Top 10 Satisfying Villain Deaths In Action Movies



Top 10 Satisfying Villain Deaths In Action Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
These movie villains got what they deserved! For this list, we'll be looking at the deaths of antagonists in action movies that gave us the most pleasure. Our countdown includes "Die Hard", “Aliens”, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, and more!

Top 10 Satisfying Villain Deaths in Action Movies

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Satisfying Villain Deaths in Action Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the deaths of antagonists in action movies that gave us the most pleasure

What action movie villain did you relish seeing perish? Let us know in the comments

#10: Howard Payne

“Speed” (1994)
Dennis Hopper was an expert at playing villains you love to hate, and Howard Payne is a character we can’t wait to see get his comeuppance. A bomb squad officer-turned-terrorist, Payne rigs a bus with an explosive that will go off if the vehicle goes any slower than 50 miles per hour. While the crazed Payne is certainly intelligent, he's not incapable of being outsmarted. As his scheme falls apart, Payne completely loses his head, and we mean that literally. It’s a shame he couldn’t have used his passion and intellect for more noble causes.

#9: Bennett

“Commando” (1985)
While characters with facial hair aren’t inherently evil, Bennett’s mustache certainly adds to his menace. The bad guy in one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best pure action movies, Bennett is utterly ruthless in his quest for revenge against his former commanding officer, John Matrix. This includes holding Matrix's daughter hostage and demanding Matrix carry out an assassination. But as cocky as Bennett acts, even he knows that Matrix is an impossibly tough adversary. This is proven when Matrix kills him with a steam pipe. They say "revenge is a dish best served cold." But in this case, steaming hot will do just fine.

#8: Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom

“Con Air” (1997)
There are all sorts of bad guys onboard prison transport plane “The Jailbird” in “Con Air,” but head hijacker Cyrus Grissom stands out the most. A career criminal whose rap sheet is longer than Nicolas Cage's mullet, Grissom, played by John Malkovich, is a man with nothing to lose except his life. And, unfortunately for Grissom, that's exactly what happens. A fight with Cage's Cameron Poe gets Grissom brutalized and handcuffed to a speeding fire truck. Then, he’s thrown into some power lines before getting his head smashed in by a piledriver. Whatever awaits Grissom in the afterlife, it can’t be much worse than what he experienced here.

#7: Alien Queen

“Aliens” (1986)
If there’s life on other planets, let’s pray it’s not even half as terrifying as this Alien Queen. While the Xenomorphs are already plenty frightening, their matriarchs are so scary, it’s practically incomprehensible. Not only are they absolutely massive, but they’ll stop at nothing to protect their nests. We see this repeatedly demonstrated in James Cameron’s “Aliens,” still one of the best sequels ever made. But while the Queen’s physique and intellect are superior amongst her species, they’re no match for Ellen Ripley. Onboard the spaceship Sulaco, the Queen receives a thorough thrashing from Sigourney Weaver’s hero before being expelled into the expanse of space. The Queen is dead, and we’ll leave it at that.

#6: Commodus

“Gladiator” (2000)
Daddy issues plus an unquenchable lust for power give us Emperor Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix in a truly despicable performance. After murdering his father in a fit of rage, Commodus plots to execute General Maximus and has Maximus’ family killed. Enslaved after escaping execution, Maximus becomes a fierce gladiator in games presided over by Commodus. Eventually, Maximus and Commodus face off. While Commodus gets first blood, Maximus gets the last laugh, striking Commodus in the throat with the emperor’s very own knife. In terms of satisfying deaths, we give this one a thumbs up.

#5: Bill

“Kill Bill: Vol. 2” (2004)
When you have a two-part movie called “Kill Bill,” the audience should want to see Bill dead by the end of it. Fortunately, Quentin Tarantino’s ultraviolent revenge saga delivers on that front, with David Carradine’s crime boss seeing a fittingly brutal demise. After the vengeful bride Beatrix tracks down Bill and their daughter, BB, the former lovers agree to a duel. Things start with swords but finish with Beatrix delivering a final blow in the form of the Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique. That’s not something you can just walk off, and while Bill accepts his imminent death with grace, it’s still satisfying to know he lost, fair and square.

#4: Norman Stansfield

“Léon: The Professional” (1994)
Gary Oldman has portrayed many honorable characters, but it’s his villainous turns that stand out the most. As evil DEA agent and drug lord Norman Stansfield, Oldman shows just how corrupt those who are supposedly on the side of the law can be. After rescuing assassin-in-training Mathilda, hitman Léon is shot in the back by the cowardly Stansfield. But Stansfield isn't getting out in one piece, or at all. As a parting gift, the dying Léon gives Stansfield a whole bunch of grenades, leading to a literally explosive end. It’s a fitting sendoff for someone with such little regard for the lives of others.

#3: T-1000

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
In the first “Terminator” movie, we cheered as Sarah Connor defeated Arnold Schwarzenegger’s merciless cyborg assassin. But in “Terminator 2,” the reprogrammed robot turned good, and we cheered as it toppled another Terminator, the shape-shifting T-1000. At the final showdown at a steel mill, the Model 101 is nearly defeated. But right before the T-1000 can kill young John Connor, Arnold is back. And, much like the Wicked Witch of the West, the T-1000 is left melting. This is a bittersweet conclusion, as the Model 101 must also be destroyed in order to protect humanity's future. Who would've thought a movie involving killer robots could be so emotionally resonant?

#2: The Nazis

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
We’re always happy to see Nazis get defeated, but it’s especially enjoyable in the first “Indiana Jones” film. After stealing the Ark of the Covenant, these hateful evildoers test its mysterious power in front of the captive Jones and Marion Ravenwood. But while our heroes know to look away from the opened Ark, the Nazis are not as smart. What emerges is both electrifying as well as absolutely face-melting, and a testament to how well the special effects hold up. Is it a realistic death scene? Certainly not. Is it an incredibly satisfying one? Oh yeah.

#1: Hans Gruber

“Die Hard” (1988)
The first “Die Hard” would not have become such an action movie classic without a villain as great as German terrorist Hans Gruber. Played by the late, great Alan Rickman in his first film, Gruber is a man with a plan, and a voice so sinister, it’s almost soothing. However, he has the misfortune of crossing paths with Detective John McClane, who won’t let a few cuts and scrapes stop him from saving the day. When it appears that Gruber has won, McClane pulls out a hidden gun, and Gruber is sent tumbling out of Nakatomi Plaza and onto the pavement below. Rickman was also dropped on the count of two, rather than the planned three, in order to give Gruber the perfect shocked expression.
What's it about the satisfying villain deaths in action movies?