The 50 best movie villains of all time

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

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  • Movie villains: Khan, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

  • Movie villains: Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca (1940)

  • Movie villains: Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds (2009)

  • Movie villains: Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

  • Movie villains: Vince Stone, The Big Heat (1953)

  • Movie villains: Tommy Udo, Kiss of Death (1947)

  • Movie villains: The Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

  • Movie villains: Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men (2007)

  • Movie villains: Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction (1987)

  • Movie villains: John Doe, Seven (1995)

Movie villains: Khan, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

40
KHAN, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)

Khan, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Revenge is a dish best served cold (old Klingon proverb), and who better to mete it out than Ricardo Montalban's genetically engineered, Melville-quoting big baddie? The actor's devil-may-care stylings were just the kick in the pants Gene Roddenberry's space-opera franchise needed. Say it in your best Shatner: Khaaaaaaaaaannnnnn!—Keith Uhlich

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39
MRS. DANVERS, REBECCA (1940)

Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca (1940)

The original psychobiddy, Judith Anderson's housekeeper starts out undermining her widowed master's new wife, played by Joan Fontaine; soon, she's breaking her down psychologically and not-so-subtly prodding the lady of the house toward open windows. Her eerie impassivity hides a questionable fixation with her late mistress—one that literally becomes a burning obsession.—David Fear

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38
HANS LANDA, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)

Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds (2009)

There are screen Nazis, and then there's Christoph Waltz's smooth-talking, calabash-smoking "Jew Hunter" from Quentin Tarantino's WWII epic. An inventive tweak on the stern movie caricatures of SS officers, Landa uses his sunny disposition as a smoke screen; the way he toys with a French farmer while slowly tightening the noose is both funny and absolutely chilling.—David Fear

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37
NURSE RATCHED, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975)

Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Most mental-institution employees help their patients get better; this fascist in a starched white uniform keeps her pet "cuckoos" crazy and under her thumb. As the authority figure determined to break Jack Nicholson's countercultural free spirit, Louise Fletcher turned Ken Kesey's metaphor for conformity into a bona fide monster.—David Fear

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36
VINCE STONE, THE BIG HEAT (1953)

Vince Stone, The Big Heat (1953)

Anyone who finds himself in the lovely arms of Gloria Grahame should probably consider himself a winner. Yet this coffee-flinging goon scalds her face, utterly turning the audience against him. It a wonder that Lee Marvin ever escaped the notoriety of this role—much less to become a likable hero in The Dirty Dozen.—Joshua Rothkopf

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35
TOMMY UDO, KISS OF DEATH (1947)

Tommy Udo, Kiss of Death (1947)

How twisted is Richard Widmark's perpetually grinning thug? This is a man who pushes an old woman in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs—and giggles as she plummets. Widmark's unique take on the mob-enforcer archetype earned him an Oscar nomination and singlehandedly created a template for every creepily childish psychopath that followed.—David Fear

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34
THE EVIL QUEEN, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)

The Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Walt Disney's first feature introduced the Mouse House's first true villain. Who can forget her chilling "Mirror, mirror" freak-out or her hideous black-cloak--and-warts disguise (arm outstretched with the tempting poisoned apple)? You don't get Cruella de Vil or Scar without the Evil Queen's example.—Keith Uhlich

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33
ANTON CHIGURH, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007)

Anton Chigurh, No Country for Old Men (2007)

The bowl haircut was scary enough. Javier Bardem also had implacable cool and that purring croak of a voice: "What business is it of yours where I'm from...friendo?" Ultimately, this bounty hunter wins on sheer unstoppability, blowing holes in doorways and pursuing his prey with unswerving drive.—Joshua Rothkopf

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32
ALEX FORREST, FATAL ATTRACTION (1987)

Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction (1987)

She's the ultimate NYC nightmare: an illicit fuckbuddy who goes nuclear on her married lover, his family and one unlucky bunny. Along with Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, this movie fully encapsulated the dangers of smug, yuppie entitlement, and Glenn Close should have won her Oscar for it.—Joshua Rothkopf

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31
JOHN DOE, SEVEN (1995)

John Doe, Seven (1995)

The bad guy stays in the shadows for most of David Fincher's exhilaratingly dark thriller, allowing his elaborate traps inspired by the seven deadly sins to work their gruesome magic. Then he shows up in the form of Kevin Spacey and is so eerily calm and rational about his crimes you want to scream.—Keith Uhlich

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