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Who Is The Best Movie Villain Of All Time?

Anthony Hopkins Hannibal Lecter Silence of the Lambs I'm talking about the villains we hate to love. The ones who almost make the movie, and, in some cases, simply do make the movie. I have my own opinions, but which movie villain left you chilled and huddled in a corner? Or just captivated you with a gripping performance by the actor/actress? I'm sure some of my own choices will surprise you. 

I've taken the liberty of compiling a list of my personal favorites, and yours might be on the list. If not, tell me how wrong I am. We'll argue, I'll probably call you some names and in the end, we'll agree to disagree, but I'll still get the last word.

These are in no particular order and a couple will leave you saying, "what movie?" If that's the case, you should rent it. You don't know what you're missing.

Now that you understand the rules, let's do this:

Alan-rickman-hans-gruber-die-hardAlan Rickman (aka Hans Gruber - Die Hard)

At times in this movie, I was rooting for Hans to escape with the negotiable bari-bonds and for him to be sitting on the beach earning 20% while they sifted through the rubble trying to figure out what went wrong. That's how awesome Alan Rickman was in this film. I'm not saying he's my favorite movie villain of all time, but I think I could have been convinced to join his rag-tag group of merry bandits, if for nothing more than to listen to him talk about stuff all day. "Could you repeat that Hans? No, I heard you. I just like when you say 'FBI'. It's so cute."

Dennis-hopper-blue-velvet Dennis Hopper (aka Frank Booth - Blue Velvet)

This movie was so weird and only watchable for  a) nudity and b) Hopper's brilliant performance. In my humble opinion, this role was considerably more suited for him than was his character in Space Truckers. Don't get me wrong, Space Truckers was great and Norm from Cheers was spectacular as the space station trucking company dispatcher, but Hopper as a space truck driver seemed a little out of his range. But as a nitrous sniffing sociopath, Hopper both electrified and creeped us out at the same time. This would be a prime example of a film that had it not been for Hopper, even boobs would have not pulled it out of the fire.

Hannibal-Lecter Anthony Hopkins Silence of the LambsAnthony Hopkins (aka- Hannibal Lechter- Silence of the Lambs)

I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find an actor who delivered as chilling of a performance as Hopkins in what is on many's list as one of the best movies of all time. And it was. Hopkins was nothing short of brilliant as the cannibal doctor we enjoyed watching serve the elite other people for dinner. Hopkins made people look delicious. I almost got hungry. That's acting. Remember when he made Migsy swallow his tongue just by whispering to him? I wish I could do that. Not that I would, but I imagine you'd demand a little more respect.

Jame Gumb Ted Levine Buffalo-bill-silence-of-the-lambsTed Levine (aka Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb - Silence of the lambs)

"It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again" should be a bumper sticker if it weren't already so overused. There wasn't that much of him, but the parts we did get to see would result in Buffalo Bill being emblazoned in our memories for life. I defy you to not remember the penis-tuck dance until you die. Go ahead. Just try.

Christoph-waltz-inglourious-basterds Quentin TarantinoChristoph Waltz (aka Colonel Hans Landa - Inglourious Basterds)

This movie could have used entirely more nazi-killing. When I watched this film, my expectations were centered around a band of angry Jews clubbing Nazis for two hours. While I was disappointed that was not the case, Waltz delivered a gripping performance as the Jew hunter. Making me like a nazi is as difficult a task as one could take on, and Christoph pulled it off. I'd also like to add that Brad Pitt sucked in this movie. I don't buy him as a gritty, middle-aged, tough-as-nails war vet. He's middle-aged, but I still like to think of him as Benjamin Button and going backwards. And his ability to do accents is equivalent to my ability to do physics. Or algebra. Or double digit multiplication. My point is, stick to what you know, Brad. Accents aren't your bag.

Agent-smith The Matrix Hugo Weaving Hugo Weaving (aka Agent Smith - The Matrix)

No one plays confused like Keanu, but no one plays bad ass digital agent like Smith. For me, one of the more memorable scenes in movie history are both the interrogations of Neo and Morpheus, if only for the acting delivered by Weaving in those two scenes. Of course, watching Keanu's mouth seal up was also pretty exciting. I was hoping he was going to stay that way until the end of the movie, but no such luck.

