Movies where the bad guys win?

I hate how so many movies introduce you to these really cool bad guys, and then inevitably to teach a lesson the bad guy has to die or lose. I love movies where they actually get away with the crime, like “Quick Change” starring Bill Murray.

Got any?


Consider Alien.

What, exactly, did the alien do that was so bad? It was snatched from its nest, it killed only in self-defence but finished up floating around in Space with only a harpoon for company.

Totally unjust.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds. Like…

  1. “Chinatown”

  2. “The Wicker Man”

  3. “The Vanishing” (Dutch version- the American version had a contemptibly happy ending.)

  4. “The Omen” and “Damien: The Omen II” (Damien gets his in “The Omen 3,” however")

  5. “The Last Seduction”

  6. “Body Heat” (Well… ONE of the killers goes to prison, and one gets away scot-free.)

  7. “Hannibal” and “The Silence of the Lambs” (Hannibal Lecter kills a host of people, and gets away.)

  8. “Fallen” (despite Denzel’s best effort, the demon survives and will kill lagain)

And of course, MOST latter-day horror movies allow the bad guy to come out on top at the end. Jason Voorhees and Freddie Krueger and Michael Myers and Leatherface and the Tall Man are ALWAYS still breathing/twitching at the end. Hey, there’d be no profitable sequels if the bad guy ever REALLY lost.

A Shock to the System with Michael Caine - an overlooked black-comedy gem. Caine plays a businessman who
goes postal after being passed over for promotion.

Best line:

Detective: “He was your superior, wasn’t he?”
Caine: “No. He was my boss.”

I think it goes without saying that this thread could contain plenty of spoilers. Therefore, I’ll preface this post by saying that this post contains spoiler material.

I recall Keyser Soze successfully slipping away from the arm of the law at the end of The Usual Suspects.

At the end of Fight Club, Tyler Durden succeeds in his plan of blowing all up all those buildings housing the credit card companies.

For some reason, the first movie I thought of was Kingpin.

First one I thought of was Unforgiven. By his own admission William Munny was a killer of women and children.

Se7en– Everything happens exactly as John Doe plans.

The Last Broadcast– The murderer gets away with the killings.

In a way, Swimming with Sharks.

A Clockwork Orange


The Godfather
The Last Seduction

Storm of the Century.

The Conversation
Blow Up
Blow Out
Arlington Road
No Way Out
Invasion of the Body Snatchers The remake; in the original, there is still some hope.

astorian, I think in most of the cases you list, the villain dies at the end of each movie, only to be resurrected at the beginning of the next one. But of course, this makes the villain the star of the series, which is pretty much the same thing.

One of the things I like about “The Outer Limits” is the way that the bad guys usually win. The good guys winning is unusual.

We need movies in which the bad guys win occasionally to add to the suspense of those movies in which they don’t.

Colossus - The Forbin Project Scared the poo out of me as a wee lad. Just cheesy now.

Only if you miss or disagree with the point of the movie. I don’t want to say much more without a spoiler warning, but Sam wins in the only way he can.

The Phantom Menace

Just enough attention is paid to Darth Maul to get you anticipating that he’ll be around at least for Episode 2. But it doesn’t work out that way. Maybe Darth Maul wasn’t willing to be in a movie called Attack of the Clones.

Oops, sorry…darn, misread the OP and posted too quick. Was posting a movie that demonstrated the senseless distruction of a perfectly good villain.

Event Horizon
In the Mouth of Madness
man, I wish I could remember more…

The Empire Strikes Back…even though (most) everything turns out all right in RotJ.

I love The Outer Limits for the very reason that the bad guy wins most of the time (or they at least have the plot twist at the very end). It always makes you think, unlike shows/movies that have a feel good ending.