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Top 10 Action Movie Villains

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sean Harris. These guys are bad to the bone… and beyond! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 action movie villains. For this list, we’ve looked at live action movies only, and nothing based on a comic book. We’ve also excluded specific genres of action, because we’ve already got you covered with the Top 10 Sci-Fi Movie Villains, Top 10 Thriller Movie Villains, Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Villains, and many, many more. And just so you know, there may be a few spoilers ahead so SPOILER ALERT. Special thanks to our users Andrew A. Dennison, Daniela Madrid, Optsdggaming and Alexander David Bourns for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Sean Harris.

Top10 Action Movie Villains


These guys are bad to the bone… and beyond! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 action movie villains.

For this list, we’ve looked at live action movies only, and nothing based on a comic book. We’ve also excluded specific genres of action, because we’ve already got you covered with the Top 10 Sci-Fi Movie Villains, Top 10 Thriller Movie Villains, Top 10 Scariest Horror Movie Villains, and many, many more. And just so you know, there may be a few spoilers ahead so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: Eric Qualen
“Cliffhanger” (1993)

Turning snow-strewn mountains into the place of nightmares, Qualen is the abominable snowman, with guns and heavy artillery. Sylvester Stallone’s Gabe Walker is the bright light in a dark abyss, he’s mountain rescue with extra muscle. Qualen is the master puppeteer though, as he kidnaps Gabe and has him negotiate the perilous landscape in search of $100 million. He’s ex-military gone mad, he’s attitude at altitude, and a real cold killer.

#9: Ivan Korshunov
“Air Force One” (1997)

Gary Oldman’s Korshunov is the Russian terrorist-leader behind a particularly daring hijack. Air Force One is quite the machine, but it isn’t impenetrable – Harrison Ford is quite the president, but he isn’t untouchable. Korshunov is a mid-air madman and a nasty negotiator. Using Ford’s wife and daughter as bargaining tools, he’s a rebel supporter, and he’s gone crazy in the cockpit. He’s at 30,000 feet, but villains rarely stoop this low.

#8: Bill Strannix & Cmdr. Krill
“Under Siege” (1992)

Not all bad guys get to make an entrance alongside a Playboy model! With Erika Eleniak in toe, Bill Strannix poses as a caterer, and proceeds to give the Captain of the USS Missouri a birthday to remember. Helped by his mole on the inside, Commander Krill, Strannix and his mid-Pacific pirates turn a routine voyage into a sea-soaked disaster. They want missiles, and they’ll make hell or very high water to get them!

#7: Alec Trevelyan (006)
“GoldenEye” (1995)

The name’s Trevelyan… Alec Trevelyan… Nope! It just doesn’t have the same ring! James Bond’s one-time friend ditches the second-rate name, though, and starts going by ‘Janus’ – phonetically close to Judas, but it’s way more criminal! He fakes his own death, gains access to GoldenEye, and uses the electro-magnetic mega-weapon to try to take over the world. It’s a grand plan for a grand villain. He may be 006, but on this list he’s number 7.

#6: Gen. Francis X. “Frank” Hummel
“The Rock” (1996)

He’s good guy, turned bad, then turned a little bit good again. Ed Harris’ General Hummel was a well-respected U.S. marine, now he’s got some serious beef with the American government. He wants $100 million compensation for soldiers that die in secret service to their country – a noble cause compared to some. But to get it, he has seized some chemical weaponry, taken over Alcatraz, and threatened to poison the whole of San Francisco. It’s unconventional, and very unhinged!

#5: Owen Davian
“Mission: Impossible III” (2006)

As Davian, Philip Seymour Hoffman is at his bad-guy best. Bringing Tom Cruise out of early retirement, he’ll stop at nothing to get the enigmatic ‘Rabbits Foot.’ Cruise, as Ethan Hunt, knows as little as we do about the mysterious MacGuffin, but it’s clear that this bunny isn’t gonna be cute and fluffy! For Hoffman, villainy is all in the delivery. He’s the devil with a deadpan expression; he’s cold-hearted and he couldn’t care less – an impervious man for an impossible mission.

#4: Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom
“Con Air” (1997)

Some prisoners are good at heart, and some are bad all the way though… John Malkovich’s, Cyrus Grissom is in the latter category. As toxic as his nickname suggests, Cyrus “The Virus” is flying his way to freedom in the most destructive way possible. He takes out cops, he takes out cons, and he’s trying to take out Nicolas Cage! He’s half escapologist and half lunatic – he’s wearing orange but seeing red! A very dangerous man!

#3: Castor Troy
“Face/Off” (1997)

In a complete role reversal, Nic Cage steps onto our podium as this big-time baddie. So terrible that one body can’t contain him, Cage soon transplants to John Travolta, and the kill-crazy crossover has us captivated – and a little confused. It’s kinda similar to a lot of body-swap stories – but this one’s got way more bloodshed. Also, unlike “Freaky Friday,” “Face/Off” gives us Castor Troy – a legendary and ever-so-eccentric villain!

#2: Howard Payne
“Speed” (1994)

Our runner up is the ultimate bad cop. A retired member of the Atlanta PD bomb squad, Howard Payne knows a thing or two about disarming explosives, and now he’s hell-bent on setting them off! First he targets an elevator, then he hits a bus – there must be something about compact transportation vehicles that really gets this guy going! His terror-tactics are high-octane; the speed limit concept is genius – Payne is just a world-class criminal!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Sheriff Will Teasle “First Blood” (1982)
- Jean Vilain “The Expendables 2” (2012)
- Arjen Rudd “Lethal Weapon 2” (1989)
- Salim Abu Aziz “True Lies” (1994)

#1: Hans Gruber
“Die Hard” (1988)

We don’t know what the Gruber family eats for breakfast, but it’s a sure bet that the milk is sour! Brother Simon could’ve topped this list, but we’ve opted for Hans, John McClane’s original terror-crazed nemesis. Alan Rickman is in his evil element as this sky-scraping super-villain. He shoots to kill. He dresses to kill. Movies don’t come more action-packed than “Die Hard,” and bad guys don’t come more villainous than Gruber. He defines the role, and he’s the best of a very bad bunch!

Do you agree with our list? Which villain did we forget? For more tough Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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