23 Movies Where the Villain Comes Out on Top

Movies often follow a predictable formula where the hero saves the day, and the villain gets their comeuppance. However, some films choose to break this mold by allowing the villain to emerge victorious in the end. Here are 23 such movies. 

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler Bold Films
Photo Credit: Bold Films.

“His character is called a villain protagonist, so yes, still technically a villain.”

“He has no internal struggles or good intentions; he benefits society in no way.”

“Jake is my favorite actor, and he kills it in his role; he is so freaking unnerving the entire time.”

No Country for Old Men

Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men (2007) - P
Photo Credit: Paramount Vantage/Miramax.

“I avoided films with Javier Braden for years after that movie; such a terrifying villain!”

“The Counselor, The Road, and No Country For Old Men are all Cormac McCarthy, and his stories never end well for the lead characters.”

A Clockwork Orange

Alex, A Clockwork Orange (1971) -
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

“Definitely with A Clockwork Orange, if you consider Alex the bad guy after his forced redemption.”

“Agree 100%. A Clockwork Orange) is so hard to watch for this reason, but it’s a great movie.”

The Dark Knight

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

“Joker wins. His goal is to prove that everyone is as twisted as he is when push comes to shove, and he does manage to drive Harvey Dent insane.”

“Where Joker won really was in turning Harvey into a monster, who would hold Gordon’s son hostage, forcing Batman to break his one rule and then cover it up.”

Life

Life Columbia Pictures
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

“That ending really unnerved me; the alien looked so gross.”

“Came to say this. That ending made my stomach flip upside down.”

“Life uh…finds a way.”

Se7en

Se7en New Line Cinema
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

“It’s a great movie for real, but I just hate the end of it; it makes me angry every time that Kevin Spacey’s villain character plays them all.”

“It’s a great, great film but so hard to watch. And it stuck with me for so long after.”

The Silence Of The Lambs

Photo Credit: Orion Pictures.

“Buffalo Bill is a villain, and Clarice defeats him, but Dr. Lecter is also a villain, and he escapes justice. We are not supposed to see him as some hero.”

“At the end, when he says, ‘I’m an old friend for dinner. Bye,’ and Clarice just says, ‘Dr. Lecter….Dr. Lecter’.”

Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone Ladd Company
Photo Credit: Miramax.

“Everybody loses at the end. Especially that poor baby. That ending made me so angry.”

“That was a shock, so yeah, definitely not a ‘happily ever after’ ending. Hard to watch but excellent story-telling.”

“The ending to Gone Baby Gone: I was so annoyed!”

Funny Games

Funny Games Celluloid Dreams
Photo Credit: Celluloid Dreams.

“I would argue that the villain is the audience, and therefore, the villain does lose because you were robbed of what you wanted. I love that movie.”

“When they just grab the steak knife from her and throw it in the lake like it’s nothing. The whole movie, I waited for that steak knife to pay off, and then it was just gone.”

The Thing

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

“You see a wolf running at the end of the movie from where the two men sat. The Thing won.”

“There are only two characters left by the end. In all scenarios, the Thing survives, while the human freezes to death.”

Fallen

Fallen Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

“It’s my favorite edited-for-TV dub when John Goodman’s character realizes they’re both going to die in the woods.”

“Came here to say this! It’s the most distinctive ‘evil triumphs over good’ movie I’ve ever seen.”

Oldboy

oldboy
Photo Credit: Tartan Films.

“I saw the original when I was a lot younger, and it messed with my head for months and months.”

“Oldboy, the original, to be sure!”

The Mist

The Mist Dimension Films
Photo Credit: Darkwoods Productions/MGM.

“The Mist man…. now that I’m a father, it hits so hard.”

“I don’t even have kids & the end destroyed me!”

Fight Club

Fight Club 20th Century Studios
Photo Credit: 20th Century Studios.

“Tyler is only NOT a villain if you enjoy seeing civilization collapse. If you don’t, you’ll have to watch the censored Chinese version.”

“I prefer the more realistic actual ending (not Edward Norton turning himself into the police, while no buildings collapse.”

Whiplash

Whiplash Bold Films
Photo Credit: Bold Films.

“Because the protagonist does exactly what Fletcher wants (puts up with Fletcher’s abuse and destroys his life for the sake of his craft).”

“Villain most definitely did win. Fletcher pushes musicians to their limits so they destroy their personal lives to achieve greatness. At the end, Andrew proves this by playing a masterful performance.”

Arlington Road

Arlington Road Screen Gems
Photo Credit: Screen Gems.

“Absolutely. Scrolled WAY too far down to see this.”

“This is the one I was going to post. Total gut punch at the end!”

“Good call. Very underrated.”

Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects Gramercy Pictures
Photo Credit: Gramercy Pictures.

“This is the answer! I came here to find this one.”

The Usual Suspects is a 1995 neo-noir mystery film directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Stephen BaldwinGabriel ByrneBenicio del ToroKevin PollakChazz PalminteriPete Postlethwaite, and Kevin Spacey.

Megamind

Megamind Dreamworks
Photo Credit: Dreamworks.

“I’m surprised that I had to scroll down this far to find this answer – it was the first movie I thought of.”

Megamind is a 2010 American computer-animated superhero comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation.

Brightburn

Brightburn Screen Gems
Photo Credit: Screen Gems.

“The most obvious one – an evil superman in a world without powers. That world is toast.”

“There was going to be a sequel, it had random other kids in it, and they’d have different horrific powers.”

Sleep Tight

Sleep Tight Filmax Entertainment
Photo Credit: Filmax Entertainment.

“It really is one of the most downbeat, disturbing endings I’ve ever seen.”

“This one is so, so icky and tense. The actor who plays the antagonist, Luis Tosar, is ridiculously versatile.”

Watchmen

Watchmen Paramount Pictures
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“I loved the extended version but wished they had gone with the comic book ending.”

Watchmen is a 2009 American superhero thriller film based on the 1986–1987 DC Comics series of the same name. It was a commercial success, receiving critical acclaim, both in the comics and mainstream press.

Gone Girl

Amy Dunne, Gone Girl (2014) -
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

“Gone Girl is a dual protagonist movie about an imperfect person who cheated on his partner in a failing marriage and a murderous psychopath who is bringing a child into the world to act as her hostage. There is no ambiguity as to who the villain is.” 

“Honesty, if Rosamund Pike was that obsessed with me, I would just let it happen.”

Requiem For A Dream

Requiem For A Dream Artisan Entertainment
Photo Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

“In the sense that the villain here is life on drugs, which sucks.”

“Although I don’t think you can consider the characters to be heroes, they certainly aren’t villains either. The villain is addiction.”

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DreamWorks Pictures & 20th Century Studios.

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Heat Warner Bros
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

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Robin Williams - Good Will Hunting Miramax
Good Will Hunting Miramax.

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Alan Harper (Two And A Half Men) Warner Bros. Television
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Television.

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Avengers_ Endgame
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

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