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OpryLeigh's avatar

What films have made you feel compassion for the bad guy?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25251points) July 9th, 2011

I watched Monster (Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci) last night and found myself feeling sadness and compassion for the character portrayed by Theron rather than the hatred or disgust that a serial killer would normally cause me to feel.

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60 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’ve said this before, but Humbert Humbert from Lolita has always caused me conflicted feelings. I really feel bad for him, and in a sense I get irritated with her, even though logic tells me that is completely backwards.
I felt the same way about “Monster,” as well.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Star Wars. I really don’t know why, but there’s just something about Vader that makes me feel he’s the real hero of the series. Original only, obviously. The prequels don’t count as canon.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf I felt like crying for her in the scene where she is trying the get a job with a law firm and the guy belittles her. You can see she is really trying to be respectable and he makes her feel like a piece of shit. The way her face changed from a optimistic (slightly niave) smile to realising he is making fun of her broke my heart. Sign of good acting no doubt.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Leanne1986 oh without a doubt, her performance was incredible in that movie. She won an Academy Award, I’m pretty sure.

Hibernate's avatar

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the lambs .

aprilsimnel's avatar

I felt sorry for Draco in the Harry Potter series, for one. He’s the very picture of nurture, if one’s being raised by vipers.

And for that matter, I felt sorry, somewhat, for Voldemort as well. I know what it feels to be a much, much different sort of person than the ones you were raised by, right down to being embarrassed by the poverty and evident backwardness and the resentment and anger of they show you in return.

I know what it feels like to be scared that someone’s going to “call you out” for being mixed-race and hold it against you (in quotes because some people act like the wherefores of mixed people’s existence was something they themselves caused somehow), even in your own family.

It made me sad that Tom Riddle chose to try and destroy that part of himself and not accept all of who he was. His family being mean to him didn’t help. The equivalent of what Voldemort did would be as if Obama proclaimed open season on black people at his inauguration.

The whole HP series is an allegory on racism and hate and what could happen to us if we humans don’t check ourselves.

whitenoise's avatar

I realize it is not a particular film as such, but the whole “The Wire” series gave me an impression that many culprits / criminals are victims of their environment as well.

In fact that whole show made the line between good and bad guys a blurry one at best.

I hope you guys have seen that show and know what I talk about

And when it comes to movies… Frankenstein of course.

ucme's avatar

Oh loads, the most recent being Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds.
Not compassion exactly, more he’s just cool as fuck. Bingo!! ;¬}

Brian1946's avatar

I also agree with Aileen Wuornos as portrayed by Charlize Theron.
I think one of the reasons she won the Oscar for that portrayal, is because she was able to make Wuornos a character who evoked so much sympathy.

Although he wasn’t like most “guys”, I felt the same way about King Kong.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It was Charlize Theron in Monster for me too.

Schroedes13's avatar

I can’t think of many movies off the top of my head, but Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights from classical literature.

filmfann's avatar

Blade Runner
The Road To Perdition

Generally, I don’t like bad guys. @aprilsimnel ‘s notes on Tom Riddle are interesting, but Harry faced the exact same thing, and didn’t become engulfed in evil.

bobbinhood's avatar

I’ve always felt bad for the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. Some part of me wishes he and Christine could be together and be happy.

Cruiser's avatar

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!

KateTheGreat's avatar

I definitely agree with @bobbinhood.

The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera just wants to be loved. :(

XOIIO's avatar

A Clockwork Orange

efritz's avatar

I never thought anyone would be audacious enough to let a Nazi die with bravery, but it’s there in Inglourious Basterds – the general or colonel or whatever who refuses to give the location of German troops, and in doing so forfeits his own life.

And yeah, @ucme, Hans Landa is a charming little bastard.

ucme's avatar

@efritz I want him for an uncle, that would be cool.
Although he’d have to be a little more tolerant of different cultures XD

Joker94's avatar

Probably Christian Bale as Alfred Borden in The Prestige. Actually, your sympathies switch between his and Hugh Jackman’s character throughout the entire movie. No matter how much they may try to ruin the other one, you can’t help but pity the loser in every situation.

ucme's avatar

Rod Steiger’s character in this movie is a pitiful/tortured individual.
By the end of the film, I can’t help but feel sympathetic toward his plight.
Great little movie by the way.

filmfann's avatar

What’s Love Got To Do With It? was a great movie, and Lawrence Fishburn did a terrific job as Ike Turner. This should be included with my prior list.

MilkyWay's avatar

Magneto from X-Men.

Berserker's avatar

I might feel that way about villains in book form rather than movies, since it usually goes deeper into character.

But I always felt sorry for Dracula in Dracula Love Never Dies. Maybe it’s because Gary Oldman kicks total ass, but you can really feel the sorrow and despair of Dracula, as he tries to find love again.
Good thing I’m not in that story, I’d probably totally fall for him and cheat on my husband with some dead guy.

Despite my first sentence, I didn’t feel for him in the book, he was a lot more ’‘evil’’.

Kardamom's avatar

Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino. Al Pacino plays a bank robber, who it turns out is kind of a regular joe, an emotional type of fellow, who ends up bonding with the people he is holding hostage. Also, he only robs the bank to get money to help his dear friend get an operation, so you just feel sorry for him that he had to stoop to this method of getting the money.

Also, Al Pacino is so gorgeous in this movie, that I almost wet myself ; – P

Faidle's avatar

Megamind. ;)

woodcutter's avatar

Vincent and Jules in “Pulp Fiction”, mostly Jules.

