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15 Most Hated Movie Characters Of All Time

15 Most Hated Movie Characters Of All Time


  • Hated movie characters aren’t always villains, with actions that make them detestable, sometimes more than the antagonists themselves.
  • Actors give memorable performances as unlikable characters, generating discussions and hatred, even if not intended by the audience.
  • Characters like Marla Grayson and Dolores Umbridge create discomfort, showcasing reprehensible actions with no acknowledgment of their evil.

While there have been plenty of likable villains and charismatic antiheroes that audiences have loved, the most hated movie characters are entertaining because of how satisfying it is to loathe them. Movie history is full of despicable human beings whose only purpose in life is to make life miserable for the heroes and regular people alike. Nothing will help the audience get behind a hero faster than by pitting them against the worst possible villains available. Some of the best performances of all time have been by actors portraying incredibly unlikable characters, meaning the most hated are also often among the most memorable.

However, not every hated movie character is a villain. There are many characters who are absolutely despised but also aren’t antagonists. Their actions make people hate them sometimes more than the actual villains. While it can be interesting to find a villain with sympathetic motivations, the most hated characters often generate just as much discussion — especially those that weren’t written to be disliked by viewers. These characters can be hated for any number of reasons, from a specific action or event through to their personality, but with the most hated characters of all time, it’s often clear why they’re despised.


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15 Paris – Troy (2004)

Orlando Bloom’s Selfish And Cowardly Prince

Based on Homer’s writing of the Trojan War, Troy is a war epic with Brad Pitt leading the cast as the fearsome and complex warrior Achilles. While he is meant to be something of an antihero who the audience cheers for despite his questionable behavior, one character who is a lot harder to cheer for is one of the movie’s intended heroes, Paris (Orlando Bloom).

When Paris is given the opportunity to take responsibility for his mistakes, he decides to save himself.

While it is not unheard of for good guy characters to annoy audiences to the point that they become hated, Troy actively points out why Paris is not a likable character and then attempts to redeem him in the end after it is far too late. Paris ignites a war by stealing the wife of an ally lord. When Paris is given the opportunity to take responsibility for his mistakes, he decides to save himself. In the end, Paris’ actions lead to the death of his entire family, the destruction of Troy, and the deaths of countless people.


Wolfgang Petersen
Release Date
May 14, 2004

Brad Pitt , Eric Bana , Orlando Bloom , Julian Glover , Brian Cox , Nathan Jones , Adoni Maropis , Jacob Smith

163 Minutes

14 Mr. Potter – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Lionel Barrymore’s Greedy Corporate Bully

It’s A Wonderful Life’s ending is known for its uplifting and heartwarming message, but one element that many of the fans of the holiday classic would have loved to see was some comeuppance for the movie’s villain. Mr. Potter is a local businessman in Bedford Falls who wants nothing more than to take over the entire town and have everyone in his pocket. The movie’s hero, George Bailey, is a shining beacon of hope in constantly resisting Potter’s power grabs.

Potter is seen throughout the movie as a heartless and greedy man who, as George points out, hates everyone who is happier than he is. However, Potter proves himself to be a true villain when he finds the Baileys’ bank money, and knowing it will be trouble for George if it is lost, secretly keeps it. While the rest of the town pulls together to help George, it would have been nice to see Potter get caught for the thief he is.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Frank Capra
Release Date
January 7, 1947
James Stewart , Thomas Mitchell , Lionel Barrymore , Donna Reed , Henry Travers
130 minutes

13 Denethor – Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The Ring (2003)

John Noble’s Unhinged And Ineffective Ruler

The Lord of the Rings trilogy built up over the course of its movies to the final confrontation with Sauron and his forces of evil. So it is quite impressive that one of the most detestable characters that the heroes encounter on this journey is someone who is technically on their side. Denethor is the Steward of Gondor who is key in making the final stand against the orc army. However, Denethor is found to be very lacking in helpfulness or sanity.

In many ways, Denethor is a sympathetic character and the books by J. R. R. Tolkien further make him out to be a tragic figure as he is in grief over the death of his son Boromir. However, with the fate of the entire world on the line, Denethor’s moody, selfish, petty, and withdrawn nature is too much to forgive. He is also grotesque in how he treats his surviving son, Faramir, only to pretend to be a loving father when he thinks he lost him as well.

