14 Movies Where The Hero And Villain Never Meet

List Rules
Vote up the movies that build up great heroes and villains even though they don't meet.

Few things are as exciting as seeing a classic movie hero take on an unforgettably fearsome villain. But what about movies that separate the hero and villain? Those are much less common, yet they can still offer plenty of fun. 

Taking this approach requires a lot of care in the setup. There has to be some plausible reason why the two can't or don't meet. Then there's got to be a clever way of building suspense. Even if they're never in the same location, a threat of danger has to be achieved. If there are no stakes, the audience simply won't care. Finally, filmmakers have to figure out how to create a climactic showdown with two characters who have to remain separated. Doing all these things is a tall order, yet when done successfully, the result offers a unique kind of thrill. The following examples all keep their protagonists and antagonists apart for the duration.

Which of these movies where the villain and hero never meet have the most surprising separation? Your votes will decide. 


  • Bruce Willis plays the awesomely named Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element. He's a futuristic cab driver who finds himself in the middle of a wild adventure after a young woman named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) literally drops into his cab. She's a humanoid, as well as one of five elements that can keep evil industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) from unleashing a "Great Evil" that will bring about the end of the world. 

    Despite Zorg being the prime villain, only Leeloo ever comes in contact with him. Dallas comes close a couple of times. The two barely miss each other in an elevator. Then, toward the end, Dallas manages to get the other elements - which come in the form of stones - from an alien race known as the Mangalores. Zorg shows up shortly afterward and steals a case that he mistakenly believes contains those stones. Dallas, however, has already begun his getaway with Leeloo and talk show host Ruby Rhod. Zorg is killed mere moments later, ensuring he and Dallas will never cross paths. 

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  • Jim Carrey got one of his best roles in The Truman Show. Directed by Peter Weir, it's the story of a guy named Truman who doesn't realize his entire life is the setup for a reality TV program. His friends and neighbors are actors. The world around him? A great, big set. The entire scheme is orchestrated by a director named Christof (Ed Harris), who runs the show from inside a control room somewhere.

    In the movie's concluding section, Truman learns the truth about his situation. He even discovers he's inside a big dome that's kept him trapped all these years. Armed with this knowledge, he begins speaking to Christof, who responds through a speaker system. The men have a poignant conversation that ends with Truman bowing to his viewing audience and exiting through a door in the dome. Christof is, for better or worse, the single most significant person in Truman's life, yet Truman never lays eyes on him. 

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  • Mad Max: Fury Road is set in a post-apocalyptic future where a tyrant named Immoran Joe controls the water supply. He's enslaved an entire population of people. His group, the War Boys, have taken Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) hostage and are forcing him to be used as a blood donor for one of them. When Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) makes off with Joe's multiple wives, the War Boys chase after her, with Max in tow. He eventually escapes and joins the women in their quest for freedom.

    The movie ends back where it began, with Furiosa and the women returning with reinforcements to overthrow Immortan Joe. Max is there, too, but others do the heavy lifting. Throughout Fury Road, he deals with the War Boys, but never directly with their boss, even though he's peripherally tied to Joe's downfall. That's perfectly consistent with the story's theme of strong women taking back their power from an abusive man. 

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  • In True Romance, Clarence (Christian Slater) is an Elvis-worshipping, comic book-reading, kung fu movie-loving guy. He also loves Alabama (Patricia Arquette), a prostitute he meets and flips for. After liberating her from her pimp, he grabs what he thinks is a suitcase full of her belongings. It actually contains a boatload of drugs. Once they figure that out, the two head for Los Angeles.

    Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken), the consigliere of a mobster who had been dealing with the dead pimp, goes looking for Clarence, as do his other goons. One of them even beats the stuffing out of Alabama in a motel room before she gets the jump on him. True Romance ends with a massive shootout in an LA hotel suite, where the cops and the mobster's men interrupt Clarence's attempt to sell the drugs to a Hollywood film producer. Massive bloodshed follows, although Clarence and Alabama make it out alive. Throughout this entire ordeal, Clarence never meets Coccotti or the mobster he works for. In fact, he never knows for sure who's tracking him.

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  • When Matt Damon opted to step away from the Bourne franchise, Jeremy Renner stepped in. The Bourne Legacy casts him not as Jason Bourne, but as Aaron Cross, another secret agent. He was trained by a black ops program known as Operation Outcome. When its founder, Eric Byer (Edward Norton), targets him for elimination, Cross has to run for his life.

    Fairly early on in the picture, Cross does something interesting. Realizing Byer has sent drones to kill him, he rips out his tracking tag and feeds it to a wolf. The drones take out the wolf, leading Byer to think Cross is dead. Of course, Cross still has to deal with a virus he's been genetically programmed with. After succumbing to its effects, he flashes back to his training in Outcome, which is the only time in the whole movie where he's seen in contact with Byer. The Bourne Legacy ends with Cross escaping by boat, presumably to live a safer life away from this madman and his wild programs.

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  • No Country for Old Men opens with Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) stumbling across the aftermath of a drug deal that has clearly gone very, very wrong. Along with a couple of bodies, there's a briefcase containing $2 million. He promptly walks off with it. That cash belongs to psychopath Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), and he comes looking for it. 

    The film is, to a degree, a cat-and-mouse game. Chigurh is tracking down Moss, but Moss is always one step ahead of him. At one point, for instance, Chigurh goes to what he believes is Moss's motel room to confront (and probably kill) him. Moss, though, has predicted that, so he rented a second room adjacent to the first. A brief time afterward, the men make their way to the border town of Eagle Pass where they have a gun battle from a distance. Moss calls Chigurh at his hotel in the aftermath. The two never get any closer than they do in these situations.

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