Sometimes there is a film character portrayed as the villain or bad guy who is more of a good person after a closer examination of the circumstances. For example, after someone polled an internet forum for examples of characters falsely vilified, here are THEIR top responses. Do you agree?
1. Jerry From Liar Liar
Cary Elwes’s character, Jerry, from the film Liar Liar, is unfairly ostracized. A filmgoer explains: “There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s basically just a goofy dad type.
He doesn’t do anything wrong throughout the whole movie (unless you count doing ‘the claw’ poorly). But he still gets unceremoniously left by the wife in order to go back to her historically negligent ex-husband. He deserved better. Justice for Jerry!”
2. Mayor Larry Vaughn From Jaws
Several agree that Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) is falsely villainized, suggesting that his decision to ignore the shark problem and hope it’ll disappear is a good plan because sharks are nomadic creatures that rarely stick around one place for a long time.
“Amity is a tourist town that barely makes enough money during the summer to last the rest of the year,” one explains. “The loss of revenue from closing the beaches for the biggest holiday weekend of the season would cause every single business on the island to go bankrupt.”
3. Erik Killmonger From Black Panther
OK. I need you all to remember that somebody else said this, haha. “Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in Black Panther, at least for being the rightful heir to the throne after defeating T’Challa in the trial of combat to become King and the Black Panther. He won. He should have been able to lead as he saw fit based on the rules for succession by winning the trial of combat for the throne.
By their rules and customs, T’Challa and his supporters were treasonous. Regardless if they disagreed with Killmonger’s plans, he earned their loyalty by winning and was their King, yet most immediately rejected him.”
4. Dr. Ian Malcolm From Jurassic Park
Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) was semi-villainized in Jurassic Park and The Lost World. However, his character proved to be right both times. Some argue that other characters agreed with him, so he was a total villain, but he was dismissed nonetheless.
5. Jake Houseman From Dirty Dancing
Several people agree with one who states: “The Dad (Jerry Orbach) in Dirty Dancing. The guy didn’t want his teenage daughter dating some guy who looked forty and just knocked up another woman. Seems like a great Dad to me.”
This is a little harsh. While I agree that any good father wouldn’t want his underage daughter (17) dating an older man (25), he did not look 40. Furthermore, he was wrong about Johnny (Patrick Swayze). Robbie is the one who got Penny pregnant.
6. Dr. Leo Marvin From What About Bob
Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfus) in What About Bob? A moviegoer writes: “His whole family encourages him to think of twisted stalker Bob (Bill Murray) as harmless… less than harmless, as they welcome him into the family. Only Dr. Martin seems to see the reality.” Agree! I love the movie, but in reality, it would not be safe or tolerable.
7. Rosalie Hale From The Twilight Saga
Edward’s sister Rosalie Hale (Nikki Reed), is considered unfairly villainized. “Everyone is on board with Bella Swan’s turning into a vampire and marrying Edward, but she tells Bella that she is throwing her life away and pretty much ignoring her father’s will.” This starts in New Moon and carries over into Eclipse too.
8. Eric Gordon From Billy Madison
“The corporate guy Eric (Bradley Whitford) in Billy Madison,” writes a film fan. “Madison Hotels has 60,000 employees, and the CEO is going to hand over all their futures to his moron, alcoholic kid with no business experience? Eric was absolutely right in fighting for the job against the entitled, out-of-touch Billy. Veronica Vaughn is also a huge gold-digger in that one.”
9. The Wicked Witch of the West From The Wizard of Oz
Everyone is in agreement that The Wicked Witch of the West just wanted her sister’s shoes back from Dorothy, the girl who killed her. Somebody confesses, “Even as a kid, I never understood why they didn’t let her have them. In any other circumstances, items of deceased would have gone to the living relative.”
10. Walter Sobchak From The Big Lebowski
Numerous people agree with one who states, “Walter (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski. He was a jerk, but everything he said was right. She kidnapped herself. That wasn’t her toe. Keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for, you know, domestic… within the city… that ain’t legal either.”
11. Iceman From Top Gun
Tom Kazansky, also known as Iceman (Val Kilmer) in the original Top Gun, didn’t deserve all the hate he received from initial viewers. Many critics admit that Maverick was dangerous, didn’t follow the rules, and showboated around.
12. King Triton From The Little Mermaid
Someone suggests, “Ariel’s dad in The Little Mermaid. He wasn’t trying to crush her dreams. He knew that moving to the surface would be dangerous. Also, he clearly used to be very close with Ursula and was rightfully afraid of Ariel getting entangled with her.”