12 Mrs. Carmody – The Mist (2007)

Marcia Gay Harden’s Sadistic Fear Monger

The Mist’s ending is one of the most shocking conclusions of all time and offers a very different take on what might be expected from a monster movie. Another way in which the Stephen King adaptation subverts expectations is by making one of the biggest threats in the movie a human rather than the vicious creatures lurking outside. Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden delivers an impactful and commanding performance as the frustrating villain, Mrs. Carmody.

Introduced as a rude and bitter woman who looks down on anyone who does not share in her extreme religious views, Carmody becomes even worse when the horror strikes. As the mysterious mist brings deadly creatures, Carmody insists it is the work of her vengeful god. More frustrating, she succeeds in luring people to her side, turning them into a mob that is willing to sacrifice men, women, and children to the monsters to keep themselves safe.

The Mist

Frank Darabont
Release Date
November 21, 2007
Laurie Holden , Thomas Jane , Andre Braugher , Toby Jones , Marcia Gay Harden
126 minutes

11 Yon-suk – Train To Busan (2016)

Kim Eui-sung’s Self-Serving And Cowardly Businessman

This is another movie in which a group of survivors must contend with a horrific threat while also dealing with a human character who is loathsome in how they choose to deal with the situation. Train to Busan is a thrilling South Korean zombie movie in which passengers on a train must fight for survival when a zombie outbreak occurs on board. One of the survivors is the rich and entitled businessman, Yon-suk.

While fear is understandable in such a situation, Yon-suk’s cowardice turns dangerous and he looks out for his own safety at the expense of others. He refuses to let other survivors into safe zones out of fear they are infected, he abandons people to die despite them helping him, and he throws people, including a little girl, to the zombie horde to give himself a better chance to escape.

10 Marla Grayson – I Care A Lot (2020)

Rosamund Pike’s Careworker Who Steals From The Elderly

A Netflix original movie, 2021’s I Care A Lot was a highly polarizing film, with many finding the main character too loathsome to enjoy the movie. However, many viewers agreed just how unlikable the character of Marla Grayson is, and this is for good reason. Rosamund Pike stars as Marla, a woman who makes money while stealing from elderly people through a legal court-appointed guardian role.

Despite the obviousness of her evil deeds, Marla presents herself as if she is doing nothing wrong. Such characters make the audience hate them even more, as it is frustrating seeing someone do something reprehensible while not acknowledging how evil they are. It is tricky for a movie to pull off a protagonist that the audience is meant to hate, but I Care A Lot and Rosamund Pike manage it.

I Care A Lot

Release Date
February 19, 2021
J Blakeson

Macon Blair , Alicia Witt , Damian Young , Dianne Wiest , Peter Dinklage , Eiza Gonzalez , with Isiah Whitlock Jr. , Rosamund Pike , Chris Messina

118 minutes

9 Archibald Cunningham – Rob Roy (1995)

Tim Roth’s Sadistic 16th Century Aristocrat

Set in 1700s Scotland, 1995’s Rob Roy features a stellar cast, including Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt, Brian Cox, and Tim Roth as the villainous Archibald Cunningham — who remains one of the most hated movie characters. Tim Roth’s Archibald Cunningham is a villainous aristocrat, the sadistic chief henchman of the Marquis of Montrose. He is more than deserving of his hated status thanks to his heinous actions throughout the film, including sexual assault and murder, and feels no remorse for those he hurts.

Tim Roth earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in which he seems to relish the opportunity to play a man with no redeeming qualities. Roth also injects the role with a grating sense of arrogance which makes the audience even more eager to see Cunningham get what he deserves.

Rob Roy (1995)
Rob Roy (1995)

Release Date
April 14, 1995
Michael Caton-Jones
139 Minutes

8 Briony Tallis – Atonement (2007)

Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai & Vanessa Redgrave Tell One Of The Most Destructive Lies In Cinema

In Atonement, it is not hard to imagine why the character of Briony Tallis is one of the most hated movie characters, given her harmful impact on the rest of the characters. Briony is the main destructive force in ruining many people’s lives in the period piece, and by the ending of Atonement her lies have literally resulted in the deaths of several family members. Despite her young age in the film and her quest for atonement, the 13-year-old upper-crust teenager destroyed everyone around her thanks to her selfish desires.

