The 10 Most Dangerous Villains In Brian De Palma’s Movies

Brian De Palma has recently opted for a quieter life. The director’s production has slowed in recent years, suggesting he’s on the road to retirement. But even if the director puts down the camera, his work spanning 4 decades will always be revered.

Among the many things that make De Palma’s films interesting are the villains. In the 30 films he has made to date, the filmmaker has managed to come up with a compelling antagonist for each, but which of the villains can be considered the most dangerous?


Alejandro Sosa (Scarface)

Sosa meets Tony in Bolivia at Scarface

Bolivian drug lord Alejandro Sosa strikes a deal with Tony Montana to smuggle cocaine into the United States via Miami. The two soon fall out, leading to a feud that ends with Montana as the loser.

Omar’s empire never collapses because he’s as brutal as villains come. And the kills come with a lot of creativity. From hanging an informant from a helicopter to planting a bomb in an investigative reporter’s car, the drug lord takes no chances throughout the film. Even the deadly Tony Montana is no match for him. In one of the greatest film finales, Sosa sends his men to Montana’s compound, resulting in a shootout that ends in Montana’s death.

Jim PhelpsMission Impossible

Jon Voight's character Jim Phelps as he appears in Mission: Impossible

When the IMF founder realizes that his Cold War-era skills are obsolete, he decides to engage in illegal activities. When he plans to sell information to an arms dealer, one of the bravest IMF agents, Ethan Hunt, tries to stop him.

Villains in the “He Was It All The Time” category are typically more deadly, dealing out a lot of damage before someone can ruin their party. This also applies to Phelps, who even positions himself as a father figure for Hunt and deserves his trust. His intelligence is evident throughout the proceedings and the fact that he dies is quite a shame as he could have become an overarching villain in the franchise.

Al Capone (The Untouchables)

Capone holds a baseball bat as he prepares to hit one of his capos in The Untouchables

Al Capone must act when Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness assembles a team to take him down. Ness eventually succeeds, but the victory is more of a Pyrrhic victory for him given how decimated his crew is.

Great villains have iconic moments, and Capone has many. In one of the best scenes in fan-favorite gangster movies, he beats a warehouse clerk to death with a baseball bat for allowing the police to take his stash of liquor. And while most gangsters shy away from the police, Capone is so audacious that he orders a hit on the police officers right in a police station. When Ness achieves a victory, not only has his partner Malone been killed, but his family is hiding in fear.

Margaret (Carrie)

Carrie and Margaret White hold hands in Carrie

Carrie’s Pharisaic mother, Margaret, continues to torment her, leading her to believe that her unhappiness is caused by sin. This leads to Carrie becoming a murderess.

What kind of mother would lock her daughter in a “prayer closet” after her first menstrual cycle and label her as a witch? Margaret would. The overly religious mother earns despicable points every minute. Also, it takes a really bad mother to stab her daughter, but that’s what Margaret does before Carrie is forced to defend herself and kill her.

Benny Blanco (Carlito’s Way)

Gangster Benny Blanco Gives Advice (Carlito's Way)

The hot-headed gangster’s feud with Carlito begins when the newly paroled protagonist refuses to work with him in his nightclub business. And everything ends badly.

Although he only appears in a few scenes in the film, Blanco is one of De Palma’s most iconic characters because he is one of the movie villains that won. In the third act, he shoots Carlito and never pays for it. He’s also good at buying his time. Although Carlito humiliates him at the beginning of the film, he doesn’t do anything until the time is right.

Commander Kevin Dunne (Snake Eyes)

Commander Kevin Dunne threatens the protagonist (Snake Eyes)

Dunne orchestrates the assassination of his boss, the Secretary of Defense, as part of a larger government conspiracy. When a few people, including his cop friend Nick Santoro, find out what he’s up to, he tries to kill them all.

Pulling off the murder of such a high-profile figure might require a lot of planning, but Dunne pulls it off without first appearing as a suspect. And his true bloodthirsty nature is revealed when he hunts everyone down to protect himself. From torture to bribes to gunfights, Dunne uses everything from the villain’s handbook before taking his own life, realizing he is about to be caught.

Anthony CasteloWise Guys

Anthony Castelo's henchmen light him cigarettes (Wise Guys)

Mob boss Anthony Castello clashes with two of his henchmen after they place a wrong bet on a race he rigged. Unable to pay the $259,000 they owe him, the henchmen decide to flee, forcing Castelo to hunt them down.

Castelo is the quintessential Don and does everything that is expected of a man in his position. He tortures the two for a whole night, forcing them to hit each other before sending hitmen after them. And his hit is pretty effective as one of them ends up dead.

Sergeant Tony Meserve (war casualty)

Senn Penn's character during an argument in Casualties Of War

Frustrated that his team was denied furloughs during the Vietnam War, Merserve orders his men to kidnap a girl. Angered by his boss’ actions, Private First Class Max Eriksson becomes disobedient.

The inhumane acts Merserve commits against the innocent girl forever make him one of the most vile individuals to ever walk the screen. Not only does he get his men to attack the girl, but he kills her in a rather tragic manner. What’s even sadder is that he won’t get jail time when it’s all over.

dr Carter NixRaising Cain

A scene from Brian De Palma's Raising-Cain.

The child psychologist is devastated when his wife leaves him for another man. So he decides to make her life hell.

Carter is evil on many levels. Tied into the film’s plot is the psychologist’s obsession with children, as one of his split personalities is revealed to be murdering mothers in order to conduct experiments on their children. Watching him try to blame his wife’s lover for the murders is just as disturbing as trying to kill his wife.

Winslow Leach (Phantom of Paradise)

Phantom of paradise phantom playing music

Leach, a young singer, is tricked into giving his life’s work to a music producer. Enraged, he goes on a mission to terrorize him.

Leach is a unique villain because he only wreaks havoc in one specific location, a concert hall. The mild supernatural elements also make him terrifying. And while he can’t do a lot of murders, he does provide plenty of horror, making the film as a whole a horror classic

NEXT: The 10 most prolific Hollywood directors ranked by the number of films made The 10 Most Dangerous Villains In Brian De Palma’s Movies

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