If you really think about it, the categories of villains and heroes are matters of perspective. Since we're all about the protagonists, we're more likely to believe what they're doing is right and what the antagonists are doing is wrong. Does our perspective change over time? Of course, but usually not so dramatically that a hero all of sudden becomes a villain. But if we slightly alter our perspective, if we put the shoe on the other foot, we can catch a glimpse of what it looks like from the other side. What do our lovable heroes look like if we eliminate some of their character's motivations? If we, rather than knowing everything about the protagonist—as movie audiences often do—place ourselves in a neutral position in the story, how would our heroes look then?
There are certain characters, certain heroes that were questionable in their actions from go. The most common of these are antiheroes. Antiheroes, since their moral fiber is more debatable, are much more likely to appear a little more villainous over time, or, at least, their quality becomes more and more debatable. But only a few of the characters on this list are antiheroes. Most of them have all the makings of a hero; well, that's what the film wants us to believe. But it's high time we challenge them.
One of the most influential elements to interpreting a story, a film or a character is the genre. Genre exists outside of the movie; it happens before the movie, an element of a text that might be called paratext. When we interpret a film, we take into consideration its genre, we see things differently whether we want to or not. One of the things that is affected by genre is how we read a character's actions. So let's try and take genre out of the equation. There are so many factors that go into a character's fabric that it's probably best to treat each one individually from here on out. Here are 15 movie heroes who were actually villains.
15 Tyler Durden – Fight Club
14 Daniel - The Karate Kid
13 V - V for Vendetta
12 Travis Bickle – Taxi Driver
11 Douglas Quaid/Carl Hauser – Total Recall
10 Leonard – Memento
9 Beast – Beauty and the Beast
8 Ferris Bueller – Ferris Bueller's Day Off
7 Michael Corleone – The Godfather Trilogy
6 Obi Wan Kenobi – Star Wars
5 Peter Pan – Peter Pan
4 Mrs. Doubtfire - Mrs. Doubtfire
3 Indiana Jones – Indian Jones Franchise
2 Dorothy – The Wizard of Oz
1 Grandpa Joe – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
This guy, I tell you, a mastermind hiding under the skin of a frail old man. Grandpa Joe has got everyone convinced that he's just a bag of bones awaiting death. While his daughter slaves away and everyone eats cabbage soup everyday, there's Grandpa Joe hiding money so he can smoke a cigarette all to himself. Buddy lays in bed all day for 20 years, incapable of doing any housework until Charlie, who Joe has got wrapped around his finger, wins a Golden Ticket. As soon as Joe hears that Charlie would take him if he could walk, he gets up and dances a jig. I bet Charlie didn’t even want Joe to join him, offering him a half-hearted invite expecting Joe to turn it down. Not only does he con Charlie into taking him, he steals from Willy Wonka, almost getting them killed and then threatening espionage. He's a rotten scoundrel.
Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Rotten Tomatoes
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