Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Necessary Evil

Villains. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're the cornerstone of cinema. From the ambiguous shadowy figures to the outright in your face baddy. They cover the range of our inner desires, fears, angers, and amplify them to the extreme of insanity. They can be mechanical, super natural, or just down right tyrannical. So, in honor of their place in cinema, I give you some of my all time favorites.

So there you have it, some of my all time favorite cinematic villains. Not all mind you, but a rather good sample. So, what are some of your favorite movie villains?

15 better thoughts:

The Mad Hatter said...

(Is Vito Corleone a villain? I'd call him more of an anti-hero)

Some of my favorites that you didn't mention...

Hannibal Lecter
Nurse Ratched
Keyser Soze
Hans Gruber
and Mr. Potter

MovieNut14 said...

My faves include:

Harry Lime
Harry Powell
J.J. Hunsecker
Norman Bates
Mrs. Iselin
Amon Goeth

Univarn said...

@Mad See, I had that same dilemma with Hannibal Lecter. He's really only an actual villain in the second film and even less briefly in the third film and neither of which I thought shined the light on him as a proper villain as well as it should have. In the first, he's definitely a powerful representation of evil, but he also helps out our main character (in his own way) which could qualify him for being the most anti-heroic of anti-heroes. As for Vito Corleone - I don't cheer for his success, as I normally would with an anti-hero. While I find The Godfather movies captivating beyond compare, I do cheer for their downfall because, call me weird, I'm not a big fan of crime families who push their weight around and kill people. In my opinion, everyone in the Godfather movies (with the exception of Kay) is a villain.

@MoviteNut14 Amon Goeth was definitely shortlisted for me, but I can't argue with the Harrys or JJ Hunsecker - they just didn't make the sample :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

T1000 - excellent choice! I really dug Darth Maul.

Rachel [ f.g.i. ] said...

Best villian in recent years: Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) in "Inglorious Basterds"

Rich said...

Regarding whether or not Don Corleone is a villain: if it helps, consider this cardinal rule I've seen endorsed by a number of different writers:

The best villains NEVER think of themselves as villains.

Red said...

Can't make a post titled "necessary evil" and leave out Jean-Baptiste Zorg, a self admitted villain who spends a good few minutes explaining why the world needs him to do the things he does. Utter brilliancy.

Castor said...

Some of mine:

- Freddy Krueger
- Alonzo Harris
- Dudley Smith (LA Confidential)

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

Great list! Good on you for putting Scar on there.

For me it's:
Hans Gruber
Keyser Soze
The League of Evil Exes (It counts as one unit!)
Bill the Butcher
and, last but not least... The Fucking Rock (guess the movie)

Ruth said...

Vader, Sauron, Voldemort, Judge Frollo, Buffalo Bill.
*shudders* Kathy Bates in Misery....

Univarn said...

@AlexJ To me, Darth Maul was a better scene than overall villain.

@Rachel I think the performance was better than the way underused villain.

@Rich Wait, does that make me a villain?

@Red Unfortunately I have a 'no bubble hair net' requirement for the upper echelon of villainy

@Castor Dudley Smith is a solid choice - sort of the archetypical 'man behind the curtains'

@Sebastian I should have just thrown on here "Alan Rickman" - but I've heard that he hates that he's so good at playing the villain.

@Ruth So, no weekend outing to the Kathy Bates "Greatest Fan Ever" convention for you?

Yojimbo_5 said...

Was Captain Queeg a villain? I don't think so. Mentally unstable, sure. But I saw him as weak and pathetic. My vote for that film would be Lt. Keefer (played by Fred MacMurray). Now, there's a weasel.

Tom Clift said...

Great calls! The T-1000 gave me nightmares as a child. What about the truck in DUEL? Just as frightening as the JAWS shark ni my opinion

Fletch said...

Red's mention of Zorg made me think of Zod. He's gotta be on there!

Um...pretty much all of the classics have been mentioned at this point, so I'm gonna throw in Johnny Lawrence! And Belloq!

And poor Jaws...he ain't no villain, he's just hungry.

Univarn said...

@Yojimbo No matter how sympathetic his character traits may have turned out to be, I think he was a villain. Not in the most sinister ways, which Keefer could be eluded to, but rather his stubbornness, and refusal to recognize his own flaws, put lots of lives in danger daily - which I consider to be a villainous trait.

@Tom The Truck in Duel is great, but not one I found very memorable.

@Fletch Next thing you'll be telling me that the Hungry Hungry Hippos aren't evil!

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