Actors Who Played The Villain A So Well They Make Us Cringe

When it comes to on-screen villains, people love to hate them. They’re always messing things up for the hero, plotting, and typically wreaking havoc on everything. Of course, the actors aren’t to blame for their portrayals of villains. But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t cross to the other side of the street if they were walking towards us.

Personally, we would sprint away from Tobias Menzies after watching him terrorize the Scottish Highlanders as Black Jack Randall in the Starz series Outlander. No one should be able to embody that much evil, no matter how fictional. Get ready; you might shudder at the sight of these actors.

Iwan Rheon As Ramsay Bolton In Game of Thrones

Iwan Rheon As Ramsay Bolton In Game of Thrones
HBO
HBO

We think all Game of Thrones fans can agree that the episode Iwan Rheon died, wait, sorry, the episode where Ramsay Bolton died was the best ever. The character was probably one of the worst human beings to grace the series, and that’s saying a lot since the Lannister family is chock-full of horrible people.

He’s sadistic, heartless, and pretty much the textbook definition of evil. We can’t imagine being actor Iwan Rheon, since there’s no doubt in our minds that people shudder whenever he pops up onscreen in another series or film. Long story short, he played the role of an emotionless psychopath too well.

Jesse Plemons As Todd In Breaking Bad

todd breaking bad
AMC
AMC

When it comes to Breaking Bad villains, the main person to come to mind is probably Gus. The thing is, he’s smart and calculating, unlike the character of Todd Alquist, played by Jesse Plemons. Unlike Gus, Todd is almost childlike, but in the worst way imaginable.

Because of his good-natured personality, and Plemon’s “baby face,” Todd is more creepy than anything. He’s easy to get along with and will do as he’s told, even if that order is to murder someone. While we might not hate Plemon’s as an actor, he will always be that creepy, detached, and psychotic guy from Breaking Bad.

Mads Mikkelsen As Hannibal Lecter In Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen As Hannibal Lecter In Hannibal
NBC
NBC

Mad Mikkelsen has a knack for playing the villain. In the instance of Hannibal, he makes it so fans of the series would think twice about being left in the same room with him, even if he’s not technically Dr. Hannibal Lecter. What makes him so terrifying is the fact that he plays “the normal guy” so well.

One scene, he’ll be helping the police catch a killer, and the, next he’s eating someone’s calf in a gourmet dish! It’s the worst kind of whiplash that only someone truly talented is able to pull off. If we saw Mikkelsen in public, it’d be hard to differentiate him from Hannibal.

Tobias Menzies As Black Jack Randall In Outlander

Tobias Menzies As Black Jack Randall In Outlander
Starz
Starz

If you’ve seen the Starz original series Outlander, then you know few people are as horrible as Black Jack Randall, a captain in the British army—just thinking about the things he put Jamie and Claire through makes us cringe and break out in a cold sweat.

And the fact that he plays the mean Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones really doesn’t help Tobias Menzies character. In a lot of people’s eyes, the actor will always be the sadistic man who enjoys yelling, commanding, and torturing people for his own twisted pleasure.

Willem Dafoe As The Green Goblin In Spider-Man

Willem Dafoe As The Green Goblin In Spider-Man
Sony
Sony

For those who grew up with the OG Spider-Man film, then you’re familiar with Willem Dafoe’s Norman Osborne/Green Goblin. It’s difficult since Defoe is such a brilliant actor, but there is always that underlying feeling in each of his roles that he’s just going to crack and summon his glider.

Not to mention how the Green Goblin mask and smile captured Defoe’s likeness way too well, making it seem like they were one and the same outside of the movie. Throw in his high-pitched goblin voice and his Jekyll and Hyde personality shift, and you have us cringing every time we see the actor on screen in another film.

Joaquin Phoenix As Commodus In Gladiator

Joaquin Phoenix As Commodus In Gladiator
Dreamworks Pictures
Dreamworks Pictures

As far as actors embodying their characters, none is as terrifying as Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Commodus in Gladiator. He’s cunning, ruthless, and has such low self-esteem that he has to go imprison the man his father appoints as his successor because he’s not okay with the call.

