Hollywood tends to take dramatic liberties when depicting historical events or figures. And with good reason.
At least during prep-pandemic times, moviegoers paid to go see movies on the big screen to be entertained, not lectured.
In some cases, a baddie's real life story contradicted with what was shown on screen.
This is purely conjecture, but some scripts introduce conflict without detailed exposition of a bad guy to avoid slow pacing.
So when it comes to historical villains and their accurate level of malevolence, it's complicated.
With Hollywood being just one example where a notorious "bad guy" was misinterpreted, Redditor Elytra__Firm wanted to explore more by asking:
"More so sports history, but the film Cinderella Man portrayed boxer Max Baer as a murderous psychopath who gladly killed two fighters in the ring. In reality, he was personally devastated by these deaths. In the one he was most directly responsible for, he ended up giving his winnings from his next few fights to the fighters family."
"Despite what was portrayed in Amadeus, and though in reality they were musical rivals, Antonio Salieri was actually friends with Wolfgang Mozart. In fact, years after Mozart's death, Salieri assisted with and helped finance his son Franz Xaver's musical education as a tribute to his late friend."
The Truth About Billy The Kid
"Billy the Kid wasn't a good guy by any means, but was a victim of negative propaganda by the press at the time. He was orphaned in his early teens and fell in with the wrong crowd."
"After a brief run in with the law (I think he was lookout for a small robbery, wasn't even part of the main crew) he didn't want to wait around 6 months or a year for a judge to make their way to the tiny little town, so he escaped jail and ran. What teenager would act differently? He ran to Arizona looking for work."
"In Arizona he found work, but was still one of the youngest there. A bully in a bar picked on him for weeks until Billy got fed up and shot him. On the run again he goes back to New Mexico."
"In New Mexico he resorts to stealing to be able to survive. He steals some horses from a prominent rancher. Instead of prosecuting him, the rancher hires him. Billy is thrilled, and works hard. He is happy because he has a legit job again."
"The rancher had a corrupt as sh*t rival who had the local law in his pocket (he was related to the sheriff). The rival rancher killed Billy's boss in the street. Billy and his fellow cowboys that loved their boss decided this was not OK, and the Lincoln County War started. Billy is the only one of the men on his side of the war to have been in every battle."
"Eventually, Billy felt he had accomplished his revenge mission, so he settled down with his best gal. Problem was, she was Mexican, and he was white. His girlfriend's brother didn't like Billy being with his sister, so he tipped off the law as to where Billy was hiding."
"The Lincoln county sheriff showed up in the middle of the night and shot Billy in the back."
"There is a lot more to it. For example, when Billy was in Lincoln County jail, he talked to the New Mexico Territory Governor. The Governor promised him a complete pardon if he'd be a witness in the trials of the people from the corrupt rancher. Billy agreed and testified. The governor then went back on his promise and left Billy to rot. So Billy killed the jailers and fled again. (That governor was too busy getting an ambassadorship and writing the book Ben Hur to keep his promises)"
Machiavelli Was No Saint, But...
"Machiavelli would be shocked and saddened to know his name is synonymous with tyranny and pure evil. Guy was a staunch supporter of Republics and a savvy politician."
"There are people surprised that his statue is up in Florence and shocked to see they actually admire him. When you learn more about him he's far more interesting then his historical reputation would have you believe."
Darius III and Xerxes
"Darius III and Xerxes. They're portrayed badly because of Alexander the Great and also the movie 300."
"Yeah, in reality their Kingdom was actually fairly progressive, when taking over lands, local leaders and religions were allowed to remain however advisory members were sent in to help update settlements with better economic and civic organizations and so on. Really they weren't that bad of a Kingdom (for that time periods standards) and the reason they fought the Greeks was because classically Greek cities had tried to rebel with the support of Greek mainland city states, which prompted war."
"History isn't so black and white as Hollywood wants it to be."
The Concerned Roman
"That Roman that gave Jesus vinegar to drink. Turns out that the roman military gave their soldiers a water/vinegar mix to drink as it was good for refilling salt levels after sweating. That means all the roman did was give jesus a sip of his own drink, not force him to drink vinegar as punishment/insult."
"While we're on the topic, Pontius Pilate. The dude actually thought Jesus was innocent, and tried everything in his power to punish him without outright killing him, to satisfy the high priests and the crowds they turned against Jesus. His only real sin was that he sold out Jesus to save his own skin, but only after nothing else worked."
A Case For Prince John
"The bad guy from Robin Hood was basically the steward of a kingdom his beloved brother haddn't even set foot on. While Richard the Lionheart was faffing about in the Crusades, John was running the kingdom and turning it into something that could sustain itself. While he was doing that, his useless brother gets his a** kidnapped so John has to raise taxes (cue Robin Hood) to bring back the 'rightful' king the people loved so much."
