Top 10 Movie Douchebag Villains (i.e., the most hateable villains)
There are villains in movies and then there are the douchebags you hate so bad, you sometimes pump your fist when they finally get a stake shoved through their heart. This is a list of the top 10 of that second group.
Here are a few guidelines for what qualifies someone to be a huge movie douche (this applies to real life, as well):
- Must be an all-around prick
- Must be successful, either monetarily or at least at what they want to accomplish. Can’t really hate someone who sucks at everything.
- Must be supremely self-assured and cocky
- Cannot be in the “so bad he’s good” category. Some villains are so awesome they disqualify themselves from the douche list. Example of this include Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter, Heath Ledger’s Joker, and Norman Bates. What we need are villains we don’t have an ounce of sympathy for and in no way would we ever root for them.
- For this list, he must also be the main antagonist in the film.
Honorable mentions (either not douche-y enough or not the main bad guy):
- Count Rugen (Christopher Guest), Princess Bride
- Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), Casino Royal
- Cruella de Vil (Betty Lou Gerson), 101 Dalmatians
- Andrew (Allen Covert), Anger Management
- Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), Office Space
- Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), 300
- The White Witch (Tilda Swinton), The Chronicles of Narnia
More villains who are disqualified because they are just so awesomely bad:
- Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), Inglourious Basterds
- Little Bill (Gene Hackman), Unforgiven
- Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald), Happy Gilmore
- Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray), Kingpin
- Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), No Country for Old Men
- Scar (Jeremy Irons), The Lion King
Now onto the list:
TOP 10 DOUCHEBAG VILLAINS OF ALL
TIME THE FILMS I’VE SEEN
10) Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven), Old School
- Now what kind of douchebag list would this be if Jeremy Piven didn’t make an appearance? At least the main characters get to mock him a bit this time.
9) Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), Back to the Future and Back to the Future II
- I know we all love Back to the Future (it’s on my pantheon), but Biff fits all the guidelines above. Most telling of all, there really is absolutely no reason to root for or sympathize with this guy. He’s a bully, a rapist, a homicidal maniac, and a racist (probably). The most satisfying moment in the entire trilogy is seeing George knock that smile off his face on November 12, 1955.
8) Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), Die Hard
- Starts out as maybe the cockiest guy on the list. Then the switch flips and he goes into a prolonged temper tantrum when Bruce Willis starts wrecking his life and you can’t wait for that death scene that you know is coming.
- Alan Rickman is our first multi-skilled athlete. He’s played a fair number of douchebags in his time. Snape, obviously, but even that bitter old guy in Galaxy Quest was a bit of a douche.
7) Prince John (Peter Ustinov), Robin Hood
- At 5 years old or however old I was when I first saw this, I didn’t know what a douche was but I knew Prince John was one. I’d like to think that all douchebags I’ve met since then all come from Prince John. His voice and image are in the deep recesses of my brain and seep into conscious thought to help form my modern-day douchebag radar.
6) Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), Matilda
- Chocolate cake might be the perfect symbol for this piece of work. She terrorizes all the children and that damn chocolate cake she makes Bruce Bogtrotter eat is haunting me to this day. Watching her eat cake later is then such a revolting sight, you just want it to be over. I’m not even sure how much she qualifies as “douche” but the desire you have for this pig to die is off the charts.
5) Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), Gladiator
- I initially had him lower but I had to upgrade this punk after mentally revisiting the movie. What a sniveling, spoiled, psychotic, sadistic twerp. Everything was on the verge of being awesome again in the Roman Empire and then he threw a hissy fit and screwed up everything from Maximus’ family to the Empire itself. Then he has the gall to brag about it and taunt the guy that could snap his neck in an instant.
4) Warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton), The Shawshank Redemption
- This guy probably would be ranked below Commodus except for one moment. When he has the guy who was going to save Andy Dufrense murdered. What a douche!
- Third most satisfying part of the movie (after Andy escaping and Red meeting him in Mexico): “I’d like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him.”
3) King Edward “Longshanks” (Patrick McGoohan), Braveheart
- The fact that this guy doesn’t die is one of the largest crimes against America and our love of happy ending movies. I think a few quotes sum up why this man is among the worst.
- Longshanks: Archers. English Commander: I beg pardon, sire. Won’t we hit our own troops? Longshanks: Yes… but we’ll hit theirs as well. We have reserves. Attack.
- (And then later…) “Not the archers. My scouts tell me their archers are miles away and no threat to us. Arrows cost money. Use up the Irish. The dead cost nothing.”
2) Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
- The smug factor is high with this one. Thinking she’s so right and so untouchable as she makes a bunch of mental patients’ lives miserable. As bad as Longshanks is for butchering people without mercy, Nurse Ratched even worse because she mentally bullies and manipulates people who are too weak to fight her. And we were so close. So close to seeing her get wacked. Taken by itself, I think the choking scene is pretty brutal, but at that point in the film, you have no sympathy for this character.
1) Colonel William Tavington (Jason Isaacs), The Patriot
- What an entry from this fucking guy. I hate this little prick so bad that I’m still a little upset when Mel Gibson kills him at the end of the movie. I’m mad that it was even a fight. “Oh a villain this great deserves a great ending fight.” Bullshit. I want him defeated like he’s nothing, like he never had a chance. Maybe instead of chopping the bejesus out of that British guy in the river, Mel should have saved that move for this guy.
- Shoutout to Jason Isaacs for also portraying an exceptional douchebag in Harry Potter as Malfoy’s dad. He’s like a 5-tool ball player. Now I haven’t seen many of his other films, but I’m guessing all the characters he plays are kind of douche-y. I don’t want Mr. Isaacs to be type-cast or anything, but when you have a gift, you have a gift. And this guy is one hell of a douche.
Nothing like a little righteous anger towards fictional characters. Maybe the amount we hate them is a testament to how well they are written and acted. But maybe not. Sometimes a douchebag is just a douchebag.