1. The Queen – Lucille La Verne, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
It’s the first time most of us are ever exposed to the “baddie” – while watching cartoons. And few characters are as villainess as The Queen in the 1937 Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. With her arched eyebrows and blood red lips, this animated monarch was evil personified.
2. Marsellus Wallace – Ving Rhames, Pulp Fiction
Built like a football player from the back even his baldhead made Ving Rhames look intimidating as Marsellus Wallace in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. No crime boss has been cooler or inspired that much fear in his henchmen.
3. Leatherface – Gunnar Hansen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
With a name like Leatherface, a penchant for wearing masks made out of human skin and a nasty habit of cutting people up with chainsaws it’s no coincidence that Gunnar Hansen’s character in this 1974 horror was a nasty piece of work.
4. Ivan Drago – Dolph Lundgren, Rocky IV
He was from Russia, had a body as hard and intimidating as the Berlin Wall and was armed with a desire to beat Rocky Balboa into a pulp. Dolph Lundgren’s character Ivan Drago was a readymade villain designed to have the US champ give the Soviet Union – in the movies at least – a black eye.
5. James “Buffalo Bill” Gumb – Ted Levine, The Silence of the Lambs
In this 1991 thriller Ted Levine plays a cross-dressing psycho who kidnaps and murders overweight women – but not before starving them so he can slice off their loose skin to create the ultimate “woman suit.” Bad guys don’t come much sicker and twisted than Buffalo Bill.
6. Hannibal Lector – Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs
Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins won an Oscar for his portrayal of the other villain in The Silence of the Lambs. Anyone who has seen this film will never think of liver, fava beans or Chianti in quite the same way.
7. Khan Noonien Singh – Ricardo Montalban, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
If sporting a dodgy haircut was a pre-requisite to being a Hollywood villain in the 1980s then with his grey mullet Khan Noonien Singh (played by actor Ricardo Montalban) fit the bill.
8. Eve Harrington – Anne Baxter, All About Eve
No aspiring actress was more cunning or devilish than Eve Harrington in this 1950 Hollywood classic. Anne Baxter went toe-to-toe with screen legend Bette Davis and caused such an upset that in one scene, Bette’s character Margo Channing spat out the famous line: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”
9. David – Kiefer Sutherland, The Lost Boys
Back when he was a member of the Brat Pack – and when Twilight’s Robert Pattinson was just one-years-old – Kiefer Sutherland played the ultimate sexy vampire in the 1987 hit The Lost Boys. With his platinum blond hair and razor sharp fangs he gave ‘80s heartthrobs Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jason Patric a run for their money.
10. Alonzo Harris – Denzel Washington, Training Day
In the crime thriller Training Day, traditional nice-guy Denzel Washington played against type and won an Oscar in the process. As dirty narcotics cop Alzono Harris he robs drug dealers, rubs shoulders with gang members and tricks his new partner – played by Ethan Hawke – into smoking a joint laced with PCP.
11. Chucky – Brad Dourif, Child’s Play
If you’ve seen the 1988 horror flick Child’s Play, no one would judge you for giving the most innocent-looking toy a sideways glance. After all, if a Good Guy doll could turn into an axe wielding killer called Chucky, who’s to say your kid’s Tickle Me Elmo won’t turn into a mass murderer? After seeing this film you may want to sleep with one eye open.
12. Keyser Soze – Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects
A villain hiding in plain sight, Kevin Spacey was brilliant in his role of Keyser Soze in this star-laden whodunit.
13. Catherine Tramell – Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct
Sharon Stone worked the screen as an evil seductress with a killer figure in the 1992 erotic thriller Basic Instinct. Her character Catherine Tramell is in a class of her own; a woman who accidentally-on-purpose flashes her lady bits during a police interrogation and is also pretty handy with an icepick.
14. Dr. Christian Szell – Laurence Olivier, Marathon Man
A mad Nazi doctor armed with a drill to pummel Dustin Hoffman’s teeth. You don’t need to have seen Marathon Man to know that the late Laurence Olivier as Dr. Christian Szell has earned his place as one of Hollywood’s nastiest villains of all time.
