50 of the most loathsome movie characters of all time

IMDb/The Weinstein CompanySome movie characters are too hard to watch, like villainous cotton king Calvin Candie in ‘Django Unchained.’
  • Some movie characters are so loathsome they’re hard to watch.
  • Whether it’s because they’re so convincingly evil or just unbearably annoying, some characters make you beg for the moment they’re no longer on-screen.
  • Here are some of the most viscerally detestable movie characters in cinematic history.

There are some movie characters whose scenes are difficult to sit through – the kind whose parts make you want to fast forward or take a bathroom break instead of watching.

They are so loathsome, whether because they’re immensely annoying or horribly villainous, that throughout the entire movie we’re rooting for them to just be gone already.

Here are some of the most hated movie characters of all time that we just can’t stand.

Lucius Malfoy in “Harry Potter” was a constant thorn in our side throughout all eight of the movie installments. His cruelty gradually gave way to his cowardice as Lord Voldemort rose to power.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy in ‘Harry Potter.’

Dolores Umbridge in “Harry Potter” proved that someone could be equal parts malicious and irritating. She was the source of much of the fifth movie’s plight against life at Hogwarts as we knew it.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in ‘Harry Potter.’

Source: IMDb

Ralph Fiennes has said that in “Harry Potter,” Lord Voldemort is more of a misunderstood character rather than purely evil, what with his troubled childhood, but it’s hard to remember that with the atrocities he commits.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in ‘Harry Potter.’

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

In “The Lord of the Rings,” Gollum presents as many obstacles to Frodo and Sam during their quest than does the movie’s primary villains, but with much more self-loathing and irritating, psychotic monologues.

IMDb/New Line CinemaAndy Serkis as Gollum, or Smeagol, in ‘The Lord of the Rings.’

Bella Swan in the Twilight” movie franchise is just one of the characters that have long annoyed the masses. Even the Twilight cast themselves have openly mocked the vampire love saga.

IMDB/Summit Entertainment

Source: ENews

In “It,” the ancient creature behind Pennywise’s facade knew what it was doing when it masked its true identity — the killer clown image is arguably more terrifying than the gooey, gory monsters we’re used to.

IMDb/ABCTim Curry starred as Pennywise in 1990’s ‘It.’

Source: IMDb

Gregory Anton a.k.a. Sergius Bauer in “Gaslight” strategically convinced his wife that she was losing her mind. The term gaslight has become a way to describe any kind of psychological manipulation to this day.

IMDb/MGMCharles Boyer as Gregory Anton in ‘Gaslight’ in 1944.

In “The Lord of the Rings,” the power-hungry Steward of Gondor Denethor, with his weak-mindedness and wicked favoritism of his sons, didn’t exactly earn the love of movie-watchers, or readers for that matter.

IMDb/New Line CinemaJohn Noble as Denethor in ‘The Lord of the Rings.’

In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Runway magazine editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly’s ruthlessness and utter lack of decency as Andy Sachs’ boss had us wishing she’d be removed from the picture.

IMDb/20th Century FoxMeryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ in 2006.

Source: IMDb

Watching “The Shining” powerlessly as Jack Torrence slowly slips into madness is still captivating even decades later. He’s so horrific to watch that when he freezes to death in the snow, we practically breathe a sigh of relief.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence in ‘The Shining’ in 1980.

Source: IMDb

Regina George in “Mean Girls” is a household name among millennials everywhere. She’s the 21st century villain of our adolescent nightmares, bent on maintaining her perch at the top of the high school hierarchy by any means necessary. Shudder.

IMDb/Paramount PicturesRachel McAdams as Regina George in ‘Mean Girls’ in 2004.

Source: IMDb

Though in “Titanic” Rose’s abusive fiancé Cal was despicable, he met his match in Rose’s mother, who essentially exploited her daughter into marriage to save them both from financial and social ruin.

IMDb/20th Century FoxFrances Fisher as Ruth Dewitt Bukater in ‘Titanic’ in 1997.

