeable hero. Thus, seeing him as a vicious murderer is like seeing Gregory Peck run over a toddler with his car. But I think the real reason Frank is such a great bad guy is because he enjoys killing people so much. He has a sickeningly sweet voice he uses whenever he slays someone, and always smiles at any point where murder is about to occur. He isn’t smart or rich like the other characters, and he has no stake in the master plan to build a railroad, but he does have a great love of killing. That attribute alone makes him the most dangerous player in Sergio leone’s power game.
3. The Joker
Nolan’s batman movies are infamous for their antagonists. Heath Ledger played an uncanny Joker in “The Dark Knight” however, because simply of how he played him. There wasn’t a motivation or reason behind his actions. He knew how to manipulate other people’s minds. And perhaps the scariest thing of all was that he felt that he was natural, that their had to be psychos like him. Perhaps made scarier in light of the Colorado mass murdering, the joker was several times more unnerving than any other supervillain, simply because he wasn’t an over-the-top super villain. He was just a madman who’d been pushed over the edge.
Another great villain from Nolan’s Batman franchise. Built like Hannibal Lecter on steroids, Bane originally seems like a libertarian or political activist, promising freedom to Gotham. However, his real goal is to spread madness and blood shed through the city as an act of vengeance. While it could be argued he’s not totally responsible for this plan, he certainly makes the madness possible. Bane: He’s Stalin with a gas mask and a personal trainer.
- Keyser Soze
Anyone who’s ever seen “The usual suspects” will know just how conniving and sinister Keyser Soze is. However, for those of you who haven’t, I won’t spoil it. Suffice it to say this: Keyser Soze is the closest thing to the devil outside the bible. With the promise of riches, power, and safety, he lures four men to their deaths, and prepares to kill the fifth, rabbity Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey). As Kint tells the police his harrowing tale, we get to see just how evil Soze is. A man who would slay his own family for drugs. A man who would kill 27 people to make himself a little safer. A man who would taunt the police, and the five greatest crooks in the world, just for the sport