The villains mentioned on our list have qualities that make them more likable. Our “Anti-Villains” are worthy of their title based on their witty comments or ability to blend among the “normal civilians” by exposing their human side. They might even intrigue us with their charms and cunning skills, which makes them dangerous and interesting. Let’s have a look at GeekShizzle’s list of 15 Likable Series and Movie Villains [Set 1].
Also see: 15 Likable Series and Movie Villains [Set 2]
1. Christoph Waltz – “Jew Hunter” – Inglourious Basterds (movie)
Tarantino originally sought Leonardo DiCaprio to be cast as Hans Landa, before deciding to have the character played by an older German actor. The role ultimately went to Austrian Christoph Waltz, who, according to Tarantino, “gave me my movie” as he feared the part was “unplayable.” The sharp witted, anti-semitic “Jew Hunter” proved to be a key player in the box office hit, securing his Oscar statue for the best performance by an actor in a supporting role.
“What a tremendously hostile world that a rat must endure. Yet not only does he survive, he thrives. Because our little foe has an instinct for survival and preservation second to none… And that Monsieur is what a Jew shares with a rat.”
2. Anthony Hopkins – Hannibal Lecter – Silence of the Lambs (movie)
Lecter is a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator. His twisted, dry sence of humor and strong link to Clarice Starling made him extremely compelling and interesting to watch.
“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you’ve tried so desperately to shed: pure West Virginia. What is your father, dear? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp? You know how quickly the boys found you… all those tedious sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars… while you could only dream of getting out… getting anywhere… getting all the way to the FBI.”
3. Daniel Day Lewis – Bill the butcher – Gangs of New York (movie)
Daniel Day Lewis’s character as the Native boss Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York set him apart from many actors climbing the “A” list a the time. William Cutting “Bill the butcher” is a WASP who dislikes immigrants, the Irish being the top of his list. He challenges the leader of the Dead Rabbits, Priest Vallon (played by Liam Neeson) in a gang-on-gang brawl over who would control the Five Points. Priest is killed by Bill himself, and declares the Dead Rabbits outlawed. Despite being a racist, he is a “man of honor”. He had the slain Priest Vallon buried with honors and his son placed in an orphanage.
“We hold in our hearts the memory of our fallen brothers whose blood stains the very streets we walk today. Also on this night we pay tribute to the leader of our enemies, an honorable man, who crossed over bravely, fighting for what he believed in. To defeat my enemy, I extinguish his life, and consume him as I consume these flames. In honor of Priest Vallon.”
4. David Carradine – Bill – Kill Bill (movie)
Deeply saddened by the apparent murder of his second-in-command, and lover, Beatrix Kiddo, Bill personally sought out her killers, only to find that she was still very much alive, trying to clear her past and start a new life with her unborn child. In true Tarantino style, Bill’s character building was rich and detailed. Being the merciless sword killer and father, with a romantic past with his target in sight, made this film an excellent watch as him pegged as the ultimate advisory.
“About two minutes, just long enough for me to finish my point. Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race. Sorta like Beatrix Kiddo and Mrs. Tommy Plimpton.”
5. Evan Peters – Tate Langdon – American Horror Story (series)
Tate primarily dons a BDSM fetish coverall to become (what is popularly referred to as) the Rubber Man whenever he does nefarious things. As his relationship with Violet and treatments with Ben continued, Tate seemed to become friendlier and soft. He often speaks rather highly of Ben as a father, telling Violet he wished he had a father like him while growing up. He also expressed the sentiment to Hayden that he was getting tired of hurting people.
“I used to come here… when the world closed in and got so small I couldn’t breathe. I’d look out at the ocean, and I’d think… “Yo, douche bag, high school counts for jack shit.” Kurt Cobain, Quentin Tarantino, Brando, DeNiro, Pacino, all high school dropouts. I… hated high school. So I’d come here and I’d look out at this vast, limitless expanse. Then it’s like, that’s your life, man. You can do anything, could be anything. Screw high school. That’s… it’s just a blip in your timeline. Don’t get stuck there.”
6. Jack Nicholson – Frank Costello – The Departed (movie)
Frank Costello could work through his childhood issues by playing father figure to a young protégé, but is more likely to shoot him than to provide an affectionate hug. His hard boiled exterior and sharp wit was genius to set the stage as the rest of the stellar cast brought the story together.
“I’m concerned about a Chinaman who thinks it’s wise to come to a business transaction with automatic weapons. [to the Chinese translator] For his own good, tell Bruce Lee and the Karate Kids none of us are carrying automatic weapons. Because here – in this country… it don’t add inches to your dick. You get a life sentence for it.”
7. Joker – Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (movie)
The Joker is depicted as a maniacal criminal mastermind who terrorizes Gotham City and whose goal is to plunge it into anarchy. The Joker has been described as a “psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy.” No one knows who the Joker really is. Many argue that Ledger’s life experiences influenced his Oscar winning performance.
