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Top 10 Murderers You Secretly Love

IanT . . . Comments

WARNING: spoilers. Murder is bad, wicked, evil. Most people would agree that it’s the very worst thing a human-being can do. We condemn murderers in the press, but at the same time we obsess over knowing every tiny detail. We want to know why, where, who, how: how they did it, how they became so alienated from regular functioning society, how they feel after. There’s an obsession with murder and murderers that mirrors our obsession with celebrities.

Below I have collected the top ten movies that had murderers who were sick, vile and twisted, yes, but also endearing. Murderers who we rooted for to live past the end of the movie, escape or beat the lame hero. Whether it was their charisma, the redemption they found, revenge, the message implicit in the murders or the reasons behind them, these ten murderers (all men), while we might not invite them over for dinner with our family (except for possibly # 7), all have a special place in our hearts.

Note: There are only two qualifications. The movie has to have been made in the last twenty years (since 1990), and the person in the movie has to have killed more than one person (whether on screen or implied in the time-frame of the movie).


Patrick Bateman
American Psycho

Patrick Bateman-1

Bateman is a unique psychopathic serial killer. He’s unbelievably handsome, fit, rich, narcissistic, and he listens to Phil Collins. The shallow, ornamental, material-based society Bateman inhabits is starting to drive him insane. The creepy, self-narrated scenes where Bateman describes his mind unraveling, while he’s doing 2,000 + sit-ups, lying in a tanning bed, or putting on kiwi facial masks more expensive than most people’s cars, are beyond disturbing.

The reason Bateman is on this list, beyond being a nerdy, yuppie serial killer, which admittedly is kind of cool, is that somehow,at some point in the movie, we begin to feel sorry for this shallow, egotistical monster, who has everything we could ever dream of.

Because, as the audience, we are given access to the lives of these rich-boy yuppies we see that their internal lives are empty. Everything’s an ornament: business cards and attractive blonde fiancés are just won to compare with the business cards and attractive blonde fiancés of other yuppies. We see that, maybe, climbing and spending lead only to more climbing and spending. Bateman’s character only evokes pity. While he does have a certain unique sense of cool, ultimately we just feel sorry for the poor demented bastard.

During one of the final scenes of the movie, where Bateman sobbingly confesses to his lawyer on the phone, (“I guess I’ve killed twenty people….maybe forty” “I ate some of their brains, and I tried to cook a little.”) we feel how scared he really is—for his sanity, for his freedom, for being revealed for who he really is. This is how Dostoevsky portrayed a person who has just committed murder in Crime and Punishment—scared, guilty, ashamed, alone, and I imagine this is how it really feels.

From the final monologue of the movie: “There is no catharsis. My punishment continues to elude me. And I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.”

Note: I know some of you will say that the murders never even occurred—that it was all in Bateman’s head. But you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong.


Willis, Jackson, Rhames
Pulp Fiction


One of Quentin Tarantino’s greatest strengths is his ability to combine the ultra-violent with the everyday. This is why Pulp Fiction was so original and accessible to almost everyone who watched it. There’s murder and violence and obscenities, but there’s also Seinfeldish discussions about the most mundane topics. That these hit men might talk about the same things we talk about with our friends is surreal, and just really freaking cool. Not to mention that all the characters above are all three-dimensional and accessible. They’re bad people, but they’re not just bad people. They can be charming and worrisome and kind people, as well. Tarantino makes them human.

All three of these guys are ultimate bad-asses. They take crap from absolutely no one. Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis’s characters get the nod for their scene in that awful pawn shop together, where they were about to murder each other and instead bond with a shared decency and the disgust they both have for sexual deviants. As much as they might dislike each other—they respect each other. They might be killers, but they’re not perverted sickos.

Samuel L. Jackson gets the nod for the redemption he found. He feels like God intervened in his life and, not willing to ignore it or pass it off as coincidence, he decides to change his murdering ways. “I’m trying real hard here, Ringo.” And, though we never see what happens to him, we do witness what happens to his partner (John Travolta), who did pass the intervention off as a coincidence. Jackson’s character is the only one on this list who changed his ways. Because of that he deserves our respect, and is possibly even more bad-ass because of it.


John Doe


The movie Se7ven is disturbing, frightening, dark and melancholy. And the scope of what John Doe does is jaw-dropping. A lot of serial killers brag about numbers, or trophies, or the pain they’ve caused. A lot of serial killers kill for no reason except to cause pain, but they have no vision beyond the murders; they are ends in themselves. But all of John Doe’s murders (even his own) were means to an end.

His immense scope and patience and time-in would be respectable if, say, he were doing research on cancer, or studying ancient cultures, but he’s a killer. Not just a killer—a monster. The most sadistic, depraved, frightening, intelligent monster ever shot on screen. What Hannibal Lecter did was peanuts compared to John Doe. While he only committed six murders, and never once on screen, and appeared in the film for only fifteen or twenty minutes he still remains one of the grittiest, most visceral sadists every conceived.


Vic Vega
(Mr. Blonde), Reservoir Dogs


Vic Vega is the smoothest, most reserved psychopath ever shot on camera. Before he ever comes on screen, Mr. White and Mr. Pink create a myth of his actions in the foiled bank robbery. They imply that he’s an unhinged, psycho-deviant, without any self-control. But, when he finally arrives at the warehouse sipping soda out of a straw (what is Tarantino’s deal with food and violence), he’s the epitome of cool and calm. He stands up to the most bad-ass actor of all time: Harvey Keitel. “Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?”

He’s in bewilderment that Mr. White and Mr. Pink are giving him a hard time for assassinating a few expendable hostages. His calm presence makes Mr. White and Mr. Pink look like two little school-girls at their first dance. On reflection, Mr. Blonde makes every other person in this entire movie look like whiny little school-girls (besides, maybe, Joe the ringleader of the whole thing, and his son).

We feel bad for the cop getting his ear cut off—for his family—for staring into the face of a real-life psychopath, who couldn’t care less if he knows anything—just wants to torture him because he enjoys it, but damnit, it’s still one of the coolest scenes in all of cinema. Thank you Mr. Blonde.


Daniel Plainview
There will be Blood


As the title of the movie suggests, there was blood, and it was Daniel Plainview who spilt it. He’s a self-proclaimed oil man, with a menacing mustache, dark beady eyes and a stubborn limp—he drags around his leg as if it were an albatross he’s been cursed to carry. He’s stubborn and impatient; he’s an alcoholic, a self-made millionaire and father to his creepy little son. And he murders exactly two people in this movie. The first, a vagabond who made the mistake of impersonating his brother, and the second the whiny, creepy preacher, Eli Sunday, who is the only character in the movie as unhappy and misguided as Plainview.

Plainview works his whole life to build an empire, and then when he’s sitting on it he has no idea what to do with himself. He uses everything at his disposal to advance himself, but what he’s really doing is taking steps backwards, toward depravity.

He is on this list, because he’s empathetic. A lot of people really do just care about themselves. A lot of people in the world really are not good people. He hates other people, but he genuinely wants one person to whom he can relate. His son is this person, until he goes deaf in a drilling accident, and becomes unreachable to someone as impatient as Plainview. He then meets someone he believes to be his long-lost brother, and he opens up—let’s himself be vulnerable, until he finds out that it’s not his brother at all—just some drifter who wanted to cash in on his fortune. He murders him, and tries to reconnect with his son, but it’s too late.

He’s lost. He becomes exceptionally lonely, and drowns himself in decadence and alcohol in his mansion. Then he murders Eli Sunday, because he’s a slimy little weasel, yes, and he has nothing to live for, but, fundamentally, because he sees himself in Sunday. And he hates himself more than anything else in the entire world.

Note: The abruptness and finality of Eli’s murder in this movie is shocking, and unexpected. It really can be that easy to murder someone. It really can just happen when we least expect it.


Tommy DeVito


Coming in at around 5’4’’, Joe Pesci plays the ultimate bad-ass in this Scorsese film. Whether he’s stabbing someone in the chest with a pen or shooting an innocent waiter to death for a mild insult, nobody ever willingly crosses Tommy Devito. He’s ruthless, dangerous, prone to violent outbursts, has severe anger issues and can kill people who cross him with any object that happens to be lying around. Basically he’s a psychotic, murderous Mafioso.

