5: Scorpio (from Dirty Harry) – Most people forget this guy and just remember the guy who took him down, Harry Callahan. Scorpio was a great villain. He would kill anyone without remorse. Before it was over with he was going to kill a school bus full of kids. Why you ask? For fun and money. He also knew his adversary. Not Dirty Harry the San Francisco Police, he knew they’d pay him not to kill the kids. Once Dirty Harry entered the equation, it became a different game. He tried to get Harry removed from the police force by paying a guy to literally beat him until he was hospitalized. Harry having a healthy lack of respect for any form of authority, decided to ignore the Police Chief and went after Scorpio on his own. Bus full of kids or not. Scorpio felt lucky, but in the end he was just another dead punk.
4: Hans Gruber (from Die Hard) – Hans is a bank robber who was brilliant enough to disguise the robbery by making it appear to be a hostage situation. His group of robbers made demands to have their “brothers” freed and listed off terrorist organizations around the world, knowing what FBI protocol was they simply waited until they could get into the vault when the FBI cut the power lines. Expecting to get away in a mocked up ambulance with the goods. It would have worked as well if he hadn’t missed one little party guest: John McClaine. One off duty cop was able to take down a small group of well armed, organized criminals. How? They weren’t expecting the proverbial fly in the ointment. However Hans showed how ruthless he was, killing one man (claiming to be John’s friend) to lure him out, pretending to be one of the hostages and then attempting to shoot John in the head (John of course didn’t give him a loaded gun), and finally holding John’s wife hostage to prevent him from causing further problems. Without the one man unaccounted for, it was the perfect plan.
3: Wicked Witch of the West (from The Wizard of Oz) – Without a doubt the meanest witch in the house, the WWOTW was horrible, scaring the beejesus out of me since childhood. She is after a 10-year old girl for a pair of shoes. If she had taken care of the other friends first, Dorothy might have given over the shoes and then the witch would not have been felled by the bucket of water that was used to put out the Scarecrow. She could have had a mattress from the Scarecrow, a boiler from the Tin Woodsman, a rug from the Cowardly Lion, a hat from Toto, and a serving girl from Dorothy. One little miscalculation on her part and it cost her everything. That being said she spent the better part of the group’s journey to the Emerald City trying to devise ways to kill her friends and convince Dorothy to get rid of her ruby slippers. Also winged monkeys quite possibly the greatest military force in all of Oz.
2: Dracula (as portrayed by Christopher Lee for Hammer Productions) – Lee’s portrayal of Dracula was superior to most (see my 10 greatest vampires on film for that). What kind of sets him aside from most is how ruthless he is. Seeking revenge for the slightest offense, going to great links to turn children against parents, priests against monsignors, and using any human he pleases to lure victims into his evil clutches. There are times that this may back fire such as Taste the Blood of Dracula where his human pawn is so dejected by the fact that he refuses to turn her. In the end, she assists in his demise. Oh yeah, he also has a thing for blondes. Forming normally disastrous desires to blondes. Let’s also not forget that he forces loved ones to drive wooden stakes through the hearts of their relatives. So yeah, you know, evil.
1: Darth Vader (from Star Wars Original Trilogy) – For three films we see this giant black clad figure have his stepbrother and wife burnt to a crisp, destroy a planet, torture and freeze a guy (before giving him to a bounty hunter), cut off his own son’s hand, then try to convince the kid to join him so they can overthrow his boss and conquer the universe, oh yeah not to mention command forces that kill a lot of rebels and innocent bystanders. Vader is about as bad as they come. He’s loyal to the Emperor but knows that if he gets a new apprentice, then Darth is out of there. So his solution was to lure the kid to his side, not a bad idea. We don’t see any remorse or good out of him until the end of the third film when his kid is getting fried by the Emperor, so what’s Vader do toss his boss down an open chasm of death. For three movies we see him kill, maul, maim, torture, and destroy with nothing then in the last 10 minutes he flips sides. Even though he did, Vader is still the worst villain ever. Infinite army of faceless troops? Yeah he has those. Awesome personal weapon? Yeah, lazer sword or lightsaber. Special abilities? Magic (or Force if you prefer). So yeah best villain ever, also best equipped.