The actors who played history's worst villains are an incredible bunch. Some, like Joaquin Phoenix and Robert Duvall, are huge stars, others are lesser-known. Some are bankable American performers, while others are foreign actors who shined in lesser-seen films. Many of them are still living and working to this day, whereas others passed decades ago. Regardless of circumstance, what they all have in common is a willingness to put personal vanity aside in order to portray historical figures who are deeply unsympathetic and, in certain instances, actual perpetrators of genocide.
The task is daunting because of the ever-present temptation to chew the scenery or end up veering into caricature. In the best cases, these actors avoid such pitfalls. Instead, they seek to illuminate the ruthlessness, narcissism, or just plain evil that resided inside these individuals. Because of their efforts, viewers are better able to understand that which seems impossible to understand at first glance. In the process, they give indelible performances that will continue to resonate for a long time.
Which actor did the best job playing one of the worst people in history? Your votes will decide.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
- 2319 VOTESPhoto: Newmarket Films
- Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures
- 4376 VOTESPhoto: DreamWorks Pictures
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
- 6149 VOTESPhoto: HBO