But he still functions. He has beautiful girlfriends, and cool friends, and he’s rich. Not to mention, he’s entertaining as hell to watch. He’s somebody who would be cool to hang out with, if there wasn’t a substantial chance he would stab you to death in the face. He kills because he enjoys it. But at least he’s honest.

More than any other person on this list, Tommy possesses undeniable charisma. After murdering a made guy by stabbing him in the chest with a pen, and then later a knife in his trunk, he goes and eats pasta at his sweet mother’s house with his friends, laughing and drinking like nothing happened. The scariest thing about Tommy is that he might not even be insane. He just doesn’t care. He’ll shoot you, or stab your sister, for one slip of tact. But he’s still a funny guy. (“What do you mean I’m funny? What like a clown? What I’m a clown?”)

Even though he got what was coming to him in the end, and was extremely unstable, we all still kind of wished that Tommy was getting made in his last scene instead of getting whacked.


Karl Childers
Sling Blade

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Another unforgettable movie. While most of the characters on this list are cold-blooded murders, without any morals or empathy, Karl Childers is not one of them (even though he does eat his dinner of french fried ‘petaters’ on a table not three meters from where he just clobbered someone over the head with a lawnmower blade).

In Billy Bob Thornton’s directorial debut, Karl Childers is a semi-retarded inmate being let go from a mental hospital in the South, decades after killing his mother with a sling blade (some people call it a Kaiser blade). Days later he befriends a slow, father-less young boy, who quickly convinces his loving, but submissive, mother to let Karl live in their garage. This sounds like a simple movie, and inherently it is, but it remains one of the sweetest, most uplifting, most genuine movies ever made. Thorton’s character has been the butt of countless jokes, impersonations and even a mock movie, but he rode it all the way to the upper echelons of Hollywood.

There is no doubt in my mind that Karl is the most harmless character to ever murder two people using long, sharp objects. He’s sweet, and has the mental capacity of his slow 12-year-old friend, and so cannot be anything but honest about what he sees, does, witnesses…etc. Before murdering the abusive step-father character, Doyle (portrayed exceptionally well by country singer Dwight Yokam), with a lawnmower blade, he asks him what numbers to dial for the police. Then when Doyle asks him why he wants to know he says, “I reckon I’m gonna kill you with this here lawnmower blade.”

That last scene pretty much sums up the entire mood of the movie. A simpleton, abused by his parents, who sees the same thing happening to the boy he loves more than the world itself, and who will not allow it. This movie would be funny, if it wasn’t so heart-wrenching, to watch this simple, kind man let out into a world that’s too big for him to comprehend.

Note: Dwight Yokam’s character, Doyle, would also definitely earn a spot on the top ten people in a movie that you want to get brutally murdered.


Mickey and Mallory Knox
Natural Born Killers


They’re cool, casual, confident and hot. They’re funny and obnoxious and unhinged. They’re the sexiest serial killers in the world. Say hello to Mickey and Mallory Knox.

Oliver Stone got a lot of heat for making this movie. And more than one psychotic couple has cited this movie as the inspiration for their own shooting spree. John Grisham tried to sue Oliver Stone for inciting violence. Quentin Tarantino wrote the script and then removed his name entirely from the film, which I don’t understand, because I’m not sure that Tarantino could have made this movie any better, himself.

A lot of people think this movie promotes senseless violence, but I disagree, wholeheartedly. This movie is a social commentary on the United States: the media and the phoniness stuffed down our throats at every turn. Are Mickey and Mallory psychotic? Yes. Are they evil? Maybe. But they weren’t born psychotic and evil. Stone tries to make it very clear that they are products of their environment.

Neither of them were killers when they met. But there is something about their love that sparks their endless killing spree. The first time Mickey kills is to protect Mallory—who symbolizes natural love. Then something is unleashed. “You’re free, Kevin.” They go on a rampage, killing people because at least murder is something real. And while they kill randomly, without remorse or empathy, all the other main characters in the film are worse.

The cop chasing them is just as psychotic as they are, the warden is a masochistic sociopath, and the journalist (Robert Downey Jr.) is a phony who represents everything wrong with America. The journalist is worse because, even though he doesn’t have blood on his hands (at least before the ending), he represents something more damaging and irreparable. He’s perpetuating the tenets of mindless passivity—to just put filler out for the lost generation out in T.V. land to sit back and watch.

In contrast to Robert Downey Jr’s phony character, is the Native American shaman who tries to help Mickey and Mallory, and who was not a part of the society that created and shunned them. Because of this polar separation from American society, he represents the only purity in this movie. It’s important to note that this is the only victim Mickey and Mallory regret killing, and that his murder was unintentional.

They eventually slay Robert Downey Jr’s character at the end of the movie, even though he helped them escape and had an “epiphany,” which was just as fake as everything else he represented. And maybe, just maybe, you could perceive Mickey and Mallory as agents of rightful retribution, wiping out all the fakeness they see around them, because there’s no other solution. Or maybe they’re just insane.


Anton Chigurh
No Country for Old Men


No Country for Old Men is a masterpiece. It’s easily one of the best movies made in the last ten years. And while the two other male leads in this movie played their roles so well that I found myself gripping (literally gripping) the theatre seats in anticipation of the ending, what truly makes this movie stand out as one of the best of all time is Javiar Bardem’s character: Anton Chigurh.

He’s a vicious, cold-blooded psychopath with a bad haircut who murders everything in his path on his way from point A to point B. On the surface it might appear that he’s after money, or that he enjoys killing, but he’s really just an avenger, avenging every mistake ever made on earth. He doesn’t care whether or not his victims are specifically responsible. He’s not a cause, but a byproduct of the new evilness hinted at by the sheriff and the title of the film. He’s the embodiment of retribution and death, killing the majority of people who have the misfortune to cross his path.

He kills out of some purpose we aren’t ever shown, and has morals that we can sense but can’t really imagine. But while his other-worldliness should create a distance between himself and the audience, it is contrasted by these regular human actions, like eating a bag of peanuts while he’s deciding whether or not to kill an innocent (or is he only innocent by how we see things?), gas-station owner, or drinking a bottle of milk inside Llewelyn’s trailer, Into which he has just broken to murder everyone inside. He is human, which we can forget. He can be hurt. He gets shot and he bleeds and cringes and limps just like anyone else would. He’s not from another planet.

And he’s comedic in some way only the Cohen Brothers could have invented: this dry, matter-of-fact, awkwardly candid, honest humor that’s so bewildering and hypnotizing that we’re not even sure if it’s funny, or even whether it was meant to be. It’s this contrast that makes him so accessible. Not to mention he’s super bad-ass, self-sufficient, intelligent, cool, and he uses probably the most bad-ass weapon in any movie, ever.


Dr. Hannibal Lecter
The Hannibal Trilogy


Of course Dr. Lecter had to be #1 on this list. Throughout three movies he dazzled us with his charm and wit. In Silence of the Lambs, we heard about his vile crimes before we ever met the man. And, at first, we might have believed that Hannibal was just a kindly old man, trapped in a brick cell for crimes that sounded a little too exaggerated. But very soon we see that isn’t the case at all. His creepiness and power are cerebral. Within minutes of meeting her he puts dainty Clarice Starling on her psychological ass (“You know what you look like to me with you good bag and your cheap shoes, you look like a rube”) His murders are some of the most violent, and yet he remains sophisticated and respectable, no matter how deranged his actions. Not only does he have a svelte, hypnotic voice that manipulates victims and other serial killers alike, he is also the most intelligent and classy serial killer we’ve ever met.

While Mickey and Mallory Knox might dine on some greasy breakfast food at a truck-stop, our dear Hannibal requires nothing less than the finest caviar and Chianti to be found anywhere in the world. Whether cutting off guard’s faces, feeding an out-of-tune violinist to a table of aristocrats, getting one of his patients to cut off his own face and feed it to his dogs, or biting off a nurse’s tongue while his heartbeat remains under 85 beats a minute, Dr. Lecter remains a true gentleman to the end, not killing good people unless he has to, and cutting off his own hand instead of Clarice’s—his muse—when push comes to shove.

And just as we can see the progression of affection our dear Clarice feels for this man (although she would never admit it) we, too, become paralyzed by his charm, even knowing all that we know. Detective Will Graham called him insane, and he probably is—must be—but a part of all Hannibal’s fans realize how thin the line between genius and insanity really is.

Honorable Mentions: Leon (The Professional), Ryan Gosling (Murder By Numbers), Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver), Dennis Hopper (Out of the Blue and Blue Velvet), Benicio Del Toro (21 grams).

