The 50 best movie villains of all time

Go to the dark side with our ranked list of evildoers.

0

Comments

Add +
  • Movie villains: Click to the next image to see our 50 best movie villains of all time

  • Movie villains: Dean Wormer, National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

  • Movie villains: Cobra Kai Sensei, The Karate Kid (1984)

  • Movie villains: Roy Batty, Blade Runner (1982)

  • Movie villains: Asami Yamazaki, Audition (1999)

  • Movie villains: Hank Quinlan, Touch of Evil (1958)

  • Movie villains: Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas (1990)

  • Movie villains: Lord Voldemort, The Harry Potter movies (2005–11)

  • Movie villains: Baby Jane Hudson, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

  • Movie villains: Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now (1979)

  • Movie villains: Lars Thorwald, Rear Window (1954)

Movie villains: Click to the next image to see our 50 best movie villains of all time

Do we love our scoundrels more than our saints? Certainly at this time of year, with Halloween just around the corner, we do. Then again, this collection of baddies boasts a stunning eight Oscar victories (and a couple more if you allow for special-effects wins). In considering the worst of the worst, Time Out's Team Film was careful to sift out contenders who were merely antiheroes: Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle, for example, is too well-intentioned. Instead, we went for true terribleness. Whatever you do, just keep telling yourself: It's only a list, it's only a list. And if we forgot your favorite heel, get mean with us in the comments.

50
DEAN WORMER, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)

Dean Wormer, National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

"The time has come for someone to put his foot down—and that foot is me," John Vernon's dastardly dean declares. This nincompoop head of Faber College took impotent authority figures to a new level, making him the ideal foil for the Deltas. He exemplifies gross-out comedy's golden rule: The more smug you are, the more likely you'll be vomited upon.—David Fear

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

49
 COBRA KAI SENSEI, THE KARATE KID (1984)

Cobra Kai Sensei, The Karate Kid (1984)

Fine, so he might not be all the way up there in the pantheon of evil, but this character definitely haunted our nightmares. Mercy and honor are mere playthings to him, as he firmly tells Daniel-san's opponent to "sweep the leg." Actor Martin Kove's squashed features add unsavoriness.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

48
ROY BATTY, BLADE RUNNER (1982)

Roy Batty, Blade Runner (1982)

The bleached-blond replicant of Ridley Scott's milestone sci-fi thriller is nearly unstoppable—poking out eyeballs, head-butting walls and reducing Harrison Ford's hard-boiled cop to a quivering, broken-fingered mess. But there's more to this bad guy than seething menace; the great Rutger Hauer invests him with a wide-eyed soulfulness that ultimately breaks your heart.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

47
ASAMI YAMAZAKI, AUDITION (1999)

Asami Yamazaki, Audition (1999)

Everyone knows actors are crazy, but our hero can't have expected this level of limb-slicing extremity. To be fair, he's holding a fake casting call just to meet chicks—a move that would infuriate anyone. But after deceptively meek Asami (Eihi Shiina) shows up, this is one player who's about to get a forcible re-edit.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

46
HANK QUINLAN, TOUCH OF EVIL (1958)

Hank Quinlan, Touch of Evil (1958)

Though he'd eventually resemble a mountain with a tiny head on top, Orson Welles actually added belly padding and pounds of makeup to play the corrupt cop of his noir classic, a lawman with no qualms about planting evidence, wandering out of his jurisdiction and even raising his cane on occasion.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

45
TOMMY DEVITO, GOODFELLAS (1990)

Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas (1990)

Joe Pesci took home Oscar gold for his firecracker portrayal of a short-tempered gangster in Martin Scorsese's thrilling Mafia drama. The character always wants to be the center of attention, but it's what he does when all eyes are on him—those uncomfortably drawn out am-I-fucking-with-you-or-not? pauses—that assures his place in the scoundrels' pantheon.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

44
LORD VOLDEMORT, THE HARRY POTTER MOVIES (2005--11)

Lord Voldemort, The Harry Potter movies (2005–11)

From his serpentine face (the missing nose is a perfect touch) to the bone-chilling way he hisses his arch-nemesis's name—"Haaa-ryyy Pahhh-ter!"—Ralph Fiennes turned J.K. Rowling's fallen wizard into the personification of that old black magic. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named doesn't really need a moniker; he simply answers to evil.—David Fear

 Buy on Amazon

43
BABY JANE HUDSON, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962)

Baby Jane Hudson, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Bette Davis throws subtlety to the wind in the flamboyant title role of this aging-starlet standard. Her psycho former child actor sticks in your mind not only for her memorably schizoid outbursts (parakeets, beware), but for the ferocious way Davis battles costar and real-life archenemy Joan Crawford for the spotlight.—Keith Uhlich

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

42
COLONEL KURTZ, APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)

Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now (1979)

Lording over a compound of Montagnard mercenaries like some demented slaveowner, Brando's bald, batshit colonel one-upped Joseph Conrad's conception of Kurtz as a mere colonialist run amok; you believe this guy actually possesses a heart of darkness. Whether reading T.S. Eliot aloud or decapitating soldiers, this military madman truly communicates the horror of Vietnam.—David Fear

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

41
LARS THORWALD, REAR WINDOW (1954)

Lars Thorwald, Rear Window (1954)

He sits in his darkened apartment, smoking a cigarette. Outside in the courtyard, a neighbor wails about her dead dog. And across the way, two more observers know that Lars (an unusually subtle Raymond Burr) is up to far more than offing pets. Alfred Hitchcock's brilliant thriller simply wouldn't work without a stone-cold killer.—Joshua Rothkopf

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video


  1. 50–41
  2. 40–31
  3. 30–21
  4. 20–11
  5. 10–1

Users say

0 comments