This is true. Plus, in the sequel, we discover that humans killed her mother. So it’s understandable why he would feel so strongly about this and want her to be safe.
13. Todd and Margo From National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Todd and Margo (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation receive a lot of love in the forum. Many agree, “It would be an absolute nightmare having Clark Griswold as a neighbor.”
It’s funny because seeing their names triggered the conversation, “And why is the carpet all wet, Todd?!” “I don’t know, Margo!” And others in the thread are quoting that scene as well. Such a classic. I watch it every year.
14. Miranda and Stuart From Mrs. Doubtfire
Several people stand up for Pierce Bronson and Sally Field’s characters in Mrs. Doubtfire. “As a kid, she was a boring jerk, and I blamed her for their divorce. As an adult, I see where she’s coming from. She needs a partner who can grow with her, but Robin Williams fails miserably.
Pierce, I hate him as a kid in the movie, but he’s a stand-up guy who loves her and her kids. Robin Williams is the psycho.” I loved this movie so much as a kid, but I am seeing some truth in this. Still, “It was a run by fruiting!”
15. Captain Jerome McKay From The Enforcer
“Dirty Harry’s captain (Bradford Dillman) in The Enforcer, the third Dirty Harry film. He’s right — you can’t have a cop go off book and harass suspects, intimidate them in the street with a gun, tell someone on a ledge to jump, and ignore departmental procedure.”
16. Walter Hobbs From Elf
I don’t entirely agree with this one because Walter Hobbs (James Caan) was terrible to his son and was shady at his job too. However, I’m outnumbered by people who claim, “If someone like Buddy came from seemingly out of nowhere and acted like that, I probably wouldn’t be in that good of a mood either.”
17. Mr. Cooper From Night of the Living Dead
“He keeps telling them to barricade themselves in the basement and wait for help,” one notes. “Instead, they listen to Ben. They board up the windows and doors, and the sound of hammering draws zombies to the house.
They try to gas up the truck, which kills two of them. Eventually, the zombies break through the barricades, and everyone else dies except Ben. And what does he do? Goes into the basement. Cooper was right all along, and Ben gets them all killed!”
18. Walter Peck From Ghostbusters
The EPA guy, Walter Peck (William Atherton) from the original Ghostbusters, was treated as a jerk but was right. One notes, “Like, legit, most of the stuff they had in that garage was legitimately dangerous and unlicensed. Someone should probably have oversight to make sure they don’t accidentally start a zombie apocalypse, irradiate half a city block, or something else like that.”
19. Howard Hamlin From Better Call Saul
One Better Call Saul fan suggests, “Howard (Patrick Fabian) was right all along that it was Jimmy doing everything. It’s just that it was so outlandish Howard sounded crazy, but he was spot on the whole time.” Another admits, “I think Howard is the only good (main) character in the whole Breaking Bad universe. If you break bad, you will pull down everyone.”
20. Mr. Vernon From The Breakfast Club
Many people agree with one who says, “Mr. Vernon from The Breakfast Club. Man gives up his Saturday to show teens that their crummy actions have consequences and then loses his coffee AND his lunch in the deal when his thermos top comes off.”
However, some argue that he does threaten to physically abuse a teenager and brags that he’d get away with it because nobody would believe the kid (a juvenile delinquent) over him (a respected educator).
21 Films That Would NEVER in a Million Years Be Made Today
The film landscape has developed over time, reflecting society’s shifting ideals and social standards. Some classic films, while popular at the time, may not hold up to today’s standards and sensitivities. Here are a handful of films that would never be made today because of it.
27 Fan-Voted Greatest TV Show Episodes of All Time — Do You Agree?
While it is impossible to satisfy all audiences, these television episodes were nominated by fans to be the greatest TV episodes of all time. From heartwarming moments to sweet revenge, here are their top choices. Do you agree?
15 Most Racist Movies of All Time According to IMDb — Do You Agree?
According to a ranked list on IMDB, these movies have been criticized for various reasons, including cultural insensitivity, perpetuating stereotypes, and reinforcing racial biases, which have contributed to their reputation as racist or racially insensitive by today’s standards.
15 Movies That Will Haunt You for a Long, Long Time
Every once in a while, a movie will sit with you long after the credits roll. From real-life issues to horrifying endings, these films are guaranteed to do just that. Have you seen them?
25 Fantastic Films You Probably Have Never Seen — Have You?
Are you bored of watching the same movies repeatedly? Do you need movie suggestions to turn an uninteresting day into a fantastic adventure? Well, prepare yourself for a terrific movie list! Here are twenty-five unwatched gems you need to look out for.
Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.