  • Magdalene

    Omgosh! I've never watched any of these O.O

    • Time to get downloading then!

    • _-DAN-_

      I recommend Silence of the Lambs first!

    • Seriously? Wow lol, I haven't seen some of them (2,4,5,6) but I'm really surprised that you haven't seen Silence of the Lambs or Pulp Fiction, Lot's of great movies =.)

    • dude, about time. the only one i havent seen is Sling Blade. I'll look for it today.

    • karma

      You really need to see sling blade and silence of the lambs!

  • Kimani

    "Of course, Dr. Lecter had to be #1 on this list"
    He's #10????

    My #1 right now would have to be Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass.

    • Yes, yes, yes. Oh my God YES.

    • Mr.K

      Hit-Girl and Big Daddy were awesome, but they weren't really murderers. They were super-heroes. :D

      • Mimz

        Super heroes don't murder if they can help it. They bring the wrong-doers to justice and lets the law handle them, never taking matters into the heroes own hands. Big Daddy and Hit Girl were murderers in capes.

        • That's not true about all the so called super heroes. Some of them would kill a bad guy without a blink of an eye. :)

          • lordofreimes

            most of those guys get classified as 'anti-heroes'. Wolverine, Deadpool, i don't know who else lol. I don't think there have been any heroes that kill who have been glorified in the way Batman or Superman (or the villain has to be an alien/monster, human killing seems to be a no no).
            I like to think Hit-Girl and Big Daddy represent how real life 'superheroes' would really react in those situations.

    • Tobias

      Hit girl is noting compared to these, maybe better than the tarentino characters on the list, but you can't compare her to Hannibal, Anton Chigurh, John doe, Tommy devito and Daniel Plainview, cuz those are all better characters.

  • grace

    totally agree with #1

  • Landrash

    I relly think Dexter should have been in this list =)

    • Dexter is indeed a complicated and endearing character who has us rooting for him in every situation, but unfortunately, this list was made about movie characters only, as stated in the introduction. Perhaps some ambitious list writer will come up with a list of televion murderers we secretly love. Any takers?

      • Kon

        Straight away, I thought of Dexter and Sylar for that topic. HINTHINT to list writer. :3

        • the mick

          indeed, Sylar for #1 if this list was about TV villains.

        • HINTHINT? You mean: nudge nudge, wink wink? :D

        • Mark

          Benjamin Linus for #1

    • Without a doubt, and the Boondock Saints deserved at least an honorable mention…

    • Heyjo

      Agreed, if TV killers were included. AND, anyone who hasn't seen Dexter, you are really missing out. Best TV show ever.

      • One of the best. Twin Peaks must be up there also, as far as TV shows are concerned. And Ren & Stimpy. :D

    • karma

      I thought of Dexter too until I read that the list was from movies only.

  • Tastynapalm

    No 2 – Willis, Jackson, Rhymes

    Rhames perhaps?

    • Indeed. Corrected. Thanks.

    • jeffthemaori

      Bring out the Gimp

      • Fabienne: Whose motorcycle is this?
        Butch: It's a chopper, baby.
        Fabienne: Whose chopper is this?
        Butch: It's Zed's.
        Fabienne: Who's Zed?
        Butch: Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead.

  • Raven

    nice list.
    tony montana from scarface is cool too

  • Prawnburger

    Hmm, I thought the door was left open as to whether Bateman murdered anyone at all?

    • qwerty

      Fuck you Prawnburger! Hmmmm stick it up ye butthole.

    • hah the author of the list mentioned that and I deleted it. So you are not alone in thinking it :)

      • oliveralbq

        man — deleting it was a weird move j.
        i mean– for the purposes of this list, deleting it was probably smart — this is a ""murderers you secretly love"", not the list of"" people who daydreamed about fucking people's worlds up"".

        im sure you were able to predict that someone at some point was gonna say this, and spark a couple retorts. i suppose you do know what youre doing ;) ;) ;)

        the scene when bateman is instructed by an atm, to feed a homeless cat — it all spiraled downhill for them, and many others. — in a way it just opened up more something.

        —–why was allen's apt empty when bateman went to check it out.
        —–why is it that bateman's lawyer is eating dinner with allen (who is supposed to be dead at that point)
        —–why was everyone ignoring him all the time

    • littleMissKnowItAll

      actually, in "Lunar Park" Bret Easton Ellis himself mentions that the murders taking place in "American Psyco" was all a part of the narrators fantasies. His use of himself as a protagonist in the supernatural story of "Lunar Park" just confirms his love for unreliable narrators, ..wich also makes the statement above kind of questionable. hm..

  • I couldn't agree more with this list, I've seen all 10 of these movies, and 8 of them would be in at least my top 15, I'm very happy with number one as that is my favorite of the list and one of my favorite performances in a movie (definitely Christian's best).

    Personally I think I would have moved Hannibal and Anton into the 5th and 6th places and moved the others back, their performances were amazing. Honestly, even though he did murder two people, I just don't see Daniel Plainview as a murderer, but it's no secret that I loved his performance.

  • suzie

    Great list! Completely agree with:
    John Doe
    Patrick Batemen
    and Daniel Plainview – but probably because I have a crush on Daniel Day-Lewis

  • Raven

    i went through the list without noticing it's a 90-present list. so i guess Tony Montana isn't qualified to be in this list.

    • the mick

      it is specifically about murderers only. Montana did kill people but usually for power, money or control.
      We all love Montana, but he does not belong in the context of this particular list.

      • That’s not true. Pesci’s character from Goodfellas killed for power and money, too. He killed to get higher in the Mafia. Yes, he enjoyed it a litle too much, but so did Montana. The only reason Tony Montana couldn’t be on this list is the timeframe.

  • tremblingfingers

    I know he’s not a movie character but a TV one, but, Dexter Morgan.. He’s my favorite murderer :)

  • LLL

    Where's Light Yagami? He's perfect for this list!

    • Lia

      I'd go with Lelouch personally but yeah i agree with you

  • atty

    It was a flautist,Benjiman Raspail, that Hannibal killed and fed to the Orchestral Board of Directors wasnt it?
    Great list.Seen them all,need to watch Slingblade again soon…

  • Teacherman

    Yeah I think this was posted in reverse order.

  • Bateman is a legende, a cult classic! It is a shame the film did not quite live up to the book

    • I am kinda glad it didn't – I had to stop reading the book because the violence churned my stomach. On the other hand, the movie was a pleasure to watch.

      • Well, did you stop just for a while and finish the book later? Or did you stop altogether and never finished it?

        • I stopped altogether. I have read other books by Ellis but have never finished American Psycho. I am sure in time I will go back to it.

          • You should. If you get past the violence (which is pretty gruesome, I'll admit that), you might enjoy Ellis's dry humour, etc. Plus, the ending is a bit confusing… like it's meant to be, I suppose.

  • Kimani

    I agree with L, Yagami Light AKA Kira is one of my personal favourite killers. Correct me if i'm wrong but i think his body count is higher than all of the top 10 combined.

  • dalinean

    These are all fiction.
    there is no such thing as a good real murder.

    • deeeziner

      You make a very good point.

      Would we love the characters on this list if they were actually our neighbor or a family member?

      I can say that some of these fictional characters are necessary to our human desire for justice in some situations that we know will be unpunished. (like Karl Childers in Slingblade.) To have a fictional character helps to release some of the outrage we feel when we see the weak harmed in our everyday real life.

      It also reminds us that though we as humans in society don't need to go to the extreme that Karl went to, to ensure his young friend's safety, we are morally bound to do what we can legally to help the abused.

      Some of the other characters mentioned here help relieve us of the impotent anger we feel when we come across others who stomp upon the niceties we grew up with. Hannibal Lector mentions he prefers to eat the "rude". Free-range rude, I believe he calls them.

      Who here hasn't fantasized at one time or another a little bit of social pruning when being in the midst of an absolute boor, or the selfish, or the cringingly stupid? You can almost see Lector's actions as a way to keep the gene pool vibrant and forward moving.

      I'm sure there are many other pros to having an imaginary killer to keep our true human hands free of blood, but I try to resist the urge to go all wordy on my soapbox.

      Maybe some of the other readers can give some feedback on the subject.

