15 Movies That Made Us Root for the Bad Guy

Most of the time when people write films, they want you to identify with, sympathize with, and root for the hero or heroine of the story. Occasionally the villain of the tale is also the protagonist, but that’s more rare.

What can happen, though, is that villains can be so well-written, or so complex, that we feel for them – and are more interested in – their plight than that of the hero.

Here are 15 movies that have excellent villains – so much so that we found ourselves rooting for them instead of the lead.

15. There’s always somebody worse coming along.

The Monarch in venture brothers.

I love the nuance of the show and the time and patience it’s taken to truly show how terrible Jonas was.

The first few seasons all you hear is rusty complaining and telling an off putting story here or there, but it all comes off as ‘woe is me’ as he sits at the throne of his father’s empire.

But then you realize Rusty was truly, and horribly, abused his entire life, that Jonas is a worse villain than pretty much any of the actual villains, and got away with everything by being a handsome asshole.

14. The older you get, the more sane he becomes.

Mr. Moseby.

I mean seriously. You’re head of a 5 star hotel and all of a sudden some twins screw everything up.

I’m 20 and can already sympathize.

13. Just once he could have won. Don’t you think?

Wiley Coyote.

Dude was starving in the desert and just wanted to eat.

12. Comedy goes a long way in endearing viewers.

Emperor’s New groove.

Yzma and Kronk, they’re entertaining to watch until today.

11. This is a premise for a dissertation.

In Despicable Me, I think the bad guy Gru was better than good guy Gru, although I have some mixed feelings about it

Sure good guy Gru was lovely to their adoptive girls and started to enjoy the world more and more (which I think was positive, and he was still a villain after all), but the evil Gru that didn’t give a shit about others and just wanted to steal the moon was a bit funnier.

10. It’s just in his nature.

There’s just something about Predator that keeps me interested.

9. A legend will do that do you.

As much as I love Clarice Sterling in Silence Of The Lambs, Hannibal Lecter is still the best character in the whole movie despite only have 16 minutes of screen time.

Sir Anthony Hopkins was so legendary he only needed 16 minutes to put his character in the minds of every viewer. The fact that Jodie foster kept up and did brilliant acting too makes it even better. Winning the best actor actress and movie was fully deserved

8. He’s definitely sympathetic, even if his methods are whack.

The Rock.

Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris.

Harris assumes control of Alcatraz prison (a now tourist destination) and uses it as a missile launch site to threaten the US government for ransom. On the surface he looks like a bad guy, so Cage and Connery have to go stop him.

Later in the movie it’s revealed that he only wants the reparations his dead men and their families are entitled to. He doesn’t hurt any prisoners and though he’s given the opportunity (when the government declines) he admits he was never going to actually use the weapon.

The movie is well written and the characters have depth enough to garner empathy for even the villain.

7. He’s a very intimidating animated villain.

Kung Fu Panda 2. I like cold calculating villains who don’t need to be ultra strong or puppet masters to prove that they’re a real threat. Shen was really interesting because he was smart in his strategy, and especially when he tries to stop his fate, but everything he does only seals it.

6. When they’re searching for justice, you want them to win.

I rooted for Gerard Butlers character Clyde Sheldon in Law Abiding Citizen.

Same here…I was so pissed when Jamie Foxx’s character won, mainly because it was his character that denied Gerard Butler’s character the proper justice for his family’s death through the legal means in the first place.

So many people died simply because Jamie Foxx’s character cared more about his case “win” percentage than actually getting justice for his client. In my mind, Jamie Foxx’s character will always be the true bad guy in Law Abiding Citizen.

5. It’s hard to contradict this argument.

The Bee Movie

Ken was the only sane person

4. He makes too much sense to be wrong.

Heat. De Niro > Pacino “Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.”

3. When you really understand a person, they can’t be all bad.

Rumplestiltsken in Once Upon a Time. Even before his redemption arc, he was just so much more entertaining for me than any of the good guys.

2. It all depends on your age upon viewing.

Dr. Houseman in Dirty Dancing.

The man works his ass off so he can take his family on a nice, long vacation. The Doc is a very lenient parent. Giving his teenage daughters all kinds of leeway and freedom to do whatever they want. When Baby asks for $300 (which is a large sum of money back in 1962), her dad gives her the money with barely any hesitation, because he trusts her.

Baby gives that money to one of the dancers so she can get an abortion, it’s botched, and who saves the day? Oh, right, Dr. fucking Houseman of course. He makes one comment about that being where his money went and then gets to work saving the woman’s life.

And Baby’s punishment for taking $300 from her father under false pretenses? She can’t do her dance routine for other vacationers. That’s. It. She has to sit with her parents for a couple of hours. Literally the most lenient punishment imaginable under those circumstances.

But of course Patrick Swayze comes in and is like NoBoDy pUtS BaBy iN a CoRnEr!

Eff you Patrick Swayze’s character. Baby deserves to be in that corner.

1. Wait they’re not the villains?

High school musical. Troy and Gabriela are a**holes.

Sharpay is an honest and hard working person. She does some mean things, but she always atones for them in the end. Troy and Gabriella? A**holes who never experience consequences for their actions and get everything they want handed to them.

I agree with most of these, and I’m a girl who loves a good anti-hero.

Who is your favorite villain? Tell us what makes you want to root for him or her in the comments!