Revenge is a dish best served cold. There are all kinds of revenge and many movies that use revenge as their main characters motivation. This list of course is devised of the best, not including films like “In The Name Of The King”, “The Brave One”, “Jaws”, or “Transformers”, but films that captured the real nature of revenge and either made us laugh, wince, or empathize with the characters and their struggles.
10. Revenge Of The Nerds (1984)
Yes, Booger and crew have earned a spot on this top ten list, because revenge does not always have to be serious, angry, and violent. Laughing with revenge is the best kind. Besides being utterly hilarious it gives you the chance to root for the misfits and outcasts to get back at the gigantic douchebags that effed with them forever. Though many sequels followed this original flick was priceless.
9. The Crow (1994)
The Crow is a man who was been brutally murdered who comes back to life as an undead avenger who won’t stop till those responsible pay. In Brandon Lee’s final performance, it becomes a memorable role that has ensued a strong cult following since it’s release in 1994.
8. Mad Max (1979)
People often think of Mad Max when thinking of revenge films. Max is the disillusioned reluctant hero, inspired by his own set of morality and quick-fired temperament. He represents a man truly scorned by a cold world, that only has a small part of who he once was remaining and is driven by revenge. Truly wild and enamored by what he’s lost with a volatile temper but a secure sense of right and wrong, he is a formidable foe, that Mel Gibson truly makes come to life. This tells a story, another moment in time in a hero’s life that just happened to be captured along with great action, inventive new fight scenes, invigorating battles, and something altogether new and different in the science fiction genre.
7. Gladiator (2000)
The story of Maximus is incredibly powerful. It depicts the power that inner strength and determination can have in any situation. Maximus is a slave but suddenly becomes more powerful than the Emperor himself. He is so powerful that Commodus cannot even have him murdered. The resolve Maximus has to earn his freedom back and to give a dying friend his last wishes, not to mention his own personal revenge is overwhelming.
6. Death Wish (1974)
Sure, there is a cliche about revenge movies being men avenging the loss of their wives or children, but Death Wish and Charles Bronson is where this cliche was birthed. Bronson plays a New York City architect who becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark.
5. The Legend Of The Drunken Master
The Drunken Master is a master of Drunken Fist Kung Fu and basically needs to get hammered to fight effectively. His character mastered Jackie Chan’s character, and become both hysterically funny while simultaneously delivering some pretty wicked martial arts at the spry age of 66 years old. His character is one of my favorites in the Kung Fu genre and his mentoring Jackie Chan to take revenge on his family nemesis is pure awesomeness.
4. The Godfather (1972)
Here lies The Godfather Part I. Yes, before II, because this is the one that started all the revenge family mayhem. The story begins as “Don” Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia “family”, oversees his daughter’s wedding. When his son Michael has just come home from the war a proclaimed “hero” the family embraces him, even though he does not intend to become part of his father’s business. It isn’t unknown to Micheal that the nature of the family business becomes isn’t necessarily the most honest livings, and for that he chooses his own path. When Don Vito is resistant to changes of the new “mob mentality” the benevolence of other families takes a hit on the Don, and only Michael is of sound enough mind to protect his ailing father. Michael’s sacrifices and his fathers safety make him pay a high, high price, though one he falls very neatly into. This deliberate tale is one of the greatest films ever made, and certainly worthy of a spot on this list. A must watch for anyone and everyone.
3. Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 (2003)
In it’s essence Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 are both an ambitious homage to old school kung-fu revenge flick’s. The dark humor of Tarantino and the unification of pop culture with blood soaked battles on a grandiose scale of style makes it very much so it’s own fresh addition to a genre long since forgotten. Volume 1 never stops to take a breath. It’s a pure adrenaline rush that’s speed increases with each passing scene. Volume 2 taps into the mentality and state of a warrior hellbent on revenge. Both are stylized to the point of magnificence, and are an event to behold.
2. Oldboy (2005)
Oldboy is one of the best movies of the decade and absolutely one of my favorite revenge films of all time. It is ground breaking, mind shattering, and consistently shocking to the heart and soul. We care about our characters even though they aren’t always the most moral of people, it’s pretty much what makes them human. The choices they take, and what leads them to their inevitable ending is a journey that is astounding. As difficult as it might be, I recommend anyone who is a true fan of cinema see this movie. You will be better for it, even if your brain won’t be able to comprehend the insane ride it’s taken. Oldboy was insane and genius.
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)
Ricardo Montalban gave the performance of his career as Khan Noonien Singh, James T. Kirks greatest adversary ever. He was maniacal, methodic, and somehow all the same charming. He becomes the bane of the Enterprises existence as he hunts Kirk down in a twisted desire for vengeance. He grabs the screen each time he’s on it and makes The Wrath Of Khan by far the best Star Trek film of all time and certainly the most memorable revenge movie ever.
Man On Fire, Payback, Sweeney Todd, Commando, Carrie, Straw Dogs, Commando, Count Of Monte Cristo, Taxi, and Shawshank Redemption