Tossin’ It Out There: Who’s YOUR Favorite Movie Criminal?

With the release of “Lawless” last weekend, my thoughts turned to crime in movies and movie criminals. Crime, and criminal activity, are fertile ground for fiction. Every year, scores of movies about crimes are released; bank heists and organized crime and hitmen and terrorists… grand theft auto, you name it.

It’s been the focus of some of the greatest movies of all time. “The Godfather”. “On the Waterfront”. “Chinatown”. “The Maltese Falcon”. “Bonnie and Clyde”. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. I could go on and on, there’s certainly no shortage of them.

Perhaps it’s the thrill of living vicariously through these people with no regard for rules. Perhaps its the fact that there’s action and drama inherent in breaking the law. Whatever it is, it’s a subject that Hollywood loves to crank out, and audiences eat it up.

Who’s your favorite movie criminal? Tony Montana? Auric Goldfinger? Henry Hill? Doesn’t have to be a gangster, Lester Burnham was a blackmailer, a drug user… Hell, Jeff Spicoli was a criminal, technically. Listen, this is a WIDE open field. Tons of choices to be had, and a fun couple of days of movie discussion ahead as we talk about crime in movies and movie criminals!

So let’s hear it! Who’s YOUR favorite movie criminal?


123 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: Who’s YOUR Favorite Movie Criminal?

    • LOL

      Alright, alright.

      I think he’s only guilty of misdemeanor possession and DUI over the actual course of “Dazed”, but our man is definitely a candidate for a statuatory rape charge at some point in time. LOL! 😀

    • Oh my Goddddd.

      Hudson Hawk is outscoring Vito Corleone at this point 3 to 1. I am not even kidding. 😮

      LOL. GREAT choice with Jake and Elwood though. I hadn’t even thought of them, and yet… they’re perfect choices. 😀

      • I look at it more from the angle that “Cool as Ice” was robbed. It was nominated for 8 Razzies and only took home 1!! I mean, at least it was for Ice himself, but, cmon… that flick should have a trophy case full of Razzies to brag on.

        If it’s any consolation, it does sit in IMDb’s “Bottom 100” lol (#93) 😀

      • Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick? Wow. But not sure if he really is a real criminal, just in Pitch Black they are transporting him as one and in Chronicles, it starts out in a prison.

        Heath did such a great job playing the psychotic and chaotic joker. Personally, I think far better than Jack Nicholson did.

      • Oh, right… I forgot he’s Riddick in Pitch Black, too.

        I have seen that, and I definitely like it… it’s been a long time, but that’s a cool flick. I guess I just associate the name with “The Chronicles” now, which, admittedly, I havent seen.

      • I still fully stand behind that one, too. Its just that the more I think about the subject, the more I think about some really great ones that surprise me that nobody has already mentioned them.

      • Funny thing is that I agree with much of what S&E said in there review. Willis and Aiello provide pretty much all of the actually watchable parts of the movie itself. The point is that those watchable portions are very watchable as well as just fun.

        As a side note, timing a theft to “Swinging On A Star” is a just a brilliantly silly idea and works well because those guys can sing well enough.

      • LOL. Listen, I haven’t seen that movie in eons… So perhaps I should abstain…

        But my recollection was that it was ridiculously awful. Maybe I should rveisit one of these days, see if its misunderstood. Maybe its a cheesy classic…

      • This discussion inspired me to dig out my dusty old VHS copy and give it a viewing tonight. Yes, overall it is quite awful, but (as I said earlier) “Willis and Aiello provide pretty much all of the actually watchable parts of the movie itself”. I think Cheesy Classic would be a fair assessment and categorization.

  1. In TV – Stringer Bell 🙂 And Alice Morgan.

    In movies….Hannibal Lecter, Lisbeth Salander and The Joker, but the favorite one is definetly Patrick Bateman 🙂

    • Heh! I’ll let you slide on that TV mention, because it’s “The Wire” and “The Wire” rules. Even though the correct answer there was Omar Little. LOL 😀

      It’s only fair to ask then, seeing as I challenged Kim with this earlier… Was Patrick Bateman actually guilty of any crimes? Or was it entirely hallucinated?

      • He did those things. The whole ambigiuity comes from the fact they all look the same – well dressed yuppies with fiances, lovers and millions to spend. So someobody simply mistook someone else for Allen in London.

        Omar lost my respect and sympathy in season 3 🙂

      • That’s one reason to question whether any of it happened…. another is that he goes to an apartment where he supposedly killed a couple of girls and kept them in a closet, but its all clean all of a sudden. And then the fact that he was getting chased by every cop in the city, but it all suddenly just stopped.

        Oh. And didn’t an ATM ask him to feed it a cat or something? 😀

      • The apartment was cleaned up by the family who was mortified when they discovered the bodies and thought that Allen did that – that’s why the lady asked Bateman to leave and was really rude – she knew that he had something to do with the mess.

        Yeah, he did have hallucinations all right 🙂

      • Just a few. LOL

        I still think the apartment thing is sketchy. I mean, not that much time had passed… wouldnt there have been cop tape, etc? I think she was just rude to him because he was out of place.

