If you’ve ever taken a long flight, you know there is a running joke of providing the crappiest movies of all time for passengers to watch. Much like Batman, however, I was prepared and enjoyed some right action movies I brought while my fellow passengers suffered through some flicks about Kirstin Dunst playing tennis and some English princess girl.
It’s at that point that I appreciated how much good a proper, evil villain can bring to a movie. With that said, here are the top
10, nay!, 20 movie villains of all time…
20. The Shark: Jaws
As surely as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, there is supposed to be order in nature on Earth. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Things tend to flow from high to low concentration. Women should be adept at making good sandwiches.
These are inarguable truths and rules of the universe. Apparently Jaws just didn’t get the memo. It takes a vile creature to attack maybe one or two wayward surfers, but Jaws managed to take things up to entirely new levels.
Not deterred by technology or angry men, the shark refused to stop trying to eat people. It’s one thing when a shark nibbles someone on accident, but a totally different level where it’s using argyle-sock wearing chess champion logic to trick people into being shark-food.
Jaws knocked over boats, busted into under-water rooms at SeaWorld and used devious strategy when hunting its victims. It was during the sequel, after Jaws “the teeth” Shark was whacked via a mouthful of explosives, and his family got fin-hurt and started taking revenge on anyone near an ocean, that it became apparent ocean-goers were actually dealing with an underwater family of mobsters. Don Corleone is reported to have shed a tear in respect.
19. Agent Smith – The Matrix
Agent Smith is a ruggedly smooth movie villain and unique in his own element. Somewhat the evil guardian of a computer system that keeps the minds of humans trapped in a “fake” reality, Smith proves to be the most badass piece of software. Capable of any martial arts technique, body-leaping, and self-cloning in the Matrix, his villainous deeds are only amplified by the fact you can’t beat his ass if you own the game Enter The Matrix.
18. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man: Ghostbusters
Sticking out like a sore thumb from a sinister hand of villains, The Marshmallow Man makes number 18 on the list. Though not the most evil creature The Ghostbusters ever faced, considering the vile Vigo, you just can’t beat a demonic 30-story-high walking, talking, smiling pile of evil Marshmallows. The best thing is when the heroes unleashed their plot device, the city of New York had a free year’s supply of S’mores filling, which resulted in rotten teeth city-wide. So even in his death, the Marshmallow Man had the last laugh.
17. The Predator: The Predator
Now it’s one thing to come to Earth to conquer it or make us all surrogate mothers. At least at that point we’re having our lives screwed over for a functional purpose. This all goes to sheisse though when advanced as hell aliens come to Earth just so their teenaged kids can have a warrior’s right of passage. How? Killing humans, of course.
Being natural assholes by their alien nature, every Predator takes this spot on the list. We’ll reserve the special deputy Gold-Star villain spot for the predator that fought with Arnold Shwarzenegger, just because he pulled the classic “I”m defeated so I’m blowing up everything” move.
16. Biff Tannen – Back To The Future I – II
“Why don’t you make like a tree, and get out of here?”
Biff Tannen was not only a definitive asshole, but he managed to be the most definitive asshole of all time; literally. All the way from beating up three generations of McFlys, to altering the universe and time itself just so he could twiddle tangle Michael J. Fox’s booze-loving mom, his assholedness knew no bounds. It’s a good thing he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, or the sport’s almanac would have been the least of everyone’s concern. Rumor has it that today you can find Biff playing some cool comedy guitar at various clubs.
15. Bolo Yeung & The Russian – Kickboxer & Rocky
Bolo and The Russian didn’t have the time or money to invest in things like proper wardrobe, sinister plots or legions of minions. Instead, they come in tied for #15 after popularizing a new element of villainy. Fighting dirty.
Bolo secured his spot on the villains list during a fight with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Sure, he had already beat the hell blood out of Jean’s best friend, making sure to wear the guy’s bloody bandanna. Years earlier, he was teasing Bruce Lee during a martial arts tournament and chucking flammable barrels at Van Damme, where of course Bolo got his ass kicked both times.
What sealed his spot was the fight with Jean, during Bloodsport. In shocking and unprecedented fashion, Bolo unleashed the cheapest villain’s move. Throw sand in the opponent’s eye! It was classic, cheap and villainous.
Not to be outdone, in a charity event, The Russian from ‘Rocky’ beat down Apollo Creed to the point of death. Typically, charity events end with impoverished people getting checks, not retired legends getting the tar monkey-stomped out of them. For these reasons, Bolo and The Russian have well-earned their spots. Of the two of these events, however, sand in the eye is more quintessentially villainous and quite resourceful, so here it is in action.
