American comic artist Cliff Chiang once said, “A hero is only as good as his villain.” Imagine The Dark Knight without the Joker or Star Wars without Darth Vader, they just wouldn’t be the same movie!
There have been some unforgettable movie villains over the years, and with Hayden Christensen’s recent return as Darth Vader in the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, we thought now would be the perfect time to look back at the greatest villains in cinema history.
10. Gollum (LOTR trilogy)
Andy Serkis, originally named Sméagol, first appeared briefly as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring before appearing in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return. to see was the king’s.’
Gollum is a pitiful hobbit-like creature whose mind was poisoned by the ring after wearing it for centuries. He accompanies Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Samwise (Sean Austin) on their quest in The Two Towers, but ends up betraying them in The Return of the King.
9. Michael Corleone (The Godfather Trilogy)
Al Pacino’s performance as Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather remains one of the greatest cinematic performances of all time!
Michael Corleone begins the film as a quiet, shy young ex-soldier and as the film progresses he transforms into a cold-blooded killer and the head of the Corleone crime family.
Michael showed just how ruthless he really was in The Godfather Part II when he had his own brother Fredo (John Cazale) murdered for betraying the family.
“An offer you can’t refuse.”
2 hrs 55 minsMarch 14, 1972
The Godfather: Part II
“I don’t feel like I have to wipe everyone out, Tom. Just my enemies.”
3 hrs 22 mins12/20/1974
8. Anne Wilkes (Misery)
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her chilling performance as Annie Wilkes in Misery.
When writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is involved in a car accident during a snowstorm, Wilkes rescues him and takes him to her remote cabin, where she tries to nurse him back to health. Annie claims to be Paul’s “number one fan” but becomes violent when she finds out he plans to kill her favorite character in his next book.
“Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he writes to stay alive.”
1 hr 47 minsNov. 30, 1990
After director James Cameron decided to make Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character the hero in Terminator: Judgment Day, he needed to find an actor who could pose a threat to Arnold’s beloved Terminator.
Enter actor Robert Patrick, who doesn’t look like he could rival the former California governor, but thanks to Cameron’s upgraded groundbreaking visual effects, the T-1000 is one of the scariest movie villains of all time.
With the ability to transform into liquid metal, watching the film makes you wonder, “how will our heroes ever be able to defeat this guy,” which is the mark of a great villain.
“King Kong has nothing to do with me.”
These are the immortal lines of Denzel Washington as Detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day, for which he won an Oscar.
Harris is a troubled cop with a bounty assigned to train Office Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) but has other plans for his new partner.
Washington burns in this movie, playing against the guy as a ruthless and dangerous criminal cop.
“The only thing more dangerous than the line being crossed is the policeman crossing it.”
2 hrs 2 minsOctober 5, 2001
When Quentin Tarantino cast Inglorious Basterds, he feared that the role of Hans Landa was “unplayable” and credited actor Christoph Waltz with “giving him his movie.”
Landa, known as “The Hunter”, is a ruthless SS officer whose presence lingers throughout the film. The performance launched Waltz’s American acting career and earned him the first of two Academy Awards he would win for his portrayal of Tarantino characters, the second for “Django Unchained.”
Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs and would reprise the role in Hannibal and Red Dragon.
Created by novelist Thomas Harris, Lecter is a formerly respected forensic psychiatrist turned serial killer who eats his victims. After being captured, he consults with the FBI, first with Agent Will Graham (Ed Norton) and finally with Agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster).
The silence of the Lambs
“To penetrate the mind of a murderer, she must challenge the mind of a madman.”
1 hr 59 minFebruary 14, 1991
“His genius undeniable. Its evil, unspeakable.”
2 hrs 11 minsFebruary 8, 2001
“Before the silence.”
2 hrs 4 minsOctober 4, 2002
3. Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
By the ’80s, the villains in the James Bond movies had become downright ridiculous, which Mike Myers called Dr. Evil character in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
But in 1988, English actor Alan Rickman gave an unforgettable performance as Hans Gruber, a thief pretending to be a terrorist, in Die Hard. Rickman played the role with intelligence and charm, and was a challenging opponent for John McClane, Bruce Willis’ legendary cop.
Hailed as the beginning of a new era of believable movie villains, the performance surpassed anything the Bond franchise had offered in decades.
“Forty floors. Twelve Terrorists. A policeman.”
2 hrs 11 minsJuly 22, 1988
While Jack Nicolson gave a legendary performance in Batman and Joaquin Phoenix won an Oscar for Joker, the late Heath Ledger delivered his best-ever performance as the Clown Prince of Crime in Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece The Dark Knight.
Ledger, who also won an Oscar for his role, gave a chillingly realistic portrayal that turned the character into a dangerous psychopath more interested in watching the world burn than in gaining money or power. Ledger’s Joker is by far the best screen version of the iconic comic book character and, sadly, would also be one of the actor’s final roles.
The dark knight
“Welcome to a world without rules.”
2 hrs 32 minsJuly 18, 2008
1. Darth Vader (original Star Wars trilogy)
If Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series made any difference… it reminded us how much we love Darth Vader!
When he was first introduced in 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the character was mysterious, dark, and terrifying. While most fans now know Vader’s backstory thanks to the prequels, it was truly shocking and disturbing for viewers when the character first said, “Luke, I am your father” in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back “.
Long before Hayden Christensen was cast as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Darth Vader was played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones. Actor Sebastian Shaw played Anakin in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi when Vader removes his helmet and ends up as a Force Ghost, although recent installments of the film have replaced Shaw’s Force Ghost with an image of Christensen.
While the character has been humanized within the Star Wars cannon over the years due to the prequels, animated series, and live-action shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader is still the greatest movie villain of all time!
war of stars
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
2 hrs 1 minMay 25, 1977