The 15 greatest movie villain actors of all time
It is believed that one of the toughest things to play in movies are villain roles. Even professional actors and actresses sometimes have a hard time portraying negative characters on screen. However, there’s a group of actors in Hollywood so well versed in depicting bad guys that it seems like they were born to play that character.
Today, we here at Bright Side have gathered together a list of the 15 greatest actors and actresses that are masters at playing the anti-hero.
Heath Ledger — Joker
The Dark Knight, 2008
Perhaps one of the greatest roles by Australian actor Heath Ledger is that of the Joker, the main antagonist of the 2008 film The Dark Knight. In preparation for his Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker, Heath locked himself in a hotel room in London for weeks. He studied every single comic that the Joker appeared in, kept a diary, and practiced different voices to find his own unique style of the character’s voice and laugh.
Tom Hardy — John Fitzgerald
The Revenant, 2015
Tom Hardy did a magnificent job playing the villainous John Fitzgerald in The Revenant. Many people believe that his brilliant acting is the core of the success of this award-winning film.
Gary Oldman — Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg
The Fifth Element, 1997
When it comes to playing villains, Gary Oldman is probably one of the best. This actor knows how to play bad guys perfectly, but his role as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is one of his most memorable and greatest performances.
Ralph Fiennes — Lord Voldemort
The Harry Potter films, 2001-2011
Ralph Fiennes has been in a number of notable films where he played mostly negative characters. But his portrayal of Harry Potter's nemesis Lord Voldemort, aka The Dark Lord, deserves special attention.
Glenn Close — Cruella de Vil
101 Dalmatians, 1996
Glenn Cose was already 35-years-old when she made her film debut. However, her relatively late start as an actress hasn't prevented her from delivering a wonderful performance as Cruella De Vil in "101 Dalmatians."
Jared Leto — The Joker
Suicide Squad, 2016
This sci-fi movie, which stars Jared Leto as The Joker, the film's main antagonist, is expected to release this summer. Don't miss it!
Kevin Spacey — John Doe
Kevin Spacey is one of the most successful and popular Hollywood actors. His acting talent knows no bounds: it seems like there is no role too big for him. His skillful portrayal of serial killer John Doe in the movie "Seven" deserves a special mention.
Joaquin Phoenix — Emperor Commodus
The role of the evil emperor Commodus in Gladiator has made Joaquin Phoenix one of the best movie villains ever. This talented actor is extremely brilliant in depicting the Emperor's emotional torment. He makes the audience literally hate his character.
Christoph Waltz — Hans Landa
Inglourious Basterds, 2009
Christoph Waltz, an Austrian actor, became famous after he starred in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds. The role of SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa in this movie won him an Academy Award.
Angelina Jolie — Maleficent
Most reviewers of the dark fantasy film "Maleficent" agree that Angelina Jolie did a brilliant job in portraying the evil witch.
Ben Kingsley — The Mandarin
Iron Man 3, 2013
Ben Kingsley, an actor who has tremendous charisma, has appeared in dozens of films already. But, he is best known for his portrayal of "The Mandarin," the sinister head of the terrorist organization in the third “Iron Man” film.
Rutger Hauer — John Ryder
The Hitcher, 1986
Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has earned a reputation as being one of the most talented actors at playing sinister villains. His performance as psychopathic killer John Ryder in the 1986 version of The Hitcher is just perfect.
Helena Bonham Carter — The Queen of Hearts
Alice in Wonderland, 2010
Bright and charismatic, Helena Bonham Carter is wicked good at portraying dark characters. One of her most notable roles is that of The Queen of Hearts, a classic villain from Tim Burton's 2010 film Alice in Wonderland.
Javier Bardem — Anton Chigur
No Country for Old Men, 2010
With his handsome looks, Spanish actor Javier Bardem is best known for playing villainous roles, including the depraved serial killer in the Coen brothers’ film "No Country For Old Men." For this role, Javier received the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award.
Anthony Hopkins — Hannibal Lecter
The Silence of the Lambs, 1991
Multi-talented and multi-faceted, Sir Anthony Hopkins is, without a doubt, a genius actor. Most people remember him from The Silence of the Lambs, where he played Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath. This role got him an Oscar for Best Actor.