14. Xerxes – 300
A newcomer to the hierarchy of movie villains, Xerxes is the bastard 10-foot-tall god-king who did his best to destroy freedom in young Greece. Though losing villain points for his choice in attire, he quickly makes them up by having legions of fodder with such names as “The Immortals” and “Crazy Crab-Claw Clan”. Alright, so I made the last one up, but I’m sure Frank Miller threw a crab-clawed guy somewhere in there with Xerxes’ army of mutant freaks.
And it’s this army that reveals one other thing about Xerxes. In addition to his thinly veiled effiminate ways, he must have also been hiding the mind of a brilliant, evil scientist, which always makes a villain that much more proper.
13. Christopher Walken – Whatever Movie He Does
Christopher Walken is the most naturally spooky man on the planet. He could show up in a movie playing the damn Elf of Rainbow Buttery Happiness Christmas and still scare the spit out of kids. He doesn’t even need a movie role listed, he just makes the list as is.
12. Scar – The Lion King
What the hell, a Disney villain? Yes, a Disney villain. There are a few things everyone should review about the laws of brotherhood and man.
#1. Your brother’s woman is off limits.
#2. Do not stab your brother in the back.
#3. Be nice to your nieces and nephews. This includes not scheming to feed them to hyenas.
With that said, Scar may be the most asshole cartoon villain creation of all time. After plotting to have his brother -the Noble Mufasa- killed in a stampede, Scar pulled the ultimate villain move; the family backstab. This put him up there in league with Commudus from Gladiator.
After falling victim to Scar’s stampede plot, Mufasa was left hanging on to the edge of a cliff, for dear life. Mufasa offered his paw and said, “Brother, help me.” In the ultimate proof of evil, Scar ruined Mufasa’s paw and watched him slip to his death. It’s at that point he helped himself to all the lionesses and plotted to have young Simba killed, several times. And PETA says animals are nice.
11. Dr. Evil – Austin Powers
The arch-nemesis of super-spy Austin Powers, Dr. Evil was one of the most definitive movie villains by his very nature. The first thing to understand about Dr. Evil is that he was not a doctor. He’ll try to convince you he went to Villain Medical School, and got a degree in Evil, but that’s a rotten lie. He just wanted Doctor in the title, because the most elite of villains keep the title (Doctor Doom, Doctor Lecter, Dr. Phil, Doc Ock, the list goes on).
Doctor Evil’s textbook villainy went far beyond title. He made sure all of his minions had smart outfits, took time to plan a secret base of operations and realized the importance of delegating work, by having a number Two and Frau.
If that wasn’t enough, the ol’ Doc made sure to keep a tank full of sharks with laser head mounts, had a time machine and made ridiculous threats to world leaders for money he really didn’t need. The icing on the cake came when he unleashed his clone, Mini-me, and proceeded to perform a duet. That’s just sheer evil.
10. Commudus – Gladiator
As you may recall, Commudus is an asshole. Just to recount his atrocities: he killed his sickly old Dad via suffocation, tried to dingle his sister and then threatened to kill her son if she wouldn’t have sex with him. Then he proceeded to have Maximus’ family raped and crucified, making sure to tell Maximus his son “squealed like a pig” and his wife “moaned like a whore”. Rumors say he also avidly supports Barbara Streissand. Nice guy.
9. The Alien – Alien
Now as you know, aliens are naturally rotten bastards. The impressively vast amount of organization, knowledge and skill it takes to travel across the universe is astounding. It’s a tough feat.
With such levels of tech and knowledge, one would think such advanced alien civilizations would be nice and civilized. They are not. On the top of every alien’s agenda is one thing: think of ways to ass-rape people who live on “Earth” and scare them with laser canons. It never fails.
Going with all the body snatching, blood-sucking (Killer Clowns from Outer Space!) and city smashing, it takes a special being to be the most asshole alien of all time. So here’s to you, damn Alien from the movie Alien. Go ahead and drink our last Coke, you asshole.
8. The Wicked Witch of the West
Back in the days when “Technicolor” was a new, damn-fangled technology, it was pretty tough to be a proper villain. Villains didn’t have the power of CGI or pyro-technics to challenge their adversaries, and usually had to work on limited budgets. This made villainy, especially for rotten women, a very tough profession.
With all of these odds against her, the Wicked Witch of the West came through like the vile cunt of a villain champ she was meant to be. Setting what was then a new standard, the Wicked Witch of the west realized that a villain needed proper evil minions.
What did she do? Hire some lame goons with guns? A bug army? Hell no.
