Most of us have contemplated revenge at some point; that overwhelming feeling of fury makes you want to right a wrong or simply get ahead of your enemy.
Some have acted on that impulse in real life, while others have shown enough self-control to let it go. But sometimes, watching a movie about sweet revenge is enough to satisfy the desire for payback.
Best Revenge Movies
If you love stories where the protagonist finally takes back what’s theirs and where the villain ultimately gets what they deserve, then revenge movies are for you!
Check out some of the greatest revenge movies ever made below.
1. The Crow
A man and his fiance are brutally beaten and murdered. A year later, a crow taps on the man’s gravestone, resurrecting him. Now immortal, he sets out to avenge his and his fiance’s deaths.
2. Death Wish
Paul Kersey’s wife is beaten to death; his daughter is raped and traumatized to the point of catatonia. When police inform him that the perpetrators will probably never be found, Paul becomes a vigilante, bringing justice to the criminals in his city.
William Wallace begins a revolt against English tyranny after witnessing his family’s death and, years later, his wife’s rape and execution. With enemies posing as friends, Wallace must do all he can to achieve Scottish independence.
4. Old Boy
Oh Dae-su is captured and imprisoned for 15 years, with no explanation as to why he was captured or who is behind it. Now free, he begins tracking down his captors for retribution.
Seventeen-year-old Carrie is constantly bullied by her classmates and deprived by her mother. She finally snaps when her classmates play a cruel joke on her at prom. Furious, she begins to use her newfound telekinetic powers on all her tormentors.
Grey is left paralyzed and his girlfriend after an attack. Experimental technology gives him hope, allowing him to walk again. With it, he begins to hunt down those who took everything from him.
Maximus, a popular Roman general, is betrayed by Commodus, the jealous son of the Roman emperor. His family is murdered and he is sentenced to be a gladiator. While earning the adulations of the people of Rome, he begins to plot Commodus’s downfall.
Leonard Shelby is searching for the man who raped and murdered his wife. The attack has also left him with anterograde amnesia, which prevents him from creating new memories. He must find a way to solve the mystery while dealing with memories that reset every 15 minutes.
9. Kill Bill (Volume 1&2)
The Bride punches her way out of her grave to seek revenge on those who wronged her. Her former colleagues and boss/lover have disappeared, and her daughter is gone with them. Now, it’s a rampaging chase across countries to retrieve her child and learn why they betrayed her.
10. Lady Snowblood
Yuki was born for one purpose—to kill those who gang-raped her mother and killed her father. While still a child, she undergoes brutal sword training to become her mother’s weapon. Now grown, she begins to fulfill her life’s purpose.
11. The Equalizer
Retired marine Rob McCall has been living a quiet life after promising his dead wife to leave his violent past behind. When a young woman he befriends is violently mistreated, he decides to use his skills to teach some people a lesson. Only, it’s the Russian mafia he’s going to have to confront.
12. The Princess Bride
Inigo Montoya, though not the central character in this film, is as memorable as the others. His father, a great swordsmith, was commissioned to forge a sword only to be betrayed and murdered. Since then, he’s been carrying a vendetta against the six-fingered man who left him fatherless.
In 19th century Wyoming, a prostitute is brutalized by a gang of cowboys. Her fellow brothel workers post a reward to avenge the attack. William Munny, an aging outlaw-turned-farmer takes it on as his one last job.
14. The Shawshank Redemption
Andy Dufresne is sentenced to life for the murder of his wife and her lover. Despite evidence of his innocence, the prison warden refuses to free him, having become essential in the warden’s money laundering scheme. Over the course of two decades, Andy plots to escape and reveal the prison’s corruption.
15. John Tucker Must Die
Three women learn they are dating the same person, basketball star John Tucker, at the same time. They plan to break his heart, enlisting new girl Kate to join in their plot. After giving Kate the makeover she needs, they slowly make John fall for her, only to have her break his heart in the end.
16. Once Upon a Time in the West
A young woman arrives at the frontier only to find her family slain. A mysterious gunman with a harmonica, along with a notorious outlaw, team up to protect the widow and exact revenge against her family’s ruthless killer.
17. The Revenant
Hugh Glass is left behind after he is injured from an attack. Fearing for their lives, his remaining companion kills Glass’s son and leaves him half-dead. Glass survives and begins the agonizing journey back to civilization — and justice.
18. Point Blank
A man named Walker is shot in the back by his literal partner-in-crime, Reese, who takes off with his money and wife. He survives, and acquires help from a mysterious source. He tracks down his partner and to claim his money, only to find a criminal organization in his way.
19. Hard Candy
Fourteen-year-old Hayley Stark is an online vigilante who baits pedophiles to bring them to justice. She begins an online flirtation with one, and he brings her to his apartment. There she taunts him with a combination of mind games and physical torture, all engineered to force him to confess to a local girl’s disappearance.
20. John Wick
John Wick is a retired assassin content with living a quiet life. While still mourning his wife’s death, he is beaten unconscious, his dog killed, and his car stolen. Waking up, he steps back into the world he left to exact vengeance, even if his target is the son of a kingpin he once served.
Why Do We Love Revenge Stories?
Revenge stories are a mixture of mystery and suspense. You, the reader, are left waiting for the moment that the antagonist is finally defeated and the protagonist emerges victorious.
The concept of revenge is mood-enhancing, and rewards you with an adrenaline rush as you read about villains getting their comeuppance. Why? Because even though we see forgiveness as more meaningful, revenge is far more entertaining.
It’s part of our instincts to feel that people who commit wrondoings should be punished. So don’t feel guilty when you find yourself pushing for an antagonist’s demise or bad fortune!
Cole is a blog writer and aspiring novelist. He has a degree in Communications and is an advocate of media and information literacy and responsible media practices. Aside from his interest in technology, crafts, and food, he’s also your typical science fiction and fantasy junkie, spending most of his free time reading through an ever-growing to-be-read list. It’s either that or procrastinating over actually writing his book. Wish him luck!