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Villains Turned Heroes Who Don’t Deserve Their Redemptions

Updated October 27, 2020 1.4k votes 307 voters 19.4k views13 items

List RulesVote up the villains you still can't forgive even if the good guys did.

It’s always a winning formula when movies include heartwarming scenes of redeemed villains performing at least one good and selfless act to make up for all their former misdeeds. Who can forget Luke cradling a dying Darth Vader after he finally renounces the Dark Side and charbroils the Emperor? Or when Captain Barbossa finally teams up with Jack Sparrow and sacrifices himself to save his daughter?

But wait a minute… did those two really deserve the sudden “OK, you’re a good guy now” treatment? When you weigh their last acts against their total offenses, it becomes a lot harder to be sympathetic. In fact, a whole lot of fictional characters probably don’t deserve the instant absolution they receive after their lifetimes spent indulging in cruelty, sin, and/or avarice. Here's a chance to weigh in on the characters you think don’t deserve forgiveness at the end of their stories.

  • How She Was Redeemed: Art historian Elsa Schneider and American businessman Walter Donovan are in league with the Nazis in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with the shared goal finding the Holy Grail. However, Elsa’s love for the dashing Indy leads her to trick Donovan into drinking from a false grail, allowing them to save Indy’s dad.

    Why She Didn't Deserve It: Elsa didn't ride into any sunsets though, because her greed and obsession over the grail led her to some instant karma. Her fixation on the grail was just one of her many sociopathically selfish decisions. Elsa wasn't a Nazi herself, but was perfectly willing to rub elbows with the most sinister members of the Third Reich in order to get her hands on the Grail. She also had no intention of falling for Indy - she planned on merely seducing him for her own gain before succumbing to his swashbuckling wiles.

  • How He Was Redeemed: Freed from captivity during the ruckus aboard the prisoner transport plane Jailbird, the infamous serial slayer Garland Green in Con Air finds himself alone with a little girl. Instead of giving in to his dark side, he explains to the girl (after she mentions that he looks sick) that “There is no medicine for what I have” and lets her live. Apparently now free of his homicidal inclinations, we last see him free and living it up in Las Vegas, looking healthier and happier than ever.

    Why He Didn't Deserve It: Not only was Garland “The Marietta Mangler” Green a serial slayer, but he was such a spectacularly insane one that his offenses "made the Manson Family look like the Partridge Family." Every other convict was terrified of him, as he was so repugnant that the equally vile main villain Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom considered him a “national treasure.”

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    Kylo Ren In ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

    How He Was Redeemed: When his mother Leia dies in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ruthless Kylo Ren shows signs of returning to the more human Ben Solo. His guilt over killing his own father appears to give him the final push away from the Dark Side and back to the forces of light. Subsequently, he joins Rey in the fight against Emperor Palpatine and gives his life for hers, getting a final smooch out of the deal.

    Why He Didn't Deserve It: Seriously? He killed Han Solo. Full stop. As if a little bit of patricide wasn’t heinous enough, the whiny mope was responsible for the deaths of millions with that Starkiller Base of his. So now we're supposed to believe he got to hang out with the ghosts of Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, Luke, and Anakin, just because he admitted he has a few feelings?

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    Terry Benedict In ‘Ocean's 11’

    How He Was Redeemed: Andy Garcia plays a mean casino owner named Terry Benedict in Ocean’s 11. After he lost a fortune to Ocean’s crew, he gets his money back in Ocean’s Twelve and all debts are settled. Then, in the next movie, he agrees to give George Clooney’s character Danny Ocean money to buy an expensive drill in the furtherance of another caper. No longer the villain, he’s a part of the crew now!

    Why He Didn't Deserve It: Let’s just begin by pointing out that he loved money more than Julia Roberts. But apart from that, after investing in Ocean’s scheme, he promptly tried to double-cross the wily thief. Of course Ocean saw it coming and gave Benedict his comeuppance by donating his share of the take to charity, forcing the would-be slickster to publicly pretend to be a philanthropist on television.