T Nation

Best and Worst Villains in Fiction


I like Cormac’s stories, but find his lack of punctuation incredibly tiresome - I know he is going for a train of thought type of writing, but after a novel or two it gets a bit repetitive and downright annoying.

One thing I find interesting to think about is not an individual villain, but entities as villains: i.e. The tough society and hard economics that drove the move westward in “Grapes of Wrath”, or the unpredictability of circumstance as evidenced in “A Farewell to Arms”. The villains in these novels are harder to spot, but more insidious. These stories force us to look at the constructs we live in and attempt to rationalize why we chose this way of life.

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I just thought of this guy. He single-handedly turned Day of the Dead into a comedy.

Also, Takeshi Kitano was great in Battle Royale. No, wait, Takeshi Kitano is always great.

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Ivan Drago probably is my favorite villain. Cold, ruthless, and powerful.

Not 100% sure as to whether or not hes considered a villain but growing up in the late 90’s its hard to overlook Stone Cold Steve Austin, he kind of was more of an anti hero than a villain but he did enough NSFW type things that I’ll classify him as a villain, atleast he was a villain to authority.

While I actually prefer the character of Bane over the Joker, in terms of someones portrayal of a role I’d say Heath Ledgers version of the joker is about as good as it gets.

Honorable mention to Jason Voorhees and Venom whom I also enjoy greatly.


My favorite villain is Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men. He would kill all the other villains.


Call it !!!

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Bruce Dern in The Cowboys. I could never watch him in anything else without absolutely hating him after seeing that movie as a kid.


Have you ever seen ‘Silent Runing’? No real bad guy in that movie, but Bruce Dern is awesome in it. Plus, it has Huey, Dewey and Louie, the progenitors of R2 D2.


Shout out to Vincent D’Onofrio in season 1 of Daredevil, he killed it.

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“On my worst day, I could beat the hell out of you.”

Ever notice how Bernie and Bruce Dern are never in the same place at the same time? I didn’t realize what he looks like now till I searched him.

He was a great villain in down periscope as well. I could believe his character as a prick.


Best movie and literary villains:Captain Spaulding, John Doe in SE7EN, Scarface, Coach Beula Balbricker, Cardinal Richelieu, Sheriff of Nottingham, and of course The Pink Panther

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Sid Haig is a national treasure …


That’s a MacGuffin, not a villain!


True but if I said the Phantom no one would have a clue


Yes he is…just waiting for the new movie

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Richelieu was a real person.


True but most know him as the villain in the three musketeers or as a nice guy in Cyrano de Bergerac…both fictional interpretations of a real person…like Abraham Lincoln vampire hunter

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A lot of good ones, here’s two more, although I’m unsure are they purely Villains:

  • Stringer Bell from The Wire.
  • Woland/Antichrist from the Master and the Margarita.

Worst: Eredin from the Witcher. Among all those great characters he’s really shallow.

Ps. I also mention the G. Oldman in Leon. Saw that film at pretty young age and it had a huge impact to me.


I thought Marlow Stanfield was a better villain, but Stringer was a great character in a show loaded with them.


Yeah. Its hard to define villains from the Wire. Lot of “grey characters”. Stanfield could fit in the definition, since he is a pretty cold fucker.