The Wicked Witch of the West had an army of EVIL FLYING MONKEYS. What the hell? Not a villain since that time can claim such a feat. Just imagine if she had access to laser-eye technology, she’d still be wrecking shit up to this day. Though the wicked witch also receives style points for green skin, warts and taunts like “I’ll get you my pretty”, the fact that Dorothy owned her with a cup of water (blame it on cheap makeup artists) takes her down a few notches on the villain’s scale.
7. General Zod – Superman II
A common habit of villains is to proclaim themselves god of whatever planet they are conquering. None took this role more seriously than General Zod.
Being banished from Krypton, and having all the power of Superman, Zod was a cocky bastard as he knew he could literally ruin the life of every person on Earth. After taking time to kill some astronauts on the moon and superbreath women’s skirts over their heads in various cities, like all alien invaders Zod naturally went to Washington, DC, to destroy the White House and proclaim himself ruler of Earth.
After Zod and friends laid waste to some guards, the president said, “God, help us.” Zod clearly recognized this as a common slip of the tongue and corrected him. “No, the name is Zod.” All of this was happening around the time Superman decided to give up his powers so he could bang Lois Lane, and give rise to a bastard son in the boringest Superman movie ever.
6. Michael Corleone – The Godfather 2
Tony Montana originally had this spot, but upon waking up I found a horse’s head on my bed. I then received a phone call: “Today I wake up, in MY HOME, where I sleep and my children play. I hear things. I hear you had Montana on a list over me. I know it was you Dan Umbro. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!”
Just due to sheer amount of good quotes spewed, and logic only a villainous mobster could craft, this spot rightfully belongs to the entirety of the Corleone family for skills displayed throughout the Godfather Triology.
5. Jack Torrance – The Shining “Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”
It’s a well-accepted fact that Jack Nicholson is actually a perma-villain, no matter what he does. Jack’s the guy who can take a lullabye, turn it around 180 degrees, and make it sound like the twisted, pyschotic ramblings of a killer. You’ll take shock as you realized you just shat your pants, and Jack will unleash an evil laugh while hacking you up.
4. Amon Goethe – Schindler’s List
A proper list of movie villains is not complete without the requisite NAZI. It just takes a special set of dress, style and evil panache to be named the most asshole movie NAZI of all time. After his antics in Schindler’s List, Goethe more than earns his spot at number 5 on the list. Here in the train scene, the villainous Goethe can’t fathom that Oskar Schindler would give people water not to torture them, but just to be humane. Take note, Brother Abe!
3. The Joker – Batman
Batman is a pretty bad-ass character on his own. It’s not everyday you get a normal guy and have to seriously think about how many ways he could potentially kick Superman’s ass. So to go toe-to-toe with Batman, it takes a crazily insane and whacked out mind. None took to the task better than Jack Nicholson’s Joker.
The most definitive move of the movie came when Joker pulled the biggest pistol in the history of man from his pants, to shoot down Batman’s glider. It’s said that Robin found this particularly kinky.
2. Darth Vader – Star Wars
After watching the first Star Wars trilogy, it was not even a question. Vader was one of the best villains on screen. He built Death Stars, commanded legions of Storm Troopers and had a bad-ass black man voice. He even stole Johnny Cash’s all black clothes without getting his butt kicked. That’s some damn impressive evil feats.
As you read this, there are Star Wars folks exploding with anger, as they see the number 2 next to Darth Vader instead of number 1. His ass got demoted for the following reason: Anakin Skywalker.
During the new trilogy prequel, we got a glimpse into Darth Vader’s badass and evil past. Surely, such a force of nature who steals Johnny Cash’s pants and talks like a laser-sword wielding black dude would have a past of riding the galaxy, pimping his requisite hoes and selling smack.
Not so much. We find Vader was a whiny pussyfeather before coming to the Dark Side. He killed younglings, he whined more than an old Keith Sweat album. He tried to lay Padme with lines like, “I don’t like sand, it’s rough and coarse. Not like you. You’re soft and smooth.” What the hell, Vader?
Despite his trangressions against villainy during his younger years, we’ve erased those and went against excommunicating him from this list since he still sabered Natalie Portman.
1. Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, The Red Dragon, Hannibal Rising
Before seeing Lecter in action, not many had heard of a fava bean or chianti with a side of brain. Much like a classy Zombie, Lecter’s taste for home-brewed Soylent Green knew no limits.
The thing about the good doctor is that not only was he creepy, he was also brilliantly devious. The scene you’ll see below shows just how sadistic he could be, though if you watch Hannibal Rising (mhmm), you just may feel sorry for the old guy. Almost.
Note, the following clip IS NOT for the squimish.