"So basically, Prince John runs England for his brother and people love his brother for it. Then said brother gets kidnapped so John Raises taxes to get him 'back' and becomes the bad guy in the eyes of the lords (and by extension the people) who want their rightful king back."
"The man eventually does become the rightful king, only to have all the lords hate him for the crime of investing money into the kingdom, as a result he signs the Magna Carta, limiting royal power."
"that said he wasnt a saint. The man did have a hand in the collapse of Norman France and wasted a lot of money and men trying reclaim the region. I'm not trying to say he was a 'good guy' per se, just not the bad guy for what people hate him for."
The Woman And Her Scalding Coffee
"A more modern example is the lady that famously sued McDonalds for their coffee being too hot in 1994. That lawsuit gets treated as an example of how oversaturated America is with litigation over small things. As it turns out, however, her situation was extremely justified. She suffered third degree burns that required skin grafting and had permanent disfigurement. Her labia fused together. Needless to say, McDonalds was serving their coffee far too hot and the case very well may have prevented future similar incidents."
"Edit: To the people saying it's her fault for spilling her coffee, here's a picture of her injuries (NSFW and NSFL). Does anybody really deserve those injuries for the simple mistake of spilling their coffee? Would you really expect third degree burns if you spilled coffee on yourself?"
"The Roman emperor Gaius Caesar, better known as Caligula."
"Hell of a smear campaign his enemies did. Most likely brought upon himself because of his intolerance to the Senates' corruption and/or lack of effectiveness. The crazy stories? Most likely made up or were wilful misrepresentation of something Caligula said. The story about him making his horse consul because he was 'crazy?' Misrepresentation of him mocking the senate by telling them his horse could do a better job."
Heroes aren't always the most interesting characters in a story.
in fact, a piece of the recipe that makes an interesting overall story is a villain that isn't completely horrible. There's something about them that draws you to them.
Sometimes, you even end up liking these villains better.
Here were some of those answers.
LazyTown Ain't So Lazy
My name is Robby Rotten. I'm 43 years old. My house is in the northeast section of lazy town, where all the villas are, and I am not married. I work as an employee for the villian villain department stores, and I get home every day by 8 PM at the latest. I don't smoke, but I occasionally drink. I'm in bed by 11 PM, and make sure I get eight hours of sleep, no matter what. After having a glass of warm milk and doing about twenty minutes of stretches before going to bed, I usually have no problems sleeping until morning.
Just like a baby, I wake up without any fatigue or stress in the morning. I was told there were no issues at my last check-up. I'm trying to explain that I'm a person who wishes to live a very quiet life. I take care not to trouble myself with any enemies, like winning and losing, that would cause me to lose sleep at night. That is how I deal with society, and I know that is what brings me happiness. Although, if I were to fight I wouldn't lose to anyone.
To Protect The World From Devastation
Team Rocket. They deserve something for being so dedicated. They've been chasing after the same Pikachu for over 20 years!
Dick Dastardly from the wacky races. The only time he actually won a race he was disqualified because of slow motion footage showing him extending the nose of his vehicle to do so, which is greatly unfair because when the lumberjack did something similar in a previous episode (by stretching his neck to put himself in front) he wasn't disqualified for doing so.
Hector was the actual hero in The Iliad. He fought Achilles knowing he was fighting basically a demi-god so there was no chance to win. But he did it anyway to protect his (complete idiot) little brother and his home.
Achilles was given literal cheat codes to fighting and was still vain, arrogant and selfish.
The Time Ahead
Roy in Blade Runner.
The replicants are literally just trying to survive - every act of violence by them is defensive except the for deaths of Tyrell and Sebastian. And even those killings are somewhat warranted given the two of them are deeply responsible for creating a literal slave undercaste.
TLDR: Blade runner portrays a failed slave uprising.
Keep This Park Open
Jurassic Park. I'm not sure if they were the bad guys, I wanted the park to win and keep the dinosaurs contained. I just wanted a movie where the plot just followed people around the park and park employees said things like "Looks like we've had a power failure in the dino electric fence! Oh good the emergency power kicked in. Send maintenance down to check it out". Turns out it was just a bad sensor that needed to be replaced.
Okay, I GET It
General Hummel, from "The Rock"
Dude's actions were extreme, but he was doing it for the right reasons. He and his men did clandestine operations for the US military, and when his men did their job, fought, died for their country, the country then turned their back and didn't provide the benefits for the men and their families.
I wish the government would have just paid what they owed, and fixed the situation from the jump.
Yeah, We Did Too
I didn't really root for him, but I sympathized with Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. That "the child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth" image kinda got to me.
