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10 Most Hated Movie Characters of All Time

Well-written villains are often a mixed bag. You either find yourself weirdly understanding and even rooting for them or just wishing you could jump into your screen to murder them yourself. This list focuses on the latter sort of antagonists.

Composed of ten characters we all just love to hate from the world of film, the names on this rundown were chosen based on whether or not people still hate them even years after being introduced to audiences, overall awfulness, just how bad their intentions are, and in some cases, how much people just don’t like them.  

10) Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

Dolores Umbridge played by Imelda Staunton in Harry Potter
(Warner Bros.)

We all probably know by now that J.K. Rowling is a villain in real life, but considering that for this list, we’re only considering fictional people, then Umbridge will have to do. Dolores Umbridge was easily one of the first characters I hated as a child. Nothing about her is likeable. She’s manipulative, passive-aggressive, and borderline abusive—remember that “I must not tell lies” scene?—I’ve been actively staying away from any Potter nostalgia because no amount of love for magic can make me disregard the fact that Rowling is a transphobe, but for purposes of this list, it only felt fitting to include the character that taught me what it is to want to skip through every scene involving them. 

9) Miss Trunchbull from Matilda (1996)

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical. Emma Thompson as Agatha Trunchbull in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.
(Dan Smith/Netflix)

Miss Trunchbull was the principal from 1996’s Matilda who would also probably top a list of the worst fictional school principals. She’s unnecessarily mean, physically punishes her students, and is terribly awful to Miss Honey. In fact, it’s mentioned in the book that Trunchbull hates children so much that she actually denies ever being one, claiming that she wasn’t a kid for “very long.” Now that I’m writing it, I realize that that must have been a reference to a tragic and vague backstory. 

8) Briony Tallis from Atonement (2007)

Joe Wright’s Atonement contains the best series of reviews and comments I’ve seen on Letterboxd. With commentary ranging from how this film showcases Saoirse Ronan as the devil to the consequences of being nosy—I swear, going through the Letterboxd reviews of this movie ALWAYS leaves me laughing and in tears—everyone’s notes on Atonement will always somehow focus or at least lead to Briony Tallis and how She Really Shouldn’t Have Done That. Granted, she was a kid but still, come on

7) Jar Jar Binks from the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005)

Qui-Gon Jinn grabbing Jar Jar Binks' tongue in Stars Episode 1 the Phantom Menace

Jar Jar is an outlier on this list because he’s the only one who isn’t actually evil but still manages to garner hate to this day. In his defense, he’s a little clumsy, but he means well. He was initially planned to be a villain until he was replaced with Count Dooku at the last minute due to his unpopularity. In the end, he felt like one of those characters who was only added in for comic relief and toy sales. And then there’s his voice. As much as I hate dunking on good old Jar Jar, the voice really is something that irks you. 

6) Meredith Blake from The Parent Trap (1998)

Actress Elaine Hendrix has pointed out that she technically wasn’t the villain of The Parent Trap if you think about it. If anything, as she recently pointed on in a TikTok video, it was the twins’ parents for having some serious miscommunication issues and deciding that their sole solution was to each take a twin for themselves and then living miles away from one another. But of course, none of us ever considered that when we watched the movie as children. Meredith was the textbook evil potential stepmother who, in the twins’ and the audience’s eyes, was out to break up a potential reunion between the parents in the film. 

5) Commodus from Gladiator (2000)

Commodus was the 2000s version of Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones. In fact, actor Jack Gleeson himself admits to having drawn inspiration from Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. Like the infamous Thrones character, Commodus was whiny, sulky, and downright egotistical. And I suppose that is the point considering that he was an actual historical figure. 

4) Cal Hockley from Titanic (1997)

billy zane kate winslet
(Paramount Pictures)

Rose’s mom from the Titanic probably deserves to be on this list as much as her former fiance Cal but the latter uses a kid by the end of the movie to get into a lifeboat, so he’s probably the more horrible of the two. Throughout the course of the film, all we know about him and Rose’s relationship is that they’re getting married due to social connections—Cal’s rich but can only claim his fortune if he marries. Rose is the perfect candidate for a bride because her family comes from money but her late father had left them bankrupt. You’d think that would make Cal try to, at the very least, be a better partner considering that he’s marrying her for ulterior motives but no. 

3) Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Christophe Waltz played the horrendous Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Otherwise known as The Jew Hunter, Landa was a sadistic SS Colonel who took pride in his kills and enjoyed the infamous legend he made for himself across Europe. Toward the end of the film, he switches sides and joins the Allies in their ultimate plot to kill Hitler, which succeeds. Depending on your take on it, he did the switch mostly to be on the winning side, not because of a change of heart. 

2) Scar from The Lion King (1994)

Scar from Disney

Simba’s Uncle Scar from The Lion King was the antagonist responsible for one of the saddest on-screen deaths in all of the House of Mouse’s classic animated films. In fact, if this were a ranking of the evilest Disney antagonists, Scar would probably top the list considering that he killed his own brother. Based on King Claudius from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Scar is salty about being pushed back in the line of succession following the birth of Simba, so after killing his brother, he gaslights Simba into thinking that it’s his fault his dad died to manipulate him to go into exile. If that isn’t considered evil, then I don’t know what is. 

1) Margaret White from Carrie (1976)

Margaret White ticks off everything on the standard-horrible-fictional mom list. She’s overly religious, and abusive, and is often a breaker of the Third Commandment (“Do not use the name of the Lord in vain”) and often credits her questionable acts to the word of god. By the end of the film, she’s more than willing and ready to kill Carrie in order to “kill the sin.” 

(featured image: Disney)

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Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.