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Top 10 Greatest Anti-heroes in Movie History

05.18.2018by: Alex Maidy
With DEADPOOL 2 opening this weekend, everyone's favorite anti-hero returns to screens to kick names and chew ass....well, you know what I mean. Looking back at the history of film, there have been tons of bad guys who were really good guys at heart...sort of. After scouring the annals (ha, I said annals) of film history, here is our ranking of the Ten Greatest Ant-Heroes in Film History. If you disagree with our picks or think we missed one, let us know in the comments below.

Seth Gecko

FROM DUSK TIL DAWN remains one of my favorite movies and George Clooney kicks all sorts of ass as the older half of the Gecko Brothers. A thief and kidnapper, Seth is not a good guy. But, when vampires kill his brother and threaten to take his life as well, Seth becomes a bloodsucking ass-kicker. There is no redemption at the end for Seth outside of staying alive but watching him do so is more fun than it should be.

Driver

Nicolas Winding Refn's neo-noir blew audiences away back in 2011 thanks to a killer soundtrack and a nearly mute turn by Ryan Gosling. Gosling's nameless Driver is a hired getaway man who helps criminals escape the police. Not exactly the purest of professions, but when Driver sees some wrongs committed against a woman in his apartment building, he steps up to take down the mobsters he works for. Heroes don't always wear capes nor are they always on the right side of the law.

Harry Callahan

Most of us played cops and robbers as children because there was a definite line between good and bad guys. When Clint Eastwood played "Dirty" Harry Callahan in the franchise of the same name, he played a character who crossed that line and would do whatever it took, legal or otherwise, to take down the bad guys. In many ways, he became a bad guy himself but also the hero his community needed.

Alex DeLarge

For the first half of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, Malcolm McDowell plays Alex as a criminally insane young man who will rape, rob, steal, and kill just for the fun of it. Once he is reformed using conditioning and cannot defend himself against his victims returning for vengeance, we as an audience feel sympathy for the reprehensible character. We root for him to not only get what he deserves but to also defend himself at the same time.

Mad Max

Max Rockatansky was a cop. It was not until his family was murdered by savages that he decided to take the law into his own hands for revenge. Over four films, Max evolves from hero to vigilante and back to hero again, all while serving his own needs first. In FURY ROAD, Max does put the needs of Furiosa and the women she is rescuing above his own, albeit begrudgingly.

Tyler Durden

FIGHT CLUB is still one of the best films of the last 25 years and will likely remain that way forever. David Fincher's adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel has one of the best mind-fuck twist endings of all time and made Brad Pitt's performance as Tyler Durden into one of the most iconic of his career. People still dress up as the anarchistic alter ego of Edward Norton's character and that makes him one of the most beloved anti-heroes of all time.

Hannibal Lecter

Clearly a villain, Dr. Lecter is a serial killing cannibal who starts out in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS as an imprisoned source to help Clarice Starling. Anthony Hopkins' award-winning portrayal of Lecter spawned a sequel, two prequels, and eventually a television series. Throughout all of them, we cannot help but root for Lecter's suave and intelligent bad guy to win. Sometimes he does so to protect those who deserve it (namely Will Graham and Starling herself) but always secondary to his own survival.

Travis Bickle

Martin Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER is a powerful and dark film and one in which the main character does some truly heinous things in the name of good. Travis Bickle doesn't make it out of the film alive and he certainly does some bad things along the way, but all with the aim to help people he feels need to be helped. He may not have made the right choices and certainly influenced later films like FALLING DOWN, but we still want to see him succeed in the end.

The Man With No Name

Clint Eastwood makes this list twice and DIRTY HARRY may have been inspired by his other iconic performance. Starring in the famous trilogy of spaghetti westerns, The Man With No Name is not the white hat wearing good guy we expect from Hollywood cowboys and indians films. No, this character is out for revenge against the worst of the worst and kills without disdain or second thought. This character is one we root for even though we know what he is doing is wrong.

Michael Corleone

THE GODFATHER is one of the most beloved movies of all time. We know the Corleone family are criminals who are doing bad things to people for their own personal gain. In most movies, mobsters are taken down by the cops and rightfully so. Al Pacino gives a powerful performance as the heir to Marlon Brando's Don Corleone. He must protect his family's empire at any cost, even if that means killing his brother and losing the love of his life. We root for Michael to succeed even though we know he deserves to rot in prison.

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