Top 10 Best Revenge Movies, Ranked

Revenge tragedy is a theoretical genre in which the principal theme is retribution and its often-fatal consequences. For most films, the second part tends to get left out. The revenge genre is often one of the most engaging forms of storytelling in cinema. If the story is personal for the main character, it makes it personal for the viewer. Whatever choices are made, for better or worse, they are more easily understood. Most revenge films may be more of the action variety, starting with a man with a past and a mission, and will often end happily despite all the destruction and bodies left in the hero’s wake. The Commando, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a perfect example.

The best revenge films make the viewer feel and think. Whether the protagonist felt cheated, betrayed, or personally attacked, the act of seeking revenge in some way changes them. To avenge the death of a wife or to rescue a kidnapped child may turn someone into an entirely different person who does things they never thought capable of themselves. Sometimes their actions can cause more harm than good and leave the audience asking themselves, was It all worth it?

And with that, here is our list of the top 10 revenge films.


10
Carrie (1976)

carrie_prom_shot_1050_591_81_s_c1-2

Photo Credit – Red Bank Film

This classic horror tale follows Carrie, a bullied teenage girl who finds out she has telekinesis. On a night that was supposed to be a turnaround in her tumultuous life, she is humiliated in front of the entire school by her tormentors and snaps, deciding enough is enough. This film shows a vulnerable girl with a unique ability reaching her breaking point in a brutal climax that is still synonymous in pop culture decades later.

9
John Wick

John Wick

Photo Credit – Summit Entertainment

John Wick wanted to leave his past as an assassin behind and grow old with his wife. But, when she dies, she leaves behind a beagle pup so that John doesn’t have to grieve alone, giving him a final glimmer of hope after losing the one person he loved. But, when thugs break into his house and kill the dog, his hope is snuffed out, and rage takes over, setting a bullet-riddled path to avenge his lost friend in a world that wouldn’t let him be.

8
Taken

Taken

Photo Credit – EuropaCorp

A retired CIA operative and divorcee listens helplessly as his estranged daughter is abducted half the world away. Then, with her kidnappers listening, he gives a deadly warning, let her go or die. Parents who see Taken won’t find it challenging to connect with the stoic father. What parent doesn’t think of the lengths they’ll go to protect their kids?

7
CAPE FEAR (1962 & 1991)

Cape Fear (1991)

Photo Credit – Amblin Entertainment, Cappa Films, Tribeca Productions

Flipping the narrative of revenge against the hero, both of these films, the original and the Scorcese remake, showcases a deadly cat and mouse game between a deranged convict and his former lawyer who let him go to prison. Here is an example of the consequences of doing the right thing. When the lawyer, Sam, had a chance to save the deranged Max Cady from prison, he hid crucial evidence upon realizing his guilt. Almost two decades later, Cady is released and tracks down Sam to punish him for his deed.

Related: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review

6
The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

Photo Credit – Touchstone Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment

Edmond Dantes had a great life, a great career, and a loving fiance. That is until he’s betrayed by his best friend and finds himself wrongly imprisoned with everything good in his life stolen from him. Edmond has been thinking about the life he once had and the friend who betrayed him for almost two decades and is ready to take back what’s his. So first, he escapes confinement. Then he enters the world of aristocracy as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo to get close to the man who betrayed him. This tale shows what one can achieve with time and patience and shows that not all ghosts stay dead.

5
Memento

Memento (2000)

Photo Credit – Summit Entertainment, Team Todd

In this head-spinning adventure, Leonard sets out to avenge the murder of his wife. However, he suffers from short-term memory loss and must write notes that lose all meaning after falling asleep. This winding tale in Memento follows two threads that reveal tiny morsels of the puzzle as Leonard struggles to find his wife’s killer. One thread plays the sequence of events backward, while a thread in black in white flays forward. Both end in a surprise ending that is not easily forgotten.

4
Gladiator

Gladiator-1

Via: IMDb

Maximus was a renowned Roman general loved by all, including the aging Emperor who named him his successor to rule as regent. Unfortunately, this results in a coup that sees the Emperor’s son kill his father and condemn Maximus and his family to death. When the general is unable to save his wife and son, he is captured and sold as a gladiator to fight until he dies. This leads him to face his family’s killer once more as it brings him to the colosseum, where Commodus holds the Gladiator games. Now able to look his enemy in the eyes once more, and with his men still behind him, Maximus prepares to take his vengeance.

Related: Promising Young Woman Review: Carey Mulligan Dazzles in Wicked Revenge Thriller

3
The Crow

TheCrow

Via: IMDb

The Crow unfolds on a night before Halloween when Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancée are brutally murdered by the henchmen of a vicious drug lord. As Eric’s soul is escorted to the afterlife, a raven intervenes and guides him back to the land of the living to take his revenge against those who killed him and his lover. His time is limited, however, as the window for his retribution is closing.

2
KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2

killbill

Via: IDMb

This epic saga of blood and mayhem see’s a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad return from a four-year coma to take her vengeance against her four former allies after they killed her fiancé and unborn child. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 in a high-impact bloody good time that follows the would-be Bride cutting through anything and everything in the way of her justice and ends in a final confrontation with the orchestrator behind all the chaos, Bill, her former boss, and lover.

1
Oldboy

Oldboy

Photo Credit – Show East

A loutish drunk finds himself imprisoned with nothing but a bed and a TV, on which he watches the news that his wife was murdered and that he is the prime suspect. With nothing but time, Oh Dae-su spends the next 15 years thinking of revenge. Then, he is mysteriously set free. What follows is a mystery to discover who imprisoned him. With brutal action and a shocking twist ending, Oldboy is the perfect story of revenge and punishment as the viewer gradually realizes that not only why Dae-su was imprisoned, but why he was set free.


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