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Top 10 Scenes Where The Hero Saves the Villain

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake Take my hand if you want to live! Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Scenes Where Heroes Save the Villain. For this list, we're taking a look at scenes in movies where the good guy has a chance to let the baddie die, but decides to try and rescue him or her instead. Special thanks to our users Amiri Copeland for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Scenes Where The Hero Saves the Villain

Take my hand if you want to live! Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scenes Where Heroes Save the Villain.
For this list, we’re taking a look at scenes in movies where the good guy has a chance to let the baddie die, but decides to try and rescue him or her instead. The hero doesn’t necessarily need to succeed in saving the villain, as long as the effort is there. Since we’ll be talking about several life or death scenarios here, a spoiler alert is probably called for.

#10: Save Trask, Save the World
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)

If this superhero franchise has taught us anything, it’s that the line between being a hero and a villain can be quite blurry. While scientist Bolivar Trask is technically a bad guy, he builds the Sentinels with good intentions. To protect her fellow mutants, Mystique assassinates Trask with good intentions. In the long run, however, everyone’s good intentions result in disaster. Now enemies must unite to travel back in time and save Trask. While Trask’s death is prevented in this exhilarating scene from “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the fate of the world is still uncertain.

#9: Kenji Falls
“Rush Hour 3” (2007)

The climax of “Rush Hour 3” takes our heroes to the top of the Eiffel Tower where Chief Inspector Lee faces off with an old friend-turned-enemy. The two engage in a well-choreographed sword fight that results in both literally hanging on for dear life. Despite being on opposite sides of the law, Lee makes a genuine effort to save Kenji. Realizing that there’s no way both of them are getting out of this alive, the villain decides to let go in a final act of redemption. Kenji plummets to his demise, but at least Lee still has a brother from another mother in Carter.

#8: One Little Cherry
“The Fifth Element” (1997)

Zorg presents himself as an untouchable crime lord, but he’s only human. Thus, he can die in the most simplistic way, such as choking on a cherry. Zorg almost hilariously bites the dust halfway through “The Fifth Element.” Unable to find the right button to call for help, Zorg’s fate lies in the hands of Father Vito Cornelius. Seeing how Cornelius is a priest, he can’t bring himself to just sit back and watch him die. Of course, he does toy with the villain a little before slapping him on the back.

#7: Blackwood Hangs
“Sherlock Holmes” (2009)

When Sherlock Holmes is on the case, even the craftiest of villains don’t stand a chance. Although Holmes is cocky, there is a principled side to him. He’d rather see a villain be hanged by the courts rather than do the deed himself. Because of this, he decides to save Blackwood at the very last minute, following a lengthy monologue. Blackwood seizes this opportunity to retrieve the axe that saved him and finish Holmes. As the raven lurking around foreshadows, though, Blackwood’s days are numbered. One way or another, he’s going to be hung out to dry.

#6: Schneider Can’t Let Go
“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)

The downfall of virtually every “Indiana Jones” villain stems from their obsession over legendary artifacts and conquest for power. Elsa Schneider is no exception. As the temple collapses in “The Last Crusade,” Schneider is given a crucial choice: she can either take Indy’s hand or reach for the Holy Grail. She goes for the gold and pays the ultimate price. Our hero soon winds up in the same situation. As his father extends his hand and delivers the film’s most touching line, Indy realizes that some things are more valuable than treasure.

#5: The Draco Who Lived
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” (2011)

Ever since their first day at Hogwarts, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy have been adversaries and their rivalry only grows more heated as the years go by. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Draco and his cronies confront Harry in the Room of Requirement. When fire breaks out and Harry escapes on a broomstick, he could easily leave Draco behind to burn along with Goyle. Being the good-hearted soul he is, Harry turns around and rescues his long-time enemy. The two may never be friends, but Draco can’t help but have some admiration for Harry after his noble actions.

#4: A Backstabbing Bear
“Toy Story 3” (2010)

Saving the villain might be the ethical thing for the hero to do, but it doesn’t always mean the two will kiss and make up. As Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang face incineration in “Toy Story 3,” they go out of their way to save the dastardly Lotso. The strawberry-scented bear gets to safety, but he’s not so eager to return the favor. Although he could save Andy’s toys with a simple press of a button, Lotso chooses to let them fry. Fortunately, the almighty claw rescues our heroes while Lotso is taken out with the trash.

#3: Anakin Turns to the Dark Side
“Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

Most of the other heroes on this list save the villain due to their uncompromising morality. In this case, however, Anakin throws his morality out the window along with Mace Windu. As Mace attempts to apprehend the traitorous chancellor, Palpatine manipulates Anakin into believing he can save Padmé’s life. Anakin decides to give Palpatine a hand by chopping Mace’s off. Palpatine finishes the job and the young Jedi vows his allegiance to the future emperor. From this moment forward, Anakin forsakes his hero status and assumes a new identity as Darth Vader.

#2: Joker’s Last Laugh
“The Dark Knight” (2008)

The Knights of Gotham live by a strict no killing policy. In “Batman Forever,” (xref) Robin makes the honorable choice to save “Two-Face,” although this kind of backfires. In “Batman Begins,” (xref) Bruce Wayne decides that he’s no executioner, rescuing Ra’s Al Ghul. If there was ever a villain the Dark Knight probably should’ve let die, however, it’s the Joker. After tossing the Clown Prince of Crime to his apparent doom, Batman grapples onto him so he can be brought to justice. While the villain’s been captured and Batman has maintained his one rule, it still feels like the Joker’s gotten the last laugh in the end.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Clarice + Hannibal
“Hannibal” (2000)

Gollum Can Be Trusted, Right?
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes: BFFs
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)

#1: Butch to the Rescue
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

“Pulp Fiction” is full of characters that do terrible things, but many of them are trying real hard to be the shepherd. After nearly killing each other, Butch and Marsellus Wallace find themselves in the most bizarre hostage crisis imaginable. Butch manages to get away and leaving Marsellus behind would likely solve all his problems. His conscience gets the better of him, though, and Butch saves the gangster with his weapon of choice. After Butch slices up the storeowner, Marsellus vows to get medieval on Zed’s ass. After all, Marsellus Wallace is nobody’s bitch! In exchange, Butch gets his freedom and a chopper.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite hero saving the villain scene? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to


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