A great villain once said; “Everybody loves the bad guy!”
Well, if that’s the case, then the bad guy isn’t doing it right. A truly great villain shouldn’t make you want to dress like them, perform impressions of them or cheer them on. A true villain should be completely and utterly deplorable. Enter, Commodus.
As portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator’s Commodus is a conniving, cowardly, and cutthroat autocrat who would just as soon cop off with his own sister as he would commit patricide and regicide in order to become Emperor. His longing for power is matched only by his blood lust; he’s never more ecstatic than when the blood of his subjects is being spilt in the Coliseum. Even when projecting the perception of bravery by challenging his nemesis, his snidey shanking of Russell Crowe’s Maximus before entering the arena for a ‘fair fight’ makes it all the more satisfying when he finally gets his throat slit at the hands of the vengeful gladiator. In that moment, one would assume that many a viewer punched the air in celebration. But perhaps not; what kind of person would take such delight in the death and destruction of another. Oh, wait a minute. Now say goodbye to the bad guy.
The rest of our top ten: Grand Moff Tarkin (Star Wars), Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List), Percy Wetmore (The Green Mile), Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), Carter J. Burke (Aliens), Dr. Frederick Chilton (The Silence of the Lambs), The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Alex Forest (Fatal Attraction), Dwight Hansen (This Boy’s Life)
Who makes your bad guys gallery? Let us know in the comments below.