I’ve already done a post about my favorite video game villains, so now I thought that I’d do another top 10 for my favorite movie villains. I may end up doing my favorite book and TV villains, but that’s a list for another day. Film has some amazing villains, and it is hard to have a list for just 10. Feel free to tell me what some of your favorites are in the comments. Me and my friend Quinn talked about this for hours and I have come up with my list of the villains who stuck out to me the most. I want to be clear that when I say villains, I mean characters or monsters who meant harm to the protagonist. So it isn’t just creatures with bad intentions. Sometimes it’s just a creature doing what it does without any malice at all. Let’s get started.
Lord of the Rings
I just love that this villain has so much presence all without having a body at all. The reason he is so low on this list given the pure evil power he has is because in the film they categorized him as having a giant flaming eye. In the books he had no form at all. His evil was absolute. When I do the book list, he will be much higher. But this guy is evil with a capital E, and can corrupt the purest souls he finds with the promise of power. He nearly brought Middle Earth to its knees, hence why he is on the list.
9. Capt. James Hook
This guy is so iconic! I’ve loved pretty much every iteration with him. Even the live action Peter Pan film from the early 2000’s, he was the best part. Granted, there he was played by Jason Isaacs, who can make evil just roll off the tongue. But my favorite version by far is the one by Dustin Hoffman. Hook was a great movie. The cutesy shit aside, this film had everything right. The casting was almost pitch-perfect, with Pan’s kids being the only problem. They were insufferable. But never has this character had more character than when Hoffman brought him to life. He was manic, he was diabolical, and he was so damn classy! Hoffman could make this guy into quite the charmer. He can smash clocks to pieces, then rally his crew to battle. This guy was so much fun. Not all villains have to be super serious. This guy had it all while being funny as fuck from time to time.
Maybe this is my nostalgia goggles on a little to tight, but when I was a kid, this dude freaked me the fuck out! Sid is so delightfully evil, but the thing that really makes him stand out among the villains on this list is that he isn’t really that evil. Something you don’t think about as a kid but do when you get older is that he is honestly just a kid. He’s a weird-ass kid, but he’s still a kid. I’m talking to boys for the most part now, but how many of you have horribly mangled or mutilated your toys when you were really little? It doesn’t mean you’re evil. It means you’re young. This character isn’t really malevolent. He is just an ADHD little shit who has weird hobbies. But man did that kid freak me out. At the time I saw the film, I was around Sid’s age, and yeah, I admit to being weird little shit myself. Scary, funny, but never truly evil
7. Shere Khan
Disney has such an amazing library of villains to choose from. I could make an entire list just of my favorite villains from their library. But one of the ones that truly stood out to me was Shere Khan. Not just because of the AMAZING voicework. I mean pitch-perfect. This dude is such a badass and he knows it. This dude has absolutely zero fucks to give because he knows that anyone who fucks with him is dead. And the entire jungle knows that if he is mad, you are fucked. But the way he can be so damn classy just takes the cake. He never raises his voice, but you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he means business! This pussy isn’t fucking around, and that’s what earns him this spot. Scar wishes he could be this cool. The scene where he interrogate Kaa is just the best. He knows that the snake is fucking with him, but he just lets it go on. So badass.
It was such a hard pick between this and the xenomorph. I knew I could only pick one. But to me the Predator is much more fascinating of a villain. It doesn’t kill people from some sense of malice. It sees all other life as merely prey. Does it care that we are sentient? Nope. That’s part of the fun. We’re a lifeform worthy to hunt, and it goes after the biggest badasses it can fine. A bummer that so many of the films with this creature are either really mediocre or suck. I admit that Predator 2 is a guilty pleasure. It hunts with violent precision, and will attack you no matter where you are. It’s an apex hunter, that hunts the most dangerous game in the galaxy.
5. Mark Hamill’s Joker
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
A lot of people will be mad at me for not picking Heath Ledger’s Joker. Or even Jack Nicholson’s. Don’t get me wrong, I think both performances are amazing. But here’s the thing, as great as both of them are, Mark Hamill always seemed to capture the madness so much better. With Nicholson, you believed that he is evil. Hell, he’s been playing that roll for forever. And Ledger seemed to be trying to make a point. But Hamill’s voice-acting was able to bring this character to life by having you never really being able to know just how insane he was, or how much he thought things out. Violent, twisted, funny, and always having you guessing. This character is iconic, and this film had him doing a great role too. The scene in the councilman’s office was my favorite. How he can go from being happy and taunting, to fearful for his safety, to twisted and evil in the span of a few seconds is just great. There are a lot of great portrayals of the character, but Mark Hamill has always been and will always be my favorite.
4. Hans Landa
Quentin Tarantino has a real gift when it comes to making villains who aren’t just evil for the sheer joy of it. He has this real talent for making three-dimensional villains who have a ton of depth. I like it. Nowhere is this more exemplified than in Hans Landa. This guy is so damn charismatic. He has all the class and charm of a gentleman, but has the twisted sense of darkness and evil of the biggest scenery-chewing Bond villains. The thing I really love about this guy is that all of how he does is bravado. Landa is in it for himself. He’s a twisted, violent monster who can play it off so smoothly to Aldo that even when he is going to fuck him up, he still buys the narrative. This guy is a twisted monster who can put on a sheep’s clothing seamlessly. It’s pretty great stuff.
3. Hans Gruber
Another villain who is equal parts evil and classy. Only Alan Rickman could have done this villain justice. There is no other. This guy is just the best. He’s a cocky, greedy intellectual who is so in love with the sound of his own voice. Hearing him play off Bruce Willis’ character is just the best. Especially when they are in the same room together. But this guy is sure of himself, and even when it all starts falling apart, he is cool and collected. There’s not too much to say about this guy. He’s just got the most charm that any villain will likely ever have. It’s Alan Rickman at his most Rickman. May he rest in peace.
Classy women who are evil can never, EVER be matched up with Maleficent. This woman is badass with a capital B. All it took is someone snubbing her by not inviting her to a party and she spins an elaborate plan to kill the daughter whose birthday she was not invited to. The poise and elegance that this woman carries herself with is so profound. Not talking about the live action version! Fuck that movie. The 1959 version of this character is what I’m really talking about. I wouldn’t cross her if my life depended on it, because those who do learn very fast that the price of fucking with her. When you do get under her skin, and make her mad, this woman will fuck you up! Or your children. No evil queen has as much presence as she does.
And my favorite movie villain is…
When you talk about the apex predator, in my mind, there is not that can hold a candle to the velociraptor. Not evil at all, it’s just a hunter. But what it lacks in malice it makes up for in sheer cunning. This creature will hunt you down and rip you to pieces. The scene where the warden is hunted is just perfect. He never stood a chance. Before he even got started, he was dead. These things are what nightmares are made of. You don’t see them coming. Their claws and teeth rip you to pieces. You are still alive when they start eating you. They feel no fear and you are no match for them. When you’re out in the woods, alone, that’s what you should really fear coming after you. Because once the hunt is on, it’s already over. At least if you are the prey. I love these things so much. It kills me how the sequels fucked over the cool factor, but it is what it is.
What are some of your favorite villains? Let me know below.
Until next time, a quote,
“Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon, Jurassic Park