The 25 greatest movie villains of all time

5. Nurse Ratched

As played by: Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975)

The villain: You'd hope the staff of a mental institution would show a little more compassion than the demonic Nurse Ratched. Treating her patients as prisoners to be subdued rather than treated, she's the most loathsome embodiment of The Man ever seen on the big screen. 

Meanest moment: Ordering a partial lobotomy for McMurphy, leaving the anti-hero a catatonic shell. Heartbreaking. 

Nicest quality: She always looks very well turned out. Never a hair out of place and all that. 

Watch One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest now on Amazon Prime Video

4. Anton Chigurh

As played by: Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men (2007) 

The villain: A psychotic gun-for-hire with a slavish devotion to the laws of chance. There's nothing more terrifying than a nutcase with a code and an obsession for murdering people with a cattle bolt gun. It's as horrible as it sounds.

Meanest moment: The way he taunts the store owner is pretty bad (you don't know what you're talking about) but there's nothing to top the unyielding bloody-mindedness that leads him to kill Carla Jean.  

Nicest quality: He's good with kids. He doesn't kill those two boys, does he? 

Watch No Country For Old Men now on Amazon Prime Video

3. Hannibal Lecter

As played by: Anthony Hopkins in The Silence Of The Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (2002) 

The villain: A wheedling, taunting mastermind who likes nothing more than the taste of human flesh and messing with the heads of the FBI that is. Literally, at the same time. Whilst Brian Cox's incarnation was disturbing, it was Hopkins magnetic charmer who made the character an icon. 

Meanest moment: When he teases the senator with potential news about her missing daughter, instead choosing to make fun of her breastfeeding. Lecter - you're an educated man!  

Nicest quality: He helps the cops catch the criminals. Only when it suits, of course. And when he can leverage a swankier prison cell.  

Watch The Silence of the Lambs now on Amazon Prime Video

2. Darth Vader

As played by: David Prowse and James Earl Jones (voice) in Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (1977-1983) 

The villain: A wheezing, black clad embodiment of evil, Vader casts an impossibly long shadow over the galaxy far, far away and the world of movie villainy in general.  

Meanest moment: Wordlessly crushing the wind from a subordinates throat is pretty hard-hearted. And then there was all that business with his son. 

Nicest quality: Killing Palpatine was a nifty way of restoring his reputation as a stand up guy.

Watch Star Wars: The Original Trilogy now on Amazon Prime Video

1. The Joker

As played by: Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)

The villain: Gotham City's man without a plan is unquestionably Batman's most fearsome nemesis, and a rare example of a villain who isn't hell bent on world domination, or even personal gain. He just wants to watch the world burn, which makes him so much more terrifying. Jack Nicholson's clown prince of crime deserves a nod, but for our money, Ledger is the definitive Joker. 

Meanest moment: Hoodwinking poor Batman by feeding him the wrong information about Rachel's whereabouts - while she's strapped to a ticking bomb. The pencil trick is cool, this is just plain sadistic.

Nicest quality: He's always got a smile on his face. Literally.

Watch The Dark Knight now on Amazon Prime Video