Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top 10 Memorable Bad Guys in Cinema History (Part 1)

The villain has always been an interesting concept to me when it comes to watching movies. I've always had a theory that sometimes doesn't always add up, but it does about 90% of the time. To be a truly great villain, you have to possess one of two important characteristics.

1. The character has to be completely vacant. I sometimes don't need an explanation as to why this person is doing what they are doing. Sometimes a character's destructive force is so intense that adding a back story or explanation can sometimes sour it. The shroud of mystery works to the advantage sometimes and it also gives the character more complexity in my opinion.

2. The character is absolutely convinced that the chaos they are causing is for the greater good and absolutely justified. When you have someone committing atrocities; there is no end to their capabilities, especially when they believe that it has to be done for the benefit of something greater. A self righteous villain, is a really intimidating one.

Those are my two characteristics that I look for in a memorable character. So with this in mind, I've decided to compile a list (not in order) of my top 10 favorite bad souls to have been created on screen. I may have some runner(s) up and it's so hard to choose just 10, but I hope you enjoy my picks!

TOP 10 Best Bad Guys on Film:

1. Hans Gruber - Die Hard

Masterfully played by Alan Rickman. Hans Gruber is the ultimate bad guy for a few reasons. He technically falls under the category of criteria #1. A professional, well educated, intelligent, charismatic, theif that is quite capable of putting a bullet in someone's head with no qualms. Even though we knew a portion of history proved that he was a privileged individual growing up, he still went the route he did. All eyes were on Rickman every time he was on screen and for a good reason. He managed to take the "bad guy" to another level of class and sophistication, with a touch of absolute insanity.

Memorable Quote: "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer." Benefits of a classical education.

2. Bill The Butcher - Gangs of New York

Daniel Day-Lewis is no amateur when it comes to bringing memorable characters on screen. His performance as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting was one of a criteria of mine that I'd file under #2. The man spilled blood for the good of country and for the prevalence of his people. He was intense, commanding, and intimidating. Audiences couldn't help the excitement and smiles his character brought every time he appeared and there's a good reason for that.

Memorable Quote: You know how I stayed alive this long? All these years? Fear. The spectacle of fearsome acts. Somebody steals from me, I cut off his hands. He offends me, I cut out his tongue. He rises against me, I cut off his head, stick it on a pike, raise it high up so all on the streets can see. That's what preserves the order of things. Fear.

3. Annie Wilkes - Misery

Ok, I know what you're thinking...she's not a guy. Although, guys all over the world at the release of this film were scared out of their minds to accept the help of a nice rural stranger, thanks to Annie Wilkes. The brainchild of Stephen King, Kathy Bates gives the best performance of her career; in my opinion, as Annie Wilkes. Annie, is a nurse who has her idol; Paul Sheldon land at her lap for care after a gruesome car accident. It's a dream come true...a dream that Annie doesn't ever want to wake up from. When it comes to my criteria, this sociopath falls under both. Absolutely vacant and self righteous. Her intentions of harm on her idol Paul Sheldon make absolutely no sense and to her, she's just trying to continue to make her world better by keeping him around.

Memorable Quote: God came to me last night and told me your purpose for being here. I am going to help you write a new book.

4. Darth Vader - Star Wars

I'm not going to lie, I'm not a Star Wars fan in the least bit. I've seen every film and they just never really appealed to me. I wish I can give you a good description on Vader, but I can't. I'm fair however, and I recognize this character's significance in the history of film, especially as a bad guy. If I had to classify him under my 2 point criteria, I'd probably put him under #2. I welcome my readers of this blog to submit a good description to this character.

Memorable Quote: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

5. Alexander Delarge - A Clockwork Orange

Bad guys as the main character? It's not uncommon, and it's certainly an interesting journey. In Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell personifies the true face of evil in youth. Based on Anthony Burgess' book of the same name, the character who is said to be in his teen years, enjoys rape, violence, and classical music? The most interesting aspect of this character is; like Hans Gruber, his privileged upbringing that still has no effect to deter the character's destructive behavior. Like the book, the film centers around the central idea of evil not being a product of society, but more of the mind. You can't supress it, no matter how hard you try. That's what makes the character absolutely haunting and interesting all the same. Oh, as if you had to ask, this would fall under criteria #1.

Memorable Quote: Watch that. Do watch that, O Dim, if to continue to be on live thou dost wish.

Thanks for reading, part 2 will be up in a day or two.


xCHIPxSEM said...

Well Im glad I wrote out that whole Darth Vader paragraph for you to not use it...ass

wing_kong_exchange said...

I lost it shithead, send it again

wing_kong_exchange said...

I wouldve asked you tonight but i figured you were asleep by now

Ceasetodream said...

Great read bro-ham, although I never saw Alex as a villain but rather a victim in Clockwork, it's interesting to see a different thing is for sure, he is a truly memorable character. Have you seen McDowell in Gangster No. 1? Awesome movie. There are scenes in that where I felt he truly dug deep and channelled some of Alex into the character.

Anonymous said...

Hannibal Lecter

The Joker