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Top Ten Greatest Villains

Updated on September 15, 2016

10. Pyramid Head

Making his first appearance in "Silent Hill 2", the creature quickly became a fan favorite. Although he never speaks, his terrifying presence alone is enough to cause the player to pull a blanket securely over your head for safety. Known for being as equally scary as it is fun to play, the "Silent Hill" game franchise has continually given players nightmares and made them scared to look around corners while playing. The last thing you should do while playing a video game is cover your eyes, but this character caused me to do just that (several times).

In the 2006 film adaptation of "Silent Hill" the antagonist makes his movie debut as "Red Pyramid" and returned once again 2012's "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D". The sound of his massive sword dragging across the ground instantly gave me goosebumps in an eerie reminder of my late nights playing the game.

Most memorable moment: "Silent Hill" (2006) While the two lead characters, Rose and Cybil, rush into a church for safety with the warning siren blaring in the background, darkness overtakes the town. Left on the steps is Dahlia who has just been hit in the face by a piece of concrete thrown by Anna, a fanatical cult member. Before she can throw another stone, Red Pyramid appears behind her form the darkness and takes her by her neck. Walking up the steps of the church, Red Pyramid raises her into the air and rips the skin from her body in one piece. He then tosses it to the doors of the church just as they close, sending blood splattering though the crack and onto Rose's face. Gross...

Proof that fans hate Joffery...this has a million and a half views.

9. Joffrey Baratheon

Oh, this kid. Easily the most hated character on television right now, King Joffrey Baratheon is one evil little dude. (It hurts to give him the title of king...) As fans of the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones" have discovered, there is no age too young to become a complete monster. Responsible for killing off likable characters left and right, he treats his equally horrible family just as awful as the citizens of his kingdom. He is played brilliantly by Jack Gleeson. Thanks to Joffrey, you can hardly recognize him in "Batman Begins" (2005) as the adorable kid Batman talks to on the fire escape. I have no shame in admitting that because of "GoT", every time I watch "Batman Begins" I now scream violently at Batman, "Punt him like a football!" I've never been so against his "no kill" rule.

People who have read the books (I actually have NOT) tried warning us, but we just wouldn't listen. I've heard it gets worse for those of us who only watch the show and I can't see how.

Most memorable moment: SPOILER ALERT! He had Ned beheaded. Period. Poor Sean Bean can't catch a break. From the first episode, Ned Stark became loved by fans only to be cut out of the show (pun) before the end of the season. It was Joffrey's first repulsive move, but certainly not his last.

8. Agent Smith

"Mr. Anderson..." A constant threat in "The Matrix" franchise, Agent Smith is not only an incredible fighter, he is also extremely intelligent and becomes more dangerous as the story progresses throughout the three films. Portrayed by Hugo Weaving, his mannerism and monotone form of speaking not only a great villain, but also one of the most memorable characters of all time.

Unplugging from the control of the Matrix he eventually gains the ability to copy himself through direct contact with others. Agent Smith can become his own army in seconds as show during the unforgettable fight scene with Neo in "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003).

Most memorable moment: "Tell me, Mr. Anderson - what good is a phone call if you're unable to speak"

"The Matrix" (1999) The Interrogation...

7. Professor Fate

Portrayed by the hilarious Jack Lemmon in "The Great Race" (1965), Professor Fate looks like the stereotype villain - all black suit, thin mustache, an arsenal of sinister gadgets, a quirky theme song and of course a loyal henchman, Maximilian Meen (Peter Falk). The film is a comedic masterpiece and its antagonist makes the movie. Proclaiming, "I am Professor Fate!" at every opportunity, the character is driven by his hatred for The Great Leslie, played by Tony Curtis. The two challenge one another to a race from New York to Paris only to have Professor Fate re-challenge at the end, unsatisfied with winning due to The Great Leslie stopping before the finish line in order to proclaim his love for Maggie Dubois (Natalie Wood)

Although never successful in his evil endeavors, Professor Fate has the intentions and cackling laugh to be considered a great villain. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing "The Great Race", I highly recommend giving it a shot. It's absolutely hilarious.

Most memorable moment: (Along with his iconic laugh) Following each failed attempt at a ridiculous stunt: "HA! I'd like to see The Great Leslie try THAT one!"

