16 Classy Villains Who Don't Let Evil Get In The Way Of Good Manners

List Rules
Vote up the villains who do bad things but never forget their manners.

The old adage goes, "You catch more flies with honey." This is as true for normal relationships as it is for villains who want to take over the world. So many villains these days are all full of venom in both their words and actions. What happened to being polite while carrying out brutal massacres and committing horrendous crimes? What we're asking is why do villains in film and TV have to be so frumpy all the time?

Polite villains don't come in one shape or size. There's the gentleman rogue, a criminal who respects the rules of antagonists and protagonists and never deviates from them. Then there's the classic type who brings his foe into a castle or a palace or whatever and makes them feel at home before laying out his whole plan. More classy villains exist in film and TV than you think, but which one of these baddies has the most class?


  • Hannibal Lecter From 'Hannibal'
    Photo: NBC

    Hannibal Lecter has always been portrayed as a gentleman man eater, but he's especially genteel on Hannibal, a series that devotes quite a bit of time to the villain who provides the namesake for the show. This aristocratic serial killer may not be the blueprint for the polite villain, but he's the model to which they all strive. Urbane and well-spoken, Lecter would just as soon serve you a fine meal as he would have you as a fine meal.

    One of Lecter's more fascinating acts of politeness is his insistence on throwing dinner parties for his coworkers on the evenings when the "Chesapeake Ripper" strikes... you know, because he is the Chesapeake Ripper. The meals line up thematically with his crimes, which is not just a total head trip - it's downright thoughtful. Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein, and other skin chewers were never so bold or so thoughtful; that's what sets Lecter apart from the pack.

    410 votes
  • Hans Landa isn't the first polite villain, but he's a shining example. A Nazi (boo! hiss!) with no allegiance to the cause outside of wanting to be on the winning side, Landa almost never shows anger, and he doesn't get aggressive with his foes in the way another member of this vile troupe might.

    Landa's polite villainy is on full display in the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds when he lays out exactly how a poor French farmer is going to fare if he doesn't give up the Jews hiding below his floorboards. Rather than scream and shout, he just lays it all out with a smile while drinking a big glass of milk. He's treacherous, arrogant, and cruel, but he's not rude.

    The hits keep coming when Landa lays it all out for Aldo Raine and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) near the end of the film. He doesn't care if the Third Reich are defeated and Hitler is blown to bits - as long as he gets a house in Nantucket and an easy escape from the lasting legacy of being a war criminal. He genuinely believes if he lays out his plan with a smile, he'll put everyone at ease and he'll get exactly what he wants. Landa is so confident he nearly gets away with it; alas, the surviving members of the Basterds don't see things his way and decide to give him a permanent badge of dishonor, carving a swastika in his head. Enjoy a lifetime of dirty looks in Nantucket, Hans.

    365 votes
  • Hans Gruber is easily the most polite terrorist in cinema history. After taking over Nakatomi Plaza with his multicultural crew, Gruber could have wasted all of his hostages and stolen his precious bearer bonds, but that's not what he did.

    Rather than treat his hostages like collateral damage, Gruber consults with Holly Gennero and coked-out Harry Ellis about how to make sure the employees of Nakatomi Plaza are comfortable. Gruber clearly doesn't have a problem with death and mayhem, but he doesn't see the point in senseless violence when he can just chill and wait for his bank account to get nice and fat.

    381 votes
  • Gus Fring From 'Breaking Bad' And 'Better Call Saul'
    Photo: Breaking Bad / AMC

    Who doesn't love Gus Fring? So what if he's a major figure within the world of Mexican drug cartels - he's the kind of person who treats his friends and enemies with the same respect with which he expects to be treated. That's a rare quality in society, regardless of whether or not someone is a brutal kingpin.

    As the owner of Los Pollos Hermanos, Gus is able to hide in plain sight as a legitimate business owner while spreading narcotics across the upper 48. His straightforward and polite demeanor isn't the only reason Gus is a stand-up fellow - this guy has a philanthropic nature that's so rare in the world of evil TV guys. Even if he only donates to the DEA - especially the Albuquerque office - to make sure the agency doesn't look twice at him, he's still bettering mankind. Is Gus a monster? You better believe it. But he's a monster with class.

    271 votes
  • Most of the Universal Monsters are exactly that: monsters. They clomp around the countryside frightening villagers or wreaking havoc in laboratories. But not Count Dracula. He's suave, he has a really cool castle, and most of all, this man has drip.

    Even when dealing with his victims, Dracula is an incredibly well-mannered fellow who would rather sit down for a meal with his future feast than break into their house and just start sucking. Part of that is because Dracula has a set of rules he lives by. He doesn't enter a house without permission, he's put off by garlic, and he'd rather woo someone than freak them out. When it comes down to it, you don't get to be a count if you're not polite.

    296 votes
  • Wilson Fisk From 'Daredevil'
    Photo: Disney+

    Wilson Fisk, AKA the Kingpin, may be a ruthless criminal who's turned Hell's Kitchen into his own personal ATM, but that doesn't mean he's heartless. Fisk is a straightforward criminal who has expectations for his subordinates as well as his enemies. Whether it's a thug on the street or Daredevil himself, he believes everyone should show some decorum in their roles. The entire time Fisk is gentrifying one of the five burrows and beating the stuffing out of his enemies, he's also showing the audience he's a wife guy at his core.

    When his wife, Vanessa Fisk, is poisoned at a gala, Fisk becomes a total wreck. He's angry, he's confused, and most of all he's heartbroken. Not only has he been betrayed, but the one person who can be a respite from the vile life he's chosen has been dragged down to the gutter. Kingpin shows his true colors when Vanessa is nearly killed. Rather than go out and make his enemies pay, he sits beside Vanessa in her hospital bed until he's sure she's going to be okay. This is a person who deeply cares for the people in his life in spite of the fact he actively makes society worse.

    237 votes