Since the thing these days seems to be to make lists when there isn’t much happening in the news, I’ve been wondering about great cinema’s worst. Who are the worst villains in the best films? Most likely, all serial killers will be left off the list because they are monsters, not really characters. One could make an exception for Hannibal Lecter and even he is a tough call since the audience is most definitely with him. I’m talking about very very bad people who do very very bad things and for whom you feel no pity.
Rules – they had to have played an actual person, not an evil spirit and not in a sci-fi or horror movie particularly. These are characters who have no morals and if given the chance do very bad things.
1) Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview (There Will Be Blood) – born rotten, laughs at chances of redemption, dies rotten.
2) John Huston as Noah Cross (Chinatown) – evil patriarch who sleeps with his own daughter and then takes control of his own grand daughter to, presumably, have a child with her as well.
3) Al Pacino as Michael Corleone (Godfathers I and especially II)
4) Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch (Wizard of Oz)
5) Gene Hackman as Jimmy Doyle (The French Connection), and Little Bill Dagget (Unforgiven)
6) Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh
7) Lionel Barrymore as Henry F. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life)
8) Klaus Kinski as de Aguirre (The Wrath of God)
9) Forrest Whitaker Idi Amin (The Last King of Scotland)
10) Laurence Olivier as Dr. Christian Szell (Marathon Man)
11) Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth (Blue Velvet)
12) Powers Booth as Jim Jones (Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones)
13) Steve Railsback as Charles Manson (Helter Skelter
14) Denzel Washington Alonzo (Training Day)
15) Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestley (The Devil Wears Prada)
16) Sigourney Weaver as Katherine Parker (Working Girl)
17) Faye Dunaway as Diana Christensen (Network)
18) Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
19) Robert DeNiro as Al Capone (The Untouchables)
20) Col. Jessup (A Few Good Men) “You want me on that wall; you need me on that wall.
21) Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List) (Going for real people here but otherwise, as Voldemort)
22) Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson (Double Indemnity) and Kathleen Turner as Maddy Walker (Body Heat)
23) Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon
24) Malcolm McDowell as Alex (A Clockwork Orange)
25) Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko (Wall Street)
And how about you, ADers?