“Revenge is a dish best served cold”… unless it’s a movie then there should be a grande monologue by the vengeful character and some desperate groveling by the villain with a fiery explosion in the end as the hero walks away in slow motion. At least that’s how I envision my revenge on the guy who sold me a bag of oregano on the Boston Common when I was in high school.
Our friend Aussie Paul left a message on our Hotline about what the top 20 Revenge Movies of all time are. Not an easy task sir. So many sublimely satisfying moments from so many films. In the episode where Paul issued this challenge we discussed “Taken” with a man who’s cornered the market on revenge, Liam Neeson. “The Godfather”, “Fatal Attraction” and “The Princess Bride” also came up. I had to dive in and revisit some of my favorites. I came up with my ten best.
The ten presented here are movies I have actually seen. If there are films you think should be included, then by all means, please let me know! Leave a voice message here and we’ll address it on the podcast.
10. Inglorious Basterds
Because who doesn’t like seeing a theater full of the architects of the Holocaust burn to death and then get blown up. Yes, it’s historically inaccurate, but so very satisfying.
They killed his wife and child by crucifying them to his house, then sold him into slavery. Plus, Commodus was a dick and he raped his sister.
8. True Grit
Failure to avenge your father’s murder is nearly impossible with the help of Rooster Cogburn (or as I like to call him, “Marshall Dude”) and Matt “LeBoeuf” Damon and his fringe jacket. I prefer the Coen brothers remake. It’s just better. Plus, John Wayne was a racist.
7. Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan
Just look at Khan’s face in this scene. That is the face of revenge fulfilled. Or so he thinks. Ricardo Montalban is a master of drama. Full disclaimer, I am a total tTekkie. I’m sure fellow Trekkies are wondering why this is not number one? Because in the end, it’s not about the glory of revenge, but the price. You Trekkies know what I’m talking about. Now I’m going to stop here before I start crying.
When the sexiest woman of the 70’s(PJ Soles) and The Greatest American Hero(William Katt) torture you in high school because you don’t know what menstruation is, you have to destroy the world with your telekinetic powers. Should have listened to your crazy ass Jesus loving mom.
5. High Plains Drifter
There are a few great Clint Eastwood revenge movies, “The Unforgiven”, “Grand Torino”. But none compare to the twisted and horrifying “High Plains Drifter”. The way Marshall Jim Duncan’s ghost meticulously manipulates and exacts his revenge on a town that stood by and watched him be murdered in the street is creepy greatness.
4. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
A revenge story so brutal and complex it took two movies to tell it. MUch like “High Plains Drifter” the hero deals with each subject of her revenge one glorious battle at a time. Plus it has David Carradine’s line before he succumbs to the “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique”: “You’re a terrific person. But every once in a while, you can be a real cunt.”
3. The Princess Bride
“The Pricess Bride” is technically a love story and a beautiful one at that. But withing that lovely fairy tale is one of the greatest revenge stories of all time. The tale of Indigo Montoya and the six fingered man. It’s full on dark obsession and it ends in spectacular fashion.
2. Death Wish
The grandaddy of the modern revenge movie. One of Charles Bronson’s finest performances. His evolution from grieving family man to cold blooded vigilante is amazing.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
The immensely patient Andy Dufrense takes 20 years to plan and compile all the components of his revenge while still clinging to his humanity through the worst of conditions in Shawshank Prison. One of the best endings of any movie, revenge genre or otherwise.