10 Cruelest Movie Villains Of All Time, Ranked

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As audiences head to the theater to see their favorite heroes save the day, sometimes the villains can be even more appealing to sit back and watch. Their motivations can range from revenge, to glory, to pure mayhem, but regardless of their true intentions, more often than not, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.



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With such a mindset, some villains will reach unbelievably new heights of evil in order to accomplish whatever they desire. For them, death is only a means to an end. The lives of those they kill matter very little in the larger picture they paint in their heads. For them, it’s not cruel…it’s mercy.

ten The Riddler just wants to expose political corruption in Gotham

Being cruel does not mean that the intentions are necessarily bad. This is the case of the Riddler in The Batman. The Riddler seeks to uncover corruption in Gotham, primarily those involved in a drug dealing case that was just a cover for a larger ongoing drip operation. That meant exposing people like the district attorney and the chief of police.

The serial killer’s methods were less than kind, however. He bludgeons the mayor to death, smashes a car at his funeral with a bomb attached to the DA, raises an army in line, and floods the streets of Gotham, killing countless innocent people. Surely there are better ways to fight injustice.

9 Hans Landa can find his way into anyone’s house

It doesn’t take a movie to show audiences the pure evil of the Nazis, but Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds is as close as anyone hopes to get. The first 20 minutes of the film show the charm of Hans Landa in a house in the French countryside. He uses this charisma to coerce the family before brutally murdering the Jewish people hidden under the floorboards.

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Landa, played by Christoph Waltz, has no affiliation. He tortures and kills people for his own selfish reasons, ready to change at any time if it benefits him. He can’t be trusted no matter what side he works on.

8 Manipulation is the key to creating the empire

Politics is arguably the cruellest game you can play, and that’s exactly how Sheev Palpatine rises to power. Palpatine plays the Republic and the Separatists against each other to achieve his own evil goals, controlling the two armies in a terrible war.

After Order 66 puts an end to the Jedi Order, Palpatine rules over the Empire, which circles the galaxy and is responsible for thousands of deaths during their reign. Then he tries to lure Luke Skywalker to the dark side, like he did with his father. All for political control, an ugly game that cannot be won, only maintained.


seven Thanos killed half life with a snap of his fingers

Many villains use complicated methods to kill, but Thaos just needed a snap of his fingers. Unlike other villains, the Mad Titan had deep…deep…deep good intentions. He saw his world ravaged by a lack of resources for the growing population, and he wanted to prevent that fate from happening again.

Thanos’ plan was less than kind, however. He collected all six Infinity Stones and destroyed half of all life in the universe, leaving people without loved ones who were simply dusted off. Thanos sat back and smiled as the rest of the universe cried out in pain.


6 Michael Myers has little to say

The villain of Halloween franchise, Michael Myers is a man of few words, but his motivations are more persistent than ever. He just wants to kill, no matter what. Known for his blank mask and sharp knife, his endless pursuit of Laurie Strode is something of a nightmare.

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Michael kills for killing’s sake, starting with his older sister and moving on to all the teenagers in Haddonfield. He never lets Strode live in peace, and he won’t stop until she’s six feet under.


5 Hannibal is a genius psychopath

It’s pretty remarkable that anyone could be such a cruel villain that they’re worse off than the antagonist actually being chased in the movie. This is the case in Thesilenceofthelambs with Hannibal Lector, a psychiatrist who has a knack for murdering people and then eating them.

The scariest part of Hannibal is his intelligence and fame. He enjoys the arts and has a great understanding of the human mind, which makes his psychopathic choices and lack of remorse even more baffling. His character is so compelling that he’s been brought back into multiple projects, including his own TV show, Hannibal.


4 Anton Chigurh leaves at the height of a coin

One of cinema’s coldest and most calculated serial killers is Anton Chigurh in There is no country for old people. He uses a tethered bolt stun designed to look like an oxygen tank to blast door locks and kill anyone standing behind them. He shows no remorse for his actions, or any emotion for that matter.

The cruellest of his tactics is to leave the lives of his victims to a coin toss, allowing them to call which side he lands on. If they succeed, they live. If they’re wrong, that’s the last thing they’ll do. Anton loves toying with them this way, leaving them to fear for their lives and always killing in the end. The last shot of him walking away from a car accident with his bone sticking out like nothing happened just reiterates the chills.


3 Calvin J. Candie is a ruthless slave owner who kills for fun

Quentin Tarantino has a long history of writing disgusting characters, but he went on to say that Calvin Candie is the only character he’s ever written that he actually hated. Candie is a slave owner in Mississippi who, in addition to working his slaves in the fields, runs a business where he forces black men to fight to the death for entertainment.

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Candie is ruthless and heartless, even having a slave killed for performing poorly in a fight by letting the dogs eat him alive. He threatened to strike the skull of his domestic slave Broomhilda with a hammer. He is immensely cruel and worst of all, finds joy in it all.


2 The Joker just wants to watch the world burn

The baddest villains typically lack a sense of humanity, and that’s never been more evident than with the Joker in The black Knight. Played by the late Heath Ledger, this version of Joker literally wants to disrupt the social order and make people suffer to feel pain.

His methods of killing are both slow and terrifying. He plants explosives on boats carrying citizens and even blows up Gotham’s hospital, leaving with a smile on his face. There’s no reasoning with a person like that, and there’s nothing worse than blowing up a hospital.


1 Darth Vader uses his pain to kill

Anakin Skywalker’s story is tragic, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the cruellest villains in movie history. Vader is in constant anguish, both physical and mental, and he channels that rage onto other people.

Vader uses force to choke and kill people, even breaking a young boy’s neck while chasing his former Jedi master on the Disney+ show Obi Wan Kenobi​. With everyone he loved removed, all Vader cared about was bringing pain and death to others, no matter the cost.

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