We all know the characteristics of the hero. Brave, strong, and willingly to sacrifice their efforts for the greater good. But what if a hero was greedy, cold, and didn't have the strictest moral compass? These characters are called antiheroes, and they are some of the most interesting protagonists that have ever come across in film. Here are the top ten antiheroes introduced through cinema.
10. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) Christian Bale gives one of the most disturbing performances of his career in this slasher film in which he plays a Wall Street yuppie who moonlights as a serial killer. The film is filled with delectably evil scenes, one of the standouts features Bale dancing to Huey Lewis before giving a co-worker the ax.
9. D-Fens (Falling Down) Falling Down follows an unemployed software engineer, William "D-Fens" Foster, pushed to the brink, becoming a deranged vigilante in the process. Michael Douglas' favorite performance of his own career, D-Fens is a man on the edge who believes what he's doing is justified, even if it means shooting people.
8. Salieri (Amadeus) Anyone who has spent time learning the craft of something only to be trumped by someone less "deserving" can relate to Saleri's character, brilliantly played by F. Murray Abraham. The main character's hatred of Mozart is fueled by jealousy, which leads him down a twisted path full of regret and pain.
7. Daneil Plainview (There Will Be Blood) Daniel Day-Lewis' tour de force performance of a 19th century oil man consumed by greed and lust. His only gratification is wiping out his competition to ensure he is the last man standing.
6. Mad Max George Miller's post apocalyptic anti-hero has been played by both Mel Gibson and Tom Hardy. The Road Warrior is the classic anti-hero, a drifter who plays to the advantages. With the critical acclaim of Fury Road, hopefully they'll keep making new installments to the franchise.
5. Oh Dae-Su (Oldboy) This ultra-violent Korean movie has a man who has been imprisoned for 15 years out for revenge. Oh Dae-Su is not a good person, but he is the protagonist who the audience roots with. Plus he can fight extremely well with a hammer.
4. Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange) Speaking of ultra-violence, no one knows more about the evil side of human nature than Alex DeLarge, played by Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. Alex rapes, kills and beats people for fun. It's sick to think a director could make us identify with such a psychopath as this; Kubrick you sly devil.
3. The Man With No Name Infamously played by Clint Eastwood, The Man with No Name is a gun-slinging bounty hunter. He has a slight moral compass, but not so much as he won't kill for a fistful of dollars, or a few dollars more. One of cinema's earliest antiheroes.
2. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) One of Robert De Niro's best performances, Travis Bickle is a detached taxi driver fed up with the cesspool of a city he lives in. One of the bleakest performances in one of the bleakest movies, Travis is mentally unstable, but easily identifiable thanks to De Niro's powerful performance.
1. Michael Corleone (The Godfather I and II) No evolution from hero to villain is more beautifully captured in film than that of Michael Corleone's fall from grace. Michael, a once good man, finds that he must do evil things after becoming a mafia kingpin. What's worse, is he finds that he is good at doing evil things. Michael is smart, cold and calculating, but at the end of the second film he finds that all of his power has rewarded him nothing but loneliness.
Did I overlook a certain psychopath or bounty hunter? Who are some of your favorite antiheroes?
Do you have a list of movies that you want to recommend? Now you have a place to do it.
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