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50 Worst Movie Betrayals

Donnie Brasco (1997)

The Betrayal: Betrayal for the greater good, this one, as FBI Agent Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp) infiltrates a New York crime family and befriends top dog Benjamin ‘Lefty’ Ruggiero (Al Pacino).

Why It’s So Bad: Lefty genuinely takes Pistone under his wing and shows some remorse over what he considers to be something of a wasted life.

The Fallout: Pistone finds it so difficult to shrug off his alter-ego that his marriage suffers, and he’s tortured by the thought that one day he’s going to have to kill Lefty.

The Lion King (1994)

The Betrayal: King Mufasa is set up by evil brother Scar and hurled to his death from a craggy rock above stampeding wildebeest.

Why It’s So Bad: Scar wants the Pride Lands all for himself.

Meanwhile, he lets Mufasa’s son Simba, the rightful heir, feel responsible for his father’s death.

Then sends hyenas after him.

The Fallout: Lots of singing, colourful characters and a smattering of revenge.

Payback (1999)

The Betrayal: Porter (Mel Gibson) is beaten to a bruised pulp, shot and left for dead by his wife Lynn (Deborah Unger) and best friend Val Resnick (Gregg Henry).

Why It’s So Bad: It’s all over money and criminal organisations, as Val takes the money the trio heisted from Chinese triads and rejoins the ‘Outfit’.

The Fallout:
Porter’s very mad…

Passion Of The Christ (2004)

The Betrayal: Judas Iscariot (Luca Lionello) sells poor old Jesus Christ (Jim Caviezel) to the chief priests for just 30 pieces of silver.

Why It’s So Bad: Not only is he stabbing Jesus in the back, Judas is also really mean about the whole thing – he seals the deal with a surreptitious kiss.

The Fallout: Something about flogging, a cross and a resurrection…

Kill Bill: Vol 1 (2003)

The Betrayal: Depending on which way you look at it, both The Bride (Uma Thurman) and her boss Bill (David Carradine) betray one another. She tries to marry another man. He shoots her in the head.

Why It’s So Bad: These two were lovers once. Also, Bill has his Viper Assassination Squad kill The Bride’s husband-to-be, too. Which is just mean.

The Fallout: The Bride survives the bullet from the head. Takes up a katana. And the rest is slish-slash history.

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (2007)

The Betrayal: Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) befriends older mentor Jesse James (Brad Pitt), then takes a gun and points it at his back.

Why It’s So Bad: All right, so there’s an argument that James wanted to be murdered in order to cement his legacy, but did Robert really have to shoot him in the back?

The Fallout: James is dead. Ford becomes a celebrity. But is it really happily ever after?

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

The Betrayal: What a sneaky little so-and-so. Mr Orange (Tim Roth) shocks everybody by confessing that he’s an undercover cop.

Why It’s So Bad: Mr Orange really has us believing he’s a bona fide crim, which makes his confession all the more shocking.

The Fallout: Blood. Lots and lots of blood.

The Matrix (1999)

The Betrayal: Sick of living outside of the Matrix, Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) wants back into the all-embracing ignorance of not knowing the truth about the world. So he hands Neo over.

Why It’s So Bad:
On top of the disquieting fact that Cypher’s basically turning on his friends, he does all of it for a steak that he knows doesn’t technically exist. Rotter.

The Fallout: Neo kicks everybody’s ass. Cypher dies. Payback’s a bitch.

The Godfather Part II (1974)

The Betrayal: ‘Weakling’ Fredo (John Cazale) shows his brother Michael (Al Pacino) what he’s really made of when he betrays him to Ola (Dominic Chianese) and Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg).

Why It’s So Bad:
Betrayal in the Mafia world is the lowest of the low, but when it’s your real family twisting the knife – that’s gotta hurt.

The Fallou
t: It’s off to Lake Tahoe for Fredo.

Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Betrayal: When Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia (Carrie Fisher) et al seek refuge from the Republic in Bespin’s Cloud City, Solo’s friend Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) hands him over to bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Why It’s So Bad: Sure, Lando feels bad about it, but there’s stabbing your friend in the back, and then there’s THIS.

The Fallout: Solo says “I know” and gets frozen in carbonite. Luke loses his hand. We wait for Episode VI