19 Disturbingly Evil Villains From Movies And TV Shows Who Were Honestly More Compelling Than The Heroes To Watch

Recently, u/doktaAce asked r/AskReddit, "Who's the best villain you've watched in a movie or series?" Here are some of the most common responses!

1.Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men (played by Javier Bardem)

Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men"

Suggested by u/RocPile16

"Chigurh is great not only because he's a terrifying killer, but he holds the delusion of being an agent of fate — then, the car crash which nearly kills him happens in the end. Chigurh obviously isn't immune to fate; he's just bonkers."


Miramax Films / Paramount Vantage

2.Homelander from The Boys (played by Antony Starr)

Screenshots from "The Boys"

Suggested by u/PrettyMuchDeceased

"Every time I thought he couldn’t get any worse, he’d do something even more depraved. Completely selfish and self-centered and gets away with it because he’s so powerful. Oh, and what makes him the most dangerous is that he’s actually pretty dumb to boot."


"Homelander is an incredible antagonist! I got shivers down my spine in the Season 2 finale when he calmly shut the door and asked the SWAT team where his son was. And again in the latest season when he's talking to Starlight and says, 'Sure, I'll lose everything, but then I'll have nothing to lose.' Antony Starr embodies terror flawlessly."



3.Annie Wilkes from Misery (played by Kathy Bates)

Annie Wilkes holding a knife

Suggested by u/Electronic-Bicycle35

"I happened upon that film once when it was aired on TV...just somehow flicked to it when it was just starting. By the end, I couldn't believe I had never heard of it before. What an amazing performance. Plus, I learned what hobbling was. Fuck."


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (played by Imelda Staunton)

Screenshots from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

Suggested by soladi6766

"Stephen King called her the greatest make-believe villain since Hannibal Lecter."


"The thing with her, is that she is such a REAL, COMMON character to everyday life. You're not going to encounter Darth Vader, Sauron, or Gus from Breaking Bad, but chances are that you have already met someone like Umbridge. She is almost the perfect definition of a lawful evil character."


Warner Bros.

5.Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds (portrayed by Christoph Waltz)

Screenshots from "Inglourious Basterds"

Suggested by u/jwps28

The Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

6.Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender (voiced by Grey DeLisle-Griffin)

Azula asks if the tides command the ship — her subordinate says no, so she asks that if she threw him overboard, if the tides would think twice about killing him. He replies no, so she says he should worry more about her and less about the tides

Suggested by u/dewdropcat

"100% agreed. She’s particularly fantastic and terrifying because she is still a force to be reckoned with when she doesn’t have her firebending. (Like during the Eclipse or when she’s playing Long Feng in Ba Sing Se.)

Long Feng: 'You've beaten me at my own game.'

Azula: 'Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.'

What an incredible character."



7.V. M. Varga from Fargo (played by David Thewlis)

V. M. Varga

"I think he gets forgotten a bit because most thought the third season as a whole was a step down from the first and second seasons (and everybody loves Billy Bob in Season 1), but every time Varga was on screen was incredible. The teeth, the bizarre yet intimidating manner of speaking, the general weirdness and obscurity of who exactly he is and his background was so well done. Thewlis is amazing."


Chris Large / FX / courtesy Everett Collection

8.Magneto from the X-Men films (played by Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender)

Magneto saying everything's been taking from him so now he's going to do the same

"You totally understand his motivations, which makes him more than a cookie-cutter comic book villain. He’s one of the few good parts of X-Men: Apocalypse, where he has one very heartbreaking scene in particular."


"How can you go wrong with Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender? The combination did an outstanding job with Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto — surely one of the best younger and older acting combinations ever."


20th Century Fox

9.Joffrey from Game of Thrones (played by Jack Gleeson)

Screenshots from "Game of Thrones"

"Let’s all be honest, [he] did [such] an outstanding job acting that we all hated him."


"Joffrey was just evil to his core. Even when there is nothing to gain, he is shooting sex workers."



10.And of course, Ramsay from Game of Thrones (played by Iwan Rheon)

Ramsay says "if you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention" and Theon begs, saying "please" — Ramsay replies (holding up a knife) "you say please again, and you'll wish you hadn't"

Suggested by u/TheClayroo

"I absolutely loved Ramsay, and I strongly believe that he is the best villain out of any TV show."