Source: IMDb

In “Shawshank Redemption,” Warden Norton’s blisteringly blunt greeting to new inmates (“Put your trust in the Lord; your arse belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank”) set him up as the ruthless overseer that almost succeeds in bringing down the main character.

IMDb/Columbia PicturesBob Guntun as Warden Norton in 1994’s ‘Shawshank Redemption.’

Source: IMDb

Movie watchers of “The Green Mile” learned to hate the cowardly and sadistic Percy Wetmore from the get-go, but especially when he kills an inmate’s mouse-y friend, Mr. Jingles, for no other reason than to spite him.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Doug Hitcheson as Percy Wetmore in ‘The Green Mile’ in 1999.

Source: IMDb

The primary villain in “The Green Mile,” “Wild Bill” Wharton was more evil, allowing the hero of the story, John Coffey, to take the blame for the heinous crimes he committed.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Sam Rockwell as ‘Wild Bill’ Warton in ‘The Green Mile’ in 1999.

Source: IMDb

Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s husband in “Rosemary’s Baby,” stooped so low in the film when he traded his wife’s safety and womb to satanic worshippers in exchange for an advance in his acting career.

IMDb/Paramount PicturesJohn Cassavetes as Guy Woodhouse in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ in 1968.

Annie Wilkes in “Misery” takes the fangirl to a terrifying new level, imprisoning her favourite author injured in an accident and demanding that he write a new novel. Wilkes is neurotic in “treating” him, keeping him strapped to a bed and spoon-feeding him.

IMDb/Columbia PicturesKathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in ‘Misery’ in 1990.

Source: IMDb

The character of Jar Jar Binks tops the list of what annoyed many “Star Wars” fans about the 1990s prequels. His childlike voice and grating personality especially was a non-hit with movie watchers.

IMDb/20th Century Fox

Source: Huffington Post

In “Good Morning, Vietnam,” the ultra-macho Lt. Steven Hauk’s determination to use his authority to earn respect from his men is hard to sit through. Luckily, we have Robin Williams to get us through it.

IMDb/Buena Vista PicturesBruno Kirby as Lt. Steven Hauk in ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ in 1987.

Source: IMDb

In “Inglourious Bastards,” Christophe Waltz’s disturbingly jovial take on officer Hans Landa, who commits unspeakable atrocities, helped cement the character as one of the most loathed movie villains.

IMDb/Universal PicturesChristophe Waltz as Hans Landa in ‘Inglourious Bastards’

Source: The Independent

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio himself has dubbed his character Calvin Candie in “Django Unchained” as “one of the most deplorable, indulgent, horrendous characters” he’s encountered. The cotton king villain, among other atrocities, set his slaves against each other in fights to the death, purely for his enjoyment.

IMDb/The Weinstein CompanyLeonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie in ‘Django Unchained’ in 2012.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

HAL 9000 isn’t even a humanoid — it doesn’t even have a face — and yet the deadpan tone of the artificial intelligence in “2001: A Space Odyssey” is enough to not only fear but resent it for not having a more nuanced moral compass.

IMDb/MGMHAL 9000 voiced by Douglas Rains in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in 1968.

Source: IMDb

One of the most iconic cinematic villains, Darth Vader in “Star Wars” has conducted his mission of galactic domination since he first cropped up in 1977. It was clear from the get-go that he was not a character to root for.

IMDb/20th Century FoxDavid Prowse as Darth Vader in ‘Star Wars.’

Source: Shortlist

Despite what Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War” believed to be a noble cause, mass genocide is still mass genocide — and murdering your daughter to harness more power isn’t considered morally correct either.

IMDb/Walt Disney StudiosJosh Brolin as Thanos in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in 2018.

Source: IMDb

In “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Jesse Eisenberg’s high-energy Lex Luthor perfectly pits Batman against Superman, gives an opposing senator a jar of urine, and resurrects a dead alien just … because? His motives aren’t really clear, but he’s effective in hindering our heroes as much as possible.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in ‘Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ in 2016.

Source: IMDb

Simba’s wicked uncle Scar’s manipulation of the beloved characters in “The Lion King,” and the murder of his brother, proved that it was possible to loathe a computer-animated lion.

