5 best anti-heroes in movie history

We all love a good straight guy, but sometimes it’s more convincing to have a morally gray villain, who does what he pleases that goes well. One of the first movie antiheroes to be noted was Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name, and antiheroes have only grown in popularity ever since.

Alex DeLarge

A clockwork orange
Image: Warner Bros.

A clockwork orange is a masterpiece of anti-hero writing. Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is a pervert and casual murderer who beats people up for concerts and classical music. His exaggerated levels of fun and swagger surrounding his ultraviolence is so convincing to the public.

When he’s trying to reform, part of you wants to see a return to his sadistic ways just because of how much he enjoys watching. Much like the other characters on this list, his story is one of a Shakespearean tragedy.

Mad Max

mel gibson mad max
Image: Warner Bros.

Australian film icon Mad Max (Mel Gibson) is a brooding badass who patrols the post-apocalyptic Australian outback in his Interceptor V8, armed with his hunting rifle and leather-studded armor.

While only two of his four feature films are truly good films, that doesn’t detract from his characterization across the board. Mad Max 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road compete for the best movie title, but for me its best appearance is always in Mad Max 2.

A wanderer who finds himself in a bind with a difficult alliance to defend a small town says next to nothing, but you fully understand what he is thinking and his motives. A great spiritual successor to Clint Eastwood Unnamed man from Dollars trilogy.


Image: United artists

A perhaps rare case of both a brilliant book and its film adaptation, and also a film that was in development almost as soon as the book came out. that of Stephen King Carrie is a brilliant tragedy and is arguably the best adaptation of a live-action King story.

Sissy Spacek captures the goofy, alien aesthetic of the main character perfectly, and the quality of the writing allows you to empathize and feel joy when she turns the tables on her bullies. It’s not just a little revenge story where she gets her detractors back with some annoyance – she goes wild. And you absolutely love to see it.


Image: Warner Bros.

Lords of the Internet, unite! V, based on the character of the same name by Alan Moore from the seminal graphic novel V for Vendetta, is the modern antihero par excellence in the media. He’s so well known for his looks and as a cultural phenomenon that people often forget how good his character is.

Part of a holy trinity of characters that men on the internet love to try to emulate and worship alongside the Joker (The black Knight / Joker) and Tyler Durden (Fight club), it feels like this appropriation of the character has taken away just how magical he is.

Portrayed by Hugo Weaving in the 2006 film, V is an anarchist revolutionary who seeks to bring down the unjust systems of this future totalitarian Britain inspired by Margaret Thatcher. Completely focused on his goals and unwilling to take prisoners, V is a force of nature.

You will gladly forget that he is a terrorist trying to blow up TV channels and kill innocent people because he is captivating to watch. “Ideas are bulletproof” is a quote that still resonates with me to this day.

The punisher

Image: Sony / Marvel

In truth, there hasn’t really been a great Punisher movie – yet – but Punisher: War Zone is a guilty pleasure for me. Critically lambasted for his violence, he undoubtedly got the heart of the character. Ray Stevenson is playing the lead role with the right level of cold-blooded revenge in him, it’s really solid.

The Punisher is Marvel’s best antihero in the comics because he’s so attractive to him. He is fed up with the official channels of justice, finding it easily corruptible and unjust that he takes them in hand. A fervent supporter of an “eye for an eye”. We’re entitled to yet another adaptation of Punisher, and it would be great if the Punisher symbol was picked up from people who didn’t understand it.

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