Have you ever wondered who the smartest movie villains are? We’ve all seen the dumb brute villains with three brain cells unable to think through a wet paper bag. However, the intelligent villains are always a few steps ahead of the good guys, getting what they want, and usually winning in the end. Sometimes they win by changing the hero, proving a greater point, or achieving their overall goals. Either way, they don’t get there with their fists alone. Here are the 25 Smartest Movie Villains Ever.
Colonel Nathan R. Jessup
Probably few actors can intimidate the audiences as well as Jack Nicholson. The fiery anger in all his performances likely sends chills down your spine. Combine that with Colonel Nathan R. Jessup’s cold exterior and cunning intellect in A Few Good Men, and you have a pretty great villain. He valiantly protects Gitmo with his leadership, keenly hazes his own men, and covers up the whole thing before easily fending off a team of lawyers investigating a crime on his base. Finally, going for a Hail Mary play, the lawyers are forced to put him on the stand. Unfortunately for him, his pride is his ultimate undoing. Still, it gave us the classic, “You can’t handle the truth!” line we all know and love.
Cold, calculating, and incredibly ominous, Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men is essentially the boogyman. A very, very smart boogyman. He tracks Llewelyn Moss down with exacting precision every single time until it finally caught up with him. There is no place Moss could go that Chigurh couldn’t find. He is a deadly, unstoppable force.
While they might only look like big black bugs, the Xenomorphs in the Alien series are actually highly intelligent, hunting down their human prey like rats in a cage. They’re always a few steps ahead, sneaking in nooks and crannies, waiting for an unsuspecting couple to go take a shower. Their biggest foil is Ripley, and even she struggles to survive against them.
Every hero needs a villain who can challenge them, the chink in their armor. Hans Gruber in Die Hard does that in spades against John McClane. While McClane is a sarcastic brute who will do anything to survive, Gruber counters this with a practical and keen intellect. He fools the police and FBI, making them think he was a terrorist. He even fools McClane (albeit not for very long) into thinking he was an innocent hostage. He has everything planned to a T, hoping to make away with millions. Unfortunately, he never plans for McClane.
A highly intelligent extraterrestrial from space, the Predator hunts the most dangerous game in Central America and is incredibly good at it. Granted, its invisibility makes hunting pretty easy. But even that is no match against Dutch, the American commando played by Schwarzenegger. The Predator is a perfect movie of cat and mouse with both characters trying to use their wits to defeat the other.
Photo: Featured: Bago Games via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 25. Georges Biard, Jack Nicholson 2002, CC BY-SA 3.0, 24. HorrorArtistfromCali via deviantart, CC BY-SA 3.0 unported, 23. Bago Games via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 22. Snape’s True Love via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 21. Predator_filming_site.jpg: Ann Larie Valentine from San Francisco, CA, USA derivative work: Electron ツ ➧☎, The Predator, CC BY-SA 2.0, 20. BagoGames via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 19. Zennie Abraham via flickr , CC BY-ND 2.0, 18. pixabay (public domain), 17. Steve Troughton via flickr. (Public Domain), 16. David Shankbone, Ed Norton Shankbone Metropolitan Opera 2009, CC BY 3.0, 15. Kevin Burkett via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 14. Bob Taylor via flickr, public domain, 13. Diomede, Tom Cruise Collateral, cropped/border added, CC BY-SA 3.0, 12. Masha Kuvshinova, ChristophWaltzCannesMay09 retouched, CC BY 3.0, 11. Robertoqwerty, The-dark-knightrises-Bane-e-Batman, CC BY-SA 4.0, 10. Gage Skidmore via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 9. Gautier Poupeau via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 8. Luke M. Schierholz via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 7. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 6. The Usual Suspects (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only, no free source available), 5. Arlington Road (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 4. Inception (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 3. bagogames via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. Hasaw öztürk, Hannibal 1(1), CC BY-SA 4.0, 1. Seven (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only)