Just about every movie has a villain in it. It's usually how well an actor plays the bad guy (or girl) that makes or breaks a film. Here are some of my picks for the top movie villains that we just love to hate.
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The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz)
A classic movie villain, she still scares the pants off of little kids. Riding around on her broomstick with her little monkey posse, this wicked witch proved that she was very good at being very bad.
Davy Jones (Bill Nighy, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and At World's End)
Both gross and scary to look at, this character was great at being the bad guy. Backed by his crew of sea creatures and the ultimate weapon, the Kraken, Davy Jones of the Pirates films will be remembered as an ultimate movie villain for years to come.
Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson, The Departed)
You can't get any badder than Jack. Having played the bad guy before (the Joker in Batman, the crazy husband and father in The Shining), he slips into this role as nicely as if he were slipping into his favorite tailored suit.
Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey, Lethal Weapon)
You couldn't have gotten a better person to pit against Mel Gibson. Playing crazy seems to be Mr. Busey's calling. He had me convinced throughout the film. From the moment he held a lighter to his arm without barely flinching, to the big brawl in the rain at the end of the movie, he proved that he knew just how to play the bad guy role.
Dr. Evil (Mike Myers, The Austin Powers trilogy)
Funny and evil; a great combination! When you watch the Austin Powers movies you forget that these characters (Evil and Austin) are played by the same person, the one and only Mike Myers. It's so much fun to watch a great villain do his or her thing on screen, but when you add humor to the mix you've got a recipe for a really great movie.
Doc Oc (Alfred Molina, Spider Man 2)
So much hype was made about the villains of Spider Man 3. But in my opinion those guys don't even come close to measuring up against Doc Oc in part 2. It's great to see a bad guy with a conscience, and Doc Oc definitely has one. Watching him deal with the death of his beloved wife after a freakish accident, while at the same time watching him turn into this horrible monster, you can't help but feel his pain, and in turn feel sorry for him. The fact that he's a bad monster, but a good guy makes it really hard to hate him.
The Serial Killer (Kevin Spacey, Seven)
You only get to see him for like the last half hour of the movie, but that last half hour is well worth the wait. Even though he isn't this overwhelming menace of a man, which is what you normally expect in a villain, you still find him really creepy. The fact that he's such a normal looking guy that commits such atrocious crimes makes him that much more intriguing and fearsome to the audience.
Max Cady (Robert DeNiro, Cape Fear)
The best movie villains are the ones that are utterly sick and demented. You know there is no redeeming them, so you feel great satisfaction in watching their ultimate demise. No movie villain has instilled this feeling in me more so than this one. The first time I saw this movie, I kept thinking, "I can't wait until this guy gets his." Robert DeNiro's whole look in the movie gives off a dangerousness that lets you know immediately he's bad news. DeNiro does such a great job at portraying this twisted character that you find yourself forgetting that he's just acting the part.
Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper, Speed)
This character makes such a great villain because of how purely evil and greedy he is. Motivated by money, he has no qualms about killing innocent people to get what he wants. The fact that he talks in such a calm, conversational voice throughout the movie (except, of course, when he goes into a rage at the end) shows how cruel and calculating this villain really is.
Mrs. Mott/ Peyton Flanders (Rebecca DeMornay, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
A woman moves into your home and, driven by an overwhelming sense of revenge, tries to steal your husband and children away from you. Can't get any freakier, right? This is a great movie because, until the end, nobody but the audience knows what she is up to. None of the other characters in the film know what her intentions are, and that makes her even more dangerous than the more obvious of villains. Plus, it's rare to see a really great woman villain in a movie, and Rebecca DeMornay pulls it off flawlessly.