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Fun Friday–Favorite Bad Guys

Friday, May 18, 2007


Last Friday’s post about favorite settings on film gave me the idea for this week’s Fun Friday post: my favorite Bad Guys from TV and movies. Although I could go so far as to say it’s good to study the antagonist characters in books and on film to get an idea of how to develop them, really I’m just posting it because it’s fun. So here goes (and this is a fluid list—depending on what movies/tv shows I see, it could change next week) . . .

He went from brooding hero (as John Thornton in North & South) to medieval-bad-boy Sir Guy of Gisborne in the BBC-TV series Robin Hood: Richard Armitage.

Robin Hood

Another one who “switched sides” from the heroic Third Marshal of the Riddermark Eomer in Lord of the Rings to the silent-but-deadly assassin in The Bourne Supremacy: Karl Urban.

The Bourne Supremacy

It’s a trend . . . another actor known for his “hero” roles, notably in Gosford Park and King Arthur, as another silent-but-deadly assassin in The Bourne Identity: Clive Owen.

The Bourne Identity

This one is a tie between two actors portraying the same character: the Sheriff of Notthingham. First is Alan Rickman who was the ONLY reason for watching the Kevin Costner vehicle, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Rickman brought a humor to the role never before seen in the Sheriff character. The second is Keith Allen in the BBC-TV Robin Hood series, whose Sheriff has a tendency to run around the castle in black silk pajamas and flipflops.

Robin Hood Prince of ThievesRobin Hood

It doesn’t matter what role this actor plays, I’m going to love him, but he really burned up the screen as the leader of a terrorist cell in Showtime’s original series Sleeper Cell (in fact, he’s the only reason I watched it): Oded Fehr.

Sleeper Cell

In the recent Mummy movies, Oded (#5) played a good guy who got to eventually defeat this bad guy in a sword fight in the middle of a pigmy-infested oasis. From The Mummy Returns: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

The Mummy Returns

Maybe I should have listed him first, as he was in both of the Mummy movies. The mummy himself: Arnold Vosloo.

The Mummy

Although my favorite role this actor has filled is as Bobby Goren on NBC’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent, there’s no denying his comic genius as the Bug threatening Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black: Vincent d’Onofrio.

Vincent d'Onofrio: Men in Black

This guy seems to bring his sinister side to most roles he plays, whether he’s a morally corrupt plastic surgeon on Nip/Tuck, a demon on Charmed, or the dastardly comic-book baddie Victor Von Doom in The Fantastic Four: Julian McMahon.


The cloak. The voice. The great moves in a fight to the death. The ultimate redemption. How can this character not be on everyone’s list of favorite bad guys: Darth Vader.

Darth Vader

  1. Friday, May 18, 2007 11:39 am

    You know I have that very same Richard Armitage picture posted on my blog…but seeing it again still leaves me awestruck. 😉

    Love Karl Urban, love Clive Owen…and that picture of Keith Allen cracks me up. It perfectly captures his nuttiness in the Robin Hood show.

    This post reminds me…have you ever seen the A&E version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Richard E. Grant as Percy Blakeney (aside: OHMYGOSH!! I just looked him up on the IMDB and he’s in one of the episodes of Miss Marple, series 3, as her novel-writing nephew Raymond! YES!! That is TOO PERFECT!!)?

    Anyway…back to the point I was going to make. Martin Shaw played Chauvelin…and I can remember one of the many times I was watching this show with my friend Becky — I turned to her and asked “Is it disturbing that I find him strangely attractive?” Anyone who hasn’t seen this show will not get this and think I’m a freak…well, it won’t be the first time. I’ll live with it, LOL. I just thought he was such a fascinating villain…there were moments when he’d almost steal the show from my beloved Richard. 🙂


  2. Friday, May 18, 2007 5:26 pm

    Oded Fehr…woohoo!


  3. Austin Field permalink
    Friday, May 18, 2007 5:42 pm

    How come Darth Vader isn’t at the top of the list? And what about Sauron and Sarumon from The Lord of the Rings. And who could forget Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects… Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lechter? Any of these sounding familiar? You like chick films, that’s the problem. Even if they say they’re action films, if they’ve got a villain the chicks think is hot, it’s a chick film.

    Seriously, though, it is interesting how most of these you’ve chosen have a comic bent to them. Not too into the dark-side, huh?

    I do have to agree on the Bourne movies. I’m really looking forward to the new one this summer.


  4. Austin Field permalink
    Friday, May 18, 2007 5:46 pm

    You know I’m just kidding right?
    I thought of another great one: Robert Mitchum as Max Cady in the original Cape Fear.

    And Ralph Finnes as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter.


  5. Sunday, May 20, 2007 12:12 pm

    Hannibal! and Darth Vader, Venom from Spiderman, Joaquin Phoenix as Caesar in The Gladiator, the aliens in Signs (I know, I know, but they were so well done and scared me when they came onscreen the first time!)

    The Mummy of course. He makes a fantastic villain. And Willem Defoe made an awesome Green Goblin.


  6. Monday, May 21, 2007 10:42 am

    Like Rachel, I loved Joaquin as Caesar too. Bad guys are cool, at least in fiction. I’m working hard on my bad guy, and I LOVE writing his POV. Bad guys seem to be the most complex characters, and discovering their movtivation is such fun.


  7. Caleb Abel permalink
    Saturday, June 16, 2007 6:26 am

    Alright, here’s a list I can more easily get behind simply as a result of actually SEEING almost all of these movies. Mine will probably look a bit different (planning on doing a Top Ten Rivalries list pretty soon), but it’s still a fun list. The Bug guy from Men In Black was my favorite surprise inclusion.

    Curious, though: Are these count-downs or count-ups? Is Darth Vader actually your number one choice or do you really think the guy hunting down Jason Bourne in Supremacy is the better foe? If it’s the latter, I’m gonna have to go ahead and call blasphemy – especially on the fact that that would mean 9 other people beat out Darth Vader when he’s almost undeniably the greatest villain ever invented.


  8. Tuesday, November 2, 2010 8:11 am

    Your comments about Keith Allan’s sheriff made me laugh so hard – I’ve seen all three seasons twice, and seasons 1-2 THREE times. I LOVE that show!!


  9. Julie permalink
    Friday, May 13, 2011 11:30 am

    Agree w Alan Rickman.How about Ernest Borgnine in Emperor of the North as a baddie?How about Sean Connory in the Wind and the lion?How about the Red Baron(Manfred von Richthofen)?Or is he disqualified because he was also a real person?



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