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Top 10 Actors Who Always Play Villains

VO: Rebecca Brayton
There’s just something about some actors, whether it’s the tone of their voice, the glint in their eye or the angle of their brow – They. Look. Evil. And, their talents are best used in villainous roles. Which we're sure they love, because let’s be honest: who wants to be good when being bad is so much more fun? In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 actors who always play villains. For this list, we've decided to eliminate actors whose best-known roles are beloved heroes – we’re lookin’ at you, Sean Bean and Ian McKellan. Special thanks to our user roxy for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page!

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Top 10 Actors Who Always Play Villains

Who wants to be good when being bad is so much more fun? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 actors who always play villains.

For this list, we’ve decided to eliminate actors whose best-known roles are beloved heroes – we’re lookin’ at you, Sean Bean and Ian McKellan.

#10 – Dennis Hopper

He started as an “Easy Rider,” but we think Hopper’s angst and disturbed demeanor are best suited to villains. Sure, donning a bizarre haircut to play King Koopa, and an eye patch to play The Deacon may have been odd career choices, and Howard Payne may be a stereotypical – yet effective – baddie, but the sadistic gas-sniffing serial killer Frank Booth is definitely a psychotic masterwork.

#9 – Jeremy Irons

With an unconventional look that goes from sexy to scary without much effort, and an accent most actors would kill for, Irons has patented the sarcastic villain. We still think his uber-weirdo uber-warlock deserved a better send-off, but Scar more than makes up for that. No matter the era, accent or motive, his lines drip with disdain, even when he’s just playing a simple game of “Simon Says.”

#8 – Ralph Fiennes

How do you rank evil-doing? Being Harry Potter’s no-nosed nemesis is bad; so’s playing the god of the underworld; and a serial killer called the Tooth Fairy is up there. But portraying a Nazi war criminal who gets off by gunning down unsuspecting Jews is worst of all. Fiennes can actually play a good romantic lead, but he’s got the skills and latent sinister-factor to go either way.

#7 – John Malkovich

Malkovich is weird. And creepy. That menacing stare has a lot to do with it, but his too-silky voice also plays a big role. Chilling, disquieting, intense and spooky are also words we’d use to describe him, whether he’s portraying a dangerous womanizer, a would-be presidential assassin, a criminal mastermind, or a Russian mobster. Hell, he’s even scary when he’s reading a Christmas story.

#6 – Kevin Spacey

We’ll say this: Spacey plays the nice nobody as well as the vile villain. But his bad guys are just. So. Cool. We can’t pinpoint why, but we think it’s his offbeat attitude and quiet confidence. You know he’s always planning his next diabolical move – whatever that may be. Lex Luthor in all his bald glory has never been so wicked.

#5 – Hugo Weaving

It’s all about his terrifying voice. Aaaand his face. Weaving is elf-like, and he does make an okay-looking chick, but those’re about the only good guy looks he can pull off. Between kicking Captain America’s butt and making Neo wish he’d taken the blue pill, Weaving just gets under our skin. Sure, V is ambiguous, but we’ll never get the way he says “Mr. Anderson” out of our heads.

#4 – Christopher Walken

Any Bond villain gets a lifetime membership to the bad guy hall of fame. Despite his natural comedic timing, sense of humor and dancing skills, Walken is one creepy dude with bulging eyeballs and a quirky manner of speaking that’s best suited to evil roles. Able to act unfeeling, intelligent, vicious, or just plain crazy, Walken plays mobsters, archangels or exterminators with equal flair.

#3 – Gary Oldman

This guy’s such a chameleon, we’re always surprised when we figure out it was him in that movie. And to be honest, that happens A LOT. He plays good guys, bad guys, good guys who seem bad, guys who kill presidents, guys who suck blood and guys with weird haircuts. His villains always have different motivations, styles and even accents, but you can be sure they’re all equally terrifying.

#2 – Alan Rickman

Hans Gruber: need we say more? Fine. Rickman wants to shed his reputation as a villain, but with iconic baddies like the Sheriff of Nottingham it’s damn-near impossible. Snape may’ve been okay in the end, but he sure is mean and creepy. Why is Rickman so evil-looking: is it the squinty-eye thing, or his voice? Also have you seen him as a romantic lead? Unsettling is an understatement.

#1 – Christopher Lee

British dudes make the best villains. Lee’s deep voice and towering frame help make him a great bad guy, but it’s his ability to turn on a dime from slick and charming to fiery and furious that put him over the top. We can’t list all his villains, but we’ll say this: he played Dracula so often we lost count, and fought James Bond, the Fellowship of the Ring and Jedi knights.

Do you agree with out list? Which actors would you not want to meet in a dark alley? For more top 10s about your favorite stars, be sure to subscribe to

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