25 Most Evil Characters From Movies And TV

Posted by , Updated on March 23, 2024

Villains play a crucial role in narrative development. A story becomes dull and bland without a character instigating conflict for the protagonist. Hence, a strong, motivated adversary is necessary to challenge the protagonist to the extreme. Some top-tier villains make not just the protagonist’s, but also the audience’s experience distressing. If a villain genuinely incites disdain, then it is an indication of them playing their role effectively. It was challenging to narrow down to just twenty-five from the myriad of movies and TV shows available. Nonetheless, we strongly believe these are the 25 Most Evil Characters from Movies and TV.


Newman (Seinfeld)

newmanSource: http://seinfeld.wikia.com/wiki/Newman

Newman’s entire existence on the hit comedy Seinfeld was to be Jerry’s menacing foil. Jerry called Newman “pure evil,” and anytime he greeted Newman, it was with a sharp, disgusted tone. Funny enough, it’s never revealed where the feud came from, but it didn’t matter; we disliked Newman’s character as much as Jerry did.


J.R. Ewing (Dallas)

larry hagmanSource: http://dallas.wikia.com/wiki/J.R._Ewing

How could J.R. Ewing of the hit show Dallas not end up on this list? The guy was an egocentric, manipulative psychopath constantly plotting against his foes and coming up with schemes no normal person would plan. Of course, the greatest villains sometimes become the most beloved, and for some reason, people just loved his character.


Nina Myers (24)

Nina_MyersSource: http://24.wikia.com/wiki/Nina_Myers

Nina Myers character was like getting a stake in the heart. On Season 1 of the show 24, Nina was a close friend to Jack Bauer and a pretty awesome agent. You never saw her becoming a double-agent, killing Jack’s wife, and taking off. Things only got worse as Nina revealed her true character in Season 2 and 3, a cold-blooded killer who doesn’t believe in anything or anyone.


Hans Gruber (Die Hard)

hans gruberSource: http://diehard.wikia.com/wiki/Hans_Gruber

Criminal mastermind Hans Gruber in the movie Die Hard is a ruthless murdering thief willing to do anything to achieve his goals. He kills Joseph Takagi in cold blood. Then, when Ellis tries to negotiate with him, Gruber kills him, too. He also sent a group of hostages to the top of Nakatomi Plaza in a failed attempt to blow up C4, hoping to kill them and the FBI agents come to save them. Fortunately, John McClane foiled his plan.


Saruman the White (Lord of the Rings)

Saruman_the_WhiteSource: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Saruman

Saruman the White is a classic definition of evil. His former shining example turned to darkness by the lure of Sauron. By allying with Sauron, he imprisoned Gandalf and built an orc and Uruk-hai army with the intent of taking over Middle-Earth, killing and pillaging in the process.


Kilgrave (Jessica Jones)

kilgraveSource: http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Kilgrave

Kilgrave on the hit Netflix show Jessica Jones is a sadistic maniac, obsessed with hunting down Jones in a weird love obsession. With the power to manipulate and control people’s minds, Kilgrave left a trail of bodies in his wake until Jessica put a stop to it for good.


Sheriff of Nottingham (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)

sheriff of nottinghamSource: http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Sheriff_of_Nottingham_(Robin_Hood:_Prince_of_Thieves)

Alan Rickman had a knack for playing the evil villain, and his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham is no exception. He robs the poor, practices black magic with a witch, and pledges to cut Robin Hood’s heart out with a spoon. Worst of all, he forces Maid Marian to marry him and shortly after tries to rape her.


Roy Batty (Blade Runner)

roy battySource: http://bladerunner.wikia.com/wiki/Roy_Batty

The main antagonist in Blade Runner, Roy Batty lead the resistance against his human slavemasters. He did anything and everything in an attempt to live longer, including shoving his thumbs into a guys eye sockets.


Benjamin Linus (Lost)

EmersonSource: http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Benjamin_Linus

There’s no denying Benjamin Linus in the television show Lost is an evil mastermind capable of terrible things to get what he wants. From serial lying, kidnapping, forced labor, torture, and murder, not to mention letting his daughter die because of his own pride, Linus is an evil manipulative worm.


Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter)

LordvoldemortSource: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Tom_Riddle

Lord Voldemort is essentially an insane serial killer and leader of a mass army of serial killers known as the Deatheaters. Using many evil curses, Voldemort covers the wizarding world in darkness until Harry Potter came around to stop him.


Wilson Fisk (Daredevil)

KingpinSource: http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Kingpin

Wilson Fisk, also known as Kingpin, in the hit television Netflix show Daredevil, is both an underworld mob boss and successful businessman. His troubled childhood involved murdering his father with a hammer. His crazed killings didn’t stop there, and he frequently kills those that don’t get in line.


Gus Fring (Breaking Bad)

gus fringSource: http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Gustavo_Fring

Running a successful fast-food chain called Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus Fring in secret is a drug lord, cooking and selling meth. He’s a cold, calculating murderer who will slit your throat at the first sign of disobedience or disrespect. What makes him most evil is his unwavering resolve in killing anyone to get what he wants.


Annie Wilkes (Misery)

annie wilkesSource: http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/Annie_Wilkes

Annie Wilkes in the movie Misery is every author’s worst nightmare. A crazed fan who holds her favorite author hostage, Wilkes becomes obsessed with forcing him to “fix” his novel, and when he doesn’t, she resorts to horrific violence. In one scene, she takes a sledgehammer and performs “hobbling,” another way of saying she broke his ankles.