Elementary, My Dear Watson
Moriarty from the Sherlock TV show. Why did he just suicide himself? Utter waste of a great character. I hoped he would succeed at his plan.
Poor Old Man
The Ice King in Adventure Time. Yeah, he's up there with Bowser on being a princess kidnapper, but if the episode Princess Monster Wife was anything to go by, he's just a sweet old man who wants companionship.
Villains are generally supposed to be horrid and reviled by the audience, who usually see them through the eyes of the hero of the story. Not all villains are particularly villainous, however.
Some are fairly relatable from the start, while others grow throughout the story and become more sympathetic over time.
Still others seem more relatable as we get older and learn how the real world works.
Reddit user NorthCatan asked the denizens of r/AskReddit for info on the villains they sympathize with most.
Carrie - cause when you're a sixteen year old teenager girl and everyone treats you like sh*t for no reason and when it's prom and you find out you win prom queen but it's just a cruel joke and pig blood is dumped on you , who wouldn't do what she did.
Jason - being bullied by a group of kids cause of how you look then pushed into a lake and drown when counsellors are supposed to help you.
Galactus, The Devourer of Worlds. He destroys worlds and saps up the life-force of entire populations but after all he's just an integral part of the universe and as required as other primal forces.
Sandman from Spider-Man 3. Yes, he killed Uncle Ben, but damn. His last scene in the movie makes me emotional when I remember it. Dude just wanted to help his daughter, man. His confession with Peter just shows how remorseful he is for doing that to Peter.
Robby Rotten. How dare that damn Sportacus try to get me off the couch and be active!!!
" Way deep down inside, what does Robbie really think about the residents of LazyTown?"
"I wish I could be their friend"
Jack Nicholson in "As Good as it Gets."
People don't understand how bad real OCD is and how it changes people and the pain they suffer.
If you hate which side of the bed you sleep on and think it's OCD, maybe it is, but you have no idea how bad it gets.
Spoilers for a 24 year old movie ahead. The villain from "The Rock", General Hummel, was just trying to secure military benefits for his soldiers killed in black ops authorized by the US government. This money was supposed to come from a slush fund from illegal weapon sales also perpetrated by the government itself, AND his threat against San Francisco was initially a bluff. He was basically trying to look after his men,but became desperate after exhausting the proper channels.
General Hummel was an antihero, rather than a villain. I think he was probably one of the most conflicted (and well written/performed) movie antagonists of the nineties.
The Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy killed her sister, stole her shoes and refused to give them back
The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3, because she was only a villain because she had to be. That was the role assigned to her. She was loyal to her mission and to her country until the very end.
"Snake, history will never know what she did. No one will ever learn the truth. Her story... her debriefing, will endure only in your heart. Everything she did, she did for her country. She sacrificed her life and her honor for her native land. She was a real hero. She was a true patriot."
These Gestures Are Offensive In Other Countries | George Takei’s Oh MyyyPeople explain the friendly gestures in one country that are offensive in another. It's imperative to do a little research about the destinations and culture...
Whaa? Nobody has said Wile E Coyote?? That poor guy's entire purpose in life is to fail
Doofenshmirtz, he was a hard working man in a difficult childhood always being overshadowed by his younger brother and a baking soda volcano. He has broke the boundaries of science that almost seems impossible but is ignored throughout his career as a scientist. As every man does, he seems to have trouble finding a place in the world, so he tries to commit to poetry only for that dream to be snatched away and crushed in front of him. He was a man with a vision, a dream to take control of a small government, to change the lives of many surroundings and many people. But desperate times call for desperate measures as he's forced to take drastic measures to fulfill his dreams. He wanted to be a loving father and give his child the childhood he never had. He was a visionary at his time that society didn't allow which demonizes him to a gross pulsating image of a man that could've brought hope and light to a better future.
Pain/Nagato. He was being manipulated from the very start, lost his parents and friends to a war being fought in his village, and thought his whole mission was to change the world when in reality it was just to do someone else's dirty work
Zuko. My first time watching, even before his arc, it was just so heart wrenching seeing him doing everything just to be loved and accepted by his people, his father.
Kronk. The man just pulled the wrong lever...
Captain Hook must remember
Not to scratch his toes.
Captain Hook must watch out
And never pick his nose.
Captain Hook must be gentle
When he shakes your hand.
Captain Hook must be careful
Openin' sardine cans
And playing tag and pouring tea
And turnin' pages of his book.
Lots of folks I'm glad I ain't--
But mostly Captain Hook!
Just recently watched Disney's Peter Pan for the first time since I was a child. Not sure if it is a sign I am old but my girlfriend and I both agreed that we didn't think Hook was that bad and that maybe Peter is actually the real villain. He just bullies Hook and antagonizes him the whole time!
Punished for being assaulted by Poseidon in Athena's Temple and being beautiful.
