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10 Most Cathartic Movie Villain Defeats

Proper Defeats for Cinematic Villains.

By Christopher Smits     March 15, 2010


Kneel before Zod (Terrance Stamp) or watch his Cathartic death
© Bob Trate

 

 
 
So many times in life, we’re made to endure all sorts of things we can’t stand. What may be a minor thing to one may be infuriating to another and yet, sometimes, there’s just nothing we can do about it. Luckily for us, there’s a whole slew of movies we can watch that vent our frustrations for us. Here’s a list of 10 Villains getting handed their smackdowns and the reasons why we loved seeing them get it!
 
 

10. Clubber Lang- Rocky III

Clubber Lang... where to begin? Definitely one of the baddest of the bad-asses and deservedly so. Sure, he runs his mouth every chance he gets, but he also backs it up. He wins Rocky’s belt and hands the champ a humiliating defeat. He’s a catalyst in Mickey’s deadly heart attack and he even calls out Rocky’s wife at one point. During the rematch, Clubber continues to be obnoxious as hell and it looks as if there’s no stopping him. Rocky gets beat up so bad that we’re all asking what’s going on? So, is it any wonder then, that after seeing Rocky go through all of this abuse, that we can’t possibly cheer any harder than we do when Rocky finally starts beating the shit out of him?! I think not! We love it when the good-guy wins, and there’s no better example of us loving it more than with the defeat of Clubber Lang!
 
 
 

9. Carter Burke- Aliens

You’d have to be a pretty big scumbag to steal the role of villain away from the aliens in a movie called “Aliens” that’s about deadly aliens. By selling his companions out for corporate interests, Carter Burke does just that. This guy even tries to infect a child with the alien embryo and that’s a legendary no-no. Audiences may put up with a lot of things but we kinda get miffed at someone who even goes after the kids. But when we get such weasel-ish behavior on such a grand scale, boy do we get to smile when he opens that door and finds a nasty death. That’s good stuff, right there!
 
 

8. William Atherton- Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Real Genius

William Atherton? Who? This actor is so proficient at being a total ass that he has gifted viewers with multiple roles for them to hate. First, as Walter Peck in Ghostbusters...
 
Then again, as Richard Thornburg in Die Hard. Y’know, that d-bag reporter that gets punched out by Holly McClane when her and John are leaving the Nakitomi building? Yeah, you know who I’m talking about. And as if that weren’t enough, he also delivered a stellar performance as Professor Jerry Hathaway in Real Genius: The man who stole his students idea and sold it to the military for use as a weapon, only to end up with a new house full of popcorn. All three roles are classic jerks! It is because of one man’s sheer talent that we get to cheer and laugh that many times as his characters get what’s coming to them. Insulted, socked in the face and then humiliated while having your house destroyed. Bravo, good sir! We do indeed, love to hate you and are glad you got yours!
 
 

7. Captain Rhodes - Day of the Dead

It’s bad enough that you’re in a world where the dead have risen and they crave human flesh. It’s bad enough that most of society has collapsed and you don’t even know if you’re among the last surviving people on the planet. And it’s even worse that you’re forced to live (literally) underground and don’t even get to see sunlight without the threat of a horrible death. But you know what makes all of that a footnote? Having to be stuck in this situation while putting up with an asshole like Rhodes. Really, there’s so few of us left and you’re threatening to kill anyone that doesn’t do exactly what you want. Crude, violent and completely full of himself; Captain Rhodes is a jerk of such major proportion that only a scene of greater proportion can give viewers that satisfying sense of payback that they crave.
 
 

6. General Zod- Superman II

That smug attitude, that self-entitled stance... this guy was a prick even before he was freed from the Phantom Zone and once he gained powers under earth’s yellow sun he just became unbearable. Kneel, really? You’re such a bastard that you literally expect people to kneel before you?! Well, one super-crushing handgrip later and everyone sees you for the punk that you are. Funny, all that swagger and in the end you gasp like a little girl that’s been taken to a slaughter house to watch a pony get it as a birthday present. We all knew that Supes would have the last word and it was even better to see you go out with all that whimpering. Zod? Kneel before deez!
 

5. Thulsa Doom- Conan the Barbarian

Thulsa Doom... Now we’re talking classic sons of bitches right here! This guy not only slaughtered poor little Conan’s entire village, personally whacked the head of mama Conan clean off from the rest of her body, but THEN he turned around and sold pre-pubescent Conan into slavery! But the worst of it is that (when confronted by grown-up, ass-kicking Conan) he tries to brain rape him by asking who was more of a father to him than he was?! WTF?! It’s a lifetime coming, but when Conan chops into that guy’s neck and then holds his severed head before all of Doom’s followers?
 

4. Nurse Ratched- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Fighting the system can be the greatest struggle of all and even more terrifying if the system you’re trying to fight is the mental institution you’re currently residing in. What better representation of a cold, unyielding authority figure is there than Nurse Ratched? Unfeeling and wickedly shutting down anything that represents chaos to her authority; you hate her even more because she does it so stoically. With a long list of crushed souls that have fallen due to her rule, at least one guy got out...
 