        I think the whole thing is one of those intentionally ambiguous movies thats designed to get people talking “Did he or didnt he”, so they give both sides plenty of ammunition along the way. Too much happens along the way that’s “surreal” for me to think the whole thing really happened….

        Fun debate though

  2. Lisbeth Salander and of course the Joker!! And Jeremy Renner was incredible as Saul in the movie Take…he’s the one criminal I’ve ever felt genuinely sorry for.

    • Huh. That’s a new one by me. “Take” huh? I’m gonna have to check it out… I do like Renner, definitely.

      Glad to see Lisbeth Salander getting some props here. Wouldnt have thought of her as I raised the question, but she’s definitely an awesome answer 😀

      • Lisbeth Salander was not a criminal. She was a ward of the state of Sweden for mental and emotional problems for having burned her father as a juvenile. If she disobeyed the rules, her state appointed guardian could have her reinstitutionalized!

      • Uh, and then doesnt she tattoo a dude and revenge rape him and hack like a zillion computers and then rob a bank at the end of “Tattoo”?

        Pretty sure there’s a crime or two in there somewhere. LOL

      • Because it happened before she was fifteen, she couldn’t be criminally charged for burning her father, insane or not. She was declared mentally ill(unfit) and locked in an institute until she reached her majority. After that she had to prove monthly that she was OK to people who were really mental!

      • I don’t know if Lisbeth is technically a criminal, I mean, she’s quite shady but she’s not wanted or anything…she certainly acts like one though!
        Yes, do do do watch Take! It’s so good…amazing acting all around, you can practically feel the emotions throughout every minute, and the last scene…I won’t spoil it, just watch it!! 😀 But keep some tissues handy…

  3. The Geek in me says: Jabba The Hutt.

    The film afficionado says Kasper Guttman (Sydney Greenstreet, Maltese Falcon)

    … but my favorite has to be Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains, Casablanca)

    MAJOR STRASSER HAS BEEN SHOT! Round up the usual suspects.

  4. Hmmm…so many good roles to choose from!

    The Joker may have to win–so awesome on so many levels…Heath Ledger’s portrait of this criminal is iconic and one of the best–ever.
    “This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I’m gonna give it to them!”
    And boy, did he deliver!

    (Must give a shout out to Bill The Butcher–even if the ending to Gangs of NY left me wanting–there is no denying Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance!)

    • Someone had just been mentioning Bill The Butcher 😀 Glad he gets another shout out, he’s awesome.

      Ledger’s Joker still blows me away if think about it. What an incredible, incredible interpretation on that character. Remarkable…

      • Bill gets another mention, and that is quite worthy of note.

        I absolutely understand what you mean with regards to Ledger’s Joker. I was in a conversation just the other day when that came up and still got chills and a little excited just talking about his intensity.

  5. Everyone is thinking too hard, the answer is right in front of us. Hannibal Lecter, as portrayed by the amazing Anthony Hopkins. Can’t touch this.

    • LOL!!! You’re right, that’s an excellent answer.

      It may be true that you “Can’t Touch This” (plexiglass pun intended I presume).

      But you CAN muddle our mental images with vision of MC Hammer in parachute pants shuffling from side to side. 😀

      • I think Brian Cox’s first portrayal of Lecter in Manhunter is just as good if not better, I’m more partial to his um, less sensational performance.

      • Less sensational doesn’t mean it’s a ‘lesser’ performance. Even in an understated manner, Cox was chilling to watch. He made William Petersen’s so nervous even just standing behind bars in a distance!

  6. I kinda want to answer this question two-fold: my favorite to watch and, perhaps, the one that creeps me out the most.

    I really like Heath Ledger (of course) as The Joker…but Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter is one of the creepiest to me.

  7. Hmm tough one! Jack Torrance in The Shining, tommy Devito in Goodfellas, Don Corleone in the Godfather, the Joker in Dark Knight, Al Pacino in Scarface, Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

  8. Wow. Tough question. Beatrix Kiddo, The Joker, The Corleone family, Uxbal (from Biutiful), Norman Bates, Patrick Bateman, John Doe, Thelma & Louise, Travis Bickle, Danny Ocean, Daniel Plainview, Frank Abagnale, Mark Zuckerberg 😉

    • HAHAHHA!! I like Zuckerberg tossed in at the end. The guy probably sitll breaks dozens of laws annually. 😀

      I’ve never seen Biutiful, I’ll have to check it out. I like Bardem, I think he’s great….

      • Yeah, he’s a criminal and an asshole but a fantastic film character and Eisenberg’s portrayal of him was stunning. Please check out Biutiful. I thought it was fantastic and my favorite movie from 2010.

  9. I’m playing catch up. I didn’t see the movie mentioned but the character might have been and I missed it. Partly because I don’t remember the characters name. But Kevin Spacey’s character in The Usual Suspects. How the whole movie goes along and you think he is the most inoffensive, pathetic criminal among them. Why is he even there? Then, in the last few seconds, you find out who he REALLY was.

  10. Pingback: Why Is It That Crime In Movies So Often Comes Across As A Cool Thing? « Stirring Trouble: Internationally

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