#8. Keyser Soze / Kevin Spacey / The Usual Suspects (1995)
Perhaps the most compelling aspect to Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of the evil master-villain, Keyser Soze, is the fact that the character is established through a series of vivid recollections of a man pretending that he might not exist. Sound intriguing? Bryan Singer’s ‘The Usual Suspects‘ is one of the best crime dramas in movie history.
#7. Mike Myers / Tony Moran / Halloween (1978)
You never saw his face, and he never said a word, yet Tony Moran’s portrayal of mass serial killer, Mike Myers in John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween‘ is as riveting as it is horrifying. That menacing gait loaded with murderous intent, is something that can’t easily be forgotten. Nor should it. Classic.
#6. Nino Brown / Wesley Snipes / New Jack City (1991)
“I’m not guilty. You’re the one that’s guilty. The lawmakers, the politicians, the Columbian drug lords, all you who lobby against making drugs legal.” -Nino Brown. It would be hard not to notice the fluid intensity of Wesley Snipes’s performance in portraying New York narcotics king-pin Nino Brown, in Mario Van Peebles’s cult classic gangster yarn.
#5. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman / R. Lee Ermey / Full Metal Jacket (1987)
“Today … is Christmas! There will be a magic show at 0930! Chaplain Charlie will tell you about how the free world will conquer Communism with the aid of God and a few Marines! God has a hard-on for Marines, because we kill everything we see! He plays His games, we play ours! To show our appreciation for so much power, we keep heaven packed with fresh souls!” -Sergeant Hartman. The first 30 minutes of Stanley Kubrick’s all-time classic ‘Full Metal Jacket‘ is all about R. Lee Ermey’s performance as Drill Sergeant Hartman during Marine boot-camp.
#4. Hans Gruber / Alan Rickman / Die Hard (1988)
Who can forget Hans Gruber’s face as he is falling to his death from the Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper? Also unforgettable was Alan Rickman’s performance as the Austrian arch criminal, in John McTiernan’s first installment of the block-buster ‘Die Hard‘ movie series.
#3. The Joker / Heath Ledger / The Dark Knight (2008)
Simply stated, Heath Ledger’s magnificently transcendent performance as ‘The Joker‘ in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight‘ is one for the ages. The late Mr. Ledger put his stamp on this character in a way that was spellbinding, leaving audiences world-wide eerily un-nerved.
#2. Max Cady / Robert De Niro / Cape Fear (1991)
Max Cady was a scary dude. Robert DeNiro’s virtuoso performance as the convicted rapist, made sure that we all understood that in no uncertain terms. Martin Scorsese’s ‘Cape Fear‘ had audiences never quite feeling secure in their seats. Underrated performance, but not on this list. Bravo.
#1. Drexyl Spivey / Gary Oldman / True Romance (1993)
Drexyl Spivey holds down the #1 position on our list because he is perhaps the most mesmerizing villain in modern film history. Gary Oldman delivers a performance that has every ounce of the complexity of calculated rage. This was one role that packed the most serious of punches for the pound. Tony Scott took Quentin Tarrantino’s script for ‘True Romance‘ and delivered us a cult classic.