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Movie Villains Who Betrayed Their Friends And Didn’t Look Back

February 10, 2021 545 votes 81 voters 3.7k views14 items

List RulesVote up the villains who sacrificed friendships as part of their evil plans.

Friendship is a sacred bond between two people and can result in some of life's most beautiful moments. Of course, on the other hand, friendship can also lay the groundwork for some of the most famous betrayals in movies, as well. Nothing can hurt the protagonist of a film more than the realization that the person they're ultimately fighting against is one of the people closest to them. 

According to Hollywood, sometimes your friend can become an insane slayer like Billy and Stu in Scream. Sometimes, your friend can become a traitorous spy who sets out to pocket a fortune like Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye. Whatever the situation is, there are some memorable movie villains who didn't spare a second thought when it came to betraying some of their closest friends.

  • When we meet the young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, he is just a fun-loving little boy with a penchant for podracing and an unnatural connection to the Force. By the time Revenge of the Sith wraps up, he has betrayed the love of his life, his mentor and best friend, the Jedi, and the entirety of the Republic. He is literally turned into one of the greatest monsters in cinema history in the span of three films.

    Was the young Vader manipulated into turning his back on everything he believed in by Palpatine? Undoubtedly. But coercion is no excuse for Anakin here. What would Qui-Gon Jinn say? Probably something annoying about Midi-chlorians, but he'd still be mad at Anakin for turning his back on the Jedi! 

    • Played By: Hayden Christensen
    Evil before friendship?
  • 1996's Scream came out of nowhere to revitalize the horror genre and subsequently kick off a tidal wave of teen slasher flicks that sought to capitalize on its unforeseen popularity. While films like I Know What You Did Last Summer failed to hit the tongue-in-cheek highs of the film that inspired them, Scream is a rollicking good time - in large part due to the psychopaths who start slaying their friends in cold blood.

    Since Scream makes fun of the slasher genre in a highly meta-textual manner, it makes sense that there would be a twist ending, and the audience is given one thanks to the psychotic tendencies of Billy and Stu. Filmgoers are duped into believing the innocence of the pair of teenage slayers as they team up to systematically eliminate various members of their friend group, dressing up as Ghostface at different times to keep everyone off their scent. In the end, Stu only shows remorse because his mom and dad are "gonna be so mad" with him while Billy is just an unrepentant psycho.

    • Played By: Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard
    Evil before friendship?
  • If you're looking for a tale about how money talks and friendship means nothing when a fortune is on the line, look no further than 1993's The Fugitive. In addition to being a rollicking thriller that made a boatload of money, as well as featuring early roles for future stars like Julianne Moore and Jane Lynch, The Fugitive is - at its core - a story about tragedy and betrayal. 

    Harrison Ford plays Dr. Richard Kimble, who escapes police custody during a bus collision after being framed for the slaying of his wife. This leads to a manhunt for the doctor as he struggles to evade the authorities and clear his name. As it turns out, his friend Dr. Charles Nichols was behind the plot that was intended to actually get rid of Richard. Kimble found that Provasic, a drug whose development was led by Nichols, causes liver damage, and this made him a target, as Provasic would make a lot of people rich.

    The lesson here? Friendship means nothing, and money means everything.

      Evil before friendship?
    • Was there ever any doubt about Robert Redford's Alexander Pierce being the central antagonist in Captain America: The Winter Soldier? You just don't get an actor of that magnitude to merely play a thankless role as an innocent Secretary of Internal Security. A legendary actor like Redford needs something with a little more meat on its bones than that. This is the guy from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, and The Sting for crying out loud. Give him something to do with all those acting chops!

      Well, Marvel knew what they were doing, as the secret Hydra member intends to create a safer world by wiping out an untold number of innocent people who could pose a threat to the supposed new world order. In addition to betraying Captain America, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the United States of America, Pierce also betrays his close friend Nick Fury. Heck, he tries to have the guy taken out! Talk about loyalty... 

      • Played By: Robert Redford
      Evil before friendship?