Revenge films should be a separate genre because there are so many of them and even though most of them are not as good or even worth looking at, some of these films prove themselves to be some of the best films of all time. With the release of the highly anticipated Robert Eggers’ third film The Northman after The Witch and The Lighthouse, we thought this is the perfect moment to discuss the best revenge films of all time because unlike Eggers’ previous films The Northman will not be a horror film. It will be a Viking-themed revenge film starring Alexander Skarsgård in the lead role. So, here are the 13 best revenge films of all time.
13. Wrath of Man
Synopsis: Wrath of Man is a revenge based action thriller from acclaimed and innovative director Guy Ritchie (Aladdin, Sherlock Holmes, Snatch). This contemporary movie tells the story of the cold and mysterious ‘H’ as he goes to work at a cash truck company that moves hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles every week. H’s objective is unique and unanticipated, but is only revealed incrementally, utilizing a suspenseful and carefully constructed nonlinear narrative to lay bare his true intentions. Shifting across timelines and various character’s perspectives, Wrath of Man builds to a thrilling, tragic, and inevitably bloody catharsis.
12. The Ox-Bow Incident
Synopsis: Henry Fonda and Henry Morgan star in this movie about justice – and injustice – on the wild frontier. Two men (Fonda and Morgan) who ride into a town plagued by cattle rustling are recruited into a posse that aims to lynch three potentially innocent men accused of the crimes. It’s soon clear that vengeance could prevail as rationality faces off against mob mentality.
11. The Night of the Hunter
Synopsis: When a father’s last words to his young son and daughter concern the secret location of a stolen fortune, psychotic preacher Harry Powell decides to do whatever it takes – even kill – to learn its hiding place. When he marries their fragile widowed mother, the children realize their only chance for survival lies on the run.
Synopsis: Joker stars Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, alongside Oscar winner Robert De Niro, and is directed, produced and co-written by Oscar nominee Todd Phillips. Joker centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), a man disregarded by society, is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale. The film also stars Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2), Frances Conroy (TV’s American Horror Story, Hulu’s Castle Rock), Marc Maron (TV’s Maron, GLOW), Bill Camp (Red Sparrow, Molly’s Game), Glenn Fleshler (TV’s Billions, Barry), Shea Whigham (First Man, Kong: Skull Island), Brett Cullen (42, Netflix’s Narcos), Douglas Hodge (Red Sparrow, TV’s Penny Dreadful) and Josh Pais (Motherless Brooklyn, Going in Style).
Synopsis: After a drunken night, Oh Dae-su is locked up in a private ‘prison’ for 15 years until he finds himself unexpectedly liberated. No one will tell him why he was imprisoned, but he is determined to discover the identity of his mysterious enemy.
8. The Northman
Synopsis: From visionary director Robert Eggers comes The Northman, an action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father’s murder. With an all-star cast that includes Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris star in his unsparing Western saga of a man who cannot escape his violent destiny. Heroes and legends rise and fall on the harsh American frontier in Unforgiven. Eleven years have passed since Billy Munny (Eastwood) laid down his weapons, dedicating himself to his young children and struggling farm. But when a huge bounty lures Munny back into action with his loyal partner, Ned Logan (Freeman), the tortured former gunslinger faces vicious sheriff Little Bill Daggett (Bill Hackman) and the lethally elegant mercenary English Bob (Harris). Even moreterrifying, Munny finds himself regressing into the cold-blooded killerhe once was.
6. Django Unchained
Synopsis: Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners land s him face-to-face with german-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the muderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.
Synopsis: A man is determined to find justice after the loss of a loved one, even though he is incapable of fully remembering the crime, in this offbeat thriller. Leonard (Guy Pearce) is a man who is struggling to put his life back together after the brutal rape and murder of his wife. But Leonard’s problems are different from those of most people in his situation; he was beaten severely by the same man who killed his wife. The most significant manifestation of Leonard’s injuries is that his short-term memory has been destroyed; he is incapable of retaining any new information, and must resort to copious note-taking and Polaroid photographs in order to keep track of what happens to him over the course of a day (he’s even tattooed himself with a few crucial bits of information he can’t get along without). Leonard retains awareness that his wife was brutally murdered, however, and he’s convinced that the culprit still walks the streets. Leonard is obsessed with the notion of taking revenge against the man who has ruined his life, and he sets out to find him, getting help from Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), who appears to be a sympathetic barmaid, and Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), who claims to be Leonard’s friend, even though Leonard senses that he cannot be trusted.
4. Inglourious Basterds
Synopsis: In the first year of the German occupation of France, Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish American soldiers to perform swift, shocking acts of retribution. Later known to their enemy as “the basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquis, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own…. Employing pulp and propaganda in equal measure, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds weaves together infamous, oppressed, real and larger-than-life the stories of WWII.
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3. The Prestige
Synopsis: Award-winning actors Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson star in The Prestige, the twisting, turning story that, like all great magic tricks, stays with you. Two young, passionate magicians, Robert Angier (Jackman), a charismatic showman, and Alfred Borden (Bale), a gifted illusionist, are friends and partners until one fateful night when their biggest trick goes terribly wrong. Now the bitterest of enemies, they will stop at nothing to learn each other’s secrets. As their rivalry escalates into a total obsession full of deceit and sabotage, they risk everything to become the greatest magician of all time. But nothing is as it seems, so watch closely.
2. Once Upon A Time In The West
Synopsis: Directed by Sergio Leone, this epic Western re-established the genre, and still stands as one of the greatest, artistic films of all time. Henry Fonda stars as Frank, a ruthless murderous psychopath who feels no remorse, even after annihilating Mrs. McBain’s (Claudia Cardinale) entire family. Charles Bronson plays The Man, a harmonica wielding loner who will never forget how his brother was savagely tortured. The Man joins forces with Cheyenne (Jason Robards), the man wrongfully accused of murdering Mrs. McBain’s family, to put an end once and for all to Frank’s reign of terror.
1. The Godfather
Synopsis: Francis Ford Coppola’s epic masterpiece features Marlon Brando in his Oscar©-winning role as the patriarch of the Corleone family. Director Coppola paints a chilling portrait of the Sicilian clan’s rise and near fall from power in America, masterfully balancing the story between the Corleone’s family life and the ugly crime business in which they are engaged. Based on Mario Puxo’s best-selling novel and featuring career-making performances by Al Pacino, James Cann and Robert Duvall, this searing and brilliant film garnered ten Academy Award® nominations, and won three including Best Picture of 1972.