Top 7 Best Revenge Movies

Photo Credit: Miramax Films
April 24th, 2014

Revenge as a theme has made for great movie watching almost as long as movies have been around. The best movies create heroes audiences can identify with and then punish them unfairly with a villain that is equally as despicable. Sometimes the hero is not exactly the best guy, or gal, either, but this does not make the revenge any less sweet. The saying goes that revenge is a dish best served cold, but in the case of this list, revenge is best served with popcorn and a soda.



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7. "Inglorious Basterds"

First on this list is "Inglorious Basterds" directed by Quentin Tarantino, a master of revenge, and released in 2009. The movie stars Brad Pitt as a member of the Devil's Brigade hunting Nazis in World War II. However, the story focuses on a Jewish teenage girl named Shosanna whose family was killed by a particular Nazi, Hans Landa, or the Jew Hunter. The film culminates around Shosanna's plot to blow up a cinema full of high-ranking Nazi leaders. "Inglorious Basterds" is filled with the type of vengeful violence that Tarantino excels at.



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6. "Payback"

Next up is "Payback" starring Mel Gibson and released in 1999. This film uses the same inspiration of the classic 1967 film that starred Lee Marvin and was based on a book called "The Hunter." Mel Gibson plays a man of dubious character who embarks on a revenge trip to get the men who betrayed him after a major heist. What follows is a wild ride of violence, explosions and a few torture scenes as Gibson's character tries to exact his revenge.



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5. "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

In "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," Johnny Depp plays the titular character who served time for a crime he did not commit. When Todd returns to society, he finds out that the judge who convicted him raped his wife, which caused her to commit suicide. He further finds out that this same judge now has his eyes on Todd's teenage daughter. So Todd does what any self-respecting vengeful barber would do. He sets up a murder shop in the guise of a barber shop and begins killing a range of customers, from aristocrats to commoners. Meanwhile, his accomplice Mrs. Lovett, as is deviously played by Helena Bonham Carter, turns the bodies into meat for her meat pies.



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4. "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"

"Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is often considered by Star Trek fans to be the best of the older movies. However, in this case, the revenge part of the tale is being carried out by the hero's enemy, which is to say Khan the superhuman versus Captain Kirk. Khan blames Kirk for the death of his wife and intends to get revenge on him and his crew.



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3. "Gladiator"

In the 2000 film "Gladiator," Russell Crowe plays a general betrayed by his ruler, which results in his family being killed and him being made a slave. Crowe becomes a gladiator and fights his way up the ranks with the intention of eventually staging a coup to get at the man who killed his family.



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2. "Kill Bill Vol. 1" and "Kill Bill Vol. 2"

Quentin Tarantino is at it again in the dual revenge tales of "Kill Bill" and "Kill Bill 2." Uma Thurman stars in these films as the Bride, who is a woman taking revenge for the assassination of her family and the destruction of her wedding. She awakes after being in a four-year coma after the events and decides to track down every assassin that participated. As is Tarantino's style, the films are filled with plenty of violence and blood set to the tune of old Chinese martial arts films.



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1. "The Count of Monte Cristo"

Finally there is the arguable father of all revenge tales in "The Count of Monte Cristo." The 2002 film stars Jim Caviezel as the titular count and Guy Pearce as his smarmy enemy. In this particular story, Edmond Dantes is sent to prison when he is wrongly accused of being a spy. Meanwhile, his best friend marries his fiancée and starts a family. However, there are a whole group of corrupt individuals who schemed to put Dantes behind bars and Dantes, now the Count, plots clever revenge for each one of them.

These movies all share the common bloody thread of revenge, whether it is revenge plotted by the hero, by the anti-hero or by the bad guy. Sometimes the revenge is nothing but a glorious killing spree as in "Kill Bill," but other times it is cleverly and deviously set up as in "Sweeney Todd" or "The Count of Monte Cristo." However it works out, the various forms of vengeance are sure to have moviegoers on the edge of their seats waiting for the result.