"The most sadistic and taunting character there is. Goes to show how quality acting, directing, and scripts can evoke strong feelings."



11.Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean films (played by Bill Nighy)

Davy Jones

"The most interesting villain I have ever seen."


"Can you imagine reading the script on the page, and then Bill Nighy comes in with all that accent, affectation, and just dripping character with that voice work, and you’re like…holy shit, I know how we have to animate his squidface now!"


"His character really strikes me. He’s the claimer of all souls of the dead men of the sea. Cool.

He’s got this peculiar, menacing but somewhat humorous accent, with an almost cute but cheeky chortle of a laugh. Excellent.

He’s made out of sea creatures. And had an octopus for a head. And he plays his organ with said octopus’s tentacles. Brilliant."


Walt Disney / courtesy Everett Collection

12.Moriarty from Sherlock (played by Andrew Scott)

Screenshots from "Sherlock"

Suggested byu/thisisntshakespeare

"I watched Sherlock and kept thinking, 'I really don't like this actor,' and then, I see him in some other roles, and finally, it hits me that it's not that I don't like this guy...it's that his specific acting as Moriarty is so good he is subconsciously bothering me in a way that no one had managed to do before!"



13.Wilson Fisk/Kingpin in Daredevil (played by Vincent D'Onofrio)


"Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk is hands down the best villain I have seen. He is on the brink of losing it the whole time and you watch him descend into the Kingpin."


"He got to a point where he just seemed untouchable. He was only human, but damn, did he seem like more than that. For a street level villain, he was incredible."


Barry Wetcher/Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

14.Kilgrave from Jessica Jones (played by David Tennant)

Kilgrave asks why he'd want to torture Jessica, saying he loves her. Jessica asks why he's been ruining her life, and he says he's just been proving he's the only one who matches her, and that it'll take time but he'll prove it

Suggested by u/WinterSoCool

"If you hire David Tennant, you're gonna get a good performance."


"Tennant is a great actor, but a lot of it is just the whole concept of the villain. He overrides your free will just by talking. One would think that would make him a big, high-profile player, but instead, he's a sadistic and often petty, evil bastard who often comes at you from the shadows."



15.The Trinity Killer from Dexter (played by John Lithgow)

The Trinity Killer

Suggested by u/rirop27057

"John Lithgow was absolutely impressive and beyond disturbing in this role."


"Still shudder every time I see John Lithgow because of this show. He scares me legitimately."


Randy Tepper / Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection

16.Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (played by Louise Fletcher)

Screenshots from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

Suggested by u/soladi6766

"She was such a good evil actress; I instantly hated her as Kai Winn in DS9, too."


"She apparently couldn't watch the film for years because of her own performance. Imagine playing a villain so well that it psychs you out."


Louise Fletcher

17.Silco from Arcane (voiced by Jason Spisak)


"Brilliant voice acting and animation, very clear and good motives but messy and accelerationist af methods. He is very much 'I'll go down in history as a monster if it means my people can be free,' and that makes for an interesting tale."


"It's funny — I thought I was getting a typical mustache-twirling baddie. He dresses in black and red, has a gnarly scar, a gang of intimidating thugs, a British bad-guy accent reminiscent of Jeremy Irons. ... I was so, so wrong. He broke my heart."


Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

18.Gus Fring from Breaking Bad (played by Giancarlo Esposito)

Screenshots from "Breaking Bad"


"Gus really helped me understand that Walt was truly evil. When the villain is more honorable than the protagonist, there may be a problem with the protagonist (morally, not thematically)."


"I came here to say this, and more broadly, Giancarlo Esposito. He plays villains who are so nuanced and just...terrifying. As Gus, he has an amazing ability to go from affable, mild-mannered, and at times even warm. But then suddenly...ice cold. Terrifying. His brain is constantly 10 steps ahead. He never takes a cheap shot. He is meticulous and deadly calm in his rage, and that makes him all the more frightening. When they poison Don Eladio, and it also includes himself and Walt...whew. I've never hated anyone enough to poison myself."



19.And finally, let's end with one of the most iconic villains of all time...Darth Vader from the Star Wars films (played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones)

Darth Vader

Suggested by u/anteloperunning22

"He was only in the original Star Wars for nine minutes, and he made a global impact."


Lucasfilm Ltd. / courtesy Everett Collection

What's the best TV or movie villain ever in your eyes? Let us know in the comments!

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.