Only138's avatar

The Devil’s Rejects!!!!


Darth Vader in Star Wars. I never thought of him as really a bad guy.

The super guards of the totalitarian dictator in the movie Ultraviolet.

King_Pariah's avatar

I can’t think of one off the top of my head, but any film that the villain is trying to do something that will help out the world/mankind in the long run. Actually wait, Surrogates, the man who invented the surrogates in the first place and then decides they’re not being used for what they were intended for and decides to destroy all of them.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@bobbinhood I totally agree with The Phantom. I recommend Love Never Dies (Lloyd Webbers follow up to Phantom) as it fills in some of the gaps regarding Christine and The Phantom’s relationship. The music is beautiful too.

ScottyMcGeester's avatar

Darth Vader in Star Wars. The end of Return of the Jedi is, I think, one of the saddest scenes in cinema.

The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera.

Not films, but in the video game series Metal Gear Solid, I definitely felt bad for Big Boss.

FluffyChicken's avatar

Not necessarily “relating” but the villains songs in Disney movies are almost always my favorite for some reason.

Schroedes13's avatar

@FluffyChicken How could you possible like Scar or Jafar??? That’s horrible :P!

Berserker's avatar

Scar rocks.

Schroedes13's avatar

WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE!! lol…..he’s a real douche!

Berserker's avatar

I also happen to think that Claude Frollo is totally awesome. I don’t feel pity for him, but I like how The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a bit more mature than a lot of the classic Disney shit, so he was a more believable bad guy.

But damn, he needs to get out of his basement.

FluffyChicken's avatar

@Schroedes13 I didn’t say I like the character, I just like their songs. “Be Prepared”, “Poor Unfortunate Souls”, “I Wanna be Like You” and “Cruella DeVille” In my humble opinion are the best disney songs. (Although Ursula the Sea-Witch is pretty darn cool.)

Schroedes13's avatar

There is no way “Be Prepared” is better than “Hakuna Matata”, “Bare Necessities” and I’ve never watched 101 Dalmations!!

FluffyChicken's avatar

You have a strong argument, those are great songs. It all comes down to personal taste though. (OK, Bear Necessities is definately one of my faves, I admit it.)

Schroedes13's avatar

LOL The defense rests, Your Honour.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@FluffyChicken I love Poor Unfortunate Souls!

FluffyChicken's avatar

@Leanne1986 When I was a wee one I used to rewind it and watch that part over… and over… and over…

Schroedes13's avatar

I did that too, but with the end of the movie “Bloodsport”. I used to watch over and over again, how Jean-Claude Van Damme would be blinded by the powdered substance thrown in his eyes and still spinning jump kick the bad guy! IT WAS AWESOME!

Berserker's avatar


I love that movie too. :)

Schroedes13's avatar

@Symbeline I am not Japanese. You are correct. Ps. why did I think I was Japanese again?

Berserker's avatar

I don’t. It’s a quote from Bloodsport. :)

Schroedes13's avatar

@Symbeline my bad. I have brought a great dishonour to my Bloodsport family. I just love all the 80’s music video montages when it shows him training with the Japanese father.

Berserker's avatar

@Schroedes13 Haha yeah I’ve seen some of those. Tanaka rocks. :)

Did you like Kickboxer? Xian also rocks. :)

Schroedes13's avatar

kickboxer?? Xi’an…..the city in China? I’m so lost. If you’re referring to Bloodsport, I haven’t seen it in about 15 years. I watched it hundreds of times from when I was 6–7 to 9–10! Haven’t seen it since then!

Berserker's avatar

Nah, another movie with Van Damme, very similar to Bloodsport. He has to avenge his brother who was put in a wheelchair by a Thai kickboxing champion. I love that movie too. (the sequels are all fucking retarded though)

Schroedes13's avatar

@Symbeline No, unfortunately, even thought JVD is the greatest actor of all time :P, I’ve only seen Bloodsport and Street Fighter! I’ll most definitely check out Kickboxer when I get home though!

Berserker's avatar

Do it man, please. I’m sure you’ll like it, if you liked Bloodsport. Street Fighter sucks, but that may be only to people who love the games.

Anyways I hope you like Kickboxer.

With that, I leave you with this…Kumite!!

Schroedes13's avatar

*crushes a bandana in his hand while staring straight @Symbeline!

I sorta felt that the bad guy from Bloodsport was awesome. That may have been just because he was the most jacked Asian I’d ever seen in my young life!

Berserker's avatar

Bolo Yeung is a legend indeed. I love that guy. He usually played bad guys, he’s been through 50+ movies and musta played a good, or at least a normal guy at least twice. But in real life, he’s apparently awesome, and actually pretty humble. Don’t quote me.

And I agree, Chong Li is a great character…let me know what you think of Tong Po, the antagonist from Kickboxer, if you watch it. He’s an asshole lol.

Schroedes13's avatar

@Symbeline! Ya I also hated the General Bison from Street Fighter!
I’ll let you know my feelings towards Tong Po!

Berserker's avatar

Let me know what you think of Xian, too. :)

Scooby's avatar

I sort of felt sorry for Carl Showalter ( Steve Buscemi – kinda funny lookin ) from the film ‘Fargo‘, when he ends up in the wood chipper after being murdered by his partner in crime……. Great film :-/
Watched it again last night….

ddlw's avatar

Hard Candy.

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