While “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy packs tons of memorable baddies into its plot, our pick for the best Middle Earth villain is definitely the treacherous Gollum. Though not physically imposing, the Hobbit once known as Smeagol is a master manipulator, invoking sympathy at one moment and stabbing our heroes in the back at the next.
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” So ends “The Usual Suspects,” with one of the greatest final scenes in movie history, where the legendary mafia boss comes out of the shadows, if only for a moment. We won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, but suffice to say the entire movie is worth seeing just to catch a glimpse of the man behind it all.
What part of the “No Country for Old Men” villain scares you the most: His stone-faced demeanor, his weapon, or his hideous haircut? Javier Bardem gives us an idea of what the angel of death must be like in this Coen brothers masterpiece, balancing the lives of his victims on a coin toss and leaving a trail of destruction wherever he goes.
The “Inglourious Basterds” baddie is representative of all of the wickedness of the Nazi regime: He is violent, efficient, and mind-bogglingly calculating. The film’s opening scene is a tough one to watch, though the audience cannot help but marvel at Landa’s keen deductive skills, even as they fear his utter heartlessness.
Brilliantly portrayed by Dennis Hopper, the excessively violent villain of “Blue Velvet” creates terror starting in his very first scene. As the unseen demon of a sleepy town, Booth imbues the film with a level of unease matched in few other movies, stealing every scene he’s in with ease.
“He Who Shall Not Be Named” was, as we all know, a literary villain to begin with. However, Ralph Fiennes’ captivating performance of him in the final five “Harry Potter” movies gave life to the antagonist so vividly that he certainly earned a spot on this list. His penchant for extreme cruelty along with his constant poker face make the dark wizard a terrifying adversary for young Harry.
Did you really believe it would be anyone else? In the six “Star Wars” movies, we watched young Anakin Skywalker turn from a Jedi knight in shining armor into an iconic murderer. A good villain is one that you fear, but what makes Vader great is that we also felt for him. Only a select few bad guys accomplish this, and this Sith Lord is by far the most iconic of them.