Christopher-walken-true-romance Quentin TarantinoChristopher Walken (aka Vincenzo Coccotti - True Romance)

Remember when Christian Slater did good movies? Interestingly, Walken would play opposite Hopper in one of my all time favorite scenes in movie history. Walken is creepy by nature, and when he applies those steely-eyes and cool demeanor to evil, you're always in for a good time. He's almost tough to mention here, because he just wasn't in this movie enough. That being said, he's in because I love him. 

Robert-deniro-cape-fearRobert DeNiro (aka Max Cady - Cape Fear)

When Robert DeNiro played Al Capone, he was celebrated for getting fat and playing a mafioso, as opposed to not getting fat and playing one. Hoorah. However, in Cape Fear he became a chiseled nightmare, and if not for that unmistakable "I feel gassy" face, you wouldn't have known it was DeNiro. He actually pulled off both the accent and being the creepiest motherfucker to walk the planet.

Glenn-close-fatal-attraction Glenn Close (aka Alex Forrest - Fatal Attraction)

Every married man who has ever considered an affair has this movie nestled in the back of his mind. If you've heard the term "bunny-boiler", credit this film with scaring millions of men straight. Glenn close was amazing in this movie and almost made us forget that we were forced, yet again, to see Michael Douglas' ass.


Sharon-stone-basic-instinct Sharon Stone (aka Catherine Trammel - Basic Instinct)

Micheal Douglas' exposed ass = awesome female villain. And I imagine his naked ass would be all it would take to turn a normally sane woman into a crazed puppy-killer. Maybe I can do math after all. Sharon Stone would captivate us in one of the most famous scenes ever, which I've named "wait... rewind... ok stop... slow motion forward... wait! Pause! Now!" It would be her best work ever, basically. She also did a pretty good job in the acting department, but would go on to star in several films in which she did not bare her vagina, causing much disinterest in her work. We thought we might see it in Sliver, but it wouldn't have been worth it. Casino was good. Catwoman was not (I'm talking to you Halle Berry).

Alan-Ford-Brick-Top-Snatch Guy Ritchie Alan Ford (aka Brick Top - Snatch)

You might find this one as obscure as my next one, but I'm now taking a walk away from the obvious. It's just coincidence that this movie also featured Brad Pitt murdering an accent.  Brad Pitt murdering accent = opposing villain awesomeness. I've only seen Ford once, but the monologues he delivered were simply brilliant and out of all of the villains I've mentioned here, he might be the one you'd like to cross the least. Ford played the head of an organized crime operation that profited from gambling, underground boxing and various other enterprises. He liked to feed people to pigs. Pigs will eat anything. Jason Statham would also be introduced to us, but not as the high-kicking Transporter. In fact, in this movie, he didn't kick anyone. He just acted. And that's why he's now kicking people for our pleasure. 

Adrien-brody Oxygen Adrien Brody (aka Harry- Oxygen)

This was the first time I'd seen Adrien Brody, and the performance he delivered in this movie was truly mesmerizing. Maura Tierney (News Radio) starred opposite Brody in this compelling game of cat-and-mouse, playing an alcoholic police detective that secretly enjoyed being sexually dominated by creepy men. Brody played a psychotic killer to precision in a rollercoaster of a plot that perpetually keeps you guessing until the very end. If you enjoy a good psychological thriller on the twisted side, Oxygen will definitely impress and you'll wonder how it slipped under everyone's radar, including your own.

Michael-jai-white Thick As ThievesMichael Jai White (aka Pointy Williams- Thick as Thieves)

Again, probably one you've never seen and if that's the case, Alec Baldwin will not be pleased. Not that you need to run out and see every Alec Baldwin movie, but if you've missed this one, then in my opinion, you've missed his best one. Baldwin was excellent as a thief who worked for the mafia in one of the more enjoyable comedic action/adventure films I've seen... maybe ever. And Michael Jai White (Spawn) was brilliant as Pointy Williams, a street thug turned crime boss who tried to break into the elite social scene. This one is dripping in comedy and includes one of my favorite exchanges ever.

Thug: Where's your warrant at?

Policeman: Behind that preposition. Don't you know you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition?

Thug: Oh. Where's your warrant at, motherfucker?"

That's comedy. If you haven't seen this movie, you simply must.

This is getting longer than I'd hoped and I know I'm forgetting several, but I'll let you pick up where I've left off. Did I name your favorite? Or are you in awe that I've forgotten yours?   