    • Agreed. However, I think the point wasn't a justification of their actions. It was rather the depth and complexity to their characters that make them fascinating to us. It's easy to make a character in a story who is just plain evil and easy to hate, but the storytellers above have taken one of the worst transgressions a person can commit and skewed our view of it, sometimes to the point of questioning the characters' "evilness", so to speak.

      Plus I don't think IanT made any mention of these people actually being "good" people.

      However, I think an interesting idea for a list would be "Top 10 Murderers You Secretly Love (Real-Life Edition)." I guess it sort of has already been done by lists of murderers in the past, but I think someone could put a new spin on it.

  • Lucian

    A wery well written and very well thought list. This is why I visit this site every day.

  • Billy Bob Thornton's portrayal of Karl Childers was both brilliant and heartbreaking. No one who watched this movie could fail to be moved by his innocent naivete and his genuine love for the child he befriends. Both murders he committed could be argued to be justifiable when all the facts are known. But, in my mind, Karl committed no crime at all. He was merely acting on his reasonable assumption that people deserve to be treated with respect, whoever they may be. I loved this movie, and I am happy that it was included in this list. Nice job, IanT!

  • Silver

    Hannibal should have been number 1. As much as I love Christian Bale and his portrayal of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, Hannibal Lecter should have been number 1! Number 2 spot goes to Patrick Bateman; he has a hot ass; the shower scene, AAH!

    • Moonbeam

      Maybe you want to look at the numbers again. This list starts from #10 Patrick Bateman, and counts up to #1 – Hannibal Lecter.

  • c man

    i thought tom cruises' character from collateral was pretty cool

  • Anton Chigurh is totally my favourite. ( Great movie too.) He is cold, get's the job done, can fix his own gunshot wounds, and doesn't even let something like eating lunch get in the way of the job at hand. Next time I need someone taken care of, I will hire him. (Yes, I know he is fictional.)

    "Are you going to kill me?"

    "That depends. Do you see me?"


  • Gav

    The spoilers you provided were generally unnecessary to divulge in making your list, I'm still swimming about why you included them- especially the ones at the end for Goodfellas and NBK. Oh well. At least you provided a warning. :)
    Aside from that, I'd agree with plenty of these. And more than that, I appreciate you refraining from including slasher/horror/comicbook characters like Jason, Joker or Jigsaw.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Moonbeam

      I was kind of expecting Heath Ledger's Joker, though. I think he'd have been a good addition, myself.

    • Nice call on the Jigsaw suggestion.

      Though it may be time to let the franchise rest in peace. To continue to milk a dead cow might be rude enough to warrant a trip into one of Jigsaw's character building "puzzles" for the makers themselves.

  • Rose

    Every sigle one of these films are honestly excellent, but your words on Anton Chigurh are so true.

    Also; "But, when he finally arrives at the warehouse sipping soda out of a straw (what is Tarantino’s deal with food and violence)" made me laugh pretty hard ;)

  • tutsrevenge


  • Nilla

    That was a surprisingly good list. The analysis was both deep and to the point. Very nice.

  • Tom Selleck

    I just noticed that Christian Bale's most famous roles are Patrick Bateman and Batman… Neat

    • Hey – I never noticed that! How weird. Maybe he could appear next in a Simpson's film as "Bartman"! Just to complete the trilogy.

      Another slightly more random connection to evil people is that his character in Empire of the Sun was named "Jamie" and Jame Gumb (Buffalo Bill) is the name of the bad guy in the silence of the lambs film (listed here also). Spooky.

      • ….and your name is Jamie! The connection is just too strong. Do you have anything to tell us? Homicidal tendencies or anything? LV is an accepting place. You're safe here.

  • pablo

    Yes, Good list. But, Hannibal along with Bateman should be the bottom 2. And No country for old men sucks ball sack.

  • Chris

    American Psycho is defintly one of my favourite films of all time. Bale is brilliant in it.

    "Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now you fucklng stupid bastard!"

    • hahah that was one of my favorite parts too! And the part where he pretended to his secretary (Chloe Sevigny) that had managed to get reservations THAT DAY at Dorsia and she gave him a look of complete disbelief. That film just has so many great moments!

      • Chris

        I can recite the business card scene, word for word because i've watched it so much. It's just such a quotable movie.

        "Do you guys know Ed Gein?"
        "Ed Gein? Maitre'd at Canal bar?

    • rob

      Read the book people, it makes the movie look tame in comparisson. Bale was great.

      • Chris

        I'm actually reading the book at the moment, it's on my desk.

  • Kabirbhai

    Well, i shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die…

    • Mr.K

      Johnny Cash :)

  • Fred

    The Anthony Hopkins Hannibal seems a bit too suave I think. Brian cox’s portrayal in manhunter was creepy and menacing, much more like lector should be.

    • I don't think I could love the Lektor from Manhunter…..Sir Anthony Hopkins all the way.

      • i watched manhunter a few weeks ago and said the same exact thing. it kind of ruined the movie for me!! hah

  • I have put the list back into the order in which it was sent and added back some of the comments the author made. Obviously he knew this topic better than I :)

  • oliveralbq

    i am aware that in movies, there are lots of characters written in vastly diifferent styles, with different points of focus, etc., that a list like this serves as an excellent building block for conversation and debate. most everyone will have one character in their mind that is justified over someone else's pick for various reasons. these lists kick ass but in 3 years, i think iive only seen about 5 comments that said "i wouldnt change a damn thing" — anyway, ian…..very nice.

    i want to point out one — i was super skeptical when someone told me to go see mr. brooks a couple years ago. aside from the fact that the plot read familiar and uncomplicated, and i cant stand 4 of the 5 main actors. demi moore, as the cop — ok —- not a fan of cook, w.hurt, costner (unless hes playing baseball–see: ray kinsella and crash davis), or helgenburger

    anyway i was pleasently surprised.
    it was no amer. psycho (which did deserve to be at #1 i.m.o. — even thought im not convinced he killed anyone — see furture comment), but written with interesting premeses, and played out in fairly original manner

    if youve seen this movie, you must acknowledge one thing —–
    it must must get an honourable mention (or a special slot at #8.5 or something) for the simple reason that:
    he kills dane cook
    on screen
    with a shovel
    thanks to everyone who had a part in this wonderful piece of cinematic imagry.

  • Excellent choices – well written and researched

  • Lifeschool

    Hey there. Killers we love? I can see it in some of these but only a few. Yeah, that scene in Pulp Fiction where the Travolta character accidentally blows the guys head off in the back seat of a car is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. That dialogue is a masterpiece! So yeah, I love all the killers in that movie.

    I also love that Pesci guy in Goodfellas – “Yeah funny how? – I amuse YOU??”. Yeah he was great.

    My other personal favs include:

    Jack Nicholson in Batman (original)
    Gene Hackman in Superman 1/2
    Clint Eastwood (in anything)
    Arnie in Terminator 2
    oh and Darth Vader.

    • oooooo…….Darth Vader….for whatever reason, I got a soft spot for him. He's a cool villain.

  • This was a great list! I agree with all of these choices and so many more that it would be hard to choose which. Kudos for taking that on!
    I saw in the comments about adding Light Yagami…..he fits this list perfectly. I have the movie Death Note (live action movie not the anime) and would say it was awesome to watch him become so cold and calculating.
    Anyway, really enjoyed the list.

    • But the anime version is great as well.

  • rebekah

    hans landa from inglorious basterds defenitly

  • deeeziner

    Loved the list and loved all of these movies. Nice job IanT. Want to watch almost every one of these again right now. And since they have been posted on such a mainstream site, I don't feel like nearly the morbid ghoul for loving them.

    I WAS a little surprised not to see The Bride from "Kill Bill 1 and 2", but have to say that your list was very well rounded.

    Also, thank-you for the tidbit about Tarantino doing the script for Natural Born Killers. I never knew and will enjoy passing that little nugget of knowledge to friends and family.

    One entry I can't get behind would have to be the Joe Pesci dude in Goodfellas. He always struck me as a rabid dog with jealousy issues. I can respect the Mafia's method of justice, and have always seen the practicality of the hitman profession, but Tommy DeVito was rather too out of control for my taste.

  • remote snatcher

    u might find it weird but in most movies i always want the bad guy to win…does that say anything about me??

    • You should watch "The Great Silence" by Sergio Corbucci, with Klaus Kinski as the bad guy.

  • One question though….

    Why was the entry for Pulp Fiction the only one titled by the actor's names as opposed to the characters they played in the entry?

