Who is your favorite movie villain? Is it a supernatural being? A crazy person with an insatiable appetite for destruction?
I think my favorite villains have always had a touch of class. Today is a homage to an actor who has played many different roles that I have enjoyed him in but of his villains, my ultimate favorite is Hans Gruber played by Alan Rickman in Die Hard. A classic action/adventure movie circa 1988. What I like about Hans was that he was a suave, perfectly pressed, deadly, yet gentlemanly criminal mastermind.
Yes, Bruce Willis made a great action hero, but what is a great hero without an equally great villain? I was only 7 when the movie came out but when I was a bit older and was able to watch it, how could I not be riveted by the clean shaven, deep-voiced, articulate villain who politely asked for the code to the vault before informally dispatching of the useless Mr. Takagi without a second thought??! "I wanted this to be professional. Efficient, adult, cooperative, not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way, so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life."His calculated and calm demeanor remain throughout and he uses the authorities as pawns on the chessboard of his master plan. This makes him 48th on the American Film Institutes Greatest Villains of All Time list.
Since that first viewing, Alan Rickman has been one of my favorite actors. His lilting accent and his eloquent ability to present a character with even the most limited dialogue makes for enthralling performances that are always an adventure within themselves. I only wish he were in more movies! So here's to you Alan Rickman and to your Hans Gruber! Though Hans is but a blip in a varied and impressive career he would become the guide for wannabe villains in movies that followed, yet none would live up to his compelling personality.