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Favorite Actors to Play Villains

Some actors just “ve got a knack for it, don”t they: Enjoy the road down the memory lane with Kevin Spacey, James Spader, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, Jack Nicholson and more.

Not every actor can pull off every role. Some don’t want to take risks and some can’t get diverse enough even if they want to. But there are quite a few actors who have been able to play both good guys and bad guys. Here’s a list of those actors and their movies where they give the good characters hell.

*John Travolta:

John has come a long way since his Grease days. Both Grease and Saturday Night Fever were huge hits. He disappeared for a while and then came back with Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. And since the comeback, he kicked some serious ass.

Well, in Face/Off, John starts the movie as the nice guy. The mean bastard is successfully played by Nicholas Cage. Cage mistakenly kills Travolta’s son, instead of Travolta himself and after that things get very complicated. After a very tech-heavy, face-exchange operation, our good cop starts looking like Nic Cage. And then comes Travolta’s mean attitude starts. Very well done film. Directed by Woo. One of the best action films. Must have been fun Travolta and Cage too, since they both got to play each other’s characters.

And then there is Swordfish: Computer hacker Hugh Jackman is hired by Travolta to do some serious damage. A lot of lives will be at stake. And while you are obviously on Jackman’s side, you can’t help but admire the evil genius of John’s character. Be ready for some nice twists as well.

Note: I haven’t seen The Punisher yet.

*Kevin Spacey:

One word, or well number: Se7en! The guy can get to you in one scene. You know what I’m talking about if you have seen the movie.

*James Spader


*Kevin Bacon


Trapped: Well, he might be charismatic and handsome, but he is definitely spooky when he is a villain. Hell, he made a name for it. Being trapped in your house can’t be a nice experience but it gets worse if Kevin goes all psycho on you. And it can’t help matters if the victim is Charlize Theron.

Sleepers: What’s worse than going to prison because of a stupid joke? Being terrorized and abused by horrifying prison guards. Guess who is one of them?

Jack Nicholson

Ok this brilliant actor tends to be spooky even when he is the villain. I am still afraid to watch The Shining where he goes all bonkers on his family.


Nicholas Cage

This guy mostly plays in good films, with the exception of Knowing and a few other films. I find him to be a pretty decent actor too. We have rooted for him in many movies such as National Treasure and Con Air. But just like Face Off, he hasn’t always been friendly. Whether he is a villain in Lord of War is open for discussion, his calmness and apathy really creep me out.

Gary Oldman

And there is Gary. He was so mean, he made us love a hitman. Remember Léon? He wasn’t all that sweet in Dracula and he really made Kevin Bacon’s life unbearable in Muder in the First.

Who are your favorite actors to play villains?

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  1. Posted April 3, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    An interesting movie review. I like face off best.

  2. Posted April 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Yep, face off totally rocked.

  3. coconut
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I must really like the bad guys in films because I certainly enjoy watching all of these actors. James Spader is my favorite, but each and everyone of these men are so interesting to watch no matter if they are being good guys or bad guys. I guess I just like actors with range…and so few are able to do evil well, but all of these folks fit the bill.

  4. Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    You picked a good group here. You’re right not every actor can pull it off and sometimes I am surprised at the ones that can.

  5. Posted April 4, 2010 at 3:55 am

    @coconut: Totally agree, coconut. 5 minutes with Kevin Spcey is enough to spook you.

    @ PR Mace: Some actors are just made to play villains. It is weird that Kevin Bacon couldn’t make it big playing good guys so he created his own little niche.

  6. Posted April 4, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Gary Oldman is my favourite choice for all the crazy and creepy villain roles. When he acted in Batman as the detective, I was pretty much disappointed.

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