10 Best Movie Villains

Saturday, November 20 by Jacob Quinn

Some of the 10 best movie villains are despicable, while others may even be likeable in a strange way. The best movie villains are often the characters that we actually love to hate. Some terrify us and some delight us, but invariably, they are the kinds of characters that stick in the mind long after the movie is over.

  1. The character of Frank, played by Henry Fonda in the movie “Once Upon a Time In America” is easily one of the most chilling movie villains ever. He is probably the most despicable villain in the history of the movie western, and it is even more striking because he is played by Henry Fonda, who always played good-guys.
  2. Max Cady who is played by Robert De Niro in “Cape Fear” is one of the more unsettling movie villains in screen history. There is something totally perverse about the character and he is both insane and diabolical at the same time.
  3. The character of Vic Vega in “Reservoir Dogs” is one of those villains who manages to be both likeable, and terrifying at the same time. Michael Madsen plays the character perfectly, blending a tough-guy bravado with a cold psychotic streak.
  4. Detective Alonzo Harris from the movie “Training Day”, played by Denzel Washington is one of those movie villains that sneaks up on you. At first, we want to like the character, and maybe even admire him, but gradually we realize that he isn’t what he seems to be.
  5. Little Bill Daggett from “The Unforgiven” is one of the classic examples of a corrupt lawman in the old west. Gene Hackman does a great job of dancing on the line between reasonable pragmatism, and a sadistic streak. In the end, we totally turn against the character because of his ego and lust for power.
  6. Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and its sequels, is one of the best movie villains from the horror genre. He manages to be both amusing and sinister at the same time. The audience will identify with him during certain parts of the movies, but they wish they weren’t. Robert Englund did a fantastic job in the role.
  7. Hannibal Lecter from “The Silence of the Lambs” who is played by Anthony Hopkins, is both terrifying and oddly reasonable. Audiences are drawn to him because of his cleverness but repulsed by his underlying monstrosity.
  8. Caledon Hockley from “Titanic” is one of the great examples of a spoiled rich movie villain. All he cares about is himself, and at the end, he can’t even summon enough honor to care what happens to the woman he’s supposed to marry.
  9. Daniel Day-Lewis delivered one of the great performances in the history of movie villains with his portrayal of Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood”. He is a man totally driven by greed with no concern for anyone else.
  10. On the lighter side, the character of Vixen Palmer in the sexploitation classic “Vixen” is one of the most unexpected characters among the great movie villains. She is a beautiful nymphomaniac who also happens to be a terrible adulterer and a vicious racist. The character is so strange that she elevates the movie beyond it’s simple sex comedy roots.  
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