Villain deaths, done well, can be one of the most satisfying aspects of a film. In every good movie you’ll find memorable characters, an interesting plot, cool action sequences, and a despicable villain. In some cases, the best films have a villain that is more interesting and complex than the protagonist. Moviegoers seldom remember weak villains who either fail to raise the stakes significantly for the hero or don’t receive their comeuppance in a satisfying way. Thankfully, Hollywood has provided more than a few villains who’ve met their end in a truly awesome fashion. These baddies pushed the good guys to the brink and suffered painfully for it. Behold, the Top 15 Villain Deaths – Ranked!
“Star Wars” purists love to bash the prequel trilogy, but it’s undeniable that one villain from that series is a cut above the rest—Darth Maul. In “The Phantom Menace,” Maul says very little and lets his double-bladed lightsaber do most of the talking. He fights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in an epic duel on Naboo that results in the death of Jinn. Separated by a timed force field, Maul paces impatiently for his next victim, Kenobi, to emerge from the impenetrable barrier. When Obi-Wan finally does the two lightsabers clash fiercely until the young Jedi is thrown into a pit. Holding on for dear life, Obi-Wan manages to use the Force to escape his predicament and cut Maul with his lightsaber. The Sith lord falls down the pit, split in two from his Obi-Wan’s devastating blow.
In Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” Gaston is the arrogant foil to the soft-hearted Beast. He makes numerous advances toward Belle and is constantly rebuffed. When he finds out she’s in love with the Beast, Gaston leads a mob to the hero’s castle in hopes of slaying the creature. He finds a forlorn Beast in the west wing of the castle and shoots an arrow into his back, wounding him. They both fight on the castle rooftop until Belle shows up and Beast goes to her. While the Beast is distracted, Gaston stabs him in the back, but he quickly slips off the roof and plummets to his death. A dark demise for a villain in a children’s movie.
Alec Trevelyan is the traitorous 006 in the James Bond film, “Goldeneye.” Trevelyan is the leader of the Janus crime syndicate and threatens to destroy Great Britain’s economy by using a Soviet space weapon known as the Goldeneye. He meets his end after an epic fight with Bond atop the Goldeneye satellite situated hundreds of feet above ground. After pinning Bond down onto a small platform, Trevelyan is distracted for a moment and kicked off by 007. He falls from the perilous height and miraculously survives the fall. But moments later the satellite explodes and tons of debris crushes Trevelyan.
In the third act of “Aliens,” Ellen Ripley encounters the Alien Queen on the planet LV-426 and destroys her xenomorph hive before escaping on a drop ship to dock with the Sulaco warship in space. Unfortunately, the heroine soon discovers that the nasty Queen stowed away on the drop ship when she severs Bishop in half with her tail. The Alien Queen then targets the little girl, Newt, but just when she’s about to seize on her prey, Ripley shows up in an exosuit power loader. The Queen and Ripley fight to a stalemate before tumbling down an airlock shaft. Ripley attempts to escape but the Alien Queen seizes her foot. For a moment, it seems as though the xenomorph villain might make a comeback until Ripley opens the airlock door and the Queen is sucked out into the blackness of outer space.
A young ruthless Huron warrior, Magua is the main antagonist in “Last of the Mohicans.“He kills British soldiers and other Natives throughout the film setting up a final conflict with the heroes, Hawkeye and Chingachgook. Uncas, Chingachgook’s son, battles Magua on a mountainside, but is unable to stop the villain and suffers a painful death at his hands. Chingachgook witnesses his son’s death and quickly runs to avenge him. The elder Mohican completely obliterates Magua with his gunstock war club. Magua suffers blunt force blows from the club that shatter his bones before the grieving father stabs him with the spear point of his club. It’s an epic defeat that is highly satisfying after Magua’s reign of terror.
“Die Hard” is a classic ‘8os action flick that features an everyman cop, John McClane, facing off against terrorists who’ve taken control Nakotomi Plaza. The leader of those terrorists is Hans Gruber who manages to take control of the building and take McClane’s wife, Holly, captive. In the final showdown between the German thief and the off-duty cop, Gruber holds Holly at gunpoint and demands McClane surrender his machine gun. McClane drops the gun, but has a pistol strapped to his back that he quickly retrieves to shoot Gruber and his henchman. The gunshot hits Gruber, causing him to crash through a window while still grasping Holly’s arm. McClane quickly helps his wife by undoing the clasp on her watch resulting in Gruber plummeting several stories to his death. Gruber’s shocked reaction as he falls to his doom is priceless.
Ra's Al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul defies death in “Batman Begins” thanks to Bruce Wayne’s intervention at the beginning of the film. But Ra’s exacts revenge on the Batman, who destroyed his mountaintop home, by burning down Wayne Manor and unleashing a powerful fear toxin in Gotham City. Amid the chaos, both villain and hero, engage in mortal combat on a speeding train high above the Gotham’s streets. Ra’s eventually pins down Batman and seems poised to win, but is unaware that Commissioner Gordon has destroyed the oncoming train tracks with the Tumbler. Batman informs his former mentor that he’s forgotten to “mind his surroundings” before he escapes the careening train car, leaving Ra’s to die as it crashes below.
