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Cold-Blooded Villains Who Say Something Unmistakably True Or Wise

Updated June 4, 2021 466 votes 65 voters 2.5k views15 items

List RulesVote up the quotes from evil movie villains that are actually pretty insightful.

Movie villains are known to go on and on about their evil plans and how cruel the world can be - but sometimes that leaves audiences with the best quotes. Smart movie villains don't just justify their actions with diabolical monologues; they often have something important or even insightful to say.

Just because a person is evil doesn't mean they can't be wise. Some of the best movie quotes have come from villains. As said by another wise wordsmith who knew a thing or two about villains (William Shakespeare): "There is some soul of goodness in things evil / Would men observingly distill it out."

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  • In The Dark Knight, Joker lectures a room full of thugs and goons on what it means to be a "professional" crook and how to earn respect in your trade. He argues that you should never offer your valuable skill set for free, which is not only a good lesson for someone trying to climb the ladder of a criminal enterprise, but also a great life lesson in general.

    If you're talented at something, don't let people convince you to do it for free because you're not "experienced" enough to be paid for your time, or because they think you owe it to them if they are a family member or friend. 

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  • Ra's al Ghul is Batman's former mentor in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Despite landing on the "villain" side of the coin, Ra's al Ghul is certainly wise and helps shape Batman, teaching him how to fight and master his fears, leading to Batman becoming a vigilante hero.

    One of Ra's al Guhl's most important pieces of advice to him (and anyone) is, "Your anger gives you great power, but if you let it, it will destroy you," meaning you can figure out how to harness your anger and use it to your advantage, but you shouldn't let it overpower you and cloud your judgment. 

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  • Instead of being inexplicably evil and maniacal like the Jokers that have come before, Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck in 2019's Joker is rooted in mental illness, something deeply unexplored but undeniably present in the backstory of many evil comic book villains.

    At one point in the film, aspiring comedian Fleck scribbles down a list of potential jokes in his notebook, including one about the expectations of society when it comes to mental illness and how people who suffer from it are set up to fail from the very beginning. Joker is not the ideal role model, but his understanding of mental illness and how the world views it is achingly correct. 

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  • Hans Landa of Inglorious Basterds is as insightful as he is evil. During his interrogation of farmer Perrier LaPadite, Landa has to figure out whether he is hiding Jews in his home. Landa uses sweet-talking and glee to manipulate his potential enemy into revealing something. Eventually, LaPadite reveals that he's only heard "rumors" about where the Jews may be hiding, to which Landa responds that rumors can often be more revealing than facts.

    Although rumors are often just speculation, they are in constant circulation, involving information that feels important or "juicy" to the people who spread them. Chasing down the source of a rumor may often lead you closer to the truth than you thought. 

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