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15 Times Movie Villains Were Total Cowards

May 28, 2021 181 votes 32 voters 1.2k views15 items

List RulesVote up the most cowardly moments from great movie villains.

Villains come in all kinds of different wrappers. Some of them are cruel, others are conniving, and many are successful simply because no one is willing to stand up to them. Some villains particularly love the hunt - they want to be kept on their toes. The following villains aren't those kinds of baddies. These are the most cowardly movie villains, the antagonists who prefer that no one fight back in case it becomes clear just how soft they really are.

Aside from being big, egg-laying chickens, one thing that all of these villains have in common is how they turn into huge babies once they realize the jig is up and the day is lost. Some of them cry, some beg to be spared, and many of them blame someone else for their problems - but again and again, they prove themselves to be 100%, grade-A chicken. It's up to you to figure out which one of these creeps is the vilest and most cowardly. You've definitely got your work cut out for you.

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    Johnny Miller Helps Assault A Woman, But Completely Embarrasses Himself When Revenge Is At Hand In 'I Spit On Your Grave'

    Johnny Miller is just one member of the gang of rural rapists who taunt and assault Jennifer Hills while she simply tries to write her novel. Johnny initially finds himself enamored with Jennifer when he meets her at the gas station where he works. But when he makes a clumsy pass at her, she denies his advances - and he becomes furious.

    Later that evening, Johnny and a group of local men corner the woman in her cabin and have their way with her, all while filming the events. After she escapes and begins exacting her revenge on the men, she designs specific acts of violence for each of her attackers - and it's Johnny who shows just how cowardly he really is.

    After Jennifer ties Johnny to the roof of an abandoned building, he literally wets his pants because he's so afraid of getting his comeuppance. Of course, he can't be left in the home to simply marinate in his own juices while he weeps. After proving himself to be a complete coward, he has his teeth removed and he gets emasculated before bleeding out.

    Cowardly villain?
  • When Commodus discovers that his father wished to name Maximus Meridius his successor as emperor to restore order to Rome - rather than any of his children - the entitled brat kills his beloved father, proclaims himself emperor, and has his would-be replacement heir arrested. Maximus manages to escape (though his family, of course, isn't so lucky), and eventually rises up through the hierarchy of gladiators, earning love and devotion from the Roman people even as Commodus still gets booed in public. To settle things once and for all, Commodus makes the grand mistake of challenging Maximus to a showdown in the Colosseum.

    Commodus knows he can't defeat Maximus in a fair fight, so he does the most cowardly thing he can, stabbing Maximus in the back right before their match. He then orders the wound to be covered with armor, and by the time the fight is underway, Maximus is only halfway there because of all the blood loss.

    But even a fading Maximus is able to take the sword of Commodus in battle, embarrassing the emperor in front of a giant crowd of Romans. If that weren't bad enough, Commodus begs for someone to give him a sword before Maximus uses the emperor's own knife to put him out of his misery. It's a brutal death that feels harsh, even for a big ol' Roman chicken.

    Cowardly villain?
  • When Andy Dufresne arrives at Shawshank, he immediately becomes hip to the fact that, of all the prison guards, Byron Hadley is the worst. It's not that he's simply a bad guy - he's legitimately evil. He beats prisoners and revels in their sorrow as he and the other guards literally cackle at the hostile conditions they've created.

    The only reason Hadley spares Andy from his vicious streak is the hotshot prisoner's acumen with accounting. Andy helps him keep a hefty inheritance from being taxed by the government, thus giving the guard a reason to keep the prisoner safe.

    After Andy escapes from Shawshank, he gives enough information about Hadley and the warden's misdeeds that the corrupt guard ends up in cuffs. The audience doesn't see exactly what happens to Hadley, but this is where his cowardice is exposed. According to Red, Andy's friend at Shawshank, Hadley breaks down in tears when he's arrested; after all, he must know how tough prison is going to be for him. It's clear from this piece of info that Hadley was terrified of the men he worked around - that's why he was putting them through hell.

    Cowardly villain?
  • Biff Tannen is a bully through and through. No matter the timeline, he's a ruffian who uses his size to intimidate people and push them around. As much as George McFly has to bear the brunt of Biff's aggression, it's the women in his proximity who truly have to fear this egomaniacal bully.

    All of Biff's bluster and tough-guy BS goes out the window as soon George McFly stands up to him outside of the Under the Sea Dance, as Biff gets his jaw rearranged in the parking lot. There's something so satisfying and cathartic about watching him completely back down from George, a dyed-in-the-wool nerd. It's honestly shocking that the rest of the school doesn't leave the dance to take their own potshots at this former king of the school. The only thing that makes Biff's moment of humility better is that he continues to get dunked on throughout the rest of the series.

    Cowardly villain?