The Great Race - Pie Fight (featuring all leading characters)

"Am I Not Merciful?!"

6. Commodus

In a skin-crawling performance, Joaquin Phoenix plays the heinous Commodus in "Gladiator" (2000). Overcome by jealousy after his dying father, the emperor of Rome, names Maximus (Russell Crowe) as his heir instead of himself, Commodus murders his father before the decision is known. He then has Maximus' wife and son brutally murdered and blames him for the murder of the emperor. If that wasn't awful enough, he also attempts to blackmail his sister into an incestuous relationship with him and uses her young son to threaten her.

Along with the malevolent acts, it's the words that come out of the characters mouth that is truly the wicked icing on the cake. Even the most sinister dialogue is performed with a calmness that causes the audiences stomach to turn with unease...*shiver*

Most memorable moment: (To Maximus) "They tell me your son squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross. And your wife..." (I won't finish the line due to the graphic nature of the comment...but I promise, it's even worse than you imagine.)

Maleficent dragon during "Fantasmic!"
Maleficent dragon during "Fantasmic!"

5. Maleficent

You can't have a list of great villains without throwing some of Disney's iconic characters in! Maleficent is the evil sorceress in Disney's animated feature "Sleeping Beauty" (1959). She is one of the most recognizable villains and has also been featured in the video game series "Kingdom Hearts" along with appearing in the live-action show "Fantasmic!" at Disney's Hollywood Studios. (If you haven't seen the show, I highly recommend it. With all of the effects and music, it does not disappoint. But make sure you get there early to get a seat!)

"Sleeping Beauty": Angry about being the only one in the kingdom not invited to the christening of the king's daughter, Princess Aurora, Maleficent shows up and gives the baby a "gift". In her silky voice, she lays a curse on the baby princess, "Before the sun sets on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die!" As beautiful as she is sinister-looking, Maleficent has one more (awesome) trick up her sleeve - she can turn into a monstrous, fire-breathing dragon!

Most memorable moment: Maleficent's transformation into the dragon! Duh! "And now shall you deal with me O, Prince. And all the powers of HELL!"

"Sleeping Beauty" Dragon Reveal

Roy Batty and Pris
Roy Batty and Pris

4. Roy Batty

"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it?" How can someone NOT be afraid when Roy Batty is your adversary? In "Blade Runner" (1982) Rutger Hauer gives an emotional performance as Roy Batty, a Replicant with a short amount of time to live. As Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is given the task to hunt down a group of dangerous Replicants who are at the end of their designated life span, he quickly learns Roy Batty won't go down without a fight.

Because the rogue Replicants have begun to develop emotional responses, they have become exceedingly dangerous and unstable. Last man standing, Roy Batty finds Pris (Daryl Hannah) dead and hunts down Deckard through the building formerly occupied by the Nexus-6 Replicant designer, all while struggling to control his failing body.

Most memorable moment: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like - tears in rain. Time...to die..."

"You'd better get it up - or I'm gonna have to kill ya!"

Book One of the Diogenes Trilogy

3. Diogenes Pendergast

Diogenes Dagrepont Bernoulli Pendergast is the younger brother of FBI Special Agent Aloysius Xingu L. Pendergast, the unique leading character in a series of novels written by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. (Aloysius is also my favorite literary character of all time.) Like his brother, Diogenes is extremely intelligent, physically powerful, but absolutely evil. Victim of a traumatic event during his childhood resulting in brain damage, Diogenes became criminally insane.

Over the course of events that occurred during the Diogenes trilogy, ("Brimstone", "Dance of Death" and "The Book of the Dead") he committed a series of gruesome murders, framed his brother for them, and planned an elaborate theft from the Museum of Natural that would end in another mass murder. There is always something wicked brewing in his mind, and he always drags his brother along for the ride.