“You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you, because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”
8. Javier Bardem – Raoul Silva – Skyfall (movie)
Silva is a man of pure evil who is compelled to destroy Agent 007. A chilling cross between Hannibal Lecter and Larry Grayson. Whilst “M” was overseeing the transition in Hong Kong from a British colony to a special administrative region she sold out Silva in exchange for prisoners held by the Chinese government. During his capture, torture and imprisonment by the Chinese, Silva attempted to take his own life using a hydrogen cyanide implant in one of his molars. The suicide attempt failed, horrifically scarring Silva both mentally and physically. The botched attempt is shown to have severely damaged his upper jaw so his left cheek is sunken and all but a few teeth have melted away with the few remaining having been mutilated and deformed, requiring Silva to wear a prosthesis to replace the teeth and keep his left cheek up. Fueled by revenge and a hunger to defeat 007, the story unfolds why his intentions are all but subtle to destroy the MI6 agents and all they stand for. Silva will stop at nothing to see the death of M, and cares not if he loses his own life in the process.
“What is this if not betrayal? She sent you after me, knowing you are not ready, knowing you would likely die. Mommy was very bad. [he unbuttons Bond’s shirt, inspecting the scar on his shoulder. Winces.] Ooh. You see what she’s done to you?”
9. Robert De Niro – Neil McCauley – Heat (movie)
Neil McCauley represents the guy who will stop at nothing to do what he loves to do, even if it is against the law. His direct approach and “getting down to business” approach really set the mood for this classic cop vesus robber thriller.
“A guy told me one time, “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.” Now, if you’re on me and you gotta move when I move, how do you expect to keep a… a marriage?”
10. Peter Dinklage – Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones (series)
Tyrion is shrewd, educated, and calculating, but receives little respect for this from his father, because of his deformity, and the death of his mother during his birth. He is capable of cruelty to his enemies, but also has great sympathy for fellow outcasts and the mistreated.
“Don’t fight for a king. Don’t fight for his kingdoms. Don’t fight for honor, don’t fight for glory, don’t fight for riches, because you won’t get any. This is your city Stannis means to sack. That’s your gate he’s ramming. If he gets in it will be your house that burns. Your gold he steals, your women he rapes. Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”
11. Tom Cruise – Les Grossman – Tropic Thunder (movie)
In Tropic Thunder, Tom Cruise donned a fat suit and a bald headcap to play relentless studio mogul Les Grossman. His obnoxious antics and ridiculous dancing made him an absolute pleasure to watch.
“Cockburn, from now on my fist is going to be so far up your shithole that every time you have a thought, it’s gonna have to tiptoe past my wedding ring…”
12. Page Kennedy – U-Turn – Weeds (series)
Our favorite pot selling thug has been a hit on Weeds. The character U-Turn, paved the way for Page Kennedy to guest star on another Geekshizzle favorite, Blue Mountain state.
Sanjay: “My cousin Raishna had this friend Mitha who let me play with her nipples. I found it kinda gross.
“U-Turn: “Yeah, some women got ugly tillies. That don’t mean you’re a ****-smoker.”
U- Turn: “So you would suck a dick?” Sanjay: “Yes, I think I would. If it was the right dick.” U-Turn: “Ain’t no right dick! All dick ‘sides y’own is wrong, boy! You know what you need is Jesus.”
U-Turn (to Sanjay):”Clinique here gonna take you in the back room and **** the gay outta you.”Conrad: “I don’t think it works like that.”
13. Zachary Quinto – Sylar – Heroes (series)
The former timepiece restorer who always desired to be special instead of “ordinary” captivated audiences with his constant struggle to sway from the dark side. The ultimate “villain among heroes” was a true breath of fresh air considering how difficult it was to detain the evil bastard.
“Why does anybody want power? To screw with people? Or to simply screw people?”
14. Timothy-Olyphant – Kelly – The Girl Next Door (movie)
Kelly is a porn producer desperately trying to get his main girl, Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert), back in the business”. His only motivating factor is money as he charms his way to the next big porn production, prepared to stop at nothing to make it big.
“Kelly: You wanna be president? Lemme tell you the first rule of politics; Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze. You know what that means? It means you don’t steal my girl unless you’re ready to accept the consequences.”
15. Yvonne Strahovski – Hannah McKay – Dexter (series)
It will be very difficult to resist the sexy Hannah Mckay, if she presents you with an opportunity to enjoy a casual drink overlooking the beautiful Biscayne Bay lagoon. She has kept her humanity and can feel real emotions over certain things. She is very capable of concealing her dark side which makes her a very dangerous killer. Hannah McKay’s specialty is poison, so make sure you insist on ordering a beverage that is stored in a sealed container.
“You know, my Grandma had this saying… Trust those who seek the truth, but doubt those who say that they have found it. My Grandma wasn’t ever wrong.”
If you missed it, here’s Set 2 of our 15 Likable Villains
WHERE THE HELL WAS OMAR FROM THE WIRE?! hes the best, most likeable most villain-y character ever
Loki from Thor and The Avengers should be in this list. He’s one of the coolest villains.