However, Briony is also a fascinating character, as the act that makes her so hated is done with a child-like misunderstanding of the consequences. Atonement then allows the audience to see how that decision has affected Briony throughout her life, from her overcome with guilt for what she did to her facing the reality that she can never undo the damage she caused. In the end, just like the audience, Briony is unable to forgive herself.

atonement poster

Release Date
September 7, 2007
Joe Wright


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7 Commodus – Gladiator (2000)

Joaquin Phoenix’s Roman Tyrant

Commodus, the cowardly and cruel villain of Ridley Scott’s 2000 film Gladiator, has stood the test of time as one of Joaquin Phoenix’s most memorable characters thanks in no small part to how loathsome he manages to make the character. Commodus is arrogant, spoiled, and egotistical, thinking he is entitled to the cruel acts he perpetrates. The fact that he betrayed the man most loyal to his father and then ordered his death in a gladiatorial ring makes it a joy when he finally gets what was coming to him, even if it also results in the hero’s death, as well.

Phoenix’s Oscar-nominated performance helped to create Commodus as a layered character while still depicting him as an irredeemable menace. Seeing Commodus’ inflated ego gradually deflate with the reemergence of Russell Crowe’s Maximus is a satisfying downfall for the character leading to his humiliating defeat.


Release Date
May 1, 2000
155 minutes

6 Percy Wetmore – The Green Mile (1999)

Doug Hutchison’s Slimy Coward Of A Prison Guard

Percy Wetmore (played by Doug Hutchison) from the 1999 film adaptation of the Stephen King novel, The Green Mile, proves the most evil people in prisons can be the ones standing on the outside of the cells. In Green Mile, Percy engages in the torture of animals and humans, he is a blackmailer and a saboteur, he abuses his power as a prison guard, and he often utilizes psychological abuse towards anyone he sees as the desired object of his cruelty. His cowardice and inflated sense of self-worth make him someone who is easy to hate.

Percy’s true villainous moment comes with the execution of one of the prisoners who mocked Percy. With his fragile ego, Percy decides the proper punishment is to neglect his duties and ensure the man’s death is an agonized and prolonged experience. As a testament to Percy’s cowardice, he cannot even watch the horrific scene he is responsible for. While his personality makes him unlikable, it’s this specific scene in The Green Mile that makes Percy Wetmore one of the most hated movie characters.

The Green Mile

Release Date
December 10, 1999
Frank Darabont

Tom Hanks , Michael Clarke Duncan , David Morse , Bonnie Hunt , James Cromwell , Michael Jeter , Graham Greene , Doug Hutchison

189 Minutes

5 Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (2007)

Imelda Staunton’s Poisonous Pink-Obsessed Professor

Harry Potter had a lot of despicable villains, but one of the most hated characters in the movies was easily Dolores Umbridge. She is an apt representation of the worst of political power, and she had a sadistic streak to her that worked in conjunction with a lack of moral center. Umbridge set out to purposefully hurt children. She used her power, with a smug smile and an infatuation with pink, to even put children’s lives in danger. When Voldemort took power, she then got worse, using her control to make laws to hurt the entire wizarding community.

Imelda Staunton’s performance makes Dolores even more detestable as she is portrayed as a kind and caring maternal figure who refuses to acknowledge the cruelty of her actions. She is someone who is ruled by arrogance and ignorance, ignoring facts and reason if they interfere with her views. While her sickly-sweet demeanor is enough to make her jarring, the scene where she punishes Harry by forcing him to carve “I must not tell lies” into his hand with a magic quill is one of several that cements her place as one of the most hated movie characters of all time.

Harry potter
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Release Date
June 28, 2007
David Yates

Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Alan Rickman , Ralph Fiennes , Rupert Grint , Helena Bonham Carter , Robbie Coltrane , Warwick Davis , Michael Gambon , Brendan Gleeson , Richard Griffiths , Maggie Smith

138 Minutes


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4 Warden Norton – The Shawshank Redemption (1993)

Bob Gunton’s Egomaniacal Prison Boss

One of the best film adaptations of a Stephen King novella, 1994’s Shawshank Redemption is a powerful movie on redemption and friendship. In addition to having a fantastic cast and a great script, the film also has one of the most hated movie characters of all time, Warden Norton (Bob Gunton). The head of the titular prison, Norton is ruthless and corrupt, willing to do anything to anyone who might somehow reveal his true nature to the world outside Shawshank Prison.

