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Top 10 Dangerous And Evil Henchmen

Henchmen are a curious lot. Neither totally in control, nor completely without their own means, henchmen come in all shapes and sizes. Although there’s innumerable bad guys throughout modern cinema, here are 10 that really made audiences think twice about that brutal-looking personality behind the mastermind. James Bond henchmen are exempt from this list as that would be too easy. Please enjoy.

10

Mr. Igoe
Inner Space (1987)

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Mute, efficient and deadly, Mr. Igoe leaves much (and occasionally nothing) to the imagination. What must his resume read like? The only reliable piece of info we get about him in the 1987 sci-fi comedy is that he has a prosthetic hand with a variety of attachments, that he apparently enjoys listening to rock & roll, and that he knows how to handle himself in gun-related situations. Played by Vernon Wells (as only Vernon Wells can play him), Mr. Igoe makes the list for his sheer tenacity in getting the job done – not that Martin Short is much of an adversary, but c’mon.

9

Kobayashi
The Usual Suspects (1995)

Pp- Usual Suspects

Although this list is concerned with “dangerous” individuals, everyone can agree that danger can take on many forms. That said – a scheming, erudite master of manipulation like Kobayashi (or is it all just Keyser Soze) cannot be ignored. Regardless of what actually happened in the backstory, it’s at least the presentation of the criminal mastermind’s lawyer that makes for good henchman devilry. Here’s a chess master who, even if it weren’t for his boss’s influence, we can surmise has all the pieces figured out.


8

“The Skull”
Scarface (1983)

Skull

Who is this man? He killed Omar Suarez at the behest of Sosa, blasted Nick the Pig in the back of the head, and, most impressively, tore through Tony Montana with a double-barreled shotgun. Clearly, the world was not his. Known only as “the skull,” this Bolivian assassin is one of the more brutal depictions of a cartel henchman, though one gets the impression that he takes no satisfaction in his job and that (if he spoke) he might tell us that it’s all merely business.

7

Mr. Blonde and Bud
Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Kill Bill (2003 & 2004)

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Michael Madsen has been a cop, a gangster, a bank robber, an assassin, a government agent, a henchman and the stepfather of the kid from Free Willy. Good or bad, his most notable roles are those in which he portrays a casual indifference to the well-being of others, while simultaneously portraying a twisted sense of poetic philosophy. Tying for the #7 spot, I give you Michael Madsen. Under the pseudonym of “Mr. Blonde” in Reservoir Dogs, Madsen portrays a twisted and depraved personality that (how surprising!) psychologists use to demonstrate the tenets of psychopathy. Though not technically a henchman – and more of a member of an ensemble – Mr. Blonde is still the vicious pack dog of Joe Cabot, played by Lawrence Tierney. Had he been Joe’s solo Dog, few could argue against him being Joe’s most vicious henchman. As for the tying role, Madsen does a delectable job as the titular character’s beer-swilling hillbilly brother, Bud. Madsen plays Bud as something akin to the Billy Carter to David Carradine’s Jimmy, with the exception that he is a deadly assassin who is the only person to get the drop on The Bride. Like all the other assassins under Bill’s tutelage, Bud is, of course, not a lone gun, but rather a henchman among henchman. However, just like in Reservoir Dogs, the rift between the group allows for the exception. It’s proof that henchmen have, and will, eventually go their own ways. And Michael Madsen is proof that a henchman can be just as likable as he is deadly.

6

Captain Hadley
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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As one of the most popular and successful movies ever made, it’s likely a shared understanding that Captain Hadley is one of the more brutal depictions of “justice” in a prison movie. Just look at this guy – he looks like a cross between Boris Karloff and Skeletor. Hadley’s sadistic streak probably has less to do with his job responsibilities, and more to do with his enjoyment of hurting lesser forms of life. Some have defended his actions for crippling Boggs as a favor to Andy Dufrense, but he was almost certainly doing this on orders of Warden Norton so that Andy could continue his embezzlement operation within the walls of Shawshank, unabated. What makes Hadley particularly evil as a henchman is the irony of his profession. As a corrections officer, he is supposed to be an operator of justice. No such luck. Whatever else makes him tick, Captain Hadley is proof positive that you can’t let the uniform fool you!