IMDb/Walt Disney PicturesScar, voiced by Jeremy Irons, in ‘The Lion King’ in 1994.

Source: IMDb

It’s hard to find the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” frightening these days, consider the extent that CGI has evolved to, but in case you need a reminder: she threatened to set Scarecrow on fire and drugs Dorothy and company to prevent them from entering Oz. In 1939, that was enough to give you the creeps, if her maniacal cackle didn’t do the trick.

IMDb/MGMMargaret Hamilton as Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in 1939.

Source: IMDb

Robert De Niro’s take on Max Cady was the crown jewel of the 1991 remake of “Cape Fear,” some say. The character was ruthless and deranged in destroying the Bowden family strategically in any way he could.

IMDb/Universal PicturesRobert De Niro as Max Cady in ‘Cape Fear’

Source: Fansided

There’s a reason why the White Witch in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” possesses an otherworldly air — she’s not human. Descended from the demoness Lilith, the immortal queen is tasked with punishing traitors in the land of Narnia, sometimes seducing them into committing acts of betrayal simply to have more prey.

IMDb/Buena Vista PicturesTilda Swinton as the White Witch in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ in 2005.

Source: Shmoop

There are countless incarnations of the evil stepmother from the classic “Cinderella” story, but none as striking as Cate Blanchett’s in the 2015 version. We all know the details, manipulating her adopted daughter and otherwise making her life a living hell, but Blanchett does it with an unmatchable intensity, and style.

IMDb/Walt Disney StudiosCate Blanchett as the evil stepmother in 2015’s ‘Cinderella’ adaptation.

Source: IMDb

Gruff, mean-spirited, and terrifying, Miss Trunchbull in “Matilda” was the school principal of our nightmares. Who locks schoolchildren in closets or swings them by their pig-tails as punishment?

IMDb/TriStar PicturesPam Ferris as Trunchbull in ‘Matilda’ in 1996.

Source: IMDb

With “Psycho,” movie creators purposefully wanted audiences to sympathize with Norman Bates, which wasn’t a usual depiction of a movie villain at the time. Still, the psychotic hotel manager and his chilling relationship with his mother is cringe-worthy, even decades later.

IMDb/Paramount PicturesAnthony Perkins as Norman Bates in 1960’s ‘Psycho.’

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

In “American Psycho” New York yuppie by day, sadistic killer by night Patrick Bateman, who’s one villain that is more human than not, unlike other monster baddies. His bloodlust and his psychoticism, however, isn’t exactly relatable.

IMDb/Lions Gate FilmsChristian Bale as Patrick Bateman in ‘American Psycho’

Source: IMDb

Despite her killer wardrobe, Meredith Blake in “The Parent Trap” was the evil roadblock preventing Lindsay Lohan’s characters from reuniting their parents. At the time, she was despised by 90s kids, but now she’s actually enjoying a nice renaissance as the “unsung hero” of the film.

YouTube/Walt Disney PicturesElaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake in the 1998 remake of ‘The Parent Trap.’

Source: Refinery29

Alex Forrest in “Fatal Attraction” was also heartless toward animals, when she boiled a live bunny in the iconic crime film. The jealous lover, wanting Michael Douglas’ character pried from his family all to herself, will not be ignored.

IMDb/Paramount PicturesGlenn Close as Alex Forrest in ‘Fatal Attraction’ in 1987.

Source: Complex

The smart and suave Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” is an action movie villain that has proven difficult to replicate. His intellect helped him remain always one step ahead of Bruce Willis’ John McClane. Despicable, yes, but also worth our respect.

IMDb/20th Century FoxAlan Rickman as Hans Gruber in 1998’s ‘Die Hard’ opposite Bruce Willis.

Source: Den of Geek

Kreese, the leader of the Cobra Kai karate school in “The Karate Kid,” values a fierce and merciless approach to one’s enemy. You’d think a teacher of young kids would prioritise teaching respect to their pupils, but not with this guy.