He fancies himself a religious man, but simply uses that as a way of feeling superior to others and doesn’t practice any of the righteous aspects of the bible. When he is presented with proof of Andy Defresne’s innocence, he covers it up and has an inmate murdered to keep Andy behind bars. His willingness to bend the rules of the system to achieve his ends, and subtle joy in the suffering he inflicts through exercising his iron-tight control over the prisoners, make Norton a movie character that it’s almost impossible not to hate.

3 Nurse Ratched – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Louise Fletcher’s Nightmare-Inducing Nurse

In the Jack Nicholson classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched is the central antagonist and one of the best villains in movie history. However, she is not the typical over-the-top, manically laughing film villain. Instead, Nurse Ratched is a manipulative, cold, and apathetic character who has been corrupted by the power imbued on her by the psychiatric institution. She acts like a passive-aggressive tyrant, punishing anyone who displeases her, even stooping to have less obedient patients undergo forced and unnecessary lobotomies.

She looks down on the patients that she oversees with her belittling and condescending treatment of them, doing more harm than good.

Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for her reserved and chilling performance in the role. Her calm delivery makes it all the more infuriating when she cannot be reasoned with. She looks down on the patients that she oversees with her belittling and condescending treatment of them, doing more harm than good. While her personality alone is enough to make her a hated movie character, the fact she uses her duty of care as a means to inflict suffering makes her all the more detestable.

2 Burke – Aliens (1986)

Paul Reiser’s Corporate Yes-Man

Burke from Aliens was the embodiment of a double-crosser. Played by Paul Reiser, Burke was the character who ended up as a greedy traitor. Burke is above all, a corporate stooge who supports his employers at the Weyland-Yutani company without any regard for the danger he is putting others in. Part of the reason Burke is hated by viewers so much is that he starts out seemingly likable, only for his heartless ways to gradually shine through.

Even as he attempted to undermine Ripley and continue with the mission despite heavy casualties, he ultimately seemed harmless. It wasn’t until he stuck a face-hugger in a locked room with Ripley and Newt that it became clear how dangerous Burke was when it came to making his corporate bosses happy. Being so active when it came to placing corporate interests over human life ensured that Burke would be remembered as one of the most hated movie characters ever.

Aliens Movie Poster

Release Date
July 18, 1986

Sigourney Weaver , Michael Biehn , Carrie Henn , Paul Reiser , Lance Henriksen , Bill Paxton , William Hope , Jenette Goldstein

137 minutes


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1 Biff Tannen – Back To The Future (1985)

Thomas Wilson’s Bully With A Generation-Spanning Grudge

In one of cinema’s most beloved movie franchises lies one of the most hated movie characters of all time. Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future franchise started out as a bully who pushed around Marty’s dad until the past was changed. Even in the past, Biff proved to be someone who deserved no happy ending when he tried to force himself on Marty’s mother. Yet he always ended up being humiliated and defeated. While some hated movie characters are nuanced and have sympathetic or endearing qualities (albeit in small amounts), Biff Tannen is thoroughly unlikeable through and through.

Throughout all three Back to the Future movies, Biff continues to be the main antagonist and makes for a wonderfully dim-witted villain the audience loves to hate. While he is a character that makes the audience laugh, the movies get many of their crowd-pleasing moments from seeing how foolish Biff can look. The way he constantly loses makes the victory of Marty and Doc Brown even better. While he may not have been as outright evil as some of the other most hated movie characters, he’s easily the one who is most satisfying to root against.

Back to the Future Poster-1
Back to the Future

Release Date
July 3, 1985
Robert Zemeckis

Claudia Wells , Christopher Lloyd , James Tolkan , Thomas F. Wilson , Michael J. Fox , Wendie Jo Sperber , Crispin Glover , Marc McClure , Lea Thompson

116 minutes

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