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Top 10 Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Good doesn’t always triumph over evil... Sometimes the bad guys do win. Whether you’re expecting it or not, seeing the villains with a victory is always a pain – but boy does it make for some excellent flicks. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 movies where the bad guy wins. For this list, we’ve chosen movies where the bad guys are really bad guys, and not the film’s protagonists who you’re actually rooting for – so, sorry, no "Ocean’s Eleven." And, in case it’s not obvious: this entire list is one giant spoiler, so SPOILER ALERT! Special thanks to our user roxy for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page!

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Top 10 Movies Where the Bad Guy Wins

Good doesn’t always triumph over evil. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movies where the bad guy wins.

For this list, we’ve chosen movies where the bad guys are really bad guys, and not the film’s protagonists who you’re actually rooting for. And, in case it’s not obvious: this entire list is one giant spoiler, so spoiler alert!

#10 – “Identity” (2003)

The Bad Guy: Timmy York

Strangers, a creepy hotel and a rainstorm make for an ordinary thriller. Add multiple personalities, and things get interesting. People start dying off, and those left hunt the culprit. But turns out they’re all the personalities of a death row inmate, whose doctor’s gotta kill off the most violent one to save him from execution. Based on the theme of this list, you know how that goes.

#9 – “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

The Bad Guy: Nurse Ratched

You can’t fight the man, or in this case the wo-man. Especially when that woman uses shame and shock therapy as weapons. Randle McMurphy is in the loony bin to sidestep prison, but what he gets is a battle of wills with an unfeeling nurse – which he loses, despite his best efforts. Y’know how we know he lost? One word: lobotomy. You never win when they get part of your brain.

#8 – “No Country for Old Men” (2007)

The Bad Guy: Anton Chigurh

Stay on his good side. Or at least hope for good luck with coin tosses. Brought to the big screen by the Coen brothers, this Cormac McCarthy story follows contract killer and general bad guy Anton Chigurh as he tracks some misplaced drug money. Along the way, he uses weird weapons and carefully calculated moves to kill almost anyone who crosses his path, before limping away the victor.

#7 – “Saw” (2004)

The Bad Guy: Jigsaw

Some bad guys show up at the end to revel in their evil deeds. Some lay under our noses the entire time. This franchise’s villain is terminally ill, and wants to make others appreciate life by forcing them to amputate their feet, or something… People are his playthings, misery is his business, traps are his tools, and he uses them to make it out of this flick alive.

#6 – “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

The Bad Guy: The Devil

Murderer, rapist, baby-daddy – Mephistopheles is one busy dude. During her bizarre pregnancy, Rosemary worries that her hubby sold her baby out to the eccentric couple down the hall for a human sacrifice. The neighbors are pretty evil, and the husband’s horrible for letting Satan go to town on her, but the Devil’s the ultimate champion here because Rosemary delivers his spawn and deigns to raise it as her own.

#5 – “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

The Bad Guy: Dr. Hannibal Lecter

His résumé is somethin’ else: acclaimed psychiatrist, serial killer, people-eater. With credentials like that, it’s no wonder he’s able to escape the good guys so easily. Hannibal the Cannibal is another killer who likes to toy with his prey, and he manipulates everyone – especially the young FBI cadet, Clarice Starling. But he also helps her catch another murderer, so maybe he deserves some time in the islands.

#4 – “Primal Fear” (1996)

The Bad Guy: Aaron Stampler

You’d think the lawyer would be the villain, but nope: it’s the shy, stuttering altar boy, Aaron. Or should we say Roy? After a Catholic archbishop is killed, he’s revealed as a pedophile who abused Aaron. Aaron is accused of the murder, but gets off by reason of insanity when his multiple personalities surface. But – twist! – he’s faking it. Well, he is insane, but he doesn’t go to jail.

#3 – “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)

The Bad Guy(s): Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, the Galactic Empire

Grand scheme of things, yes: the Rebel Alliance wins the Star Wars. But after seeing the destruction of their beloved Death Star, the Empire comes out swingin’ and is the clear winner here: Han’s frozen in carbonite, Luke’s dad chops off his hand, the Rebels have got their tails between their legs waiting for the next move. The Dark Side of the Force is strong with this one…

#2 – “Se7en” (1995)

The Bad Guy: John Doe

He’s a serial killer that murders his victims according to the Seven Deadly Sins, and he’s pursued by the archetypal hotshot rookie cop and his smarter, almost-retired partner. But he’s a manipulative sonofabitch who turns himself in to complete his sinister plot by goading the young detective. When Morgan Freeman opens that damn box, John Doe wins because – even though he dies – his masterpiece is finished.

#1 – “The Usual Suspects” (1995)

The Bad Guy: Keyser Söze

Okay, Kevin Spacey makes a kickass villain. Once the other witnesses are eliminated, Verbal is the only one left to describe the mythical figure Keyser Söze and his unspeakable crimes. But, in one of the most infamous twist endings in Hollywood history, the dimwitted cripple is ultimately revealed as Keyser Söze himself – but not before he’s nabbed immunity and released. They never suspect the guy with the limp.

Do you agree with our list? Which is your favorite flick where the bad guy wins? For more top 10s about your favorite flicks, be sure to subscribe to

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