The 20 Greatest Movie Villains Of All Time, As Chosen By The Readers Of ‘Empire’ Magazine

20th Century Fox/Marvel/Warner Bros./Lucasfilm

There have been some amazing movies villains over the years. So choosing the “greatest” is obviously both very subjective and practically impossible. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to try. In fact, it’s very fun, which is why Empire magazine asked its readers to vote for their favorite movie villains of all time. And boy, did they chose some good ones.

Back in 2003, the American Film Institute ranked their 50 best movie villains and 50 best movie heroes for a TV special hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their top five villains back then were Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Darth Vader, The Wicked Witch of the West, and Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. (For what it’s worth, their top five heroes were Atticus Finch, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Rick Blaine, and Will Kane. You can be excused if you don’t know who all of those people are.)

Needless to say, a ranking of the best movie villains of all time taken in 2018 looks a whole lot different. Especially since it wasn’t chosen by a bunch of stuffed shirts, but rather by movie fans themselves. By the way, only one actor made the list twice, honestly he could have been on here three times, and it was this guy…

greatest movie villains all time

Warner Bros.

Here’s the final tally for what they came up with for the top 20 greatest movie villains of all time…

20. Michael Myers, Halloween series (1978-2018)

greatest movie villains

Columbia Pictures

19. T-1000, Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

18. Freddy Krueger, The Nightmare On Elm Street series (1984-2010)

17. Agent Smith, The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)

16. Norman Bates, Psycho series (1960, 1983v1998)

15. Palpatine, The Star Wars Saga (1983-2005)

14. The Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)

greatest movie villains all time

Warner Bros.

13. Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

12. Sauron, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy (2001-2014)

11. Gollum, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy (2001-2014)

10. The Alien, The Alien series (1979-2017)

greatest movie villains all time

20th Century Fox

9. Voldemort, The Harry Potter series (2001-2011)

8. Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men (2007)

7. Kylo Ren, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

6. Hans Landa, Inglourious Basterds (2009)

5. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence Of The Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2000) and Red Dragon (2002)

greatest movie villains all time

Orion Pictures

4. Hans Gruber, Die Hard (1988)

3. Loki, The Thor films (2011-2017), The Avengers (2012)

2. The Joker, Batman (1966), Batman (1989), The Dark Knight (2008)

1. Darth Vader, The Star Wars trilogy (1977-1983) Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith (2005), Rogue One (2016)

So, did they miss any? I’m sure they did so let us know who.

Check out the fascinating full profiles of all the movie villains over at Empire.

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.