The Top 10 Most Popular Villains In Famous Movies

All great movies have a villain, whether that's due to a cool accent, an over-the-top performance, or an intimidating disposition, some villains just stand out. For instance, who doesn't have some type of fondness for Hannibal Lecter? How about the evil Darth Vader for that matter? Who are the greatest villains of all time?

The Top 10 Most Popular Villains In Famous Movies

10 Most Popular Movie Villains Of All Time

  • Darth Vader
  • Joker
  • Two-Face
  • Loki
  • Hannibal Lecter
  • Sauron
  • Bane
  • Tyler Durden
  • Agent Smith
  • Gollum

1. Darth Vader

Darth Vader

Real name: Anakin Skywalker
Created by: George Lucas
First appearance: Star Wars (1977)
Portrayed as: Darth Vader

Darth Vader is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. Born as Anakin Skywalker, the character is a primary antagonist in the original trilogy and a primary protagonist in the prequel trilogy. Star Wars creator George Lucas has collectively referred to the first six episodic films of the franchise as "the tragedy of Darth Vader".

Darth Vader has become one of the most iconic villains in popular culture, and has been listed among the greatest villains and fictional characters ever. The American Film Institute listed him as the third greatest movie villain in cinema history on 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains, behind Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. His role as a tragic hero in the saga was also met with positive reviews.

2. Joker


First appearance: Batman #1 (April 25, 1940)
Last appearance: The Dark Knight (2008)
Created by: Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson
Portrayed by: Heath Ledger

One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the Joker has been listed among the greatest comic book villains and fictional characters ever created. The character's popularity has seen him appear on a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectible items, inspire real-world structures (such as theme park attractions), and be referenced in a number of media. The Joker has been adapted to serve as Batman's adversary in live-action, animated, and video game incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series played by Cesar Romero and in films by Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989), Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), and Joaquin Phoenix in Joker (2019); Ledger and Phoenix each earned an Academy Award for their portrayals. Mark Hamill, Troy Baker, and others have provided the character's voice.

3. Two-Face


First appearance: Detective Comics #66 (August 1942)
Created by: Bill Finger (writer), Bob Kane (artist)
Alter ego: Harvey Dent

The character has been featured in various media adaptations, such as feature films, television series and video games. Two-Face has been voiced by Richard Moll in the DC animated universe, Troy Baker in the Batman: Arkham series, Billy Dee Williams in The Lego Batman Movie, and William Shatner in Batman vs. Two-Face. His live-action portrayals include Billy Dee Williams in Batman (as Harvey Dent only), Tommy Lee Jones in Batman Forever, Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight, and Nicholas D'Agosto in the television series Gotham. In 2009, Two-Face was ranked #12 on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time.

4. Loki


First appearance: Journey into Mystery #85 (October 1962)
Created by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby
Real name: Loki Laufeyson (née Odinson)
Place of origin: Jotunheim, Asgard

In 2009, Loki was ranked as IGN's eighth-greatest comic book villain of all time and in 2014 was ranked again by IGN, this time as the fourth-greatest comic book villain of all time. Tom Hiddleston portrays the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

5. Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal Lecter

First appearance: Red Dragon
Created by: Thomas Harris
Portrayed by: Brian Cox (Manhunter), Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon), Gaspard Ulliel (Hannibal Rising), Aaran Thomas (young; Hannibal Rising), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal)

In 2003, Hannibal Lecter (as portrayed by Hopkins) was chosen by the American Film Institute as the greatest villain in American cinema. In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named him one of the "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years". In 2019, Hannibal (as portrayed by Mikkelsen) was listed as the 18th greatest villain in television history by Rolling Stone.

6. Sauron


Portrayed by: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sala Baker, Jemaine Clement
Weapon: One Ring, Maia, Dark sorcery, Weapons, Mace
Famous movie: Lord of the Ring

Sauron is the title character and the main antagonist of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, where he rules the land of Mordor and has the ambition of ruling the whole of Middle-earth. In the same work, he is identified as the Necromancer of Tolkien's earlier novel The Hobbit. In The Silmarillion, he is also described as the chief lieutenant of the first Dark Lord, Morgoth. Tolkien noted that the Ainur, the "angelic" powers of his constructed myth, "were capable of many degrees of error and failing", but by far the worst was "the absolute Satanic rebellion and evil of Morgoth and his satellite Sauron".

7. Bane


First appearance: Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (January 1993)
Created by: Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Graham Nolan
Movies and TV shows: The Dark Knight Rises, Gotham
Portrayed by: Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises)

Bane is usually depicted as an adversary of the superhero Batman and belongs to the collective of enemies that make up the Batman rogues gallery. Possessing a mix of brute strength and exceptional intelligence, Bane is often credited as the only villain to have "broken the bat" both physically and mentally. He is also a son of another one of Batman's enemies, King Snake. IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranked Bane as #34.

8. Tyler Durden

Tyler Durden

Created by: Chuck Palahniuk
Played by: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton
First appearance: Pursuit of Happiness (1995)
Movie: Fight Club

The character is an insomniac with a split personality, and is depicted as an unnamed everyman (credited in the film as "the Narrator") during the day, who becomes the chaotic and charismatic Tyler Durden at night during periods of insomnia. In 2008, Tyler was selected by Empire magazine as the greatest movie character of all time. When the list was redone in 2015, he placed at number 8.

9. Agent Smith

Agent Smith

First appearance: The Matrix (1999)
Last appearance: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Created by: The Wachowskis
Portrayed by: Hugo Weaving

Agent Smith is a fictional character and the main antagonist of The Matrix trilogy. He is portrayed by Hugo Weaving in the films and voiced by Christopher Corey Smith in The Matrix: Path of Neo. In 2008, Agent Smith was selected by Empire Magazine as the 69th Greatest Movie Character of All Time. In 2013, Weaving reprised the role for a General Electric advertisement.

10. Gollum


First appearance: The Hobbit (1937)
Aliases: Sméagol
Portrayed by: Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the ring)

Gollum is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. He was introduced in the 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, and became important in its sequel, The Lord of the Rings. Gollum was a Stoor Hobbit of the River-folk, who lived near the Gladden Fields. Originally known as Sméagol, he was corrupted by the One Ring and later named Gollum after his habit of making "a horrible swallowing noise in his throat".


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