The ease in which Phoenix embodies the character is what’s truly terrifying, though. Almost as if the actor’s entire personality vanished and he became this ancient Roman emperor, we want to slap some sense into. Reddit use lizzyericksen even said, “I usually have empathy for the villains, but I wanted him dead so badly.”

Christian Bale As Patrick Bateman In American Psycho

Christian Bale As Patrick Bateman In American Psycho
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

It looked like it was no big deal for Christian Bale to play the smooth, slick-talking Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He took on the persona so easily it was hard to remember the actor actually has an accent and isn’t necessarily a crazy serial killer.

It didn’t help that viewers didn’t really know what to think about the character at the end of the film because, spoiler alert, the closet of dead bodies is no longer in the empty apartment. In the end, it’s a terrifying toss-up with an unreliable narrator who, personally, we think, is a lunatic with multiple personalities. Thank you for the trust issues, Bale.

Daniel Day-Lewis As Bill Cutting In Gangs Of New York

Daniel Day-Lewis As Bill Cutting In Gangs Of New York
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

Daniel Day-Lewis is the type of actor who throws himself into his roles so thoroughly that, in the end, it’s hard to differentiate between the actor and the character. One such instance just so happens to be the villain Bill Cutting in the Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York.

Needless to say, after the film was released, people probably had a hard time speaking to Day-Lewis. We mean, he did cut off one of his own men’s hands just because he placed a bad bet! Well, technically, it was his character, but you understand what we mean.

Anthony Hopkins As Hannibal Lecter In The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins As Hannibal Lecter In The Silence of the Lambs
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Actor Anthony Hopkins does such a good job portraying the crazy cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lector that a lot of people have trouble watching him in anything else. A horrifying concept if you think how many films the man has been in, including Thor.

We mean, we can’t be the only people who were waiting for Hopkin’s King Oden to start cooking up Loki. It’s just that Hopkin’s plays the role of the Hannibal to a T, and it’s difficult to look at him like he’s not about to season, grill, and then eat his co-stars with a nice garden salad on the side.

David Tennant As Barty Crouch Jr. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

David Tennant As Barty Crouch Jr. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Even though David Tennant was in other films and tv shows that didn’t involve him betraying his family and having a weird tongue thing going on, he will always be Barty Crouch Jr. in our eyes. The fact that he went ahead and pretended to be Mad-Eye Moody also doesn’t sit well with us.

Only a truly evil person is able to get the upper hand on that wizard. So, it only makes sense that we wouldn’t necessarily want to be in the same room as David Tennant, ever. We will never forgive him for sticking Mad-Eye in an enchanted chest!

Heath Ledger As The Joker In The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger As The Joker In The Dark Knight
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Even though the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight won Heath Ledger an Academy Award, the brilliance of his performance is still downright terrifying. Nothing screams, “I can’t watch this actor in anything else and not imagine him laughing while saying horrible death puns” quite like Ledger’s villain. He took crazy to a whole new level.

His portrayal is so convincing that no one really thought another actor was going to be up for the challenge. We mean, Ledger was literally the Clown Prince of Crime. And we don’t know about you, but watching him in a rom-com has never been the same.

Giancarlo Esposito As Gustavo Fring In Breaking Bad

Giancarlo Esposito As Gustavo Fring In Breaking Bad
AMC
AMC

Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad is a different kind of villain. One that makes us unable to watch actor Giancarlo Esposito in anything that doesn’t have him owning a fried chicken joint while running an international drug ring on the side. He’s cool, calculating, and way too calm for anyone’s nerves.

Esposito was so in tune with the character of Gus that he didn’t even need to speak, and viewers would be holding their breath, waiting to see what he was going to do. Honestly, we don’t know what we would do if we ever saw this actor in public. But running the opposite direction sounds pretty likely.

Ralph Fiennes In Harry Potter

Ralph Fiennes In Harry Potter
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

For those who grew up reading and watching the Harry Potter films, there is nothing quite as creepy as the first time He Who Must Not Be Named pops up on the screen. It’s just that we read about the man in so many novels that seeing him “in real life” is very startling since he’s the epitome of evil.

Unfortunately, for actor Ralph Fiennes, that means that a lot of people most likely don’t care for him on sight. We mean, he did try to kill all of the characters we care about during the Battle of Hogwarts. It doesn’t take much to not care for the man.

