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Top 10 Iconic Movie Villains

VO: Dan
If there's one thing we like better than a hero, it's a villain! While there have been countless movie villains, only the select few go beyond memorable and become a part of popular culture. There's just something special about them, whether it be that they are forced to wear a face mask, are obsessed with gold, use magic, or are deadly computer simulations. Just to clarify, we’ve decided to omit mindless slasher killers and anti-heroes. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down the top 10 iconic movie villains.
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Top 10 Iconic Movie Villains


They’re the most famous bad guys around. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 iconic movie villains.

Just to clarify, we’ve deciding to stay in the realm of pop culture, while omitting mindless slasher killers and anti-heroes.

#10: Lord Voldemort “Harry Potter” Series (2001-2011)


Kicking off our list is he who must not be named, except we totally named him! Portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, the archenemy of Harry Potter is a relentless force of evil. A wizard with a legion of followers, his goal is the blood purity of the wizarding world. Yes, that means ruling the magical world and destroying what he considers to be filthy Mudbloods.

#9: The Wicked Witch of the West “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)


Another magical villain straight out of literature, this green skinned hag has a serious hate on for girls from Kansas, and their little dogs too! The main obstacle on Dorothy’s journey home, she’s iconic for her theatrics, maniacal nature and legion of flying monkeys. Simply put, her evil is black and white and she’s the archetype for many of famous villains to follow.

#8: Agent Smith “The Matrix” trilogy (1999-2003)


Next up is the well dressed by deadly un-killable computer program, portrayed by Hugo Weaving. An agent of the system, he’s had his fill with humanity and longs to break free of the boundaries of the Matrix. Smith’s combat skills are noteworthy, but it’s is calm and malevolent demeanor that really clinches his spot on this list.

#7: Sauron and Saruman “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy (2001-2003)


Yes, we went there again with a magical duo from another piece of fantasy literature. Straight out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classics, Sauron is in fact the eponymous Lord of the Rings. The ruler of Mordor, he created the one ring to rule them all and has returned to claim it and finally conquer middle earth. He’s assisted by Saruman the White, who’s played by classic Dracula actor Christopher Lee.

#6: T-1000 “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)


We were going to give this one to Arnie’s Terminator from the first film, however we can’t help but think of him as the ultimate bad ass good guy. More importantly, Robert Patrick’s liquid metal Terminator in police clothing may be far less physically imposing, but far scarier. As the unstoppable shape shifting assassin, Robert Patrick does the smooth faced unflinching death stare like no other.

#5: Auric Goldfinger “Goldfinger” (1964)


It would have been impossible for us to let this list out of the gate without at least one entry from the Bond series, a franchise that has given us so many memorable baddies. Deciding to exclude henchmen, it ultimately came down to Goldfinger over the cat petting Blofeld. Reasons include nailing the novel’s depiction, his gold obsession, and getting to say the most memorably villainous line from the franchise.

#4: Lex Luthor “Superman” series (1978 - 1987)


One of the few comic book villains to make this list, this bald headed genius mastermind went up against the man of steel. That’s right, he represents brain versus brawn. An opportunistic and charismatic villain with a love of real-estate, Gene Hackman still remains the Luthor to beat. Sure by today’s standards he’s a bit campy and over the top, but it was the 70s man. Don’t be a hater.

#3: Hannibal Lecter “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)


This brilliant cannibalistic serial killer is forever etched in our memories, all thanks to a gripping and spine-tingling performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins. Moreover, he’s a truly evil psychopath who can make you soil yourself from behind the glass of his cell, or even the safety of his muzzle. Not only sophisticated and heavy on the manipulation, he’s got a keen sense of smell and unique taste in food.

#2: The Joker “The Dark Knight” (2008)


Whether you’re a fan of Nicholson or Ledger, this character is the undisputed top comic-book to movie villain. An anarchist with a sick sense of humor, he’s not driven by greed or ambition. As a clever and deadly villain driven by chaos and impulse, the Joker absolutely relishes challenging the dark knight head-on.

With so many iconic movie villains to pick from, we had to draw the line somewhere. Here are some of the honourable mentions.

#1: Darth Vader “Star Wars” Trilogy (1977-1983)


Taking the top spot is the legendary sci-fi villain. Sure the prequels did much damage by showing us the backstory that one needed or asked for. Despite that, the corrupted half-man, half machine father of Luke Skywalker is a visually powerful, complex and eventually sympathetic character. A total badass masked master of the force, the fact that he’s voiced by James Earl Jones fully clenches his title as the ultimate movie villain.

Agree with our list? Which movie villain do you consider the most iconic? For more entertaining top 10s published everyday, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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