Everybody loves a hero. But nobody ever forgets a villain. Evil geniuses, violent criminals, cunning killers… They have us booing at the screen and jumping in our seats, yet they’re usually the film’s most charismatic character. So who is the baddest of them all? We’ve scoured film history to present our Top 6.
1.The Joker – The Dark Knight
In the last 20 years, there has been no villain better than the late Heath Ledger’s Joker. The character is not only a prime example of a movie antagonist, but an unparalleled portrait of an actor who mastered his craft. Ledger’s performance was deep, nuanced, calculated and succeeded in reinventing one of pop culture’s most popular personalities. From the smallest flick of his tongue, to the twiddle of a finger, every move was riveting. Heath was awarded a posthumous Oscar for his performance as The Joker, which is rare for a villain, but even an even bigger feat for a comic book character
2.Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of The Lambs
When it comes to movie villains, Hannibal Lecter has it all — brains, brawn and insanity. Anthony Hopkins’ performance was chilling in every aspect. The actor skillfully navigated a character who straddles the line between good (as he helps the FBI catch a serial killer) and evil (he eats people), and earned an Oscar for doing so. It’s rare that a movie villain scares us with the things he says, rather than the things he does.
3.Darth Vader – Star Wars Franchise
One of the most intriguing characters in Star Wars universe, a former Jedi, seduced by the dark side, is still a pop culture icon, although more than three and a half decades have passed since his first appearance. The most fascinating thing about this character has to be his most unusual destiny, which is entirely different from the one that was projected for him, he brought war instead of peace, hell instead of heaven. Still, he manages to overcome this twist of fate, when fatherly love brings him back to the light side, thus making him one of the most complex characters in movie history.
4.Norman Bates – Psycho
So much has already been written about everyone involved in making this movie, but when we talk about the best villains, one must surely remember Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins gave a performance of his career, but he is so understated here, that his brilliance almost passes you by. He is quiet and unassuming (if not a bit weird), but you can see how he loses it when he speaks against putting people in mental institutions. His brilliantly nuanced portrayal reflects the tormented soul that has suffered for years, and he manages to be creepy and unsettling, yet strangely charismatic and magnetizing, in almost every scene he is in. It is a joy to behold how he fights with himself and his own distorted mind whether to come on to Marion (whom he is obviously attracted to) or not.
5. Professor Severus Snape, ‘Harry Potter’
Voldemort, who? Through six movies, “Harry Potter” fans despised Professor Snape (played by Alan Rickman!) for his relentless attempts to hurt, humiliate or silence the Boy Wizard. But the gloves finally came off when Snape killed Hogwarts’ beloved headmaster, Albus Dumbledore in “The Half-Blood Prince.”
6.Frank Booth – Blue Velvet
Dennis Hopper begged David Lynch to let him play Frank “because he is Frank“, and he really played the role as if he was. He seems extremely relaxed as a man who is an extremely violent gangster, a pimp with a sadomasochistic urges, and a gas-inhaling bisexual with split personality. Frank is a strong antagonistic force of the movie, he makes the viewers hate him from the first scene, but since he is so uniquely bizarre, he is a very memorable character.