Colonel William Tavington
“The Patriot” is an underrated movie set during the American Revolutionary War which follows the exploits of Benjamin Martin played by Mel Gibson. Martin wants to stay neutral in the conflict between the colonists and the British. But one of the redcoat leaders, Colonel Tavington aka The Butcher, decides to shoot Martin’s youngest son in the back. The death sets Martin into a vengeful fury and Tavington only continues to provoke him at every turn. The cold villain later kills his eldest son and his fiancé. When they finally meet on the battlefield, Tavington appears to have the upper hand on Martin–ready to deal the killing blow with his sword. But Martin ducks at the right moment and skewers the Butcher with a bayonet in the torso. Then he finishes off Tavington with another bayonet through the throat. A cruel fate for a cruel man.
In the “Princess Bride,” audiences are introduced to the memorable Inigo Montoya who has singular mission in life—to avenge his father by killing the man responsible for his murder. That man is Count Rugen, a sadist in the employ of Prince Humperdinck. In the climactic scene of the movie, the critically-wounded Montoya slashes the villain’s cheeks and stabs him in the upper arm. Rugen begs for life, offering Montoya anything he desires. But Montoya thrusts his sword into the count and tells him all he wants is his father back.
Jabba the Hutt
Jabba the Hutt is literally one of the slimiest villains on film. The fat slug alien traps most of the main characters in his palace and laughs at their misfortune. Princess Leia suffers the most humiliating fate as she’s force to don a skimpy outfit as one of Jabba’s prisoners. When Luke Skywalker thwarts Jabba’s attempt to drop him in a Sarlacc pit, Leia seizes the opportunity to take down her nasty captor. She chokes Jabba to death with the same chain that holds her prisoner and ends his villainy forever.
Perhaps one of most sadistic villains in movie history, Commodus is the power-hungry son of Marcus Aurelius who murders his father and kills the family of his general, Maximus. When Maximus finally gets his chance to exact revenge on Commodus in gladiatorial combat, the cruel emperor cheats by stabbing Maximus before their duel. Although Commodus manages to hold his own in the fight, Maximus gains the upper hand and stabs the villain in the throat with his own dagger. It’s a fitting end to the evil Roman despot.
The “Harry Potter” series is a worldwide phenomenon and, after J.K. Rowling’s books spawned a successful movie franchise, fans witnessed the development of a truly awful villain onscreen in Lord Voldemort. The final battle between Harry and his nemesis in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” pits the two wizards in a magical power struggle with their wands. Wielding the powerful Elder Wand, Voldemort technically has the advantage over Harry. But unbeknownst to the Dark Lord, the Elder Wand is loyal to Harry since he was the last wizard to defeat its former wielder, Draco Malfoy. In the end, Harry disarms the evil wizard of the Elder Wand and Voldemort disintegrates into ash.
Everyone hates Nazis, especially Indiana Jones. In “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Indy faces off against a cruel, sadistic Gestapo agent named Arnold Ernst Toht. Toht is a creepy villain who manages to capture Indy and Marion in the final part of the film. While he and the rest of his Nazi cronies open the Ark of the Covenant, Indy and Marion wisely shut their eyes to avoid the impending doom of their captor’s hubris. The wrath of God falls on the Nazi soldiers and the audience is treated to a shot of Toht’s screaming face melting off his skull after gazing upon the Ark. Very few movies deliver such a satisfying demise to such a terrible villain.
The T-1000 is a cunning and deadly enemy in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” who is technologically superior in every way to the T-800. In the final scenes of the film, T-1000 deals what appears to be a fatal blow to the hero before going after Sarah and John Connor in a steel mill. But before the liquid metal villain can terminate his targets, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 sneaks up on him with a grenade launcher. When the shell explodes the T-1000 is a grotesque mess incapable of reverting to his neutral form. He falls of the railing into a vat of molten steel that terminates him for good.
In “Return of the Jedi,” Emperor Palpatine is revealed as the big bad of the original trilogy and the only person who can order Darth Vader around without getting Force-choked. When Luke Skywalker refuses to join the dark side, Palpatine decides it’s time to kill the young rebel with Force lightning. Witnessing his son’s imminent demise awakens Vader’s dormant paternal instincts. He picks up the decrepit old man then hurls him down a shaft of the Death Star. Palpatine screams all the way down before he explodes at the core and releases a torrent of blue energy up the shaft. His demise signals the end of the Empire and one of the greatest trilogies in movie history.
You love reading about villains and want more. We get that. You need to check out 25 Most Sinister Childhood Villains Of All Time