A few years back the American Film Institute released one of their 100 Years countdowns that presented the 50 best movie heroes and 50 best movie villains of all time. Topping the villain list was Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. That choice presents a movie fan with two problems. If you are still have not watched these amazing movies then you can watch movies online with free streaming as you click here. You get the very best and latest movies that you can watch for free as well.
In the first place, one can argue whether Hannibal was really the villain of that, or indeed of any the movies in which he appears and is played by Anthony Hopkins. Is there any moviegoer who doesn’t think that Hannibal is an attractive character? A likable character?
The second problem is that Amon Goeth, who is surely a more despicable character as portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List than Hannibal Lecter, was a real person. A real-life villain. How the heck did Amon Goeth rank lower than not only Hannibal but Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West and a cartoon Queen? (Snow White.) According to the AFI voters, Amon Goeth, who you must remember was a real Nazi, isn’t as bad a villain as the crazy chick from Fatal Attraction, the old geezer from It’s a Wonderful Life, or HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Shouldn’t a great villain by definition be someone you hate? Not necessarily, someone, you love to hate, but someone you actually intensely despise? There’s nothing wrong with an ambiguous villain, as long as there is real villainy at heart. Hannibal Lecter is basically a charming character whose villainous acts mostly take place off-camera. Compare that to cold-blooded heartlessness of Amon Goeth.
But this article really is about trying to convince those voters to reconsider their ranking of Lecter and Goeth. If you look at the top fifty villains in the AFI list, very few come from movies that contain laughs. Sure, there’s the Disney villains, who shouldn’t even be in the top 100. (Maleficent isn’t a better villain than the wicked Queen or Cruella de Vil???).
There is a comedy that contains a character who is easily the most despicable character in the history of comedic films, and who definitely is someone most of us wouldn’t give up an evening with Hannibal Lecter for, believe it or not. That this character didn’t even rate on the final list is amazing; that he wasn’t even on the original ballot is simply stunning. This character oozes slime and smarminess that makes even the character played by James Spader in Pretty in Pink look like the boy next door.
It is commonly assumed that Buddy Love was based on Dean Martin, the former partner of Jerry Lewis. Buddy Love is the Mr. Hyde character that Lewis’ Nutty Professor turns into after taking his potion. The scary thing is that as time wore on, Jerry Lewis himself came to take on the persona of Buddy Love far more than Dean Martin ever could have.
Jerry Lewis may not be the genius that the French think he is-though he is much closer to that than he is the hack that most American audiences regard him as being. Jerry Lewis’ stature as a film genius doesn’t stem from his acting ability, but he achieved a true sense of greatness in the character of Buddy Love that even such legends as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd never managed. In fact, in The Nutty Professor, Jerry Lewis achieved something that even the much more respected actor Anthony Hopkins couldn’t achieve in The Silence of the Lambs.
Lewis created a character that nobody in the audience could possibly like, yet who we’re perfectly comfortable accepting that the love interest in the movie itself could fall for. Lewis goes out on a limb here. Buddy Love is rude, crude, egocentric, sarcastic, caustic, hateful. But the audience still has no trouble believing that Stella Stevens would fall for him; after all, how many women have fallen for guys even worse than Buddy Love in real life. Buddy Love is completely and totally lacking in charm. Can you imagine Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter without charm?
Watching Jerry Lewis’ The Nutty Professor is fascinating in the same way that passing a horrible accident on the side of the road is fascinating. Buddy Love is repellant. He has absolutely no socially redeeming qualities, yet he is the center of attention wherever he goes. Buddy Love is far more despicable than, say, Norman Bates or Gordon Gecko, two more characters who made the list. Buddy Love is a genuinely disgusting human being and a fine example of how a villain should be portrayed.