Her two sisters stood by her side through thick and thin and fought to keep her safe from all intruders.
Perseus creeps in while they were fast asleep on a bed and silently beheads Medusa.
He then cowardly escapes, leaving the cries of her sisters and becomes a hero.
I really wish this story didn't exist; or that she was accurately portrayed not as the villain, but a victim
The moral of this story is... the gods are a**holes.
Baldur from God of War 4.
He was the product of an unloving and abusive marriage between Odin and Freya and Freya, after the end of their marriage to Odin, was stripped away of everything she had: her freedom, the trust of her people, her spirit. The only thing she had left was Baldur, but seeing that he would die a needless death in the future, she cursed him with immortality, resulting in him literally not being able to feel anything. This curse, while meant to protect him, drove him insane with rage against his mother.
Skeletor, the true heir to the throne and rightful ruler of Eternia. Passed up for being mixed-race, so he acted out - causing an accident that disfigured and fatally wounded him. He was left for dead by a family with magic powers, having to resort to serving evil and living out the rest of his days as a skeletal shadow of his former self.
King Dedede from the kirby franchise
The dude gets possessed every Tuesday to the point where he's not doing any evil villain stuff, also he cares and tries to protect his kingdom, just take a look at Kirby's adventure, he took the star rod from the fountain of dreams to protect dreamland from Nightmare himself
Mr. Freeze. Just a guy willing to do whatever it takes to save his wife from dying.
Invader Zim. I just want him to win so badly because I want every single member of his species, including the Tallest, to realize he is somewhat capable (although he is at times his own worst enemy). Also Doofenshmirtz because despite his increasingly tragic backstories he was an amazing father to Vanessa.
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "🤐" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.
A complex villain is always more interesting than a one-sided evil that has no underlying motivation.
Sometimes, the villains are even sort of in the right--the heroes keep the peace for the sake of keeping the peace, but are they really doing the right thing? Or would the villain have been better winning?
Here were some of those answers.
Ed Harris's character in The Rock. Ex-vet wanted a decent funeral for some of his fallen comrades plus I think a 100 mil in compensation for their families
Spoiler alert: the president said no
Who Went First
The Machines in the Matrix.
The Second Renaissance showed that it was humans who struck first and tried to destroy the sentient Machines once they became intelligent. The Machines removed themselves from society and created their own city 1-0 in the middle of the desert to try to allay human fears but it still didn't work.
Humans were the aggressors. The Machines wanted to protect themselves.
And the Machines are not even evil. Instead of just exterminating humans or chopping off their heads and using their bodies as batteries they took the trouble to create a massive virtual world for us. They even tried making it a Paradise at first (according to Agent Smith) but we rejected it so they went more realistic.
Protecting Your Kind
Magneto. Having been a Holocaust survivor, it makes a lot of sense to not want to see the people you identify with once again persecuted for the circumstances of their birth.
Luke Castellan from Percy Jackson. His motivation was that the gods didn't pay enough attention to their kids (himself included) and wanted the gods and Camp Half-Blood to recognize the children of the minor gods.
When American Healthcare Is The Real Villain
Sandman from Spider-Man 3. He just wanted a chance to see his dying daughter before she died. The only reason he robbed places was the get enough money to find treatment for her. He accidentally killed uncle Ben, and felt really bad about it, to the point where it haunted him.
For The Greater Good
He has literally, like without a shadow of a doubt seen every single outcome of every single decision he has or will ever make. And the only way humanity survives is if he rules them and takes them on a certain path.
Yet the fantastic four keep on beating his ass down.
His rule isn't even that bad, even in the context of 'a great leap forward.' The FF just don't like him because he's just a power hungry single leader and being that and ruling the earth has historically been bad. But you know what all those other populist leaders didn't have? LITERAL DEMONSTRABLE CLAIRVOYANCE AND SUPER INTELLIGENCE.
My Life Is Over
Zemo from Captain America Civil War. Superhero battle kills everyone he cares about, destroys his city and sets his country back to the Stone Age. Then they just go home. Zemo targeted the avengers and set them up to turn on each other. A man with no powers was able to beat the Avengers.
He saw the lies that were being spread, the fact that those in charge were harming humanity, and wanted to make a change which, okay put him in charge, but also lead to actual change for the people.
Also, Captain Hammer is a jerk.
The EPA guy in Ghostbusters was just trying to make sure their weird new technology was safe but the quippy nerds refused to comply. Turns out they didn't even have a backup generator for if it ever got unplugged.
Javier Bardem's character in Skyfall. Betrayed and abandoned by his own country, and subjected to years of torture. Hell, the same thing happened to Bond at the beginning of Die Another Day, but MI6 eventually got him back whereas they just forgot Silva existed.