Pop Culture | Movies | 90s | 80s

10 Actors Who Made Their Living Playing People We Hated

If you watch a lot of movies, you start to recognize certain faces and voices that pop up pretty regularly. In particular, you find that some actors are really, REALLY good at playing villains that are menacing, sly, cool, or even just downright evil. In the case of these 10 actors, being bad has never looked so good.

Sir Christopher Lee

The actor best-known for serving in WWII and educating Peter Jackson on what a man sounds like when being stabbed in the back (seriously), Lee is one of the most recognizable villain actors of all time. This is thanks to roles like Count Dracula in Hammer's Dracula franchise, Bond villain Scaramanga in Man With The Golden Gun, and Saruman The White in The Lord of the Rings.

Ralph Fiennes

A phenomenal actor of stage and screen, Fiennes is one of the film industry's most talented villain actors, which he shows off as Nazi Commandant Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, Rameses in The Prince of Egypt, and of course, Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise.

Gary Oldman

While people today probably know him best as Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight franchise, Oldman made his name by playing villains, especially Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Stansfield in Léon: The Professional, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element, and Ivan Korshunov in Air Force One.

James Earl Jones

Sure, he was the voice of Mufasa, but James Earl Jones has plenty of villain cred in Hollywood, thanks to providing the voice of cinema's most iconic villain: Darth Vader. He also had plenty of time to be evil as Thulsa Doom in Conan: The Barberian and as the evil "Bad Dream House" in the first Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons.

These next few actors are pretty much never playing a good guy...

Michael Ironside

One of the singularly biggest badasses in Hollywood, Ironside has been a tour de force for decades, and we especially remember him as psychotic villains like Darryl Revok in Scanners, Richter in Total Recall, and General Katana in Highlander II: The Quickening.

Tony Jay

You may not know his name or face, but you definitely know his voice. A prolific voice actor for decades, Jay turned in some absolutely iconic performances as Shere Khan in Tailspin, Chairface Chippendale in The Tick, Megabyte in Reboot, and of course, Judge Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Clancy Brown

Best-known to the current generation of kids as the voice of Mr. Krabs in Spongebob Squarepants, Brown used to be both terrifying and incredibly easy to hate as a villain, especially as The Kurgan in Highlander and Captain Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption.

Alan Rickman

An absolute talent that we lost far too soon, Rickman stole our attention (and hearts) thanks to some absolutely iconic performances, such as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd, and of course, Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.

Tim Curry

No matter what movie he's in, Curry is always 1) the villain, and 2) incredible. Don't believe me? His resumé speaks for itself: Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Darkness in Legend, Pennywise in It, and Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island.

Gary Busey

With crazy facial expressions and a personality to match, Busey makes for a fun as hell villain in movies like Lethal Weapon and Under Siege, though we still have to wonder if he's actually acting...

Who's your favorite regular movie villain?

×