MayoPie writes nonsense all of the time on his blog.

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Excellent list. Let me add Peter Cushing as the Grand Moff Tarkin in "Star Wars." Suave, thy name is Empire. I often attempt to end my presentations to management with "... and we will crrush the Rebellion in one swift strroke!" Frankly they killed off the wrong bad guy at the end of that movie. Vader was far less menacing.

Jen O.

I had purposely forgotten about Cape Fear as part of my Anti-Nightmare defence mechanism. Thanks a lot, asshole. Back to sleeping with the lights on.


Can't believe Jack Nicolson from The Shining wasn't on the list! He was the first one that came to mind.


LOLing at Jen O's response!

Washington "Pretty Poison" Cube

There are so many! Alan Rickman, just because he's Alan Rickman! The villain you love!

Sydney Greenstreet in...ANYTHING!

Mark Harmon as Ted Bundy

Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Re-OW

Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct

Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and as the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons. She was heartbreaking in both, even in her evil.

...and why is it that Michael Douglas, who was supposed to be the good guy in Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct always comes up like shit on toast?

Orson Wells in Touch of Evil

Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now

Hannibal Lecter, of course, but really Buffalo Bill. Ted Levine dancing to "Goodbye Horses" in Silence of the Lambs.

Joe Pesci in anything. "Am I here to amoose you?"

Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter. Also the first Cape Fear.

Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men

I could go on, there are so many. One interesting thing about villians, is that the really good ones let you see the "good" potential in the sociopath; i.e. the potential or the heartbreak.


The best thing about a really great villain, is when you read that they are on someone's "great villain" list, you actually have a moment of "that character was a villain? Oh, YEAH, that character was really terrible!" because you kinda remember them fondly anyway.


I think Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman have the bad guy market cornered! "Hans...bubbie". Who could be so fabulously wicked? Second would be him as the Sherrif of Nottingham. Only he could make a crap movie with Kevin Costner worth watching. Gary Oldman as Stansfield, also a worthy villian. And then there's Patrick Bateman. Only Christian Bale could make someone that f'ed up both funny and frightening. Well, except when he's being himself!


Dude. You need to go back and look at Decker from Night Breed played by David Cronenberg. Fucking A level creepiness there...


I can't believe I forgot Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I just watched it the other night, too. And yes, Gary Oldman. Hmmm... who else?

Kevin Pollack - The Whole Nine Yards
John Lithgow - Ricochet
Bruce Willis- The Jackal

I'll think of some more and get back to you. Apollo Creed? Clubber Lang? Drago? Why not?


You forgot Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. He stole the film. Still vote for Hannibal Lechter as #1 Villain.


Maybe a little too out there, but...Kevin Spacey as Kaiser Sose (sp?) in The Usual Suspects...?

Apryl's Antics

Holy cow. Ralph Fiennes. That's it. He almost completely ruined himself with how good he was in that. If it wasn't for The English Patient, I'd have never forgiven him.

Washington "Eek A Freak" Cube

Another David Cronenberg role: the hit man in "To Die For."

John Malkovich in a ton of stuff, including "In the Line of Fire."

Carl Boehm in "Peeping Tom."

Malcolm McDowell in "Clockwork Orange." That was on the other night. They always cut the rape scene because it was deemed too violent.

There was this Dutch film that they remade as "The Vanishing," but in the Dutch version, this nutjob was scarey as hell in his blandness while he kidnapped people and buried them alive. Gotta goggle him...The film was "Spoorloos," and the actor was Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu.

...and that British film "Night Must Fall" where Michael Redgrave, then later Albert Finney played a villanous murderer.

Well, I'd better stop or I'll have bad dreams as I head for Bunnyland.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

Really, you nailed them - Rickman is my favorite, Bricktop is my second favorite.

The two I would add are:

1) Darth Vader (duh)


2) Christopher Walken as
a) Max Zorin
b) Max Shreck

Any Max, really.

Oh wait!

Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless.

Wait! Wait!

The Kurgan.

Shit - I could do this all night.


Heath Ledger as the joker - he made the movie, best comic portrayal ever.


jon lithgow in raising cane. creepiest movie i think i've ever seen him in...but you feel so BAD for him, you know?


One person on my list, but not listed above is Ray Liotta. He freaks me out! The first movie I saw him in was Unlawful Entry (with Kurt Russell) Perhaps not a great movie, but he was a great bad guy.

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