Most memorable moment: Chapter 60, "The Book of the Dead" - Constance Greene is Agent Pendergast's ward after he discovered her during the events of "The Cabinet of Curiosities". In one of his most sinister attempts to get at his brother, Diogenes sends Constance a letter along with a small package. The letter is a mental attack on her and works to make her feel like an unwanted burden on Aloysius. It ends suggesting she kill herself: "Do the noble thing. End your unnatural life." It even gives detailed instructions on how to do so:

"P.S. I was surprised to see how juvenile your earlier attempt at suicide was. Surely, you now know not to slash willy-nilly across your wrist; the knife is arrested by the tendons. For a more satisfactory result, cut lengthwise, between the tendons: just one cut: slow, forceful, and above all, deep. As for my own scar: isn't it remarkable what one can do with a bit of greasepaint and wax?"

After reading it, she opens the small box that was delivered along with the note. Inside is an antique scalpel...

"The Killing Joke"
"The Killing Joke"
"Arkham City"
"Arkham City"
Jack Nicholson "Batman" (1989)
Jack Nicholson "Batman" (1989)

2. The Joker

It doesn't matter which version we're talking about - the Joker is always a force to be reckon with. While pushing Batman to his moral limits, he makes us laugh and then question why we were amused by something so cruel. Laughing gas, bombs, guns, knives and a seemingly endless amount of willing henchmen are some of the Joker's most popular weapons of choice. Each portrayal of the Joker has been unique while being completely insane. He has been responsible for some of the biggest twists and defining moments in the Batman universe including shooting and paralyzing Barbara Gordon/Batgirl in "Batman: The Killing Joke" (1988), the gruesome murder of Jason Todd, the 2nd Robin during the "A Death in the Family" (1988), and even snapped his own neck to incriminate Batman in the comic series "The Dark Knight Returns" (1986).

Cesar Romero was super silly in the quirky 1960's TV series. Jack Nicholson was funny yet murderous in 1989's "Batman". Mark Hamill's take on the Joker is absolutely incredible, having the greatest laugh of all while creating havoc around Gotham City in "Batman: The Animated Series" and the video games "Arkham Asylum" and "Arkham City". And of course, Heath Ledger gave a brilliant, Oscar winning performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight" (2008), instantly becoming a fan favorite from the very first scene in the film.

Most memorable moment: This was a tough choice, but I'm going to go with a fan favorite - the pencil trick in "The Dark Knight".

"Just how crazy is Heath's Joker?" *WHAM!* 'Ta-Da!' "Ooooh...he's like really crazy."

"How 'bout a magic trick?"

Mila Kunis as Theodora/The Wicked Witch of the West in "Oz the Great and Powerful"
Mila Kunis as Theodora/The Wicked Witch of the West in "Oz the Great and Powerful"
Idina Menzel as Elphaba in "Wicked"
Idina Menzel as Elphaba in "Wicked"

1. The Wicked Witch of the West

I can remember nights when I was younger and would wake up startled from nightmares of myself being chased by flying monkeys, the minions of the Wicked Witch of the West. With a laugh that could shatter glass and a face as green as the Emerald City, the Wicked Witch flew onto movie screens in 1939's "The Wizard of Oz", played by Margaret Hamilton. Appearing from a ball of flames, the Witch was quick to interrogate Dorothy (Judy Garland), a poor frightened girl from Kansas whose house had just dropped on the Witch's sister. Desperate for the magical ruby slippers the Witch was shocked to find Glinda the Good Witch (Billie Burke) had placed them on Dorothy's feet. (If I was Dorothy, I'd be pretty angry with Glinda. Thanks, a lot!)

While trying to recover her sister's ruby slippers, the Witch followed Dorothy as she made her way to the Emerald City to see the Wizard of Oz. Flying on her broomstick to write "Surrender Dorothy" in the sky, lighting the clumsy Scarecrow on fire ("How 'bout a little fire, Scarecrow?") and putting Dorothy and her traveling companions to sleep using a field of poppies were just a few of the Witch's evil deeds. Finally, she sends out an army of flying monkeys to kidnap Dorothy and threatens to kill her unless she removes the slippers.

The role of the Wicked Witch was brought back to life earlier this year in "Oz the Great and Powerful" by Mila Kunis. The Broadway hit "Wicked" stars the Wicked Witch and tells the happenings in Oz from her point of view.

Most memorable moment: Her fiery entrance into Munchkinland to confront Dorothy: "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!"

"Who steals a dead woman's shoes?!"

