Top 5 1980s Movie Villains

Who Are the Best 1980s Movie Villains?

The 1980s had tons of bad guys who you couldn’t help but cheer for. These villains were not only scary, but they had tons of charisma that a little part of you wanted them to win no matter how evil they were. Let’s break down the best movie bad guys from the 1980s!

Captain Ivan Drago

Can you even have a classic American action flick without a Russian bad guy? Ivan Drago took the concept of a Russian villain to new heights in Rocky IV (1985). Standing at 6 ft 5 and weighing in at over 250 pounds, Drago was bred in a Soviet lab to eat Americans for lunch. He had a perfect record of 31 knockouts and was fresh off killing Apollo Creed. The betting odds for a Rocky win at gg bet would have been 100 to 1. However, that didn’t bother Rocky. The Italian Stallion took an absolute beating from the seemingly invincible Russian before eventually knocking him out in the dying seconds of the 15th round. Some say Rocky IV led to the downfall of the Soviet Union!

Despite Ivan Drago being a quintessential bad guy, there was something inspiring about his regimented training program and his action-figure physique. Even though people don’t want to admit there are definitely some closet Dragon fans out there who were praying he would KO Rocky in the first round!

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Darth Vader

Darth Vader was a crazy complex bad guy, he wasn’t your typical lunatic who just wanted to see the world burn. He started off as good before being seduced by the power of the dark side, before losing to Obi-Wan, and then becoming a cybernetically-enhanced Sith Lord. Then in the final scenes of Empire Strikes Back, he reveals he is Luke Skywalker’s father and manages to turn back to the good side of the force in Return of the Jedi and rids the universe, and kills Palpatine.

Star Wars did an amazing job of creating a super scary bad guy who also had some depth about him. And no one could have predicted that epic plot twist at the end, where the seemingly most evil guy in movie history turns out to be a goodie!

Thusla Doom

All of the Robert E. Howard fans are going to appreciate this pick. Thusla Doom gave Conan a run for his money and was his key enemy throughout the Conan the Barbarian movie from 1982. The necromancer was not afraid to use violence and led the powerful Serpent Cult. James Earl Jones played the role amazingly well and was utterly convincing when he was serving soup with the cut-up limbs of vanquished victims! And who can forget when he crucified poor old Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Freddy Kreuger

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) is without a doubt the best slasher film from the 80s and set the standard for the genre. The absolutely terrifying and crazy bad guy Freddy Krueger took this movie to the next level. Kruger is able to barge his way into the dreams of his poor sweet innocent victims and turn their lives into absolute hell on earth. Freddy Krueger is much more than just a super scary villain he is also one of the best movie characters to emerge from the 1980s. He managed to blend scary and funny exceptionally well and has to be one of the most popular Halloween costumes of all time!


The Joker in Batman (1989), played by Jack Nicholson, was straight-up creepy! We love Heath Ledger, but Nicholson was on fire in this role and stole every scene he was in. Nicholson was able to single-handedly turn the Joker into the bad guy that every kid wanted to be. The Joker was no longer some camp clown but had some serious edge to him. He was now a badass criminal genius who was not only ruthless but had confidence and coolness to him. Ledger and Phoenix took the character to a new level, but it all started back in 1989 with Nicholson.

Final Thoughts

It wasn’t easy ranking the top action villains from the 1980s with so many scary villains gracing our screens. However, we decided to settle with the legendary Soviet boxer who killed Apollo Creed and nearly took our boy, Rocky, Ivan Drago. The Siberian Express struck fear in millions of Americans, fortunately, the Italian Stallion was able to handle Drago’s 2100 psi punch and dispatch him in the 15th round.

Who would be in your Top 5 1980s Movie Villain list?

Images courtesy Depositphotos

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