Who’s Your Greatest Movie Villain?

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  • Most people grow up picturing themselves as one of the myriad movie protagonists. The list of favorite characters or superheroes is almost infinite: Each one left a mark not only on the silver screens or television but on our lives as well. 

    But, for each hero, a brave man or woman, in the motion picture, there has to be one nasty guy. Otherwise, there’s no conflict, no one to fight against. 

    So, what about antagonists, those incredibly terrifying villains we’ve seen thus far? 

    Some of them appeared in an Earthly environment, whether in the present or the past, such as Michael Myers (Halloween), Jason Voorhees (various actors in Friday the 13th franchise), Staff Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger in Platoon), Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman in Leon: The Professional), Annie Wilkes (Cathy Bates in Misery), John Doe (Kevin Spacey in Se7en), Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington in Training Day), Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds), Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl), or Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained). 

    Others were part of fictional or dystopian worlds, such as Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street), The Joker (Heath Ledger in The Dark Night), Alex (Malcolm McDowell at A Clockwork Orange), or Bane (Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises). 

    Then, there are Xenomorph Alien, Darth Vader, Predator, Gollum, and Chucky (children’s toy in Child’s Play), not to mention Pennywise (Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgard in It franchise). 

    (Speaking of the latter: I think we might have one LCB admin who’ll pick this one on the spot but, then again, what do I know.)

    A portion of actors who brought some of those villains to movie screens got Academy Awards for their performances. Such a list would be incomplete without F. Murray Abraham, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gene Hackman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Tilda Swinton, and Charlize Theron — neither of their characters would qualify as scary, but they most certainly are antagonists. 

    Aside from the astonishing level of talent and dedication these actors invested in their roles, one of them paid an extra price in delivering potentially the scariest villain ever. 

    Sir Anthony Hopkins was so convincing in his Oscar role of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs that his girlfriend, Martha Steward, ended their brief relationship after seeing him in the movie, unable to separate Anthony from his character. 

    (As Martha told Howard Stern in his radio show, back in 2006: “Oh, I loved him, but he was… scary. I was going to invite him up to Maine; I have this beautiful home in Maine… but then I reconsidered because I saw that movie again. Do you want someone eating your brain while you are sitting in your beautiful dining room in Maine? I would have probably had a very nice relationship with Anthony Hopkins, but I couldn’t get past the Lecter thing.”)


    By ‘villain,’ I consider the character itself, not only the actor who played it. And by ‘greatest,’ I mean the one which scared you the most and shook you to the bone. 

    As for me, the title goes to Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem, in his Academy Award performance in No Country For Old Man. 

    I mean, Anton is pure, resident, psychopathic evil who lacks any conscience, remorse, or compassion whatsoever. He’s ruthless and deliberate beyond recognition, with an exceptionally high pain threshold. There’s not a person in the move that he does not kill or at least try to. And, there is something so calm about him that scares the living hell out of me. 

    But, the most frightening thing about Anton is that he’s so real: He can be anywhere or just about anybody. There’s nothing superhuman about him, no extra powers, only the brain wired to cause utter, aghast destruction. 

    (After all, the Coen Brothers always knew how to create genuinely memorable characters.)

    Speaking of his appearance — equally scary to me — Bardem allegedly told his hairstylist that he’s “not going to get laid for two months” due to his hairdo in the movie. Sandra Bullock also reflected on this a year later during the 83rd Academy Awards, describing him as an actor “who managed to scare an entire nation with that haircut.” 


    Who’s the greatest villain in your book, that is — your movie, LCB’ers?

    Please tell us why and what about such a character left a lasting, terrifying or shocking, impression on you. If you have more than one, the best just got better: Bring them all to the party! :)


  • The first character that crosses my mind is Loki (the Thor films 2011-2017, The Avengers 2012). So, it was with Tom Hiddleston's resentfulness, plotting adopted child of Asgard; Odison by accident instead of birth. He was awesome in the Thor, but indeed shined in the Avengers. The punishment and fate he deserved in the end was fun, he comes bearing a proper backstory and character arc that stayed entertaining even in the joke-packed Thor:Ragnarok.

  • The first one that comes to mind is Angel Eyes aka The Bad, played by Lee Van Cleef in "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". The choice is probably due to the fact that this is one of my favourite films overall and one of my favourite genres as well, the spaghetti western. 

    Angel Eyes is the type of character that you can see in Quentin Tarantino's films nowadays, a ruthless mercenary with a touch of sadism and zero regrets. 

    It seems that initially Sergio Leone, the director, wanted Charles Bronson to play this part, but the actor had another contract at the time. Lee Van Cleef did an excellent job, though. 

  • The Joker. I think he is the most popular villain because he represents the darkness in humanity, the symbol of Chaos. Joker sees the world as one cruel joke, he has nothing to lose and crosses every line there is. Joker is an example of what to not become, and that's why he’s so memorable.

    Darth Vader. He is complex, conflicted, and his motives aren't always easy to identify. And the mask he wears, not only makes him mysterious but gives the viewer an ability to project their feelings onto him.

    He Who Must Not Be Named. I don't like him at all, he's cruel and horrific. He's the baddest of them all so I must mention him. Besides, without Voldemort, would Harry Potter be "the Harry Potter"?

    And last but not least - Rubi cheesy (from Mexican telenovela). She was manipulative and did some bad things, but we all ended up cheering for her.

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  • For me, it has to be Amon Goeth from Schindler's list. Unlike most of the villains in movies, Amon Goeth was a real person and that in my opinion makes him even more serious than most other iconic movie villains. Villains often do unspeakable things or crimes in movies, but it's rarely based on something that a person has actually done in real life. The crimes Amon Goeth was responsible for were actually even worse than what he does in the movie because those crimes are too awful to be put on film. Spielberg did an incredible job with the movie and really managed to capture the horrors of war and the concentration camps, and casting Ralph Fiennes as Amon was the perfect choice. The horrible story of the character paired with Ralph Fiennes' masterful performance in the film easily takes the number 1 spot for me.

  • The first thing that comes to mind is the joker from the dark knight ... Heath Ledger's performance is as unparalleled as the villainous Joker himself.

  • Hannibal from The Silence of The Lambs was performed so well, that the female actor said she was genuinely scared during the filming!

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