Top 10 Bad Guys Gone Good in Movies

Script written by Akil Goin. We branded them villains and they proved us wrong. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 bad guys gone good in movies. In the movies, character development isn’t limited to its protagonists. Meanies make amends, criminals confess, and even supervillains can soften with a change of heart. For this list, we’re looking for those baddies who start out evil as can be, but end up proving that redemption is possible. However, we’re excluding antiheroes as that’s a list for another day. As you may expect, there will be some spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT. Also, don’t forget to check out our list of the Top 10 Good Guys Gone Bad in Film. Special thanks to our users Declan Hearne, Ewan99, bojanglesbrett, Christopher Querry, ladyphantomofmusic, DonovanTPS, jwiking62, Norris Vaughn, Michael Watts, Gonzalo Acosta, Luke McGowan, supersmasher35, Josh3000, Yo Kaixiang, TheBigBigCheese, Evanm934, thatonechick0me, RAàºl Millà¡n M, Exodus42, KeithIckass, nsm0220, drose5435, Eyal Berger, kaptnkidd4444, Calum Clow, MultiPearl007 and Ruben Bylov Andersen for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Akil Goin.

Top 10 Bad Guys Gone Good in Movies


We branded them villains and they proved us wrong. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 bad guys gone good in movies.

In the movies, character development isn’t limited to its protagonists. Meanies make amends, criminals confess, and even supervillains can soften with a change of heart. For this list, we’re looking for those baddies who start out evil as can be, but end up proving that redemption is possible. However, we’re excluding antiheroes as that’s a list for another day. As you may expect, there will be some spoilers ahead, so SPOILER ALERT. Also, don’t forget to check out our list of the Top 10 Good Guys Gone Bad in Film.

#10: Megamind
“Megamind” (2010)

The dastardly Megamind’s defeat of his arch-nemesis, his creation and corruption of a new hero, and the incidental endangerment of his love-interest almost weren’t enough to make this villain change his ways. But when he finally does come around, he makes a grandiose public spectacle of the new leaf he’s turned, the way every supervillain-turned-superhero should. Way to go, Megamind!

#9: May Day
“A View to a Kill” (1985)

This sadistic and practically superhuman Bond villain bodyguard and assassin doesn’t mess around. She kills a detective and an MI6 agent and gets away with it before James even gets a say. She’s tough enough to fight, elude and seduce him easily. However, her boss betraying her was the last straw, so she makes the ultimate sacrifice by changing allegiances and killing herself in order to stop Max Zorin from bombing and drowning Silicon Valley.

#8: Francis X. Hummel
“The Rock” (1996)

Frank Hummel’s renegade marines put the Pentagon and FBI under the gun by threatening San Francisco with stolen weapons and killing their Navy SEALs. But when he eventually launches one of the rockets we fear he might, it lands in the ocean because he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) really kill civilians. However, chaos still ensues, and Hummel gives up the last rocket with his dying breath, finally taking responsibility for his actions. Better late than never.

#7: Dr. Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus
“Spider-Man 2” (2004)

He kills his own wife and a medical crew, robs a bank, throws a car at Peter Parker and tries to run a commuter train off its tracks, but somewhere in there is Dr. Otto Octavius, a good scientist with a conscience. The Otto deep down is what saves the day when he musters the will from within to drown himself, his dreams and his tragic regrets with the fusion reactor he fought so valiantly for.

#6: Felonious Gru
“Despicable Me” (2010)

Felonious Gru is definitely no good guy when we meet him; in fact, he’s pretty despicable. He’s no better when he somehow finds a way to fake-adopt three orphan girls to serve his nefarious motives. And even when he warms to them, he maintains his villainous ways. But it’s rescuing them from another villain that really melts his heart and puts his actions into perspective.

#5: Ebenezer Scrooge
“A Christmas Carol” (various)

The many adaptations since this Christmas classic was first written prove that this is one enduring and universal story – whether told in black and white or with Bill Murray at the helm. The idea of a bad guy learning from his misdeeds will always delight audiences. In this Charles Dickens novel adaptation, all it took for Scrooge to see the light was some soul searching into his past, present and future to reform from being a stingy grouch overnight. And everyone is made the better for it.

#4: Severus Snape
“Harry Potter” franchise (2001-11)

He’s a complex character throughout the franchise, but with his dark, brooding behavior and hostility towards young Harry, Snape’s certainly no care bear. Going back and forth from a potential hero to a shady antagonist, it’s unclear what’s driving Snape when he does things like kill Harry’s friend Dumbledore and work with his supposed sworn enemy He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. However, somehow in the end, his motives turn out to be completely noble, protective, and well intentioned.

#3: The Grinch
“Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (2000)

The Grinch’s epiphany in the movie adaptation of this Dr. Seuss classic isn’t too different from the famous children’s storybook it’s based on. A miserable creature that hates Christmas steals the gifts of loveable townspeople; but has a change of heart when he hears the pleasant sounds of them caroling. In fact, his heart grows three sizes and his new spirit allows him to perform feats of physical strength. He even apologizes to the town and a good time is had by all. Now that’s a bad guy gone good.

#2: Darth Vader
“Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983)

Vader tortured us for almost three full movies, so it’s easy to forget that this iconic sci-fi character redeems himself at the end. The man once known as Anakin Skywalker was one of the most evil beings in the universe after he turned to the dark side. But salvation comes when he saves his son Luke from the Emperor’s wrath for refusing to join the Galactic Empire. Darth Vader has a literal and figurative character reveal when he’s unmasked to look his son in the eyes one final time.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Carlito Brigante
“Carlito’s Way” (1993)
- Fletcher Reede
“Liar Liar” (1997)
- Derek & Danny Vinyard
“American History X” (1998)
- Diego
“Ice Age” (2002)

#1: T-800
“The Terminator” franchise (1984-)

There’s really no better poster boy for change than the 180-degree shift this murderous cyborg makes between the first and second films in this iconic franchise. In the original, the T-800 has one purpose in life: to destroy Sarah Connor, and by extension her future son John. But in “T2,” the T-800 is suddenly serving as protector to the person whose birth he was trying to prevent – he even abstains from committing fatalities at his request. Forget reform: the T-800 reinvents himself. Or at least gets reprogrammed by future John Connor. Either way, congratulations.

Do you agree with our list? Which bad guys gone good did we miss? For more memorable top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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