We get a rush of moral happiness at the end of every movie when the hero finally defeats the villain. After so much hardship, the right is always victorious.
But real life doesn’t always play by the rules, and many a times bad guys get away with a lot of horrible things they do. This is something we always hate, and this is the reason not many filmmakers are comfortable with leaving their villains victorious in the end.
But every once in a few years we come across gems that do not conform to the traditions and leave themselves forever etched in our memories.
1. Lou Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler
Although the character does everything for the reasons of survival, we start seeing a pattern for ruthlessness very akin to the survival techniques wild animals use to survive.
In the end, this ruthlessness makes him successful, even though the people who give the antagonist big breaks know that he is playing with them.
Jake Gynelhall’s finest performance to date.
2. Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men
Chigurh lives in the end. He accomplishes everything he set out to do, killing the best of the bounty hunters and police.
Some may argue that he is mortally wounded and does not live, but it is safe to assume that he actually dies and in style.
3. The devil’s cult in Rosemary’s Baby
The movie is a masterclass in how a slow screenplay has to be written to engross the audience. In the end, Rosemary does give birth to the devil and she can do nothing about it.
4. The Joker, played by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
Yes, he is captured, but he accomplishes pretty much everything he sets out to do.
He makes Harvey a villain and forces Batman to become a villain. And he goes out laughing. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.
5. Verbal Kint, played by Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects
One of the best movies that does a brilliant job in keeping the identity of the villain under wraps until the very end. When the end hits you, every viewer is left in awe, directed at not just the villain, but even at the storytelling too.
6. Amy Dunne, played by Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
She is one of the most memorable and macabre villains in recent years. You know you have a good villain when she convinces everyone that she was raped after she sodomizes herself.
And her husband cannot do a thing about it, except live the rest of his days with her.
7. Hitler in Valkyrie
Hitler lives. But the operation becomes legendary.
8. Ava, played by Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina
The machine learns empathy and manipulation and finally passes the critical Turing test. But the machine does escape, which leaves the plot open-ended regarding her survival. She is after all, battery powered.
However, she goes on to cause the death of two people to escape. Who knows what she will do to achieve what she wants?
9. Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of the Lambs
Hannibal Lecter is the big fish.
Everyone else concentrates on catching the small fish and catch it eventually. The big fish escapes interim. And then calls his love in the most haunting voice ever. The villain is a true romantic mastermind.
10. Every Star Wars Movie
Senator Palpatine survives until the end, destroying almost the whole Jedi order, and fashioning an intergalactic war. Even after he does die in the end, the dark side is not really lost, as we can see in the latest Star Wars movie.
11. John Doe, played by Kevin Spacey in Se7en
Joh Doe survives. He kills all the seven victims and lives to tell the tale.
12. Ma’am, played by Urmila Matondkar in Kaun
The serial killer lives in the end, after killing both the visitors to “her” house by sowing seeds of distrust and animosity. And in the end, she is humming joyfully in the rain on the terrace.
13. Langda Tyagi, played by Saif Ali Khan in Omkara
The villain does die but not before he plunges the whole scenario around him in chaos.
14. Definite, played by Zeishan Quadri in Gangs Of Wasseypur
We definitely didn’t see that coming. This movie is as gritty and realistic as it gets. And the bad guy wins.
15. Dr. Lawerence Gordon, played by Cary Elwes in Saw
Many may argue that the villain in the movie was not really a villain, but the fact remains that he did try killing them with brutally designed games. And at the end of the movie he lives to see the day.
16. Kayako, played by Takako Fuji in The Grudge
She had injustice done to her. We get it. But then she goes on to haunt and kill a whole family in horrible ways. And she still “lives” to haunt even after the house is burned down.
17. The entity in Paranormal Activity
Whoever the entity was, it accomplished whatever it wanted to do and still lived, as we can infer from the sequels.
18. Chris Wilton, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Match Point
What starts off as a drab movie about infidelity, ends up a dark case of pure skulduggery of betrayal and hunger for power and money.
The bad guy does everything – gets rich, gets a good social life, has a fling and gets away with it all. Just like in real life.
19. Drugs in Requiem For A Dream
Drugs are the real villains in this movie. And as the movie so heart-wrenchingly portrays, the drugs wrecks the lives of the characters we slowly come to love and then pity.
20. Damien Thorn, played by Harvey Stephens in The Omen
Just like Rosemary’s Baby, it seems like it is impossible to kill the devil, even when he is a toddler or a defenseless child. And in this movie, the child has no concern about his biological mother and ends up killing her and living on.
The trend has changed. People are starting to love villains as much as they love heroes.
Hope we get to see much more of these villains more often in the future.
Do you recall any more movies where the villain has won? Share them with us in the comments.