Darth Vader (Star Wars)

darth vaderSource: http://www.starwars.com/databank/darth-vader

Darth Vader is a rare mass-murdering villain. While he’s done horrific things, he still has a lot of adoring fans. Maybe it’s the breathing, the dark suit, or the fact that he’s so crazy iconic, but none of that takes away the horrible things he’s done. Like, you know, strangling people to death, drugging his own daughter to pump information out of her, and committing horrific genocide by blowing up entire planets. At least, if anything, he found redemption in the end.


The Trinity Killer (Dexter)

john lithgowSource: http://dexter.wikia.com/wiki/Arthur_Mitchell

Arthur Mitchell is a unique kind of evil sociopath on the television show Dexter. Known as the Trinity Killer, he was thought to have killed in patterns of three, though Dexter later discovered there were actually four killings. Mitchell pretends to be an upstanding citizen going to church, loving his family, and helping build homes for the homeless. But, when his cycle starts, he goes through a ritual which starts with killing a ten-year-old boy and ends with bludgeoning a man to death. He’s had at least 264 confirmed kills.


The Joker (The Dark Knight)

the jokerSource: http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/The_Joker_(Heath_Ledger)

The Joker, in the mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight, is the ultimate nihilist, killing and causing chaos at every turn. Just as Alfred said in the movie, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” The Joker shoved a pencil through a guy’s forehead, tortured a guy on national television, murdered Rachel Dawes, blew up a hospital, and almost had dozens of people murdered on a boat. In his most twisted experiment, he turned Gotham’s white knight, Harvey Dent, into the madman villain Two-Face.


Jack Torrance (The Shining)

jack nicholsonSource: http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/Jack_Torrance

Jack Torrence, at this point, is almost as classic a villain as Count Dracula. A writer who loses his mind on a retreat at a secluded hotel, he discovers there’s more to the hotel than he knew. After going crazy, he terrorizes his wife and child with an axe. It’s really the slow progression of insanity and the terrifying ways he attacks his family that makes him so evil.


The Yellow King (True Detective)

true detectiveSource: http://true-detective.wikia.com/wiki/Carcosa

The Yellow King was the satanic child killer and serial rapist on the hit show True Detective. His macabre and dark rituals he performed on children were horrifying and put him on a whole new level of evil.


Jigsaw (Saw)

jigsawSource: http://sawfilms.wikia.com/wiki/John_Kramer

The main villain of the Saw movie franchise, Jigsaw puts people through horrific and torturous tests to see how far they’ll go in order to survive. Often times, he gives them almost unthinkable choices and practically rigs the challenge against them. The twisted devices he creates to torture his victims set the bar for sadism.


Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men)

anton chigurhSource: http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Anton_Chigurh

Anton Chigurh is a boogeyman, plain and simple. He kills without remorse and hunts people down with a scary level of proficiency and intelligence. Just when you thought you got rid of him, there he is waiting to kill you.


Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds)

Hans_LandaSource: http://inglouriousbasterds.wikia.com/wiki/Hans_Landa

Hans Landa is a Nazi, putting him pretty high up on the evil list. In the very first scene of Inglorious Basterds, his presence is terrifying, and his comparison of Jews to rats is deplorable. Known as The Jew Hunter, who knows how many people he’s had killed.


Pennywise the Clown (It)

pennywise the clownSource: http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/It_(creature)

Pennywise the Clown in both the TV mini-series and the recent movie relentlessly hunts down and murders children. While it dresses up like a clown, it really is an evil being from another dimension. When it arrives on Earth, it can’t help but feed on children, creating a huge body count in the town of Derry.


Joffrey Baratheon (Game of Thrones)

joff baratheonSource: http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Joffrey_Baratheon

With his snotty, bratty, and cocky attitude, along with his ruthless and sadistic tendencies, Joffrey Baratheon is easily one of the most hated villains in all of television history. He ordered the execution of Eddard Stark, put his head on a stake, and then taunted Sansa about it. Though he boasts of being dangerous, he cowers at the first sight of danger. Despite his consistent evil, he stuck around on Game of Thrones for some time before being poisoned and killed. Sweet justice.


Negan (The Walking Dead)

Jeffrey_Dean_MorganSource: http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Negan_(TV_Series)

The Walking Dead has had their fair share of evil guys, but Negan really takes the cake. After surrounding the many heroes of Alexandria, he ruthlessly bashed in Abraham’s head with his baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Then, he turned his anger on Glenn, beating his brains out as well. To top it all off, he almost forced Rick to cut off Carl’s hand but decided against it at the last moment. Along with having multiple wives, many of whom he’s taken from other men, Negan manipulates, tortures, and brainwashes his followers into submission.


Walter White (Breaking Bad)

walter whiteSource: http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Walter_White

Who can save Walter White? Turns out, no one. Much like Darth Vader, Walter White stands on top of the hill as an evil, murderous villain adored by fans of the show Breaking Bad. His progression from small-time chemistry teacher to mastermind drug lord is renowned in television history. It can’t be denied that he sinks to new lows as his story progresses, lying, manipulating, murdering, and doing pretty much anything he can to keep his power and remain the one who knocks. 

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