What keeps us coming back to our favorites stories? What can make even the dullest, most insipid storyline lively, and keep us coming back for more? I'd say, and I think most could agree, that a great villain is what makes a story worthwhile. A great villain is many things, though. First and foremost he is an antagonist, pushing the plot forward so that the heroes will have something to react too. While not ALL villains are antagonists (there are a few notable stories where the good guys are the antagonists), for the most part all are.
Black hat wearing, decadently attired, scheming in the shadows: throughout the last one thousand years villains have captured the minds of audiences all across the world with their elaborate and often over the top plans and machinations. From the goofy and ridiculous evil doer, to scarily accurate caricatures of historical persons, it is these men and women that have kept us coming to the theater, going to the bookstore, and watching on the television to find out just what it is they're going to do next. I have always adored the villains, since I was a youngster I was always dressing up as my favorites for Halloween, or playing the badguy in the superhero games.
I apologize if my writing style is not that great, I didn't spell check this very extensively, and sometimes my writing is very similar. Also there are no sources cited for my information, which I admit I should have done for posterity, but it was a hard enough job as it is. Most of the research was done personally, or done on Wikipedia, truth be told. At any rate, with this list I wanted to pay homage to the true greats, the greatest villains of our age. Hopefully I did them some justice, I certainly tried. More then anything I am glad I did this, because this list has brought back so many great memories for me. I hope it does the same for you.
P.S. Thanks to Lucainan for sorta laying down the groundwork for the way I did this, I woulda never thought of it without his Top 100 Movies of all Time.
(The thread in its entirety along with a few extra bits from myself and my fellower Antiochers.)