15. Scar – Jeremy Irons, The Lion King
British actor Jeremy Irons must have struck fear into the hearts of a generation of children with his portrayal of power hungry Scar in the Disney classic The Lion King. You have to be truly callous if you want to kill the adorable Simba.
16. Magneto – Ian McKellen, the X-Men trilogy
What is it about Brits playing Hollywood villains? Maybe it’s something in the water. Whatever it is, Sir Ian McKellen is superb as Magneto in the X-Men trilogy.
17. Norman Stansfield – Gary Oldman, Leon
No one does “bad guy” better than Brit actor Gary Oldman. In the 1994 film Leon he gives a spin-chilling performance as the gun-toting, pill-popping corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield.
18. Roy Batty – Rutger Hauer, Blade Runner
With those piercing blue eyes and platinum blond crop Rutger Hauer looked like a bad guy without even opening his mouth. Add the mad stare and twisted mind and Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard was bound to know that in Blade Runner’s Roy Batty he was facing an enemy of epic proportions.
19. Cruella De Vil – Betty Lou Gerson, One Hundred and One Dalmatians
The name, the cheekbones that could slice through the toughest meat, a hairstyle that was criminal and a nasty fetish for turning Dalmatian puppies into fur coats proves that Cruella De Vil didn’t have a single redeeming quality.
20. Colonel Hans Landa – Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Watching Christoph Waltz as Colonel Hans Landa – who goes by the nickname “The Jew Hunter” – is like having a bucket of ice emptied down your back. The single-minded determination of this character is the very definition of spine chilling.
21. Captain Dudley Smith – James Cromwell, LA Confidential
For those who have never seen this modern day film noir – SPOILER ALERT –Captain Dudley Smith is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In James Ellroy’s twisted tale 1950s LA is seeped in corruption and the rogue cop with blood on his hands isn’t necessarily the one who talks with his fists and barks the loudest.
22. Lord Voldemort – Ralph Fiennes, the Harry Potter series
You don’t have to be a fan of the Harry Potter films to know that with his non-existent nose and bad teeth the wizard Lord Voldemort is the stuff of nightmares.
23. Max Cady – Robert Mitchum, Cape Fear
Yes, Robert De Niro is good in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear but you can’t beat Robert Mitchum’s work in the 1962 original. The late screen legend excels as the demented convicted rapist on a mission to destroy the family of the lawyer whom he blames for his 14-year incarceration.
24. The Wicked Witch of the West – Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz
She had a rough complexion, green skin, a hooked nose and gnarled fingers. We knew the Wicked Witch of the West was trouble the moment she was blown in on an evil wind.
25. Annie Wilkes – Kathy Bates, Misery
Stephen King at his best. The single most chilling part of this film is Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes using a hammer and a wooden plank to hobble a helpless James Caan. Ouch.
26. Alex Forrest – Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction
Before the 1987 release of this thriller the term “bunny boiler” didn’t exist. Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest – a crazed woman who refuses to accept that her married lover no longer wants her – made a generation of husbands think long and hard before straying.
27. General Zod – Terrance Stamp, Superman and Superman 2
With his leather-trimmed black jumpsuit and knee-high boots Terrance Stamp’s General Zod had little or no fashion sense. But that doesn’t mean his bid for world domination didn’t make Superman sweat and the audience genuinely afraid that our equally fashion-challenged superhero just might not save the day.
28. Jason Voorhees – Kane Hodder, Friday 13th
It’s probably an unwritten rule in Hollywood but in general anytime a character runs around set wearing a bizarre mask and brandishing some form of weapon, it’s a recipe for disaster. Enter Jason Voorhees from the Friday 13th film series.
29. Bill Cutting – Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York
At first glance he may look like a caricature but as the menacing Bill “The Butcher” Cutting, Daniel Day-Lewis is convincing as a bloody thirsty crime boss and, for Leonardo DiCaprio, a worthy adversary.