    I know that it has no bearing on the awesomeness of the list, and I know I've opened myself to the finger pointing cries that will label me some kind of Nazi, but it just stuck out at me and I had to ask.

    • Whoa everyone, watch out! The Consistency Nazi is on the loose!

      (I was kind of wondering the same thing)

  • DiscHuker

    somebody just beat me to it. colonel hans landa (christoph waltz) in inglorious basterds. the opening scene is, i think, one of the best in cinema. the colonel is talkative, polite, intriguing and completely comitted to killing all jews he comes across. i was going to be pretty upset if he didn't win the academy award for best supporting actor.

  • Cath

    "What Hannibal Lecter did was peanuts compared to John Doe." Then why is John Doe so far down on the list? Why is he not #1, or at the very least, #2? Great list otherwise…

  • mom424

    Very excellent list. Maybe my favorite Lv movie list ever. Great job!

    I, to this day, still can't watch the torture scene from Reservoir Dogs. There are many more blatantly violent offerings that I can sit through. Maybe it's the background music used to great effect by Q.T. As always. The very ordinariness (although awesome 70's fare) of the tunes made the torture some how worse.

    And I too agree – Christoph Waltz was awesome in Inglorious Basterds. Deserving of the accolades and the oscar.

  • FelixMG

    I really enjoyed this list.. well done sir!

    One point of contention i have is how John Doe found himself on this list. This delusional man only murdered others to satisfy his penchant for divine retribution of sorts. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever (that i can imagine), and the author makes no mention of any characteristics that could make the viewer empathetic to him. I don't find anything enviable or redeeming about the character whatsoever.

  • one movie murderer i love is otis from house of 1000 corpses and the devils rejects. That whole family you fall for! i remember watching it with my sister, and halfway through the movie i said, "is it weird that i love them all?' she laughs and says "i was going to ask you the same question." You feel bad for them, instead of glad when they die. its very psychological.

    • BSmith

      I agree, but the whole family and not just Otis. The genre change in the movies was the reason so many people felt bad for them in Devil's Rejects at the end. Going from being the ones commiting the violence/torture in House of 1,000 Corpses to being shown as humans that are vulnerable in Devil's Rejects. When they are tied up and being totured by the Sheriff you really feel bad for them especially when Captain Spaulding tries to deflect some pain from Baby by trying to "claim" one of the photos. In the first movie they appear deranged and it's hard to evoke any "love" for them, but by the "sequel" showing that "monsters" really do have feelings it puts them back on a relatable/human level. Both excellent movies!! And I could talk all day about how I LOVE Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood, but this post is already long enough!!

      • yeah i agree with everything you said. i kind of meant the whole family, so i dont know why i only wrote otis. but no, you really do feel bad for them in the ending, not going to deny that at all!

        • Agreed, so much. After watching House of 1000 Corpses with a friend, I told her that at the end of Devil's Rejects, she would feel bad for the Fireflys and be rooting for them. She couldn't understand how. That family definitely should have been on here.

          • Guest

            She still can't.

          • Thank-you Guest. I might have been intrigued by the actions of the family through the two movies. But love them? Not even close. They were a bunch of inbred torturers that had absolutely no redeeming qualities.

            The minor torture they received in Devil's Rejects was nothing more than a mosquito bite compared to the amount of suffering they laid down on 4 family albums of victims.

            The final run straight into death wasn't heroic or noble, it was just the only option left to a carfull of optionless deviant rednecks.

          • Bsmith

            Deviant rednecks? Or perhaps "people rejected by society"? For me the transition as weirdo backwoods lunatics into actual people with back stories cemented the fact that they ARE worthy of some kind of empathy or for some viewers, love. Any movie focusing on the serial killer point of view normally captures the few human characteristcs that the killer/s has and perhaps offers a reasoning on why the individual/s decides to murder people. The top 10 list includes murderers that killed to get rid of the "bad" people that were not what they thought worthy of living, people who had wronged them or people who were in the wonrg place at the wrong time.

          • Bsmith

            So how is it that they can illicit feelings of love whereas the Firefly family does not. Sure there were a lot of "innocents" killed-some because of the wrong place-wrongtime factor , but others were spared that COULD have been killed ("Goober" at the liquor store, the woman & her child that Captain Spaulding let go). The family also showed a sense of love/caring with one another with the banter between Baby, Otis and Spaulding about ice cream and Mother Firefly's concern for her daughter in the beginning shoot out and the women saying I love you to one another. If some empathy is to be evoked it certainly would come from The Devil's Rejects and not House of 1,000 Corpses, but to say they are not deserving of "love" would be quite hypocritical seeing the other characters mentioned in the list. Yes they are sick, sadistic, and at times, cruelty at it's finest, but if you can "secretly love" some of the other "madmen" listed, then why not a little love for the rejects….Hell doesn't want them, hell doesn't need them, hell doesn't love them, this world rejects them-but I, for one, LOVE them!

          • The banter between Baby, Otis and Spaulding could have just as easily happened over a victim's liver or other body part.

            One little scene that involves ice cream does not a hero make.

          • Bsmith

            No the scene doesn't "make a hero" in showing the banter, but it does show they have feelings for one another, nevermind the situation they are in at the time. I don't feel the other entries on the list are heroes either. I never argued them to be heroes, but I do think there were many viewers of the movies that liked or "loved" the characters they portrayed. They are ruthless and savage at times, but you can see the love they have for one another and their strength as a "family". I believe each character had redeeming qualities about them, not necessarily saying they were not majorly flawed, but still very likeable as who they were.

  • Tropical

    did anyone actually root for john doe though? For me of all the characters in the list, he is the one i least had any empathy for whatsoever, he wasn't charming like lecter, he wasn't in the movie long enough for us to know anything about him or understand his motivations…he was a john doe! so why do people like him at all in the film, all i wanted to know was why he did what he did and i wanted him to get his just desserts, at no point was i rooting for the sicko.

    • deeeziner

      "and i wanted him to get his just desserts"

      I think THAT very sentence is why he made it into this list.

      • Tropical

        I don't get it, how does me wanting him to die an equally sickening death equate to him being a 'murderer you secretly love.' With some of the others, im not gonna lie i wanted them to get away with their crimes but him i felt the same repulsion for that i feel for most serial killers so how does he fit in this list? The introduction for this list states that these are murderers we root for to escape, I certainly didn't want him to get away.

        whoops forgot to use the reply button

        • Tropical

          Oh deeziner i finally thought back to the movie which i watched years ago and got what you meant. Good point, However i still dont believe he fits the list criteria of being endearing or for us rooting for him.

  • lou

    Jean Reno as Leon is one of my favorites, but i totally agree with you on 2. No Country for Old Men also has one of my fav "walking away from an explosion without looking at it"-scene.

  • Tropical

    I don't get it, how does me wanting him to die an equally sickening death equate to him being a 'murderer you secretly love.' With some of the others, im not gonna lie i wanted them to get away with their crimes but him i felt the same repulsion for that i feel for most serial killers so how does he fit in this list? The introduction for this list states that these are murderers we root for to escape, I certainly didn't want him to get away.

  • KB

    How about the Boondock Saints? Also, the scene where they accidentally shoot the cat was just as funny when they shot Marvin in the face in Pulp Fiction.

  • fasterthanu

    Nice list

  • Jasmine

    There will be blood – Love Daniel. DO NOT love or relate to No Country for Old Men! It was a good film (There Will Be Blood was better), gripping, suspensful.. but didn't relate to Javier Bardem's character.

  • What about Alex from A Clockwork Orange?

    • CO well predates the time frame of the list. Otherwise a definite possibility.


  • silvernano

    How about all the muurderers in ALL tarantino movies.

    • fasterthanu

      I agree with ya there.

      Mr.Blonde from Reservoir dogs is the elite of Tarantino bad guys.

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Real life murderers can be charming, too. Serial killer Ted Bundy received quite a lot of lonely hearts fan mail while in prison.

  • When I saw the title I thought, "Oh, Lecter, Numero Uno, without a doubt." Glad you didn't disappoint.

    @wade2528 – Alex from A Clockwork Orange only killed one person, an older woman, and even that was an accident, so he wouldn't qualify for the list (have to have killed more than once). Also, that movie was made before 1990, disqualifying it twice. But I still would have left it off, because for as much as I was fascinated by the character, I didn't secretly like him, and would NOT have wanted to spend any time with him – contrary to most of the murderers who made the list.

