Let’s just put it out there: the 80s was an awesome decade for villains. They were getting more ruthless, more uncaring, unfeeling, and in some ways they were getting better at masking who they really were. But they were also, on the other end of the spectrum, getting crazier and more out of control when it came time to really go berserk. A lot of people would gladly forget the 80s for a number of reasons but when it comes to movies you can’t deny that the 80s produced some of the most iconic villains of all time. Their very presence seemed to make the movies they were in just that much more diabolical and in some cases hard to watch since the bad guys could pose as one of the good guys or at least as someone you might want to trust for a while until they finally turned. And then there were those bad guys that were honest with you and just shot people or abused them because it was in their nature.
It was a rollercoaster of villainy in the 80s, and here are some of the best.
5. Carter Burke – Aliens
If you learn nothing else from one of the Alien movies then learn this: DO NOT TRUST COMPANY PEOPLE. Each and every corporate entity in this franchise and those that follow it are as liable to be as crooked as the letter S, and will dime out anyone they have to or sacrifice anyone they have to in order to make sure that the company gets what it wants. For instance when it was discovered what the xenomorphs were capable of, however horrifying it might be, the company wanted them because when weaponized these creatures could help those interested in paying the price for them to dominate anyone else that stood in their path. Carter was more or less an errand boy, but he became the villain simply because no one else on LV-426 was interested in doing anything other than surviving.
4. Mr. Joshua – Lethal Weapon
You might think that his boss McAllister was a little more devious and cunning, but Joshua was just flat out ruthless. He was the kind of guy that would burn down a person’s house just to make sure that he got them and would kill cops because they were in his way. He was a mercenary plain and simple and he didn’t care one way or another how the job got done, so long as it got done. Added to that the fact that Gary Busey could go megaton on someone even before his accident and you’ve got a stone-cold killer that just doesn’t care and would gladly go toe to toe with someone as crazy as Riggs.
3. Ivan Drago – Rocky IV
Whatever Ivan Drago hit he destroyed, as the saying went more or less. But seeing him as a bad guy was kind of tough since he was pretty much just the guy that the Russians put in the ring to prove their superiority. He was a tool in other words, not exactly a thinking individual. But to many he was still seen as the villain since he was an unstoppable machine that didn’t seem to care if he killed a man in the ring. One thing you can say in Drago’s favor however was that he did have fighting spirit since his words “To the end” spoken near the end of the fight were kind of inspirational. Yes he was villain, without a doubt.
2. Bull Hurley – Over the Top
Outside the ring Bull Hurley was just a jerk to be honest, a villain in some regards but more or less just a bully. In the ring he was a bonafide psychopath since he would do whatever it took to win, within the rules, and did his best to intimidate his opponents. When he finally went up against Lincoln Hawk you could see in his eyes that he wanted to break him in half and make sure he never arm-wrestled again. The little fist bump to Hawk’s nose wasn’t exactly in the rules but given that it was the championship match you can see how the officials might let it slide just a bit. But Bull was a certifiable nightmare to be honest.
1. Hans Gruber – Die Hard
Cultured, deadly, and very much the gentleman, Hans Gruber was the kind of villain you dread seeing since he could be all smiles one moment and then blow your head off the next for not giving him what he wanted. His takeover of Nakitomi Plaza was done with such brutal efficiency that he didn’t need to lift a finger until it came time to take out the head man. When it came to him versus McClane however it was obvious that he was a bit outmatched in the physical department, so Karl took John on instead. Yet when it came to brains and ruthless cunning Hans Gruber was one of the best villains to ever grace the big screen.
There were so many to choose from that it was actually kind of difficult to leave some of the 80s villains out.