30. Frank Booth – Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet
The late Dennis Hopper excelled at playing bad guys and in Blue Velvet – as Frank Booth, an underworld kingpin with a depraved sexual appetite – he was on good form.
31. Tommy DeVito – Joe Pesci, Goodfellas
Ray Liotta’s character Henry Hill practically wet his pants when Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito asked him in Goodfellas: “What the f*** is so funny about me?” Joe Pesci deservedly won an Oscar for his portrayal of a cold-hearted killer who lacked scruples or conscience and in the end was so venomous the Mob felt compelled to put him down like a mad dog.
32. Don Logan – Ben Kingsley, Sexy Beast
Actor Sir Ben Kingsley must have had to plunder deep into his dark side – if he has one – to portray the foul-mouthed, cocky criminal Don Logan. If you can intimidate the bulky Ray Winstone on screen you must be a particularly gnarly villain.
33. Ernst Stavro Blofeld – Donald Pleasance, You Only Live Twice
As Bond villains go Donald Pleasance’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld is one of the best. What could be more frightening than a man with a scar that slices his face in two, a dodgy eye and a fondness for stroking furry white pussycats?
34. Michael Myers – Nick Castle, Halloween
Unlike Mike Myers, Halloween’s villain Michael Myers is more likely to slash your funny bone than to tickle it.
35. Baby Jane Hudson – Bette Davis, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
By the time they starred as sisters in 1962’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? these screen legends had played many a femme fatale between them. Bette Davis was superb as former child-star Jane Hudson. Twerking Miley Cyrus and jailbird Lindsay Lohan have nothing on Baby Jane who wore make-up an inch thick and once served her disabled sister – played by Joan Crawford – a dead pet bird for dinner.
36. Daniel Plainview – Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
The phrase “I drink your milkshake” became a classic movie quote almost from the moment the words were uttered from Daniel Day-Lewis’ mouth. When it comes to being power-hungry and single-minded on screen this British actor does it with aplomb.
Speaking of memorable quotes and determined bad guys, Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the big time for his robotic performance as The Terminator in the 1984 film of the same name. Never did the phrase “I’ll be back” have such foreboding as when said by the gun-totting killing machine.
38. Freddy Krueger – Robert Englund, A Nightmare On Elm Street
In the 1980s “Freddy Krueger” was the ultimate horror flick bad guy. With his disfigured face and razor fingernails he killed his onscreen victims in their dreams and promised to send moviegoers home with nightmares.
39. Hans Gruber – Alan Rickman, Die Hard
Terrorists come no slicker than Hans Gruber as played by Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
40. Gordon Gekko – Michael Douglas, Wall Street
If “greed is good,” bad never looked as sexy as Michael Douglas did in Wall Street when he was reigning high as one of the box office draws of the 1980s. The best bad guys have a glint in their eye and are equally attractive to both sexes. Men wanted to be Gordon Gekko, women wanted to be with him and everyone agreed he was a dangerous person to know.
41. Alex DeLarge – Malcolm McDowell, A Clockwork Orange
Apparently this villain was so bad – and the film so notorious – that it was difficult to get a copy of A Clockwork Orange in Britain for nearly 30 years. With his love of rape, violence and drugs Alex DeLarge was clearly a bad influence on UK moviegoers who apparently couldn’t tell right from wrong or fact from fiction.
42. Norman Bates – Anthony Perkins, Psycho
After the release of the Alfred Hitchcock movie in 1960, the name “Norman Bates” became synonymous with crazed, serial killer. The deranged young man who killed his mother and then pretended to be her was actually based on a real-life villain called Ed Gein, whose crimes also inspired the characters Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
43. Amon Goeth – Ralph Fiennes, Schindler’s List
There is nothing as sickening as a movie villain who is based on a real person, especially when that man is Amon Goeth, a Nazi and SS second lieutenant who took pleasure in using Jewish people for target practice.
44. Agent Smith – Hugo Weaving, Matrix trilogy
The one thing worse than a screen villain is a screen villain who refuses to die. Enter Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith from the Matrix films who effectively torments Keanu Reeves by self-replicating himself and having the power to switch between bodies.
