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Top 10 Movie Bad Guys

A list of our favorite big screen baddies.

  1. Tony Montana

    Movie: Scarface (1983)

    Portrayed by: Al Pacino

    His story: Cuban refugee who rose to the top of Miami’s drug trade.

    Why we like him: He saw himself as a good baddie and saw other bad guys as the real hoodlums and criminals. He felt that America needed a bad guy like him. And he was just outrageously funny and made being bad look cool. And while Pacino has gone on to play other memorable roles and even taking home an Oscar for his role in 1991’s Scent of a Woman, his performance as Tony Montana is still considered by many to be his absolutely best.

  2. Bonnie and Clyde

    Movie: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

    Portrayed by: Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty

    Their story: Criminal couple who terrorized the Southwest in the 1930’s.

    Why we like them: Although based on a true story, we fell in love with Bonnie and Clyde because theirs was a love story full of adventure, the way Romeo and Juliet really should have been. Despite being cold-blooded criminals, they were highly devoted to one another and saw themselves as them against the world. They saw what they wanted and took it. And, one has to admit that they made robbing banks look fun and adventurous.

  3. Al Capone

    Movie: The Untouchables (1986)

    Portrayed by: Robert De Niro

    His story: The undisputed ruler of Chicago in the 1930’s.

    Why we like him: De Niro’s Capone was as cold and vicious as he was civilized. He saw Chicago as rightfully his. He taunted and intimidated those who tried to take him. Even though a hoodlum he didn’t tolerate disloyalty among teammates. We all liked his speech about teamwork, even if it turned bloody.

  4. Nino Brown

    Movie: New Jack City (1991)

    Portrayed by: Wesley Snipes

    His story: Controlled New York City’s drug trade.

    Why we like him: Nino Brown was the quintessential inner-city bad guy. He took care of his community but tolerated no disrespect in return. Despite being bad he saw himself as the solution for the plight of the poor that he felt had been neglected. And his speech in court made everyone stop and wonder just who is truly responsible for the drug violence.

  5. Scar

    Movie: The Lion King (1995)

    Voiced by: Jeremy Irons

    His story: Killed his brother and tried to kill his nephew to attain the throne.

    Why we like him: Got to admit, Scar was smart and crafty. He thought of himself as a true king, being able to do what he wants and when he wants. He felt that a real king tolerates no dissent or back lip. And, despite of how he tried to get throne, we still have to admit that he was a quite a crafty and slick fellow.

  6. Lex Luthor

    Movie: Superman (1977)

    Portrayed by: Gene Hackman

    His story: Tried to trigger a world-wide earthquake as part of a real estate scheme.

    Why we like him: Luthor was about as arrogant and weaseling as criminals come. He was the ultimate criminal mind – one who did what he did because he honestly thought he had the right to. He was frustrated and was fed up with trying to get what he wanted the respectable way. And plus, one has to admit that you just couldn’t help but enjoy watching Hackman in what still ranks as one of his best performances 30 years later.

  7. Max Cady

    Movie: Cape Fear (1992)

    Portrayed by: Robert De Niro

    His story: A paroled convict seeking revenge on a lawyer who he felt improperly defended him.

    Why we like him: Max Cady felt wronged. He felt betrayed by a lawyer who could’ve very well had him acquitted. He was a guy who we all might relate to if we were in his predicament. He felt it was his duty to seek vengeance for being wrongfully sent to prison. It was easy to feel some kind of remorse for him, at least early on during the film. But even after he began losing his mind he was still lovable.

  8. Agent Smith

    Movie: The Matrix Franchise films

    Portrayed by: Hugo Weaving

    His story: A computer program bent on annihilating the human race.

    Why we like or hate him: We like Agent Smith simply because he was well-dressed bad-ass with formidable kung fu fighting skills. He also had class and projected an aura of cool. He wasn’t gritty and sloppy like most bad guys. He was cool and classy and sophisticated.

  9. The Hitchhiker

    Movie: The Hitchhiker (1989)

    Portrayed by: Rutger Hauer

    His story: A wanderer who kills motorists on a desolate highway.

    Why we like him: The Hitchhiker wasn’t sick or demented. He was just a plain, cold-blooded killer. And, he calmly and coolly admitted to it without remorse. He was looking for a way out of killing and felt that until someone with the guts to take him out came along he had to continue right on killing. To him, it was society’s fault for allowing him to kill.

  10. The Joker

    Movie: Batman (1989)

    Portrayed by: Jack Nicholson

    His story: A scarred former mob right-hand man seeks control of the entire criminal underworld.

    Why we like him: Jack Nicholson’s Joker remains not only the best Joker ever but the absolute biggest, and hilarious, big screen criminal mind ever. He stole the entire movie from the Caped Crusader and nearly succeeded in stealing all of Gotham City as well and had the time of his life doing it. He certainly stole all movie audiences in the summer of 1989.

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  1. C A Johnson
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Very interesting article. I am familiar with a lot of them on the list. I love reading lists like this. You did such a great job.

  2. C A Johnson
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Very interesting article. I am familiar with a lot of them on the list. I love reading lists like this. You did such a great job.

  3. Posted May 7, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Sadly I have only seen like two of these. I did not see the ‘89 batman with the Joker in it but I would venture to say that the Joker from the Dark Knight should make it on this list maybe in place of that joker. How did you pick on over the other?

    -Resounding Glass

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