 

3. Warden Norton-The Shawshank Redemption

It’s 1947 and though you’re a smart guy, you’re in prison. Having to deal with all sorts of atrocities going on around (and to you!) is enough to crush your soul; you just wish you could catch a break. But when the guy running the show is warden Samuel Norton? A self righteous man who views you as dirt and takes advantage of the inmates (not to mention your skill with book keeping) to line his hypocritical pockets? It would take a good plan to take a guy like that down; a plan that might even take years to accomplish. When Andy Dufresne does just that very thing, we all feel a sense of justice; and the horrible things that Andy’s had to endure seem not necessarily lighter, but at least there’s some comfort in the fact that he trumps Norton and his whole system in the end. Checkmate, you rotten bastard.
 
 

2. Alonzo-Training Day

Very few people in life are more worthless than a dirty cop. Police are supposed to be the ones we look to in times of trouble and (especially) when our lives are in danger. But, oh no, not you Alonzo. You’re even worse than the criminals we fear, because not only do you partake in the same behavior you’re supposed to protect us from, you do it with the power of a badge beside you. Well, when you owe money to the Russian Mob, make your partner smoke PCP and pretty much threaten everybody you come into contact with... not only are we not going to feel sorry for you when you get it, we were just wondering why you didn’t get it sooner.
 
 

1. Johnny Lawrence-The Karate Kid

He’s handsome, popular, has the hottest girl in school and he knows karate?! Oh yeah, you’ve just gotta hate this guy. It’d be different if he were nice and had a kind word to say to everybody he passed by in the school halls, but no. You’re a goddamn bully, Johnny, and we’ve got two words for you that are gonna bring that House of Gloat down around you and your toadies’ heads: Daniel Larusso. Stealing Johnny’s girlfriend Ali was a major coup and would have been more than enough of a victory by most people’s standards, but don’t tell me you didn’t cheer out loud when that crane kick popped Johnny’s chops. No mercy? Cheap shots? Daniel Larusso...we admire and thank you for letting us share in one of the greatest comeuppances in movie history. Eat it, Johnny. You had it coming.
 
 
 
If you like your bad guys going out with a bang, check out 12 Most Spectacular Villain Deaths.
Ah, how we enjoy watching bad guys fall? You should check out 8 Gratuitously Sadistic Guilty Pleasure Movie Moments. Guaranteed more of the movie violence we as a numb society can tolerate. If these movie deaths seem strange, then try  5 WTF Moments In Movies.


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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 23
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FerretJohn 3/15/2010 1:03:33 AM

The Aliens were the monsters but they weren't the villains.  Ripley said it best, "You don't see them screwing each other over for a percentage."

invisioner 3/15/2010 2:16:04 AM

 Sorry, but Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West was the penultimate villian with a sweet death, Charles Bronson haunting him all through the movie with the reveal at the end–and the harmonica. I won't say more, ya just have ta see it.

 

Betenoire 3/15/2010 4:01:52 AM

Wesley Snipes' characters end at the end of New Jack City was a needed one after the events just prior to it.

Dazzler 3/15/2010 4:21:27 AM

Come on William Atherton is on Lost right now, he is not unknown. 

jppintar326 3/15/2010 4:26:45 AM

The Emperor in Return of the Jedi?  He was so smug and thought he had the upper hand.  His best troops were beaten by a bunch of fur balls!!!!  You were thrown down a pit by your own apprentice.  That's justice.

Also tell me you didn't smile Anakin killed those annoying heads of the Trade Federation in Revenge of the Sith.

What about Hans Gruber in Die Hard?  Col. Stuart and his highly trained commandos blown up all at once in Die Hard 2?

How about when Miyagi goes after Sensei in the beginning of Karate Kid Part II?  Gave him a piece of his own medicine.  I wish the even more obnoxious than Johnny "Bad Boy of Karate" had gotten a better comeuppance in Karate Kid III.

Overall, the list is pretty good.  Zod, Clubber Lang, and Johnny were excellent choices.  I can why the others were chosen  They were pretty good.

spiderhero 3/15/2010 5:51:38 AM

Great list.

lusiphur 3/15/2010 6:36:23 AM

Dazzler - Maybe he is unkown to you, because he's not on Lost right now, or every.  Were you thinking of William Mapother, perhaps?

Great list.  Can't argue with any of your choices.  An Honorable Mention should go to the Emperor and Hans Gruber though.

skyn3t 3/15/2010 7:30:20 AM

Awesome list, wouldn't change a thing.

Rheul_home 3/15/2010 7:31:43 AM

Great list. That guy that played Johnny was the biggest scumbag of the 80's.

lusiphur 3/15/2010 7:47:25 AM

I had to come back to correct myself. 

William Atherton was on Lost.  He was the principal in the "Dr. Linus" episode.  Sorry.

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