45. Anton Chigurh – Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Javier Bardem won an Oscar for playing the unstoppable, psychotic hit man Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men.
46. Mr. Potter – Lionel Barrymore, It’s A Wonderful Life
His great-niece Drew has such a sunny personality it’s hard to believe that Lionel Barrymore will be forever tied to the sour-faced Mr. Potter, whose selfish actions sets the plot of It’s A Wonderful Life in motion. Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey would never have tried to commit suicide if the curmudgeonly Mr. Potter didn’t steal takings from George’s Savings and Loan.
48. Nurse Ratched – Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Same maniacal grin. Different movie. This time Jack Nicholson plays the hero to Louise Fletcher’s villainous and cold-hearted Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
49. The Joker – Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Unfortunately he never lived to receive the Oscar that he so rightly deserved for his portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. But Heath Ledger’s The Joker almost makes Jack Nicholson’s version seem cartoonish.
50. Darth Vader – James Earl Jones, Star Wars: The Original Trilogy
It’s a good thing James Earl Jones only leant his voice to this iconic bad guy. No one would imagine by looking at the cherubic veteran actor that he is one of the men behind the notorious Darth Vader from the first three Star Wars movies. (Former bodybuilder David Prowse slipped on the suit to play the villain in the original films.)
51. Jaws – Richard Kiel, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker
Who knew? With his mouthful of metal Richard Kiel was a trendsetter as Jaws – a rope- and pipe-munching bad guy from the James Bond movies, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Now every rapper and wannabe gangsta is sporting a mouth grill 30-plus years after he debuted the look.
52. Howard Payne – Dennis Hopper, Speed
Speed was a runaway hit at the box office in 1994 and that was in no small part because of Dennis Hopper who played the bomber who effectively holds a bus full of people hostage.
53. Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big – Yaphet Kotto, Live and Let Die
It had a catchy theme song and Jane Seymour – the future Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman star – as a Bond girl. But Live and Let Die also had a pesky villain known as Mr. Big who tried to murder James Bond by lowering the British spy into a shark-infested pool.
54. Edwin Epps – Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Part buffoon, part oaf, Michael Fassbender is always evil as the slave master Edwin Epps in 12 Years A Slave. The Irish actor found it so hard to play the sadistic character – who is based on a real man – that he passed out after filming a scene where Epps rapes one of his slaves.
55. Calvin Candie – Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Though overlooked by the Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant as the slave master Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. The brutality with which he treated his slaves and the onscreen relish that he took in such cruelty contradicts the real-life difficulties the actor reportedly had with taking on such a racist role.
56. Stephen – Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained
Perhaps the one person more villainous than Calvin Candie in Django Unchained is the cunning slave who loved the brute as though the master was his own son. The joyous end to Tarantino’s box office hit is that Samuel L. Jackson’s Stephen gets his comeuppance.
57. Joan Crawford – Faye Dunaway, Mommie Dearest
A generation of offspring probably still flinch any time they see their mothers pick up a wire hanger. Faye Dunaway made Hollywood legend Joan Crawford look like a woman possessed whenever she beat her children on screen and screamed for her darlings to call her “Mommie dearest.”
58. Travis Bickle – Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver
“You talking to me?” No mention of the film Taxi Driver could be complete without regurgitating those words De Niro’s vigilante and Vietnam War vet repeatedly says while looking at himself in the mirror in the 1976 hit.
59. Mrs. Danvers – Judith Anderson, Rebecca
Alfred Hitchcock achieved the seemingly impossible by making his film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel almost as good as the book. As Mrs. Danvers, Judith Anderson excels in her portrayal of a woman whose goal in life is to destroy her mistress, the new Mrs. de Winter. Her eyes, her tightly braided hair, even her mole looks menacing.
60. Dr. Evil – Mike Myers, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
OK, he’s not as menacing as his inspiration – Ernst Stavro Blofeld from You Only Live Twice – but Dr. Evil is still a worthy villain. Maybe it’s the way Austin Powers’ adversary holds his pinky, just so, to his lips or the comical arch of his eyebrows.