Villains We Love to Hate

As audience members we love to hate our bad guys. As writers, we love to create the most loathsome antagonists. It seems movie villains are always trying to out-bad each other. Here is a list of my top-ten favorite fictional bad guys. Leave your own favorites in the comments section if I left them out.

Gaston-Screencaps-gaston-23409475-1920-108010. Gaston, (Beauty and the Beast, 1991): Sure, his songs are funny, and his oversized ego appeals to the vainest of the bunch, and really in the end, all he wants is the girl. But the key trait here in this guy that makes him so villainous is his determination. I mean, he’s willing to pull a Hatfield & McCoy over the town sweetheart, imagine if he got her in the end. What would he chase after next? Money? Power? Fame? I shudder to think of the lengths this guy would go to to achieve such ends. Best line: “I’d like to thank you all for coming to my wedding. But first I’d better go in there and propose to the girl.”

Howard-Payne-speed-27932321-500-3759. Howard Payne (Speed, 1994): Dennis Hopper may not have been the best choice to play this bomb-happy psychopath, but it’s sure fun to watch him hijack everything from elevators to buses to subways, even if his driving motive (pun intended) was just a briefcase full of money. Best line: “Pop quiz, hot shot.”

Mr. Fallon8. Mr. Fallon (Reign Over Me, 2007): I think B.J. Navak (of Office fame) may have a thing for playing the jerk on screen, no matter how small the role. In his three to four minutes of screen time in Adam Sandler’s most worthy movie, Mr. Fallon, the prosecuting attorney makes a show of shoving a family portrait in front of a grieving widower’s face. I don’t care who you are, that’s just low, and worthy of a few punches and a straight jacket. Best line: (After the judge repeatedly tells him to shut up and asks, “Do you hear me?”) “Yes… shut up.”

Jimmy Shaker7. Jimmy Shaker (Ransom, 1996): This guy just never gives up! In possibly Ron Howard’s darkest movie, Gary Sinise plays Detective Jimmy Shaker, the mastermind who kidnaps a billionaire’s son and holds him for ransom. Even when he’s painted up against a wall, this bad guy continues to find ways to weasel out and keep robbing the rich. If every bad guy from here till the end of movies were played by Gary Sinise, I would have no problem with that. Best line: “Anything goes wrong, you’re gonna turn around and I’ll be gone, okay? And if that happens, from this day on, anytime your kid leaves this house to go to school, go play, to see a friend, to buy a … comic book, you’re gonna have to ask yourself: Is today … Jimmy Shaker day?”

herchades6. Hades (Hercules, 1997): Scar was the runner-up for this slot. Both villains succeeded in killing the movie’s key protagonists (Scar/Mufasa; Hades/Hercules), and yes Mufasa stayed dead while Hercules came back because of a minor technicality, but Hades does have one thing over on Scar: he may not have a cool theme song, but he sure is funnier. Best line: “We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we carry on, we go home happy. What do you say?”

President Snow5. President Snow (The Hunger Games, 2012): The guy sends kids into an arena every year to force them to kill each other for entertainment. That’s just sick. Plus, his breath smells of blood. Best line: “Welcome. And happy Hunger Games.”

Commodus4. Commodus (Gladiator, 2000): Technically, he’s based off of a real person, so he’s the least fictional of this bunch. But Commodus has to be President Snow’s distant ancestor or something. The only reason I think he’s a tad bit worse than President Snow is because he makes it so personal. That, and he’s totally got the hots for his own sister. That’s just nasty. Best line: “It vexes me. I’m terribly vexed.”

Joker3. Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008): Of course no villain list would be complete without Heath Ledger’s infamous Joker. Nothing can be more terrifying than a villain who has no motive but to  spread chaos and destruction. That means there’s nothing anyone can do to deter him. Money is no object, arresting him only stalls him for a day or two… the guy’s a genius and a sicko. Any villain would be hard-pressed to out-bad Joker, unless you’re… Best line: “How ’bout a magic trick?”

Lots-O-Huggin-Bear-lotso-toy-story-3-30667746-900-6822. Lotso (Toy Story 3, 2010): That’s right. This pink strawberry-smelling teddy bear is the second worst bad guy in all the movies I’ve ever seen, more evil than even Joker. Joker was never shown grace, nor had his life saved, that we know of. But Lotso had a chance at redemption. And really, he’s just a bit sicker than Joker because he knew the toys whom he sent to their doom personally, and he really had no reason to not stop the stupid conveyer belt. Plus, any enemy of Woody is an enemy of mine. Best Line: “Where’s your kid now, Sherif?” 