  • Benjamin

    Perhaps the title should have mentioned that these are fictional characters.

    • phynx

      Perhaps you should have seen the spoiler warning and realize there are no spoilers for real life.

  • Sexysmell

    I'm not sure what the qualifiers for this list are. Somebody suggested Scarface but was shot down cause "he did it for money and power". Well so did the three guys from pulp fiction and Daniel Plainview and Vic Vega.

    You should rename this list "people who killed people in a movie that I liked released after 1990".

    • "Note: There are only two qualifications. The movie has to have been made in the last twenty years (since 1990),"
      Does anybody read the introduction anymore :-) ?

      • bassbait

        Ok, that is the worst criteria for a list ever. That's like saying "greatest guitarists of ALL TIME", and the criteria is that they have to be as new as 2000 and they can only play music that I like. This list blows because murderers can only have one murder, and they can predate 1990. It's unfair, and it's just an excuse to have as many Tarantino movies as possible on here.

      • Sexysmell

        I read the intro fool. I was referring to the fact that half these people are tarantino creations. which means that they are MADE to be cool and ergo likable. The other half are serial killers who are MADE to be creepy/deplorable. Thus with the tarantino types you like cause they are ultra cool most of the time and hate them because they have relatively minor indiscretions. Whereas the real killers on the list you hate because they are ultra deplorable and like because they have some minor cool points.

        The Tarantino characters are like a car that gets good gas mileage because its been stripped of all the parts that make it a decent car. Whereas the other killers are like a car that has been built well and gets good mileage cause of good engineering. The former you like cause they are bombastic cartoons which serve one purpose. the latter you like because they manage to evoke the actual persona of a killer and end up being well rounded characters because of this.

    • Actually Vic Vega didn't make the list.. (which I don't understand.)

      The entry for Pulp Fiction only covered the characters played by Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson and Ving Rhames. No Travolta.

      I know, a little snarky of me, but I've already left a comment somewhat on that subject.

      • Sexysmell

        what the hell? Vic vega is No.7 dude. READ.

        • In the second paragraph of her post, it’s apparent that she was referring to Vincent Vega, the Travolta character in PF, not Vic Vega from RD. As an aside (you probably already know this), the two characters are brothers.

  • Sev

    what? no Jean Reno as Leon?
    i think he played a wonderful killer.
    but otherwise another interesting list and a spur to re watch some classic movies.

  • The only good quality about 'No Country for Old Men' was Anton Chigurh. Hated the rest of the movie: should had never won Best Picture. However, the presentation of Chigurh should be why no one should screw around with other people's illegalities.

  • i have to watch Silence of the Lambs at least once a month. Anthony Hopkins sends chill down my spine everytime.

    No country for old men sucked!!!!!!!!
    I hated the ending especially. But i will admit that Chigurh was F-ing freaky. He was really the only good part to the whole thing.

    I know its weird, but i couldn't help but feel as though Gerard Butler from Law abiding citizen should be on here. Maybe a bad guy, maybe a good guy. You decide>

  • Feff

    Great call on Daniel Plainview. He was very easy to relate to. Despite his flaws he also kept his promises to bring schools, roads, and agriculture to the areas he was drilling around. Also there was a great scene where he publicly shames Eli's father for hitting/absuing the little girl. But then murders people. Love it. Amazing contrast.

  • L Lawliet

    Where's the light, light yagami or darth vader oh well good list otherwise

    • Darth Vader doesn't fit the time frame (1990 to present), but Light could have been included, definitely.

  • Benjamin

    Well, perhaps you should eat my nuts. What about when someone is looking through the archive, Phynx?

    • phynx

      Well, perhaps you should read THE FIRST DAMN SENTENCE OF THE LIST.

  • David

    What about the film, The Last King of Scotland, with Idi Amin? He was a monster, sure, but before that we loved him, and thought he was hilarious. Remember the Idi Amin song? So where`s Idi Amin?

    • Mr.K

      Idi Amin isn't a fictional character. A good call otherwise.

      • David

        No, he wasn`t. What he did was unfortunately VERY REAL. Mutilated his wife, was a cannibal, he said human-flesh was-"too salty," he had a Army of cannibals, had-"killer-squads," kept peoples heads in his fridge, fed people to Crocodiles, sent all those bloody Asians here and said he was The Conqueror of The British Empire. Surely he`s crazier than Hannibal anyday?

    • GiantFlyingRobo

      depending upon if there is one, he is probably in hell.

  • This is my new favorite list. Se7en, Goodfellas and SOTL are three of my all time favorite movies!!!!

  • Laurabelle

    I always enjoyed "the Bride" from the Kill Bills, such a good story and definitely Uma Thurman at her best. Pretty rare to cheer a little when a murder kills someone, but it seemed so justified in those films!

    • Have you seen the Swedish film from 1974 "Thriller: en grym film" (aka "They Call Her One-Eye") that was banned in many countries at the time? Quentin Tarantino took a lot from that film, as well as the Japanese film (based on a manga) "Shurayukihime" (aka "Lady Snowblood") from 1973. I'm not trying to put Tarantino down, I loved the Kill Bill films, too, but he had his influences. And he has openly admitted it as well.

  • I haven't seen way too many of these. Time to get watching. Great list!

  • No Country for Old Men was a total suckfest. Felt like it was 5 hours long…

  • Awesome list. Couldn't read some of it though because I didn't want to ruin the movie.

    • True, you should see the movie before reading spoilers. Luckily I had seen all of these before. :)

  • Grant

    John Cofee from the Green Mile?

    • oliveralbq

      dude—-have you seen the green mile all the way through?
      ok — let me back up–
      i semi-expected someone to say this.
      i do not know why — i just did.

      if anyone needs a spoiler alert, you just got one
      for grant, and whoever else clicked thumbs-up on his comment:

      john coffey didnt kill anyone in that movie
      he got stuck on the green mile (in the louisiana stete pen) — for alleged murder– and he did get indicted on a murder charge, yes.
      (i havent seen this in 7 years, so if i get a minor detail wrong, please just push on)

      there was a cat in a cell next to coffey by the name of wild bill .
      the only dead people attributed to coffey were a pair of litle girls, whose dad had hired wild
      bill for labour / general work.

      there are a few flashback types of scenes in which it is revealed that wild bill killed the girls, and coffey simply picked them up, likely in an attempt to save them (as he did to a mouse one of the inmates found and tom hanks' character and the warden's wife who had an inoperable brain tumour).

      this movie if full of contrasts between good and evil, and an exploration of how god punishes people (or whether he does or not), and why he does so

      where some of the movies on this list are open to slight interpretation (im reallly thinkng mostly of american psycho) — coffey's innocence is one of the key plot points in the conclusion —

      after coffey was executed, most of the guards sought transfer because the situation gave birth to too many conflicting emotions because they *knew* he was innocent, but had no proof.. — as the narrator, hanks' character explores the idea that his punishment for killing (or letting him be killed) one of gods great miracles. — is that he must live an unusually long life to be made to suffer as alll his loved ones pass on without him. he produces the mouse that would be like….105 or so, and it cuts.

      you have to have killed someone to be on this list ;) ;)

    • He wasn't a murderer. He was trying to save the murdered girls with his GIFT when he was found holding them.

  • john

    Clint Eastwood as William Munny in Unforgiven would have been a nice inclusion on the list

  • What about the robot from 2001: A Space Oddessy? Not technically a human but can be argued to be a murderer. Now with that being said, how do you classify a "murderer"? Can it only be described as humans killing other humans because we "know" what we are doing? The robot seemed to me that it knew what it was doing and it did kill someone. If a dog kills another dog is it considered a murder or just killing?

    Nice list by the way. It was everything I expected :)

  • Armadillotron

    That`s HAL. he`s a right scumbag isn`t he/it? Am I the only person who thinks that if we not careful, in 50, years time, with the current advancements in technology, we`ll be like that? It worries me, I swear.

    • Be careful about what you say. Microsoft is watching you. :(

  • Liked the idea of the list. I'm not a Grammar Nazi. However, the prose made my eyes bleed. Who the fuck approved this?

  • Patrick Bateman has been mentioned in this list and the last list.

  • I absolutely friggin' Loved this list!!! Great picks, I haven't seen 2, 4,5 and 6 so I know I have to see them =) Totally agree with the choices that I have seen though.

