50 Greatest Movie Villains!

After a weekends worth of thoughts, here it is…the top 50 villains in cinema history!

50. Wayne Newton, “National Lampoons Vegas Vacation”

“Would you like some pasta? It’s Steve Martin’s recipe.”

Nothing says homewrecker like Wayne Newton in National Lampoons Vegas Vacation. Nothing.

49. The Great Danton (Hugh Jackman), “The Prestige”

“You always were the better magician. We both known that. Whatever your secret was – mine is better.”


48. Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me”.

“Leland, Leland, you’ve been a good vehicle and I’ve enjoyed the ride. But now he’s weak and full of holes. It’s almost time to shuffle off to Buffalo!”


47. Richard Nixon, “The Watchmen”


46. Eric Qualen (John Lithgow), “Cliffhanger”


45. Charlie Wade (Kris Kristofferson), “Lone Star”


44. Aaron (Edward Norton), “Primal Fear”


43. Colin (Matt Damon), “The Departed”


42. Drill Sergeant (R. Lee Ermey), “Full Metal Jacket”


41. Jack Forrester (Jeff Bridges), “The Jagged Edge”


40. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford), “What Lies Beneath”


39. Noah Cross (John Huston), “Chinatown”


38. Alex Frost (Glenn Close), “Fatal Attraction”


37. Private Detective (M. Emmet Walsh), “Blood Simple”


36. Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), “The Graduate”


35. Barbra Covett (Judi Dench), “Notes on a Scandal”


34. Senator Shelly Runyon, R – IL (Gary Oldman), “The Contender”


33. Richie Cussak (William Hurt), “A History of Violence”


32. Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway), “Network”


31. Vic Vega (Michael Madsen), “Reservoir Dogs”


30. The Overlook Hotel, “The Shining”


29. The Man with No Eyes (Morgan Woodward), “Cool Hand Luke”


28. Max Cady (Robert DeNiro & Robert Mitchum), “Cape Fear”


27. Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the Star Wars films


26. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), “Godfather Part II”


25. John Doe (Kevin Spacey), “Se7en”


24. Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), “Body Heat”


23. The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), “The Wizard of Oz”


22. Scar (Jeremy Irons), “The Lion King”


21. Sport (Harvey Keitel), “Taxi Driver”


20. Frank Black (Henry Fonda), “Once Upon a Time in the West”


“Is it safe?”

19. Szell (Laurence Olivier), “Marathon Man”


18. Glen Whitehouse (James Coburn), “Affliction”


17. Jack Wilson (Jack Palance), “Shane”


16. Minnie Casavet (Ruth Gordon), “Rosemary’s Baby”


15. Dr. Hannibal Lector (Brian Cox), “Manhunter”


14. Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), “Wall Street”


“Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”

13. Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), “Die Hard”


12. Ernst Stavro Blofed (Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Grey) The James Bond films


11. Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis), “Gangs of New York”


10. The Joker (Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger), “Batman”, “The Dark Knight”


9. Little Bill Daget (Gene Hackman), “Unforgiven”


8. Sgt. Barnes (Tom Berenger), “Platoon”


7. Keyser Soze (Kevin Spacey), “The Usual Suspects”


6. Anton Chigurn (Javier Bardem), “No Country for Old Men”


5. Captain Dudley Smithe (James Cromwell), “L.A. Confidential”


4. Frank Boothe (Dennis Hopper – RIP), “Blue Velvet”


3. Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”


2. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), “Night of the Hunter”


1. Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), “Schindler’s List”


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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

36 thoughts on “50 Greatest Movie Villains!”

  1. Impressive List with a LOT of surprises. It’s quite a bit to digest all at once actually.

    I love the inclusion of the Overlook Hotel. The fact that you kept both Jokers together as well, and brilliant call on Szell in Marathon Man.

    I think you may suffer some arguments about Michael Corleone, and Gordon Gecko being on the list, but you have my backing, just because we liked to root for the bad guys, doesn’t make them any less villainous.

    The only one of your list I don’t dig is the Harrison Ford one. I hated What Lies Beneath. Boohissboo on that flick, but it was a surprise that Harrison Ford would play the bad guy.

    1. I feel that Michael in part two is a cold calculated psychopath who is pure evil and shows absolutely zero compassion for anything. Gordon Gekko was supposed to be a cautionary character instead of an influence. Gekko is partly to blame for the current economic status of today.

  2. There is a certain advanced computer system that is gonna be awfully pissed that you left it off the list.

  3. Wow, so that’s what you have been working on for so long! Superb list, love the inclusion of the Great Danton in the top 50 and Capt. Dudley Smith near the top.

  4. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t see The Great Danton – or Robert Angier as a villain.

    The top ten villains are fantastic though.

      1. That’s why I would argue that Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) is the villain of the film, if there was a villain.

    1. It’s just you. Angier was a narcissistic sociopath who would have evolved into a homicidal serial killer if he wasn’t put down like the dog he was. A classic fit in profiling at Langley.

  5. Definitely loving the inclusion of the Hotel.

    Since you consider the Michael Corleones and Gordon Gekkos villains, even as the protagonist, do you put Daniel Plainview in the same category? In my eyes, he is a greater villain than either one of them.

    1. I can almost slightly empathize with Plainview – maybe even sympathize. With Corleone and Gekko I can’t. It was very hard for me to decide whether or not to include him, I almost feel in some sort of strange way that the case can be made that Plainview is an anti-hero (which that list is currently being worked on).

      I also struggled with putting Bill the Butcher on there. I think I can make a pretty strong case that he is the anti hero and racism is the villain.

  6. 30. The Overlook Hotel, “The Shinning” – great choice!

    Makes me want to compile my own list of favorite non-human villains! I think I’ll put it to a poll next week 🙂

  7. Great list Frank:)
    I would probably have put Edward Norton in Primal Fear a little higher, that character freaked me out! And Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, one of my favourite villains too.

  8. Hey man this is a great list. I didn’t really like the Richie Cussak or Hugh Jackman picks (thought they were pretty forgettable in their respective roles). But overall top-notch picks, especially towards the end.

    1. Thanks a lot, it took me a whole weekend to come up with this list. It was important to me that I didn’t leave anyone out, I think I could maybe replace a few, but overall I’m pretty happy with it. Thanks for reading.

    1. Hey man, Landa to me is the anti hero of Basterds. He has a sense of honor, chivalry and knows right from wrong. Yes he is insane, but he did end the war (even if it was for selfish reasons).

  9. TOTALLY agree with the top two (they scared the hell out of me). Not sure if I’d call Mrs. Robinson a villain. A bitch, yes, but not a villain.

    1. As time has gone on, I’ve realized I’ve dropped the ball on a shit ton of villains that I could have put into this list. I think I’m going to have to amend this list sometime soon.

      I do agree with you, Khan should be on here!

  10. impressive list but Ive missed out many villains ……Am not satisfied maybe i should come up with my own list

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