Donald Sutherland As President Snow In The Hunger Games

Donald Sutherland As President Snow In The Hunger Games
Lionsgate Entertainment
Lionsgate Entertainment

We’re not sure if its voice, weirdly good posture, or the fact that he’ll do just about anything to have kids go into a kill ring, but Donald Sutherland just doesn’t seem like a good guy. Okay, to be fair, it’s his Hunger Games character President Snow that is doing all of those things, but it’s hard to tell the two apart.

Either way, we don’t know anyone who would go over to Sutherland’s house for dinner. There would most likely be one too many white roses, and everything would have a subtle hint of blood. No, thank you!

Cillian Murphy As The Scarecrow In Batman Begins

Cillian Murphy As The Scarecrow In Batman Begins
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

We’re not sure about you, but it was very difficult to watch Cillian Murphy in anything after seeing him play Scarecrow in Batman Begins. Well, it’s still pretty hard to watch him in anything else, and that is exactly the point! After playing the creepy “I’m going to make you see your worst fears” psychiatrist, Murphy was stamped Public Enemy Number one in our books.

He’s the worst type of character because, at first, he makes you think he’s trying to help people at Arkham. And then, BAM!, he’s the evil guy contaminating the city’s water supply. See, this is why we have trust issues, Dr. Scarecrow.

Jack Nicholson As Jack Torrance In The Shining

Jack Nicholson As Jack Torrance In The Shining
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Whether he’s playing a crazy guy in The Shining or a mob boss in the Departed, Jack Nicholson will also be that freaky guy on the red carpet whenever we see him. He just has one of those faces that looks sinister, no matter what he does to it.

So, that with the fact that he is an amazing actor who plays the role of the villain a bit too well makes us never want to be left in a room alone with the man. All we need is for him to slap on that really wide grin and yell, “Here’s Johnny.” Talk about horrifying.

Al Pacino As Don Michael Corleone In The Godfather

Al Pacino As Don Michael Corleone In The Godfather
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Al Pacino and the term mob boss pretty much go hand in hand. The issue is that Pacino is clearly not affiliated with the mob; he just plays a very convincing head of the house in films such as The Godfather.

Not that the character of Michael Corleone makes us hate Pacino on the spot, but it does make us fairly scared of the man. We mean, he has a lot of power and control! Who wouldn’t be afraid of someone who seems nice and proper one second but is able to flip a switch and be your worst nightmare the next?

Javier Bardem As Anton Chigurh In No Country for Old Men

Javier Bardem As Anton Chigurh In No Country for Old Men
Miramax Films
Miramax Films

Considering Anton Chigurh is considered one of the best villains of all time, it doesn’t take much to hate actor Javier Bardem on the spot. He plays the role of the main antagonist in No Country for Old Men extremely well.

So well, to the point of us thinking the actor carries around a coin in his pocket for the sole purpose of choosing people’s fates. Bardem just plays the role of a character without remorse, compassion, or any empathy that it makes us think that’s who he is as a person.

Josh Brolin As Thanos In Avengers: Endgame

Josh Brolin As Thanos In Avengers: Endgame
Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Entertainment
Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Entertainment

He might be a big purple alien, but that doesn’t make Josh Brolin any less a villain. In fact, he is one actor who we definitely wouldn’t want to mess with solely because he played the role of Thanos so well in Avengers: Endgame.

Just because he doesn’t look like Thanos in everyday life doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be terrified he’d snap his fingers and make us disappear. Seriously, he wouldn’t even need the Infinity Stones to have us running in the opposite direction. All he’d have to do is lift his hand in a snapping gesture, and we’d be gone!

Denzel Washington As Alonzo Harris In Training Day

Denzel Washington As Alonzo Harris In Training Day
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

First off, Denzel Washington has a “don’t mess with me” face that could take the strongest person to their knees. The fact that he plays a corrupt detective in Training Day just makes the facial expression that much worse, especially if you’ve seen him in other movies like Remember the Titans.

The issue is that the latter movie came out one year before Training Day, so all we see is a no-nonsense football coach diving into the underground world of crime. Needless to say, we never saw Washington the same again after watching this flick.