    I know that personally I've watched movies and maybe a handful of times I'm hoping the bad guy will win, can't think of the titles but oh well =)

  • Amazing list. I would have put the enigma that is Patrick Bateman up higher though.


  • punkin

    Dexter should have at LEAST been given an honorable mention! Great list, none the less.

  • Allie

    I would have put Patrick Bateman higher up on the list as well as Norman Bates (The 1960's Anthony Perkins Portrayl). Does nobody else in this world find awkwardness endearing?

    • Suzie

      I do :)

    • Norman Bates doesn't fit the time frame of this list, i.e. from 1990 to the present. Also, he's allegedly based on a real character, Ed Gein, albeit very loosely, so he's not completely fictional. Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre would have been great on the list, too, except for the same reasons as mentioned above.

  • KR4T0S

    I agree with the calls for Dexter.

    BTW I'm not sure if I would put Hannibal Lecter at the top of this list. He is by far and away the most significant character on the list there isn't any doubt about that. The thing is as great as the character is I don't think "love" is the right word.

    I think he intrigues us all but he scares the crap out of us. He is the greatest villin of all time in any form of media in my opinion though. Anthony Hopkins was incredible in the movies too.

  • Trapper

    Totally agree with “c man” (comment 22). I’m not a fan of Tom Cruise, but he’s absolutely awesome in Collateral. It’s his best performance by several orders of magnitude. Very under-rated movie which I recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

  • Daisy May

    Although this is a list about movie-murders, I feel there are a number of television characters that should have at least been included as a bonus. I know Dexter has already been mentioned, but also pretty much the entire cast of The Sopranos would not be out of place.

  • Ryan G

    Nicky Santoro is way more murderous than DeVito… AMD more dangerous.

  • Dane

    I loved Sling Blade but really don't think the young boy was slow as was mentioned. Maybe some people would think that because of his southern accent.

    I would add Steve Buscemi in Con Air even though he wasn't a lead character.

  • phosmonaut

    YEA i definitely think that Dexter should have been in there. Also, i think that "Bill", David Carradine's character in Kill Bill should have made the list. By the end of Vol. 2 i half cheered and half mourned that The Bride killed him. He was a cold hearted killer, but at the same time he was so hard not to like!

  • Thorlite


  • Sexysmell

    I dont get this list half of them are hitmen and the other half serial killers. hitmen kill for money serial killers for pleasure. Its alot easier to like hitmen the comparison doesnt work.

  • blueboy

    what about lara croft? she killed endangered species and humans alike(not to mention atlantean and egyptian gods) and she never got into any real trouble with the law!

  • Allan

    where Tony Soprano?

  • Rick

    Even though they're killing for the supposed "right" purposes…I think the McManus brothers from Boondock Saints deserve mention as well…considering while they're doing their killings – we are cheering them on the whole time.

  • I'm going to have to say the Phantom from "The Phantom of the Opera" is at the top spot for me. He's got a past, a charm, mystery surrounding him, and he's one phenomenal singer.

    • i understand the phantom's inclusion — i actually thought the dsame thing

      but not for this list — this was saturday's i believe —–

      check out the list published a couple days before this — on thursday —
      "fictional male charmers"
      he belongs on that one for damn sure.

  • Nuriko

    great list…

  • thought it was actual murderers. : /

  • Annamarya

    This is a great list but one correction: Anton from No Country for Old Men WAS NOT created by the Coen Brothers. The character was created by Cormac McCarthy in his 2005 book, No Country for Old Men (which the movie was based on).

    • True, but it's Javier Bardem who makes the character his own in the film version. Much like Anthony Hopkins did to the character of Dr.Lecter, who was originally created by the author Thomas Harris.

  • Jen
    • Too old, read the intro.


  • DAP

    i would've assumed that these would be real murderers… because i'm sure that there are at least 10 murderers that people adore

  • tuan bonnano

    Ini Pelajaran yang harus dipelajari…. Just Remember this film before Kill somebody….hahahhahah……..

  • Vez

    Definately going to check out Sling Blade, that sounds great!

  • amazing list man. couldn't agree more about the choices on the list. The only movie I've not seen is Sling Blade and I'm looking for it today. Amazing list.

  • Good list. Agree with Hannibal- one of the best things about him is that he feels he is murdering for good reasons. I admit that murdering someone because they ruin an orchestra may not be the best of reasons, but convincing a paedophile to mess their face up so that no child would ever want to go near them seems kind of ok to me (to an extent).

    I would probably have put Jigsaw from the saw films on this list although he doesn't necessarily murder people he does put the victims in a position where they could fail to save their own life, but he always does it for 'good reason'.

  • like_a_flower

    Dwight Yokam always plays despicable characters! He played Raoul in Panic Room plus he's the crazy doctor in the Crank movies.

  • Danielle

    Hello?!?! Where is Dexter Morgan?

    • He's on TV. This list was about movie murderers.

  • Jay Poe

    Great list. Seen all of these except Sling Blade. However I did not like 'No Country for Old Men'. Coen Brothers are over-rated.

    The unedited version of 'Natural Born Killers' is so much better.

  • Mike

    DEXTER ?!?!?!?!

  • Just wanted to mention that the kid waiter Joe Pesci kills in Goodfellas is Christopher from Sopranos, although about 10 years younger.

  • Beast Of Gevaudan

    You’ve contradicted yourself here, for no 8 John Doe you stated “The most sadistic, depraved, frightening, intelligent monster ever shot on screen. What Hannibal Lecter did was peanuts compared to John Doe.” Yet you put Hannibal Lector at no 1 stating “he is also the most intelligent and classy serial killer we’ve ever met.”
    Wouldn’t it have made more sense if you put John Doe at no 1 and left out this part about Hannibal Lector?

    Aside from this I think you’ve done a good job with this list. Interesting, memorable characters, all of them.

  • Shannon

    Number one should be Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale Nailed the performanace, should have gotten an Oscar !

  • unca

    I find the premise of this list very disturbing. I haven't seen all of these movies or even most of them but enough to know that I always want the villain (especially the ones described here) to get his just desserts in the end. No amount of suave can make me "love" these guys.

  • RocketTube

    The lack of Dexter is sorta irksome.

    • HELLO! Dexter is a TV serial, this list was about movie killers. Not TV killers.

  • Mr. Firefly

    umm how about just about everyone in The Devil's Rejects

  • Emperor

    one word, joker.

  • copewithit

    I think that list is great, however there is one MAJOR flaw. Heath ledger as portrayl of the joker was one of the performances of the decade. Not to mention the fact the man basically lost his life because of it…among other things but that’s beside the point. I am dumbfounded the joker didn’t even get an honorable mention it kind of ruined the list for me

  • iant

    I didnt include the Joker because though I considered it, I thought the movie has recieved enough hype for just being a mediocre film. But yes, maybe the joker did deserve honorable mention.

  • York

    Bateman didn't kill anyone. Dumbass. Why would the apartment he stashed the bodies in be mysteriously empty? Why would Paul Owen (Allan in the movie) be alive and well in London? Why would a 9mm handgun blow up a police car?

  • Great list IanT, just one major omission (who has already been mentioned a couple of times): Light Yagami from the "Death Note" films. (And manga and anime of the same name).

  • Spocker

    I've gotta go with Graear Grimsrud is 'Fargo', played by Peter Stormare (Betcha you didn't even know what the characters name was.) But this guy didn't care about ANYONE. Spoiler: He even offs his partner and crams him in a woodchipper.

  • Sam

    What about Willard Stiles? he's very lovable and murdered atleast one person…depending on which verson you go by.

  • What about Capt Vidal in Pan's Labyrinth. He is by far the most sadistic, brutal murderer I have ever seen in a movie.

    • YES! Yes. Pan's Labyrinth was a great film and that guy was definitely worthy of at least an honorary mention.

  • Archie

    what about jigsaw?

  • drrios

    The Jocker from TDN???

  • noctu

    kickass list. nice choices, and great movies

  • flip

    nice list, but where is bill the butcher?

    • iant

      that's one I actually forgot about totally. He should have definitely been on here, maybe instead of Daniel Plainview. Thanks flip

      • flip

        always happy to represent the sharp-dressed maniacs. i think plainview is a good choice, esp. for the abruptness and whatnot. (the butcher is way cooler, though!)

