The Most Famous Villains of All Time: Ranking Infamous Figures That Have Left Their Mark

Choose the villains you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 07:58
Step into the dark side and embrace your inner villain as StrawPoll brings you the ultimate showdown of the most famous villains of all time! From sinister schemers to malevolent masters, our ranking has it all. Will Darth Vader's force choke hold the top spot or will the Joker's twisted laughter echo through the halls of infamy? It's time to make your voice heard and cast your vote for your favorite baddie or even suggest a missing option. Unleash your wicked side and join the battle of the greatest villains now, because in this realm, chaos reigns supreme!

Who Are the Most Famous Villains of All Time?

  1. 1

    Darth Vader

    George Lucas
    The iconic villain from the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader is known for his imposing presence, ominous breathing, and ruthless pursuit of power. He is considered one of the greatest movie villains of all time.
    Darth Vader is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He is a central figure in the original trilogy and is portrayed as a Sith Lord and the primary antagonist. Darth Vader is known for his iconic black armor, deep voice, and menacing presence.
    • Height: 6 feet 8 inches (203 cm)
    • Species: Human (formerly), Cyborg
    • Affiliation: Galactic Empire
    • Weapon: Red Lightsaber
    • Alias: Anakin Skywalker
    Darth Vader in other rankings
  2. 2
    The cannibalistic psychiatrist from the Silence of the Lambs series, Hannibal Lecter is a cold, calculating, and highly intelligent villain who has become a cultural icon.
  3. 3
    The arch-nemesis of Batman, The Joker is a chaotic and unpredictable villain with a twisted sense of humor. He has been played by numerous actors, including Heath Ledger, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal in The Dark Knight.
    The Joker is a popular Halloween mask based on the iconic comic book character from Batman. It represents a psychopathic and unpredictable villain known for his clown-like appearance and intense laughter. The mask captures the eerie and distinctive features of The Joker, including pale white skin, green hair, a red painted smile, and dark-colored eyes.
    • Material: Made from high-quality latex or vinyl
    • Size: One size fits most adults
    • Design: Full-face mask with eye, nose, and mouth openings
    • Color: White, green, red, and black
    • Details: Accurate replication of The Joker's facial features and makeup
    The Joker in other rankings
  4. 4
    The main antagonist in the Harry Potter series, Voldemort is a powerful and ruthless wizard who seeks to dominate the wizarding world. He is known for his iconic appearance, including his snake-like features and lack of a nose.
  5. 5
    Freddy Krueger
    Yike665 · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Freddy Krueger

    Wes Craven
    The villain from the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Freddy Krueger is a supernatural killer who attacks his victims in their dreams. He is known for his distinctive appearance, including his burned face and iconic glove with razor-sharp blades.
    The Freddy Krueger mask is a popular Halloween mask based on the character from the 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' horror movie franchise. It is designed to resemble the burned face of the iconic fictional serial killer and dream stalker, Freddy Krueger. The mask features disfigured skin, charred flesh, prominent burn scars, and iconic red and green striped fedora hat.
    • Material: Latex
    • Color: Beige, Brown, Red, Green
    • Size: One Size Fits Most Adults
    • Gender: Unisex
    • Mask Type: Full Face
    Freddy Krueger in other rankings
  6. 6
    The main antagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sauron is a dark lord who seeks to conquer Middle-earth and enslave its inhabitants. He is known for his all-seeing eye, which symbolizes his power and influence.
  7. 7
    The villain from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a powerful fairy who curses Princess Aurora to sleep for 100 years. She is known for her iconic appearance, including her black horns and flowing black robes.
    Maleficent is a captivating villain from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. She is known for her striking appearance and compelling personality. Maleficent possesses a dark and gothic beauty, with sharp facial features and piercing green eyes. Her signature look includes a black robe, horned headdress, and a staff that casts powerful spells. Created by Walt Disney and based on Charles Perrault's fairy tale character, Maleficent has become one of Disney's most iconic villains.
    • Film: Sleeping Beauty
    • Appearance: Gothic and striking
    • Signature Features: Horned headdress, black robe, staff
    • Personality: Compelling and powerful
    • Backstory: Based on Charles Perrault's fairy tale character
  8. 8
    Norman Bates
    Paramount Pictures · Public domain
    The central antagonist from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Norman Bates is a disturbed motel owner who has a split personality and a penchant for murder. He is known for his chilling performance by Anthony Perkins.
  9. 9
    The villain from Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ursula is a sea witch who manipulates Ariel into trading her voice for legs. She is known for her distinctive appearance, including her purple skin, tentacles, and flamboyant demeanor.
    Ursula is a fictional character and one of the most iconic Disney villains. She first appeared in the animated film 'The Little Mermaid' released in 1989. Ursula is a sea witch who seeks to gain control over the underwater kingdom and will stop at nothing to achieve her sinister goals. She is known for her distinctive appearance, with her pale lavender skin, white hair, and octopus-like tentacles for lower body parts. Ursula is widely regarded as one of the most beautifully designed villains in animation history.
    • Film debut: The Little Mermaid (1989)
    • Occupation: Sea witch
    • Goal: Gaining control over the underwater kingdom
    • Appearance: Pale lavender skin, white hair, and octopus-like tentacles
    • Personality: Manipulative, cunning, and power-hungry
  10. 10
    The primary antagonist in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is a powerful and malevolent witch who seeks to capture Dorothy and her companions. She is known for her iconic appearance, including her green skin, pointy hat, and broomstick.
    The Wicked Witch of the West in other rankings

Missing your favorite villains?


Ranking factors for famous villains

  1. Popularity and cultural significance
    How well-known and recognizable is the villain? Have they become an iconic or legendary villain that has left a lasting impact on pop culture?
  2. Antagonistic role
    What kind of role does the villain play in their story? Are they responsible for causing significant harm or destruction, posing a serious threat to the protagonist or wider society?
  3. Personal characteristics
    Does the villain possess any particularly interesting or unique personality traits or characteristics, such as a memorable catchphrase or psychological profile?
  4. Cinematic appeal
    In cases where the villain has been portrayed in film, how well have they been portrayed both visually and through acting performance?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous villains of all time. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or villain is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 159 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each villain once every 24 hours. The rank of each villain is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous villains of all time

When it comes to the world of fiction, villains have always been a source of fascination and intrigue. From classic literature to modern-day blockbusters, some of the most iconic characters in popular culture have been villains. They are the ones who challenge the hero and often serve as the driving force behind the plot. Over the years, countless villains have captured our imaginations and left a lasting impact on our cultural consciousness. From cruel dictators to cunning criminals, there are many different archetypes of villainy. Some villains are motivated by power or greed, while others are driven by revenge or a desire for chaos. Whether they are cunning, brutal, or just plain evil, villains have the power to captivate and terrify us in equal measure. They are often the most memorable characters in a story, leaving a lasting impression on audiences long after the story has ended. So, who are the most famous villains of all time? From Darth Vader to Hannibal Lecter, from Voldemort to the Joker, there is no shortage of iconic villains to choose from. Each one has left an indelible mark on popular culture and cemented their place in the annals of villainy.

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