Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins

When you are casting a villain for your film there is one thing that you must have… a British actor in the part. Over the years, Brits have become synonymous with being terrific baddies - we have seen some actors turn in some truly terrific performances.

Quite what make a Brit a great villain is still a bit of a mystery, but it is something that Hollywood has well and truly capitalised on.

So we take a look at some of the British actors who have taken on some of the most fantastic villainous roles over the years.

- Tom Hiddleston: Loki in Thor

It seems only right to star with the British actor who has returned to the big screen this week as one of Marvel’s most popular villains… of course I am talking about Tom Hiddleston and Loki.

Originally, the British actor auditioned for the role of Thor, but it seems that the team at Marvel saw something in him that would be perfect for the role of Loki - and what a terrific piece of casting it has turned out to be.

Hiddleston perfectly moves from the witty, mischievous and funny side of this character to the dark, dangerous and downright evil part of him. But this ambiguity of how he plays this role leaves us asking one question… is Loki really evil?

Through Thor, Avengers Assemble and now Thor: The Dark World, the popularity of this character has just grown and grown and has propelled Hiddleston to global stardom.

- Anthony Hopkins: Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs

One of the most iconic villains of all time is Hannibal Lecter as Thomas Harris’ novel The Silence of the Lambs was brought to the big screen back in 1991.

What is so great about Hopkins’ performance is that he is on screen for just twenty minutes in the film, and yet he makes such a devastatingly unnerving impression - he really is one of the most iconic horror film characters of all time.

And while he may only be in the film a short time, his evil presence hangs over the entire film; that is all thanks to a great performance from a truly fantastic actor.

Hopkins went on to scoop the Best Actor Oscar as The Silence of the Lambs became on the third film in history to win the top five categories; Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).

- Alan Rickman: Hans Gruber in Die Hard

Die Hard is one of the best action franchises to ever hit the big screen, and John McClane is not the only iconic character that the series created.

Hans Gruber remains one of Alan Rickman’s most famous roles as he brought the German terrorist to life back in 1988.

Gruber was more than a match for McClane has some of the best and most quotable lines from this great movie. Gruber is widely regarded as one of the best film villains.

As if one villainous role is not enough, Rickman is also remembered for taking on the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood The Prince of Thieves.

- Jason Isaacs: Colonel William Tavington in The Patriot

Colonel William Tavington was one of the movie roles that really did put Jason Isaacs on the movie map when he teamed up with Mel Gibson back in 2000.

Isaacs played Tavington as a brutal commander who was leading British troops during the American Revolution.

And while Isaacs was oozing with evil at just about every point, there was something incredibly charismatic about his performance that kept you hooked from start to finish.

Isaacs is another actor who has enjoyed taking on multiple villain roles, the other famous one being Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise.

- Gary Oldman: Norman Stansfield in Leon

We have seen Gary Oldman play quite a few villains during his career, but it is the part of Norman Stansfield that is the most famous.

Oldman played the corrupt DEA agent in Leon in 1994 - it was a character that had a taste for killing as many people as possible.

It is an over the top turn from Oldman and yet it works fantastically well - it may be over the top but Oldman knows when to rein it back so it doesn’t descend into farce.

Other great villain performances by British actors include Jeremy Irons as Scar, Terrence stamp as General Zod, Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan, Tim Roth as Rob Roy and Ralph Fiennes as Voldermort.

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