  • More movies to watch

  • Kai – last of the brunnen g from Lexx – a 2000 year old Divine Assassin:
    " I have killed mothers and their babies. I have killed great philosophers, proud young warriors and revolutionaries. I have killed the evil, the good, the intelligent, the weak and the beautiful. I have done this in the service of His Divine Shadow and His Predecessors and I have never once shown any mercy."

    The list has covered a lot of the greats. I agree with hannibal at #1 – he's a real montser of humans in the true (fictional :) sense. There are some very insightful references to fine food & the part of the brain where the 'manners' are located….Oh and if you would prefer: the alternate ending of Hannibal has Lecter on the plane – with all limbs attached. John Doe should be at #2 a very complex and emotionally disturbed character.

  • Well, duh! Hannibal Lecter had to be number 1! I actually credit him in my mind as being a good guy, apart from eating ppl's liver and tongue…

  • elroxzor99652

    I thought this list was going to be about real-life killers that we all love….lol

  • Sam Simpson

    Good list but I take exception with what you said about Jason Bateman's murders all being real. The story was structured specifically to make the reality of Bateman's action's unambiguous. What is it that makes you so sure the murders actually happened?

    • I think the 'twist' is intended to leave it open to speculation , so you can't really tell what really happened but you are left thinking about it. A very clever concept in my opinion – good 'ol psychological thriller/horror. If you read through the other comments you'll notice that alot of people agree with you. ;)

  • WHAT!!!!! No Dexter Morgan???

  • Sam Simpson

    I found your comments about Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas" almost disturbing. His character was a sadistic little shit of a man and I was disappointed that his well-deserved death was as quick as it was. And saying that "at least he's honest" was ridiculous. Remember where he borrows a knife from his mother claiming he needs it to remove roadkill from his car's grill and later uses it to stab a man to death several times, that doesn't fall within the definition of honest in any dictionary i'm familiar with.

  • Phish

    Can you please take time to read the introduction to the list and see that the qualifications consist of being a MOVIE, not a television series, and being within the last 20 years. Thus, this negates the arguments for Dexter, a series on Showtime, and Scarface, as it was a movie in 1983.

  • jeni

    dexter dexter dexter dexter dexter!

  • exchangecoupons

    Dexter? Why isn't he on there?

  • peter

    The average genius is a perfectly fine person. The idea that genius borders on lunacy is conceived by non-geniuses.

    • Jay

      No, we're mostly pretty nuts.

  • Maladicta

    Thanks for the shout out for Dwight Yoakam!!! He is my favorite singer and does not get enough recognition for his talent. Yes, he does play despicable characters, but I kinda like the creepers in movies. I love this list, mostly because it makes me feel less crazy for liking all the evil guys. On that note, I would give my nomination for just about any evil character played by Sean Bean. While I admit to being biased because I have more than a slight crush on him, he is just so good at being bad.

  • Tillyen

    Health Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight should have definitely be on this list.

  • Fenriz218

    To add my bit:

    Alex (Malcolm McDowell) from Clockwork Orange should have been on this list.
    Magua (Wes Studi) from Last of the Mohicans.
    Ghost Dog (Forrest Whitaker) or alternativly Whitakers version of Idi Amin.

    and last but not least: Joker, anybody?

  • teta

    Never heard about anyone on the list -___-!!

    My #2 would be John Kramer from SAW Series
    My #1 is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from Perfume

  • Firesong

    Another shout-out for Light Yagami! Can’t imagine a world without Light!

  • bob

    all 3 of them from frailty…

  • Dddd

    this list is disappointingly omitting John Kramer from the Saw Series… very disappointing.

  • Tylarus

    WTF is wrong with every 1 of these types of sites I’m not saying I don’t like lector but Freddy Kruger should have gotten 1st and Jason vorhesse 2nd

  • Jay

    I must be horribly abnormal. I didn't love any of these guys. I didn't even really like them.

  • Amy

    "Note: I know some of you will say that the murders never even occurred—that it was all in Bateman’s head. But you’re wrong. You’re dead wrong."

    No, that's right. Psychosis is an umbrella term for mental illnesses which prevent the sufferer from being able to tell the differences between real and unreal experiences. The clue is in the name – America Psycho. This is why all the people he thinks he's killed are still alive at the end, and he is treated normally by colleagues. Even if it was not obvious that the killings were a psychotic episode, there is other evidence of his psychosis e.g. when the ATM tells him 'Feed me a stray cat'.
    But other than that, great list. I do need to see Pulp Fiction.

  • some guy

    Where's Dexter at?

  • kate47454

    Alright, I usually don’t comment, but I found it almost disturbing that Sweeney Todd was omitted. Come on: loving husband and father ripped from his family and imprisoned without cause or trial escapes after 15 years to find that the evil judge that had him sent away raped his wife (causing her to supposedly commit suicide) and has been raising Todd’s child as his ward and now intends to marry her. What better motivation could anyone want for a sadistic serial killer?
    Of course there is the whole thing about his partner-in-crime chopping up the bodies and putting them into pies to sell at her restaurant. But all together it’s a beautiful and tragic tale. Especially fitting for this list

  • Nightshade

    Where the heck is Darth Vader???

  • mark

    bateman didnt kill anybody.

  • Good list. The selections are all compelling, each for unique reasons. They are the reasons their movies remain popular, not the heroes.


    The note under #10 Patrick Bateman is one of
    the stupidest comments I’ve ever encountered. Whether or not the murders happened is a pointless question, as ‘American Psycho’ is a work of fiction. Not even the author can answer it.

    • I pity you if you think that any questions regarding fiction are inherently pointless. The questions are what make literature fun.

  • SmokeParlour

    Dracula needs to be here. He NEEDS to be here. He’s one of the most loveable movie murders I’ve ever come across, and Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him was undeniably charming and captivating.

  • ponticas

    it counts down from 10… *slow clap*

  • Kou

    D: This lacks Light Yagami from Death Note

  • colbz

    i strongly agree with lector being number 1.. if u had put anyone else i would have quit reading your

  • Nrrdgrrl

    Leslie Vernon from behind the mask: the rise of Leslie Vernon. You get to know and love him unlike any character I’ve watched in a horror movie.

  • carlos

    I hate Patrick Bateman. He’s rich, odious and never works. Instead I like “Sweeney Todd”, a superb BBC film about a barber of London during XVIII century.

  • skeeter

    In the movie, Patrick Bateman listened to Huey Lewis, not Phil Collins.

  • Narcissous

    No Tony Montana?sham

  • Thands

    Ive been obsessing over yo lists all week, i have to say most of them have been spot on…im rather hurt…hahahaha yeah ill use the word hurt coz i thot this guy was one of the ultimate killaz i loved… Kevin Costener on Mr Brooks didnt make yo list?? Pliz do say why :((((

  • Danny

    what about Alex DeLarge from a Clockwork Orange?

  • axal_f

    not entirely. sure if i agree with John Doe being on this list.

  • Hunter

    Where the hell is Travis bickle

  • ReAnn

    I could have a crush for Alex from Clockwork Orange, he should be in the list :)

  • Dennis

    If you think that the Bateman character actually killed those people; you missed the point of the movie.

  • Roy

    I think the joker from Batman is a killer that all of us love, and he should be on this list. You can’t say you didn’t at least smile when Heath ledger pulled the pencil magic trick in the dark knight.

  • chaos

    bateman, the start of a meme

  • Neytiri

    I would’ve included the serial killers from Scream! The performance from Skeet Ulrich (Billy) and Matthew Lillard (Stuart – *Stu*) should have been noted on this list. A killer boyfriend and a peer-pressured serial killer friend, come on! The story behind Billy’s reason is intriguing for him to go to that extremes to be a serial killer who murders his close friends and attempt murder of his own ‘lover’. I also liked Matthews character a great deal more than Billy’s, his reasons were never really understood and that could’ve fallen under a depth of other mental and physiological reasons for him to be joining up with Billy. Plus Stu seemed more out-of-wack, crazier and more mentally unstable near the end of the movie, nice cover up with him being so bubbly and honest, I would have never though he was the killer!

    Ps, Matthew rulez :D!

  • steen

    Anyone think Lenny from ‘Of Mice and men’ fit the bill of ‘murders you secretively love’, although it could be argued his murder was not intentional.

  • Met Basyigit

    Wow amazing job on this website- hats off to you. I enjoy reading this so much. So much depth and information. Cheers!!