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    • Tygher41 profile image
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      Megan Carroll 3 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      Haha, Cesar Romero is classic!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 3 years ago from USA

      I'd say my favorite 3 out of this list would be: Number three, Cesar Romero as The Joker. Number Two, Margaret Hamilton (aka the Maxwell House Lady) as The Wicked Witch of the West. And Number One, Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith.

    • Tygher41 profile image
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      Megan Carroll 3 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      Thanks again jmartini1344!!! I wanted to give other villains a little more credit than just sticking with movies. Pyramid Head gave me nightmares after playing the game!

      I highly recommend you read those Preston/Child novels. They will change your (reading) life!

    • jmartin1344 profile image

      jmartin1344 3 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      I LOVE this list Tygher! At first when I clicked I assumed it was simply movies, and while most of them are I love how you took a broader look. I own the Preston/Child books (well two of them) but haven't read yet. You mentioned your favorite literary character hails from those so I'll have to finally crack them open!

      Also, I love Silent Hill and have played the first 4 games (I was obsessed with horror games when I was younger. Resident Evil/Silent Hill/Alan Wake etc) - so nice one on putting Pyramid Head in there too!

    • toptendeals profile image

      Jason Benedict 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida

      Great list Tygher. Joffrey Baratheon does such a great job on the show.

    • Resident Weevil profile image

      Resident Weevil 4 years ago

      And I just thought I'd let you know, I watched that entire YouTube clip of Tyrion repeatedly bitch slapping Joffrey this morning. And it was the best ten minutes and 46 seconds of my day. It really lifted my spirits and set the tone for the rest of the day.

      I think I'll make it part of my morning routine.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      LisaKoski 4 years ago from WA

      Great list! I don't think there's really much more I can say besides that since you've covered a lot of villains I'd definitely list as some of the greats.

    • Tygher41 profile image
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      Megan Carroll 4 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      Ha! I know! I guess we all should have expected it with his track record of not surviving movies.

    • Resident Weevil profile image

      Resident Weevil 4 years ago

      "Punt him like a football!"

      That line alone makes it worth the price of admission. Joffrey must die.

      And poor Sean Bean really can't catch a break, can he?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEhtsgu6bJg

    • Tygher41 profile image
      Author

      Megan Carroll 4 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      Thanks again, everyone!

    • Thief12 profile image

      Thief12 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Great list. I have to say, even though I wasn't a fan of The Matrix, Hugo Weaving was easily the best thing in it, and it's highlighted specifically by that interrogation scene.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Great villains. Some of these I haven't seen, but will keep this hub in mind when I do!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      The Wicked Witch of the West is my absolute favorite! I love to dress like her for Halloween and handy out candy. I have perfected her shrill voice as she says "I'll get you, my little pretty..." which I say at teenagers who are probably too old to be trick or treating. They love it almost as much as I do.

    • Jsmiley profile image

      Jsmiley 4 years ago from Miami Beach Fl

      omg i love this topic i personally think the joker is awesome lol i will be a new follower of ur also if u could please check out my new website it will get u sum nice discounts jsmiley.findnowbuynow.info i would greatly appreciated it :)

    • Tygher41 profile image
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      Megan Carroll 4 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      Thanks, everyone! I do love Vader, but I'm saving him for a future hub.

    • Niche Brooke profile image

      Niche Brooke 4 years ago

      This is excellent!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      Very cool - thanks for sharing!

    • bestofeverything profile image

      Bob Miller 4 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I like your list. I think that number one should be Darth Vader.

    • Seth Panattoni profile image

      Seth Panattoni 4 years ago from Yakima, Washington

      If there's any justice in those novels it will catch up with him. As long as Arya, Tyrion, and Danaerys all make it ill be ok haha

    • Tygher41 profile image
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      Megan Carroll 4 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      Thanks! I love Sauron and Vader, too. Joffrey...ugh! I'm the same way. I'll keep watching with the hope all of the terrible things that have happened will be justified by that kid getting what's coming to him!

    • Seth Panattoni profile image

      Seth Panattoni 4 years ago from Yakima, Washington

      Well done!! I 100% agree with Joffrey haha, but GoT is so good so I will never stop hoping he gets his just reward. I think a few more good ones are Sauron from Lord of the Rings and Darth Vader from Star Wars