The 25 greatest movie villains of all time

15. Hans Gruber

As played by: Alan Rickman in Die Hard (1988)

The villain: One of the first of a new breed of urbane, continental terrorists, the unflappable Gruber is the perfect counterpoint to rough and ready cop John McClane. He isn't afraid to get his hands dirty - he'd just rather not rumple his suit unless it's absolutely necessary.

Meanest moment: "You know my name but who are you?" sneers Gruber. "Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he's John Wayne? Rambo? Marshal Dillon?"

Nicest quality: He's a bright boy. "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer," he quotes. 

14. Freddy Krueger

As played by: Robert Englund in A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) and its numerous sequels. 

The villain: Unquestionably the most charismatic killer in horror movie history, Freddy's high-concept brand of terror is even more horrifying when he's playing it straight. It's bad enough he invades dreams, but his methods for killing are downright evil. You know, when he simply drags his victims up the walls rather than killing them in video game form. 

Meanest moment: The aforementioned killing of Tina in the first film is without doubt the most disturbing death of the franchise. 

Nicest quality: He doesn't take himself too seriously. Freddy's always up for a bit of a laugh and a joke: always a refreshing quality in a villain. 

Watch A Nightmare on Elm Street now on Amazon Prime Video

13. John Doe

 As played by: Kevin Spacey in Seven (1995) 

The villain: As serial killers go, you can't fault Doe for imagination. Whether feeding a fat man to death, or setting up a prostitute with a knife-shaped surprise, he certainly puts plenty of thought into his murders. And thanks to Detective Mills, his grand plan comes to fruition just as he planned it. Bravo.

Meanest moment: The smug look on his face when he realises that Mills had no clue his now-deceased wife was pregnant. The wife whose head sits in a nearby box.  

Nicest quality: His actions are designed to shine a light upon mans moral ineptitude. So in a way, you could describe him as a hero. Although try telling that to Gwynnie.

Watch Se7en now on Amazon Prime Video

12. Buddy Ackerman

As played by: Kevin Spacey in Swimming With Sharks (1994) 

The villain: As the archetypal boss from Hell, Kevin Spacey takes insane pleasure in bullying his young intern Guy (Frank Whaley). He sends the poor kid on a never-ending series of meaningless errands whilst verbally (and publicly) abusing him on a daily basis. Sadly for him, he pushes Guy just that little bit too far...

Meanest moment: "You are nothing!" he yells at Guy. "If you were in my toilet I wouldn't bother flushing it. My bathmat means more to me than you." 

Nicest quality: He can be civil when he needs to be. Trouble is, when it comes to Guy, he never needs to be.

Watch Swimming With Sharks now on Amazon Prime Video

11. Alex DeLarge 

As played by: Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The villain: The terrible embodiment of a society gone to pot, Alex lives on a staple diet of drug-enhanced milk, brutal violence and sexual assault. 

Meanest moment: 'Mean' is probably a underselling it a bit, but the rape of a woman whose husband he's just crippled is probably the worst thing on his rap-sheet.

Nicest quality: A keen interest in classical music. Better than that rubbish they listen to now, isn't it?

Watch A Clockwork Orange now on Amazon Prime Video