15 Awesome Movies Where the Villain Was the Best Part

Sometimes, the bad guys are just too good to ignore. From iconic villains to lesser-known baddies, here are 17 movies where the villainous character was so captivating that they stole the show. Get ready to root for the dark side with these mesmerizing performances.

No Country for Old Men

Photo Credit: Paramount Vantage.

In “No Country for Old Men,” Javier Bardem’s portrayal of the relentless hitman Anton Chigurh is nothing short of terrifying. His cold demeanor and brutal methods leave an unforgettable impression. Bardem’s performance is so captivating that, despite his character’s villainous role, he steals every scene he’s in.

The Dark Knight

The Joker
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker in “The Dark Knight” transcended the traditional boundaries of a comic book villain. His chilling performance and chaotic persona created an anarchistic antagonist who became the pulse of the film, often overshadowing the heroic protagonist.

Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lecter
Photo Credit: Orion Pictures.

As Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins delivered a mesmerizing performance in “Silence of the Lambs.” Despite his limited screen time, Hopkins managed to create an aura of menace and charm that haunted viewers, making Lecter the most memorable character in the film.

The Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects Gramercy Pictures
Photo Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

In “The Usual Suspects,” the enigmatic criminal mastermind Keyser Söze is a character shrouded in mystery and intrigue. When his true identity is revealed, the shock factor is so high it completely dominates the film’s final act, making it a captivating watch.

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds (2009) Universal Pictures
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Christoph Waltz’s portrayal of SS officer Hans Landa in “Inglourious Basterds” is a masterclass in acting. His charm, coupled with his brutal efficiency and cunning, makes Landa an antagonist who demands attention every time he is on screen.

Cape Fear

Photo Credit: Amblin Entertainment.

Robert De Niro’s role as Max Cady in “Cape Fear” showcases an antagonist who is as terrifying as he is compelling. His relentless pursuit of revenge against his former lawyer dominates the narrative, making Cady an unforgettable character.

There Will Be Blood

There Will be Blood (2007) Paramount Vantage
Photo Credit: Paramount Vantage.

Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Daniel Plainview in “There Will Be Blood” is a study in ruthlessness. His pursuit of wealth and power at all costs makes Plainview a compelling villain who utterly dominates the film.

The Devil Wears Prada

Andrea_s Friends (The Devil Wears Prada, 2006) 20th Century Fox
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Meryl Streep’s role as Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” illustrates that villains don’t always come in the form of criminals or murderers. Her performance as the demanding, unyielding editor-in-chief is so powerful, it overshadows every other character in the film.

A Clockwork Orange

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

As Alex DeLarge in “A Clockwork Orange,” Malcolm McDowell delivered a deeply unsettling performance. Despite his character’s despicable actions, McDowell’s portrayal is so engaging and charismatic, it’s impossible to look away.

Se7en

Se7en New Line Cinema
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

The villain in “Se7en,” brilliantly portrayed by Kevin Spacey, doesn’t appear until the film’s final act, but his presence looms over the entire narrative. His meticulously planned crimes and cold demeanor make him a terrifying antagonist who completely steals the show.

Fargo

Fargo PolyGram Film Entertainment
PolyGram Film Entertainment.

Peter Stormare’s chilling portrayal of silent hitman Gaear Grimsrud in “Fargo” leaves a lasting impression. His cold-blooded actions and indifferent demeanor make Grimsrud a uniquely unsettling character who overshadows his more talkative counterpart.

Gladiator

Photo Credit: DreamWorks Distribution.

As Emperor Commodus in “Gladiator,” Joaquin Phoenix delivered a performance that was both pitiful and despised. His character’s desperate need for validation and ruthless tactics made Commodus a complex villain who dominated the narrative.

The Lion King

Photo Credit: Disney.

Scar, the villainous lion brilliantly voiced by Jeremy Irons in “The Lion King,” is a character who steals the limelight with his manipulative schemes and charismatic wickedness. His role in the film’s dramatic turn of events makes Scar a villain who’s hard to forget.

Psycho

Psycho (1998) Universal Studios
Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

Anthony Perkins’ portrayal of Norman Bates in “Psycho” is a masterclass in suspense building. His quiet demeanor hides a disturbing secret that, when revealed, completely takes over the narrative, making Bates a truly mesmerizing antagonist.

Kill Bill

Kill Bill_ The Bride Against The 88 Bodyguard Miramax Films
Photo Credit: Miramax Films.

Lucy Liu’s role as O-Ren Ishii in “Kill Bill” is a villainous character who demands attention. Her backstory, deadly skills, and cold demeanor make O-Ren a captivating character who overshadows other members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.