Villains. You gotta love ’em! They make life interesting. They make stories fun. Heck, without them, there technically wouldn’t even be heroes.
So, to celebrate Villain Appreciation Month (and yeah, I just made that up), I’m going to be making several top ten lists of the greatest villains ever. Each list will feature villains from a certain type of media – movies, books, video games, and comic books – and there will be no overlap. So, for example, if a villain originally appeared in a book or a comic book, he/she won’t be on the movie list.
At the end of each list will be a box where you can vote for your favorite villain. If the villain isn’t in the list, write it in the comments below. At the end of the month, I’ll compile a top 10 out of the most popular villains out of all the lists, and you all will vote on the the order they will be ranked in.
Then, we will finally know who the greatest villains of all time are!
Got it? Good.
So to kick it off, here’s my list of the greatest movie villains!
10. Hal 9000 – 2001: A Space Odyssey
I’d be willing to bet most of you don’t know who he is, or have even heard of the movie he’s from (it’s almost 50 years old, after all), but I’d be willing to bet you know the music from the movie. Google “Space Odyssey music” and tell me you don’t hear this song on a regular basis. Regardless, this guy, or computer, to be a little more accurate, is an absolute a-hole! I mean, imagine flying through space with a machine bent on killing you and everyone else aboard your ship – and mostly succeeding! Know him or not, he definitely deserves to be on this list.
9. Scar – Lion King
Yeah, he’s from a Disney movie. So what? He’s a great villain! In fact, Disney is great at making memorable villains, which is why you’ll be seeing a couple more before you reach the bottom of this list. Connections with giant talking mice aside, Scar is an almost Shakespearian character. Take away him being a lion and all, and he’d fit right in with one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. And yeah, he’s evil, but you can’t help but sympathize with him a little bit. After all, who doesn’t want to be king?
8. Hans Gruber – Die Hard
Who? The bad guy from the first Die Hard movie. Duh! Not everybody remembers his name, but he’s a hard character to forget. He’s greedy, sociopathic, and has no respect for human life. Oh, and he’s also German. Sounds like a good combination for a villain to me. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s played by Alan Rickman, the dude who played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies.
7. Captain Hector Barbossa – Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Geoffrey Rush is such a great actor. He can go from being a handsome, mild mannered speech therapist in one movie (The King’s Speech), to a horrifically ugly zombie-pirate in the next. And boy does he make for a good horrifically ugly zombie-pirate. Originally the first mate on the Black Pearl under Captain Jack Sparrow, he led a mutiny against said captain, took command of his ship, and left him marooned on a forsaken desert island to die a slow and painful death. I guess it’s only fitting that shortly afterward he would be cursed by an Aztec spell that would make him die a slow and painful death, too, minus the death part (and plus the part where it turns him into a walking skeleton). Trouble is, the curse only served to make him even more evil.
6. Terminator – Terminator
“I’ll be back.” “Hasta la vista, baby.” “Take my hand if you want to live.” These are only just a few one-liners uttered by the Terminator (a.k.a. Arnold Schwarzenegger) that have transcended the movies to become part of our pop culture. But quotes alone aren’t what make this cyborg a great villain. He rides a motorcycle, he can shoot a shotgun with one hand and hit his target, he’s from the future, he has a funny foreign accent for some reason, he’s a robot, he wears sunglasses, and he wears leather and can actually pull the look off. The list goes on and on. In a nutshell, he’s a badass, plain and simple.
5. Agent Smith – The Matrix
Boy, it sure seems like there are a lot of robots on this list. Well, technically, Agent Smith is just a program. He has no real robot body. But dang, he really doesn’t need one, either. If Terminator was a badass, then this guy is a, well… whatever is badder than a badass. Not only does he dress impeccably (a perfectly fit black and white business suit with sunglasses), he can also dodge bullets, give the best sneer you’ve ever seen, and above all, knows Kung-Fu. Did I mention he has infinite lives? Whenever someone destroys his body, he just borrows someone else’s. After all, if you think about it, the Matrix is kinda like a video game. In fact, there really is only one guy that can take him on and win, and that’s Keanu Reeves, because, you know, he knows Kung-Fu, too.
4. Dr. Evil – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Whoever made the rule that good villains couldn’t be hilarious obviously didn’t tell Dr. Evil. This dude is bent on conquering the world. Or is it destroying the world? Actually, I think he just wants to hold it for ransom. Whatever his goals are, he is set on carrying them out in the most elaborate way possible. And that, my friends, is why he’s a great villain. Sure, it makes it super easy for Austin Powers to foil his plans, but what does that matter? Dr. Evil is by far the most entertaining villain on this list, and that certainly makes him deserving of this spot.
3. Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty
It’s true that Disney’s Sleeping Beauty was not originally a movie, but that doesn’t mean this villain came from a book. It’s hard to imagine a Sleeping Beauty without Maleficent, but believe it or not, she didn’t actually exist until the 1959 animated movie. That’s a shame, too, because the self proclaimed “mistress of evil” is one of the scariest and most iconic villains ever invented. She is powerful enough to put everyone in an entire kingdom in a state of endless slumber, and, if she’s pushed far enough, can transform into a fire breathing dragon! She’s even getting her own live-action movie, due to arrive in theaters this summer. If that doesn’t tell you she is a great villain, I don’t know what will.
2. Darth Vader – Star Wars
He’s big, he’s dressed all in black, he’s got a creepy helmet, and he can choke you with his mind. He’s the quintessential villain. No doubt about it. And honestly, what is there to say about this guy that most people don’t already know? The only thing holding him back from being on top is his younger days as the whiny Anakin Skywalker.
1. Norman Bates – Psycho
All the other villains on this list have been larger than life. In fact, there really is no way that any of them could be what they are or do what they do in our real world. But this guy, he’s a different story. And that’s precisely why he’s number one. He could be an actual person. That’s TERRIFYING! The guy kills his mom, leaves her corpse in his house, dresses up like her, thinks he is her, and kills people! That’s downright creepy. The scariest part is, for all you know, this guy could be your neighbor. He’s one of the greatest villains, for sure. To be honest, I’m getting scared just thinking about him.
Okay, so it turns out that Norman Bates is actually from a book (of course he is…). So he has been disqualified and moved over to the book list. That means Darth Vader is numero uno for the movie villains! So far, based on the poll, that’s where he belongs anyway.
All the other villains move up a spot as well, and Gordon Gekko, from Wall Street, is the new no. 10! I’d give him a picture and a caption, but I have a feeling not many people will vote for him anyway. Then again, you guys could prove me wrong.
What do you guys think? Be sure to vote below!