5

Mr. French
The Departed (2006)

Mr-French

Do you know me? That’s right, it’s Mr. French, Jack Nicholson’s bloated and brutal right hand man in Martin Scorcese’s Irish mobster classic. Mr. French is reliable. In fact, he’s one in a million. Like a loyal dog, French remains with his boss to the bloody end, and, oh, is it ever bloody. As played by Ray Winstone, Mr. French is easily the best representation of your standard henchman, there for the bidding of thy master. Of course, with the added benefit of being a rather likable tough guy, Mr. French is #5 for the fact that he’s really right in between the evil and the truly evil. Now, whaddya drinking?


4

Major Arnold Toht
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Toht

Evil Nazi Scum! At least one of them had to make the list! Ronald Lacey’s performance as Toht, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, is the stuff of pure cinematic evil. Dressed entirely in black, adorned with a National Socialist armband, and having the otherwise deceptive presentation of a four-eyed geek, Toht is clearly no one to be underestimated. Though he relies on henchmen of his own to exact physical force, it’s Toht’s mind that makes him the most exacting and deadly of henchmen, especially to the likes of Colonel Dietrich or the dirty Frenchman, Belloq. Having no qualms about throwing a woman to her death in a snake-infested pit, or ordering one of his thugs to shoot another that has failed to live up to his expectations, Toht makes us consider exactly what lengths an evil personality may be willing to go to. It’s thanks to Toht, that there was a time when people didn’t look at coat hangers the same way.

3

Wez
The Road Warrior (1982)

Wez

Yup, Vernon Wells is so effectively creepy that he deserves two spots on this list, of which his performance of “Wez” is undoubtedly the more unnerving. Apparently content with the post-apocalyptic carnage that exists all around him, Wez is the happy-to-oblige first lieutenant of the Lord Hummungus, the disfigured and maniacal ruler of an Australian wasteland. If not for the sheer size of Hummungus (for his name is no hyperbole), there seems to be a suggestion that Wez would happily usurp his leader. Alas, any mutiny Wez may or may not be contemplating is put on hold with the arrival of Mad Max Rockatansky, played by Mel Gibson. Aside from the role of reluctant hero, Max’s function in George Miller’s epic movie is to drive the rooster-feathered Wez into fits of furious and unyielding rage. So replete is Wez’s desire to utterly destroy Max, that there is palpable tension between the two throughout the entire film – despite the fact that they don’t even come within arm’s reach of one another for 99% of it! Incredible!


2

Count Rugen
The Princess Bride (1987)

Rugen

Before you disagree, please consider: He murdered a man right in front of his young son. He permanently scarred that same boy and left him in the depths of despair and humiliation. He happily taxes the local villagers for everything they’ve got. He plays something like a perverted consigliere to Prince Humperdinck, himself a greedy and arrogant snob. Oh, and if all this isn’t enough, Count Rugen enacts a plan to viciously torture (and eventually kill) Wesley, with his torture “machine” that looks like a cross between a Dutch windmill and a Willy Wonka candy machine prototype. Face it, the guy is pure evil, and evil is never more pure than when it is under the guise of a wise and noble member of society. There is nothing to suggest that, at any point in Rugen’s life, he wanted to be anything other than evil. Do you know someone else who tortures a person and then asks them: “be honest, how do you feel?”

1

Karl Vreski
Die Hard (1989)

Hm Karl

Get out of this man’s way. He’s a dangerous, calculating psychopath who’s good with almost any weapon and not intimidated by the idea of being surrounded by a tactically well-equipped major metropolitan police force. Hired for a high-stakes robbery, Karl quickly devolves into a man looking to avenge his brother’s untimely death, and he’s essentially unstoppable. Those familiar with the character know that he is set-off by three simple words: “Ho-Ho-Ho…” What follows is a maniacal chase through the various floors, elevators and conduits of the Nakatomi Building. Heralded as the greatest action film ever made, the characterization of Karl Vreski, by Alexander Godunov, is as classic a depiction of maniacal search-and-destroy as Ahab’s pursuit of his great white whale. That’s right, I just compared a 1988 action film to Moby Dick, bitches! Bottom line – even someone as cool and quick as Officer John McClane needs to watch his step (no pun intended) around the likes of Karl – a truly formidable enemy, who isn’t even the criminal Mastermind!



  • Thank you for including Kobayashi in this list. I always thought that Pete Postlethwaite’s portrayal of him was overlooked by many due to twist at the end of the film. Yet he was the lynch pin that kept the whole thing ticking over whilst Soze operated out of sight. If Kobayashi wasn’t convincing, the whole thing would have fallen down and the crims would have told him to go f**k himself.

  • Yahoo

    Everyone says first on the interwebz, so…potato.

    • baz

      cabbage

    • diablo135

      Well sine you aren’t first, poTAYto

      • Piotrek

        Isn’t that what he said?

        • FlatEric

          No, he said poTAHto.

          • Piotrek

            I disagree.

          • Jésus

            I agree.

  • sds

    Smee

    • skywatcher

      Yes, it’s you. Hello, you.

  • Sam

    So many evils, so little time.

  • gigi

    Very good list. Karl is very deserving of the #1 spot. i remember when I was much younger thinking he was the real bad guy.

  • Stu Miller’s Gust

    Not a bad list. Let’s hope Odd Job and Jaws don’t read Listverse or there won’t be a sequel.

  • Blu

    Oh snap

  • Avenger

    Oddjob?

    Mr Kidd & Mr Wint?

    • Dogbolter

      Exactly. Not a single Bond henchman here, what a gaping hole.

      Also, ‘The Road Warrior?’ I think you mean ‘Mad Max’.

      • The Dragon

        He did mention that Bond chatacyers were exempt and it was “The Road Warrior”.

      • Shaboigan

        mad max was the first movie, Road warrior was #2 and Thunderdome was #3

  • Hello, My Name Is Inigo Montoya

    • GrammerNazi

      You killed my father. Prepare to die.

  • Geko

    Re #6:

    No one, I repeat NO ONE disses out Captain Crabs!!!

    Signed: a 33 y.o who loves the SpongeBob movie.

    What do you mean, “Icould have gone for the Kurgan”?

    IOW: Clancy Brown rulez!!!

  • NeesahD22

    To young for most of these

  • screwjack

    Billy Drago “Frank Nitti” in The Untouchables.

    • Piotrek

      Yes!

    • the Dragon

      Good one.

  • screwjack

    Mario Donatone “Mosca” in The Godfather part 3

  • Johan

    Has Jamie stopped writing lists? I haven’t seen him here for a really long time.
    Mythverse and Cogitz haven’t been updated in a reaaaallyyyy long time either. Has he retired?

  • screwjack

    Micke Spreitz “Ronald Niedermann” The girl who played with fire & The girl who kicked the hornets nest.

    • ouiareborg

      YES!

  • Metalwrath

    I’d add Bullet-Tooth Tony (played by Vinnie Jones) in “Snatch”. His role as Big Chris in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” is essentially the same as well.

    He’s not “evil” per se, but he is a dangerous henchman. And he rocks your socks.

    • kim

      Bullet tooth…..?

    • Eye-Licker

      awesome movies, and Jones always makes for a convincing dangerous bad-guy.

  • screwjack

    Robert Davi “Ray Ferritto” Kill the Irishman

  • screwjack

    Ben Foster “Chalie Prince” 3:10 to Yuma

  • screwjack

    Charlie Hunnam “Bosie” Cold Mountain

    • Chris

      Yeah!, that dude really scared me. One heck of a bastard!

  • Ness

    A other let for a list.:(

  • screwjack

    Tim Roth “Archibald Cunningham” Rob Roy

    • ThatOneGuy

      Absolutely. Although Archibald really feels like the main villian…

      • Lammy

        I think that’s what makes him such a brilliant villain. He starts out as a mere henchman and kiss-up to John Hurt and ends as the main bad guy.

  • screwjack

    Tracey Walter “Bob the Goon” Tim Burton’s Batman

    Sarah Douglas “Ursa” & Jack O’Halloran “Non” Superman 1 & 2

  • screwjack

    I would also think that Javier Bardem’s “Anton Chigurh” No Country for Old Men could also qualify for this list since he IS working for someone as a hitman for hire to get the drug money back. He’s about as Evil as it gets too.

    Honorable mention : W.Earl Brown “Dan Dority” Deadwood Dan didn’t exactly strike me as EVIL but he does do evil things at Al’s behest.

    I liked this list if for no other reason it made me think of all those Evil “henchmen” in movies out there….not mentioned.

  • How about Rocco from The Godfather?

  • Jamie

    Bellatrix lestrange..

    Shes a nut job

    • Mira Bel

      Now that is a HENCHMAN. Am I the only one who notices that half the people on the list aren’t henchmen??? Bad list and on my birthday no less….

    • karl

      wouldnt that be a henchwomen?

      • Mira Bel

        LOL In that case of LaStrange more like henchbitch lol

        • Jamie

          Cant tell if your being sarcastic or not.

          • Mira Bel

            Sort of, her character is a B itch.

  • oouchan

    I love this list! Thank you for including Major Arnold Toht. That guy scared me as a kid…and still does today. It\’s that creepy smile. Also glad Rugen was included. Evil, yet funny.

    Cool list.

    • mom424

      Agreed. Toht scared me too – and not even as a kid. I was 19 when it premiered.

  • Godinho

    Darth Vader.

    • Molly

      Not a henchman. He’s THE bad guy.

      • book1245

        He’s the Emperor’s henchman ;-)

        • Matt C

          Yeah, I thought Vader would be #1

          • Piotrek

            Darth Maul was more of a henchman. Alas, he died way too early.

  • Mira Bel

    Garbage ass list because the author doesn’t know the difference between a Boss and a Henchman. Very poorly written as well. Where is a Flamehorse list when you need one…

    • Ryan

      Except for the fact that most of these aren’t bosses, they are henchmen

  • karl

    missed Nicky Santoro from Casino by Martin Scorsese

  • Otto_Beverhousen

    Should mention that Michel Madsen’s Mr. Blonde is Vic Vega. The brother of Vincent Vega. John Travolta’s character in PULP FICTION

  • Rick

    Honorable Mention for Lothar in ‘The Rocketeer’.

  • thorlite

    So many to choose from……… great list never the less. wasn’t Christopher Walken a henchman in True Romance? Great scene with Dennis Hopper!

  • Mike Giggler

    Bart Simpson

  • Ricj

    Sauruman LOTR? Joes Pesci in Casino? either Samuel L or Trevolta in Pulp Fiction? Loads of others could replace many in this list! How about the witch in Prince of Thieves? nutter!

    • gav

      Good picks! I’d also mention Walken’s character in “True Romance” who was Blue Lou’s henchman. And I don’t know if Dolph Lundgren’s Street Preacher was a henchman of Takahashi in “Johnny Mnemonic”, but he was a bad, bad man. LOL!

  • me

    mr. french is one in 10 million.

  • vanowensbody

    Fun list and some great examples.

  • mom424

    Michael Madsen’s turn in Reservoir Dogs disturbs me to this day. Don’t believe I’ve ever watched it without having to turn away. And sure he’s a henchman – they’re all serving or pretending to serve Joe Cabot – for a cut of the profits, of course – but all are definitely lower on the totem pole than Joe.

    For that matter, you could have (and I probably would have) included one of the best bad guys ever – maybe he was channeling Major Toht – Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. He was, at his core, just a henchman for Hitler. Loved his work more than most, but still, a paid thug. Self-serving henchman at that; his job kept him off the front lines eh? Great portrayal.

    Nice idea, good job.

  • Ed Igoe

    I am SO amazed to see #10, and “dead chuffed” as the Brits say. See my name for my reason.

  • ThatOneGuy

    What about Ben Forrester’s character in 3:10 to Yuma? I have almost never seen such menace from a henchman, his malice literally trumps Russel Crowe’s character, and Ben steals every scene he is in!

  • weegmc

    Very good list, I would nominate Luca Brasi for inclusion. although you never see him act in a dangerous or evil way, you get the one scary backstory and he is clearly feared by all enemies of Don Corleone.

    • Maggot

      Good call, I’m surprised no one mentioned him sooner.

  • Matt

    So happy to see Toht on this list. He’s one of my favorite henchmen who gets such a great end. Also, no need for Bond villains on this list, I think there might even be a separate list out there…

  • Lizzie

    Percy from “The Green Mile”. He was one evil son-of-a-bitch; just look at his treatment of those on the Mile and “The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix”. “Nuff said.

  • gav

    Sarumon
    Luca Brasi
    Riff Raff
    Nico (the Wicked Witch’s flying monkey)

  • astartimes

    I feel Eddie Dane from “Miller’s Crossing” would belong well in this list.

  • Someone

    I’ve only seen #2 and #4 on this. Clearly, I need to spend more time in front of the TV. ;)

  • Maggot

    I know this list already mostly consists of American films (Road Warrior an obvious exception), but a good case could be made for including something from a classic in the “American western” genre. Not to mention, looking a little further back than the ‘80s for candidates. A HUGE notable omission IMO is Jack Palance’s character Jack Wilson from Shane, possibly the best example ever of the black-hatted, gun slinging evil henchman in a Hollywood western. A strong second could be Henry Fonda’s character Frank in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West.

    • fendabenda

      Lee Van Cleef?

  • Piotrek

    Anyone wanna do Evilest “Sopranos” characters? That would be a good discussion.

  • Mahesvaran

    You somehow overlooked the most evil henchman of all recorded history and I’m assuming because this seems to be a list of fictional henchmen. That man is Former US Vice President Dick Cheney.

  • Arnor

    Supervillains are often only as good as their henchmen. Here are a few of my favorites:

    Rochefort (The Three Musketeers)
    Captain Love (The mask of Zorro)
    Kroenen (Hellboy)
    Violator (Spawn)
    The Witch King (LOTR)
    Renfield (Dracula)
    … would you count Darth Vader as a henchman? He kinda is.

    • Austinhghjkgh

      Vader is henchmen for The Emperor.

      • Arnor

        My point exactly. In A New Hope he’s not even second in command. He answers to Grand Moff Tarkin.

  • Killer #1

    Kevin McKidd as ‘Killer #2’ in Bunraku

  • Mr.Jones

    This was a great list, but without at least one Bond villain it is a failure.

    • Maggot

      Wanna know something that NEVER fails?

  • Piotrek

    What?! No Mini-Me?

  • Slatanic

    What about Anton Chigur from “No Country for Old Men” he was a hitman working for a larger entity. So technically he is a henchmen even if he did eventually walk in and kill his handler.

  • Alex

    What, no Karl Ruprecht Kroenen?

  • Austinhghjkgh

    Notable mentions?
    Darth Vader/ Anakin Skywalker
    Killed thousands of people without batting an eye, slaughtered his mentor and hundreds of Jedi and even young children, definatly should have been on this list

  • jgFaker

    I used to look forward to the entries on Listverse – not anymore. Most lists are mediocre and not well researched. The contributors seem to be in their teens (shallow subjects, crappy writing). Ever since this Frater guy got his book deal and advertising clients, the quality of the lists have depreciated.

  • screwjack

    How about Jack Nicholson in Batman? He was Carl Grissom’s #1 henchmen “Jack Napier” before he became the Joker.

  • coops

    As far as I can see one glaring omission………….the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang ! ! ! …………….still sends shivers down my spine now ! ! !

  • DrFrigmundPseud

    Don Logan in Sexy Beast…

  • BalloCaust

    barry the baptist from Lock Stock should have made this list.

  • RyGuy

    Little known fact: In addition to being such a diverse actor, Vernon Wells also found time to play center field for the Toronto Blue Jays, and other MLB teams.

  • Maxx the Slash

    Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs is a controversial character for this list. Many people saw him as a sadistic psychopath, but the way I see it, his ruthlessness (particularly with the cop who’s ear Mr. Blonde cut off) is just die-hard loyal.

    Two members of his team, Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown, were killed, Mr. Orange was dying in the warehouse and it’s because of the cops and a spy that the entire group was at risk. He did what he though was best out of loyalty for Joe and tried to get answers from the captured cop.

    Even Nice Guy Eddie said that Blonde was arrested after a job he did for Joe, and instead of ratting Joe out, Blonde did his time, never sold anyone out and returned to Joe for more work. Loyalty. Mr. Blonde wasn’t evil. Dangerous, sure, but not evil at all.

  • msantana

    VADER!!!! Number one for sure. A lot of people over look that Darth Vader is a henchman because he is such a badass in his own right but Vader was the Emperor’s bitch, Vader loyally served him till he threw his ass down a shaft. Awesome list just needs the true king of henchmen at the top.

  • Osirissmith

    This is very good and Mind Blowing List for the dangerous 10 man.
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111126002651AAqylKm

  • John Thompson Videos

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  • Huntermillsd

    Totally agree with 1

  • Freddie

    Someone ought to upgrade this list for 2012. So many cinematic psycopaths have been created after this list was published. ‘Bane’ and ‘The Joker’ from the Batman franchise come to mind right away.