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The Greatest Villainous Performances?


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Bruce Dern exudes villainy in The Cowboys.

 

Eli Wallach is a bit smoother in The Magnificent Seven but admits to stealing from chuch poor boxes and starving villagers with no compunction.

 

Emilio Fernandez gives villains a bad name in The Wild Bunch.

 

Alan Rickman tries to exterminate Aborigines in Quigley Down Under.

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Alan Rickman tries to exterminate Aborigines in Quigley Down Under.

 

He's also quite good at being villainous in the very first "Die Hard" movie.

 

(...and in fact, that role made his career)

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Bruce Dern exudes villainy in The Cowboys.

 

 

 

And regarding Bruce in this film, I suppose everyone here has by now heard the famous and very funny story of Bruce and The Duke's conversation before the filming of a certain key scene in this movie, right?!

 

(...if anyone here says they haven't, I'll post it later)

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Eli Wallach is a bit smoother in The Magnificent Seven but admits to stealing from chuch poor boxes and starving villagers with no compunction.

While it's an outstanding role for Wallach, I'm not sure that his Calvera ranks as great villainy - he's just a little too affable and reluctantly mean to both the villagers and their hired protectors.

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William Conrad, most notably in The Racket.

 

I considered him more vicious in "The Killers" (1946), when he and Charles McGraw were gunning for Burt Lancaster.

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I love Al St. John in the those old Fatty Arbuckle movies, I think he was amazing. He had a rubber face that could bounce from a Joker-like grimace of a smile to a Joe E. Brown-esque weepy frown and everything in between. And he had the body to match, he would react like a cartoon character, with exaggerated running and sudden surprised jumps. Most silent movie comics acted this way, of course, but few could do it like Al. Just take a look at that face,

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Ok, so admittedly most of my favorite villains are of the comic variety. I often laugh even at the ones that aren't. Sorry for the lack of actual menace in my choices.

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Two more Richard Boone as Grimes in Hombre (1967) just oozes menace...

 

It's been years since I've watched the John Wayne western "Big Jake", but as I recall, Boone oozed menace in that one too, CJ.

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 There's a skin cream that will help with that.

 

LOL

 

;)

 

Are you sure it would have worked on that oh so weathered face of Boone's, VX?!

 

(...he MIGHT'VE needed a year's supply of the stuff just for one WEEK, ya know!)  ;)

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And regarding Bruce in this film, I suppose everyone here has by now heard the famous and very funny story of Bruce and The Duke's conversation before the filming of a certain key scene in this movie, right?!

 

(...if anyone here says they haven't, I'll post it later)

 

Aw heck, I guess you better tell it to me, then, seeing as how I'm so out of the loop. :rolleyes:

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Please forgive me for going against the thinking of most of you in TCM Nation and mentioning a recent film from 2007.  Javier Bardem's performance as Anton Chigurh in "No Country For Old Men" was absolutely terrifying.  If you saw or spoke to Javier Bardem's character the person would end up dead.  At the end of the movie when the Anton Chigurh character is in a car accident, his arm broken, two teenagers walk up to Anton Chigurh and speak to him.  I was surprised Javier Bardem's character did not kill the two kids.  Instead he offered to buy their shirt so he could make a sling for his broken arm. Most deserving Oscar winning performance.

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Aw heck, I guess you better tell it to me, then, seeing as how I'm so out of the loop. :rolleyes:

 

Okay then Kay, here it is...and it's another story of two actors conversing just before a scene is shot with them, just like the Olivier/Hoffman "Marathon Man" story I told ya the other day...

 

In the 1972 film THE COWBOYS, Bruce is once again playing his then typical "psycho" role, in this case, an Old West psycho and of course the villain. John Wayne, as usual, is the hero, and toward the end of the film..

 

***SPOILER ALERT***

 

...Bruce shoots Duke in the back and kills him. And, just before this scene was shot, Duke turns to Bruce and says, "Well ya KNOW, America will HATE you for this!"

 

Bruce quickly replied(and remember the Vietnam War era this movie was made and the extreme political divide at the time...say, ya know, kinda like NOW!!! LOL )...."Yeah, but they'll LOVE me in Berkeley!"

 

(...whenever Bruce tells this story he IS quick to add that Wayne, to his credit, broke out laughing and THEN said to the cast and crew standing around that heard it, "Now see?! THIS is the reason this S.O.B. is workin' steadily, while the rest of you can't find any work!")

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Damn that's quick.

 

-Not to mention adding insult to injury.

 

Thanks, Dargo, I do enjoy story time with you.

Edited by Kay
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Please forgive me for going against the thinking of most of you in TCM Nation and mentioning a recent film from 2007.  Javier Bardem's performance as Anton Chigurh in "No Country For Old Men" was absolutely terrifying.  If you saw or spoke to Javier Bardem's character the person would end up dead.  At the end of the movie when the Anton Chigurh character is in a car accident, his arm broken, two teenagers walk up to Anton Chigurh and speak to him.  I was surprised Javier Bardem's character did not kill the two kids.  Instead he offered to buy their shirt so he could make a sling for his broken arm. Most deserving Oscar winning performance.

I completely and totally agree.  This performance was the most chilling I have ever seen.  He had soulless shark eyes.  A killing machine with absolutely no remorse.  None.  Nada.

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Okay then Kay, here it is...and it's another story of two actors conversing just before a scene is shot with them, just like the Olivier/Hoffman "Marathon Man" story I told ya the other day...

 

In the 1972 film THE COWBOYS, Bruce is once again playing his then typical "psycho" role, in this case, an Old West psycho and of course the villain. John Wayne, as usual, is the hero, and toward the end of the film..

 

***SPOILER ALERT***

 

...Bruce shoots Duke in the back and kills him. And, just before this scene was shot, Duke turns to Bruce and says, "Well ya KNOW, America will HATE you for this!"

 

Bruce quickly replied(and remember the Vietnam War era this movie was made and the extreme political divide at the time...say, ya know, kinda like NOW!!! LOL )...."Yeah, but they'll LOVE me in Berkeley!"

 

(...whenever Bruce tells this story he IS quick to add that Wayne, to his credit, broke out laughing and THEN said to the cast and crew standing around that heard it, "Now see?! THIS is the reason this S.O.B. is workin' steadily, while the rest of you can't find any work!")

Berekeley's reputation as Anerica's most liberal campus persists to this day. That is part of the backstory for the recent overwhelming student objection to the Berkely president as Haveford College's commencement speaker.

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