Col. Will. Tav.1. Col. William Tavington (The Patriot, 2000): Yes. The man I’ve loved to hate for the last thirteen years. I mean, he shoots a young kid in cold blood, he commands injured soldiers to be shot, he convinces General Cornwallis to overstep the rules of war, he burns down a church filled with innocent people… the only thing I regret is that he wasn’t hacked to death the way that one soldier was earlier on in the film. Best line: “You know, it’s an ugly business doing one’s duty … but just occassionally it’s a real pleasure.”

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34 Responses to Villains We Love to Hate

  1. I LOVE this post!! It was really entertaining 🙂

  2. Greg Ward says:

    You are so right about the British colonel – I recently saw that actor in another film and all my memories of his villainy came right back to me! You did forget my favorite villain though…Keyser Söze from the Usual Suspects

  3. Ettemeyer says:

    Fun post!

    You’ll find one of the most fun and evilest of villains in James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks.

    Please indulge my paraphrase:

    “Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill…there lived a cold, aggressive Duke. He was six feet four, and forty-six, and even colder than he thought he was.”

    He imagined that he killed time – those 13 Clocks? Murdered, dead, they don’t chime.

    And this is not the most evil of his deeds. There are far too many, and the Duke is quite aware, and unapologetic, of his immense wickedness – a great villain yes, yes indeed.

  4. jrrmbog says:

    Great post! I love your choices. 🙂

  5. bgddyjim says:

    Dude, Darth Vader didn’t even crack the top ten?! OVER LOTSO!!! Hang on man, I’ve gotta get some Primatene Mist or something… I feel a Sanford and Son moment coming on…

    Oh, and I have to jump on with Keyser too – Oh, and the guy Spacey plays in 7even as well!!!

    • Honestly, I’ve never found Darth Vader that evil, or threatening. But I love your input, and I’m sure I’m in the minority over the whole Darth Vader thing. 🙂

      • bgddyjim says:

        I see where you’re coming from though – and he’s not really a villain you love to hate – he’s just a villain. Those other folks make you want to jump into the screen and throttle them about the head and shoulders.

  6. bgddyjim says:

    PS Great Post brother!

  7. elbelle1918 says:

    Great post! I agree with all of your choices – all the best bad guys!

  8. great list, really. My personal favorite is Alan Rickman in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves… the best line is after being asked why a spoon, Because it’s DULL, you twit. It’ll hurt more.
    Loved the post!

  9. chengboiser says:

    Fun post! as a kid I remember hating Gaston, and Col. Tavington,
    and yes Heath Ledgers acting as Joker was so good you can just hate him as well.

    Hades is such a funny villain ( lots of sarcasm :)) ..lol
    for a villain he got a lot of personality

  10. Binah says:

    Good read. Loved Jimmy Shaker.

  11. cmassonaus says:

    Good run down, with some great baddies in there. Shame the worst of the bunch happens to be an Englishman abroad – gives the rest of us a bad reputation

  12. I agree with President Snow – I love Donald Sutherland so he’s hard to hate whatever the role!

  13. mtphotoii says:

    that is a cool list!
    Love the addition of the ‘best lines’

  14. I can’t stand Gaston. Lotso was horrible and I liked the joker – comes from my Aussie bias. I’d include Scar from the Lion King for killing Mufassa and picking on a cub.

  15. cervifrank says:

    This was a lot of fun to read. Col. William Tavington takes the cake for me. I remember the first time I saw The Patriot and developed a huge hatred for the character. Excellent acting= a huge emotional response from the viewer. Great read!

  16. thebettylimited says:

    This was awesome! Now I am going to have to re-watch all of these movies. I still hate that stupid pink bear… And I told the entire movie theater that when we went to see it. 😉

  17. Benmo says:

    Khan in the latest Star Trek: Into Darkness! Howard Payne is a winner, too.

  18. cheesyplinky says:

    I love President Snow! I love Donald Sutherland! 😀

  19. Pingback: Blogdom Aug. 23-Sept. 25 ’13 | Welcome to the ToiBox

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