Most memorable movie villains of 2013

  • Article by: BARRY KOLTNOW , Orange County Register
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 2:10 PM

Every hero needs a villain to fight. Which evildoers will you remember long after you leave the theater?


Michael Fassbender, left, plays a conflicted but evil plantation owner in “12 Years a Slave,” with Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Photo: Francois DuhameL , Fox Searchlight

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Is there a Hans Gruber in the house?

Can Hannibal Lecter come out and play?

Darth Vader, please report to the principal’s office.

You know where I’m heading with this — it’s our annual list of the most memorable movie villains of the year.

Heroes are only as good as their villains are bad. A worthy adversary is necessary in measuring the worth of our heroes.

But not all villains are created equal.

Some are dastardly but delightful, like the aforementioned Hans Gruber, played so well by British actor Alan Rickman in “Die Hard.” Likewise, Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader are villains we love to hate.

Then there are the characters we don’t like so much but love to watch on the big screen. Amon Goethe, the sadistic Nazi camp commandant of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” played with chilling efficiency by Ralph Fiennes, and Nurse Ratched of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (Louise Fletcher) come to mind.

Here are our nominees for the most memorable movie villains of 2013. Do you think any of them could be a classic villain like Auric Goldfinger? Or perhaps they will be dismissed like Mel Gibson’s Luthor Voz in “Machete Kills”?


edwin epps

Played by Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave,” he is the sinister slave owner who is so much more complicated than the classic Silent Era villain who would twirl his mustache as he tied the damsel to the railroad tracks. The best villains are complex, and Epps is conflicted as he inflicts beatings on the same young female slave that he also covets. It is a performance that not only will be remembered, but might bring Oscar nominations to both Fassbender and his victim, a young actress fresh out of the Yale School of Drama — Lupita Nyong’o.



The terrorist leader opposite Tom Hanks in the thriller “Captain Phillips” was played by newcomer Barkhad Abdirahman, of Minneapolis. The filmmakers conducted their search for actors to play Somali pirates within the city’s substantial Somali community.



Benedict Cumberbatch plays Captain James T. Kirk’s formidable foe in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” and almost makes us forget Ricardo Montalban, who first breathed life into the Khan character in the 1982 film “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” which remains to many the best “Star Trek” ever. And one of the reasons is the film’s awesome villain.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


recent movie releases

Search by category


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters