With the abundant movies that Hollywood has produced, it is safe to say that the uniqueness the film industry once had is no more as every movie can be labeled as a typical one in which the bad guy commits some crime but is stopped by the good guy and thrown behind bars at the very end. Still, there are many directors who dare to think big and push the envelope by the rare and notorious move of letting the bad guy stand victorious. The controversial decision of the villain winning has resulted in the creation of some of the most creative movies, much to the surprise of the fans. The following list explores 13 movies where the bad guys win:
13. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If this psychological horror film does not make you think about the Devil’s involvement in our lives, then nothing would. When the young couple Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into their new home which was rumored to host witches, murderers, and cannibals at one point, the couple soon learns that the rumors are certified facts.
As strange and unexplainable events begin to tremble their lives in the house, the couple suspects that it might have something to do with Rosemary’s yet-to-be-born child. It turns out that the demons crawling inside their new home have plans for the baby as it was not an ordinary one but the spawn of the Devil himself.
Despite realizing the havoc the baby will unleash upon the world, Rosemary affectionately accepts the situation as the movie ends with her rocking the cradle with a smile on her face.
12. Saw (Franchise)
There are thousands of horror movies but none of them has ever come close to the Saw franchise when it comes to the depiction of physiological and physical torture. The franchise star Tobin Bell as civil engineer John Kramer died due to his frontal lobe tumor which developed from his unfortunate colon cancer.
With the alias of the Jigsaw Killer, Kramer began setting up people in deadly situations in which they had to kill others or sacrifice their body parts in order to survive. With a total of seven movies so far, every flick ended with the same gruesome outcome: dead or alive, Kramer reigned supreme.
11. Memento (2000)
Before the genius director Christopher Nolan gave The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception to the world, the British-American filmmaker gave a glimpse of his creativity with his 2000 neo-noir-psychological thriller film Memento – his then second film. The edgy dramatic theme in which the villain won made Hollywood aware of the strict completion it has engaged in as Nolan established himself as a force to be reckoned with.
Unable to store new memory due to a severe head injury, Leonard Shelby begins to search for his wife’s killer but with a catch. Instead of finding the real killer, his condition makes him frame his friend Teddy. Being aware that he would soon forget his actions, Leonard sets his eyes on his friend to take vengeance.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean (Franchise)
The entire series depict the versatility of Johnny Depp as an actor and even garnered him his very first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. While the character of Captain Jack Sparrow is undoubtedly the most loved one in the series, it is rather not alarming to know that he actually serves as the villain. He is after all a pirate but the unique theatrical representation of the overall character makes the viewers overlook it.
Taking look at the big picture, Sparrow has engaged in battles against the East-India Trading Company and the English Royal Navy – both bent on eradicating piracy from the Caribbean. While the beloved pirate has been found guilty of several crimes such as smuggling, impersonation, kidnapping, looting, poaching, arson, brigandage, and of course piracy, the witty pirate always manages to escape from punishment in the end.
9. Se7en (1995)
As the title suggests, the movie revolves around the deadly seven sins and maybe the very best one to ever focus on them. Kevin Spacey portrays the serial killer John Doe whose obsession with the seven deadly sins leads him to a killing spree in such a way that the murders are a unique representation of them; much to the intrigue of two homicide detectives who have been tracking him down.
When finally caught, Does convinces detective Mills to take him to the location where he killed his last two victims. The detective found himself in shock as he receives a box containing the severed head of his pregnant wife – representing the sin “envy”. Fueled with rage, Mills breaks his moral code and kills Doe; not only representing his murder as the envy “wrath” as planned by the serial killer but being ideologically defeated in the process.
8. 300 (2006)
Directed by Zack Snyder, the most amazing fantasy war movie of this generation 300 tells the story of how an evil rogue tries to subdue the great Spartan Empire and how a platoon of only 300 men voluntarily stood in its way to effectively resist the great god, King Xerxes, from Persia.
The arduous battle showcases the King Leonidas of Sparta leading his warriors into technical warfare against the Persians which helps in resisting the immediate fall of Sparta and simultaneously allows more time for their Senate to reconsider their decision of not sending an Army to help King Leonidas fight off Xerxes.
Surrounded after being betrayed by a hunchback, King Leonidas throws a spear at Xerxes, who bleeds but is not fatally injured. Shown as an act of desperation rather than bravery, King Leonidas and his comrades die fighting.
7. Fight Club (1999)
Even to this day, the ending of David Fincher’s Fight Club sends chills down the spine of the viewers. When the insomniac narrator of the movie establishes a secret fight club with the flamboyant soap salesman Tyler Durden, the narrator finally becomes able to sleep again. With the expansion of the club and several other outlets open in the city, the narrator realizes that something is terribly wrong.
The strange sensation of déjà vu regains the senses of the narrator as he comprehends the fact that he and Durden are the same man. After finding out that his split personality set up explosives in all of the headquarters of the city’s credit companies to terminate the financial networks, the two engage in an imaginary yet epic fight resulting in the narrator standing supreme but unable to stop his plans.
As the bombs explode and the buildings simultaneously fall down to their demise, the narrator has no choice but to watch the destruction planned out by Durden.
6. Primal Fear (1996)
Gregory Hoblit’s 1996 crime-thriller film was mediocre at best when it came to its plot but the magnificent acting of Edward Norton made it worth it. Based on William Diehl’s 1993 novel of the same name, the movie showcases the shy and cautious Aaron Stampler who has been accused of the murder of an archbishop. Seemingly innocent at first, the movie takes a drastic twist as it is revealed that Aaron has a split personality called Roy who takes control of his actions and commits crimes.
The twist does not stop there as it is soon learned that “Roy” never existed and, as a matter of fact, Aaron made the whole story up and is fully aware of the consequences of his actions. The overall performance of Norton as Aaron/Roy keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and has been considered one of his best roles to the point of an Academy Award nomination.
5. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
This movie shows the resurrection of the character Anakin Skywalker and his conversion into arguably the most heinous villain of all time, Darth Vader. In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith serves as the final episode and shocked every viewer at the end as the sense of values and principles inside the protagonist ultimately bows down to the Dark Force.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest origin stories ever told, it was a unique chapter of the franchise that presented the bizarre change of the handsome and graceful Anakin into the metallic, evil, and merciless emperor Darth Vader. The movie ends with Obi-Van defeating Anakin in the duel but the Dark Force won at the very end as it led to the birth of their most fearful and aggressive Sith Lord.
4. Rocky (1976)
One of the lowest-budget movies of its time to win an Academy Award, Rocky was the brainchild of Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone. The movie, on one hand, gives us the lesson to never give up. And on the other hand, it teaches us that winning is not everything. In fact, sometimes you win even after losing and that was the concept immortalized by the first installment of the Rocky franchise.
Rocky, the number one contender for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, is thoroughly shown training physically and mentally for the upcoming title bout. He faces a champion who has never been defeated and at the end of the fight, that still did not change as the judges declare Rocky defeated. Despite losing the match, Rocky won hundreds of hearts and is hailed as the People’s Champion and Philadelphia’s Favorite Son.
3. The Usual Suspects (1995)
From the director of the first two X-Men films, Bryan Singer came up with one of the best crime thriller films of all time. With excellent use of narration and flashbacks, The Usual Suspects is an incredible piece of art and reached incredible heights due to its memorable and uncanny plot twist featured as the movie reached its climax.
Special Agent Kujan had no idea how right Roger “Verbal” Kint was when he exclaimed:
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.”
The quote began to haunt the agent as the crippled Kint was revealed to be the mysterious villain Keyser Söze – guilty of numerous crimes ranging from sabotage to murder.
Until Kujan finally realizes the real identity of Söze, it was too late as Kint walked out of the police station to love another day.
2. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Based upon Thomas Harris’ crime novel of the same name, The Silence of The Lambs is as beautiful in terms of filmmaking as it is merciless in terms of fiction. The movie revolves around a reluctant yet unique relationship between the young and ambitious FBI agent Clarice Starling and the psychiatrist and cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Though Lecter is more than happy enough to help Starling in her pursuit of criminal Buffalo Bill, the barbaric psychiatrist manages to escape from his cell and makes his threat known when he calls and alerts her about “having an old friend for dinner”; preceded by slowly following Dr. Frederick Chilton to eat him.
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
Perhaps the most awaited superhero film of all time and everyone’s eyes were not even on the terrible-voiced Batman. Heath Ledger’s last performance stole the entire spotlight and even bagged an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Above all that, The Dark Knight was unique in the sense that the villain Joker was able to defeat the savior of Gotham City.
Believing that the city deserves a better class of criminals, the Clown Prince of Crime drove insane its white knight Harvey Dent who went on a killing spree. The madness did not stop then as the Joker’s actions forced Batman to not only kill Dent in order to stop him but also take the blame for all his killings so the people can look up to Dent.
It turns out that the Joker was not lying at all when he told the Caped Crusader:
“The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules and tonight, you’re going to break your one rule.”
This list of the best films where the bad guys win deserves a special mention for these titles also:
- No Country for Old Men (2007)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
- Swordfish (2001)
Feel free to share any missing movies where the bad guys win that you think should have been a part of this list in the comments section below!