IMDb/Columbia PicturesMartin Kove as John Kreese in ‘The Karate Kid’ in 1984.

Source: IMDb

Tommy DeVito in “Goodfellas” risked his mob family multiple times with his cruel, impulsive kills and short-fused temper — and he eventually paid for it.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in ‘Goodfellas’ in 1990.

Source: IMDb

Tony Montana in “Scarface” doled out one of the greatest cinematic lines in history (“Say hello to my little friend,”) but gave us one of the most villainous mobsters on the big screen. He was ruthless and unapologetic while staving off his opposing gangsters.

IMDb/Universal PicturesAl Pacino as Tony Montana in 1983’s ‘Scarface.’

Source: The Guardian

Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in “Gangs of New York” was based on a real-life New York gang leader, who shared his film counterpart’s hatred toward Irish immigrants, his proficiency at boxing, and his butchery trade. And also, like his movie character, he didn’t get his nickname (The Butcher) from his profession. Gulp.

IMDb/MiramaxDaniel Day-Lewis as Bill ‘The Butcher’ Cutting in ‘Gangs of New York’ in 2002.

Source: New York Post

In “Gladiator,” it’s so easy to despise the whiny and egotistical Emperor Commodus, who, like his real-life historical counterpart, wielded his power for anything but good in the 2000 film.

IMDb/DreamWorksJoaquin Pheonix as Emperor Commodus in 2000’s ‘Gladiator.’

Source: IMDb

Don’t be fooled by the pageboy haircut: Anton Chigurh in “No Country For Old Men” was and is one of the most vile villains to grace the big screen. With his ghost-like demeanour and complete disregard for human life, he’s equal parts despicable and terrifying.

IMDb/MiramaxJavier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in ‘No Country For Old Men’ in 2007.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Shooter McGavin did everything he could in “Happy Gilmore” to stop Happy from returning his grandmother to her home in as annoying a fashion as possible.

Movieclips/YouTubeChristopher McDonald as Shooter McGavin in ‘Happy Gilmore’ in 1996.

Before being murdered in “Carrie,” the pious Margaret White is harsh and domineering of her daughter. She didn’t help Carrie in any way from eventually becoming an unhinged telekinetic.

IMDb/MGMPiper Laurie as Margaret White in ‘Carrie’ in 1976.

Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” has been called the greatest villain in cinematic history. The cannibal is still branded in the minds of movie watchers, along with that smirky, bug-eyed glare.

IMDb/Orion PicturesAnthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lector in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ in 1991.

Source: GQ

In “The Clockwork Orange,” everything about serial criminal and otherwise savage beast Alex DeLarge, from his immoral nature to his single row of false eyelashes, oozes uneasiness. The character’s dystopian environment just adds to the horror of it all.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Malcolm McDowell as Alex Delarge in 1971’s ‘The Clockwork Orange.’

Source: IMDb

In “Fight Club,” on the surface, there’s something intriguing about Tyler Durden’s snub of the capitalistic world around him, but when he takes it to extremes, we grow to hate his self-righteousness, especially when we learn who he really is.

IMDb/20th Century FoxBrad Pitt as Tyler Durden in ‘Fight Club’ in 1999.

Source: IMDb

For “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” there weren’t many actresses jumping to portray the abusive, cold-blooded Nurse Ratched. The savage character abuses her authority to bend her patients to her will.

IMDb/United ArtistsLouise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ in 1975.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

In “101 Dalmations” is another fabulously-dressed villainess: the colorless and heartless Cruella de Vil, who is unwavering in her quest for Dalmation fur — merely for the sake of fashioning the coat of all coats out of it.

IMDb/Buena Vista PicturesGlenn Close as Cruella de Vil in ‘101 Dalmations’ in 1996.

Source: IMDb

The brilliantly devious Professor James Moriarty, regardless of adaptation, is always two steps ahead of adversary Sherlock Holmes. It’s not hard to root against him when he’s threatening dear Dr. Watson and ensnaring Sherlock with a fish hook.

IMDb/Warner Bros.Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ in 2011.

Source: IMDb

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