The proverb, “Revenge is a dish best-served ice cold,” may have originated in the 19th century. It means that revenge is most sweet when it’s delayed. These 13 films keep us on the edge of our seats while we grit our teeth as acts of vengeance from characters who unleash their wrath on the big screen for our satisfaction and enjoyment. We’re exploring the world of revenge with these 13 movies that masterfully serve up payback.
1. The Punisher (2004)
After witnessing his family’s brutal murder, former FBI agent Frank Castle transforms into the ruthless vigilante known as The Punisher. Driven by vengeance, he wages a one-man war against the criminal underworld, using his lethal skills to mete cold-blooded justice.
2. The Revenant (2015)
Set in the unforgiving wilderness of the 19th-century American frontier, The Revenant tells the gripping story of Hugh Glass. Left for dead by his companions after a bear attack, Glass survives and embarks on a treacherous journey of revenge. Fueled by his will to survive and driven by the desire to avenge his son’s murder, Glass faces impossible odds in his quest for retribution.
3. Gladiator (2000)
In ancient Rome, Maximus Decimus Meridius, a respected general, finds his world shattered when Commodus, the corrupt emperor, kills his family and orders his execution. Surviving the attempt, Maximus becomes a gladiator, seeking vengeance in the arena as he plots to overthrow Commodus and restore honor to his name.
4. Taken (2008)
Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative, realizes his daughter was kidnapped while vacationing in Paris. Driven by a father’s love, he unleashes his lethal skills to track down the ruthless gang responsible. With relentless determination, Mills leaves no stone unturned as he dismantles the criminal organization piece by piece, ensuring that they face the consequences for their actions.
5. The Crow (1994)
A poetic tale of revenge, The Crow follows Eric Draven, who returns from the dead to seek vengeance against those who violated and murdered his fiancée. Empowered by a mystical crow, Draven becomes an unstoppable force, tracking down each gang member one by one in a macabre dance of justice.
6. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Deception, twists, and calculated moves drive this gripping tale of revenge. Caught in a deadly feud between two crime bosses, Slevin finds himself in a precarious situation. Seeking retribution for a personal tragedy, Slevin takes advantage of the chaos, meticulously orchestrating his payback plan.
7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Quentin Tarantino’s masterful storytelling combines revenge, tension, and dark humor in this alternate-history war film. Set during World War II, Inglourious Basterds follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine. Tasked with spreading fear among the Nazis, they embark on a mission to assassinate high-ranking German officials.
8. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
When a plea deal results in the release of one of his family’s murderers, Clyde Shelton refuses to accept the flawed justice system’s failure. Driven by a burning desire for retribution, Shelton orchestrates a meticulously planned game of cat and mouse.
With each calculated move, he targets the criminals and those within the legal system who allow injustice to prevail. As the body count rises and the line between right and wrong blurs, audiences are compelled to question their moral compass and confront the complexities of justice itself.
9. Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)
Returning home from the military, Richard seeks revenge on a gang of drug dealers who tormented his mentally impaired younger brother. With meticulous planning and a chilling calmness, Richard becomes an angel of vengeance, haunting his prey and making them pay for their past sins.
10. Braveheart (1995)
Set against the backdrop of Scottish independence, Braveheart tells the epic tale of William Wallace. After his wife is brutally executed, Wallace leads a revolt against English tyranny. He fights to liberate his homeland from oppression with a fearless heart and unwavering determination. Braveheart showcases the power of a single man’s desire for revenge, as Wallace symbolizes hope and inspiration for an entire nation in their fight for freedom.
11. V For Vendetta (2006)
This cult classic is set in a near-future dystopian world in London, ruled by the fascist Norsfire political party. V is an anarchist and masked freedom fighter who tries to start a revolution using terrorism. Evey Hammond, portrayed by Natalie Portman, is the daughter of activist parents caught up in V’s mission to seek revenge on people who terrorized long ago. The controversial film is stunning and thought-provoking regarding politics and terrorism.
12. Django Unchained (2012)
This daring revisionist masterpiece, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, is not without controversy, as most of Tarantino’s films are. It is entertaining, crazy, and gritty and centers on Django, portrayed by Jamie Foxx, a slave who gets his freedom in exchange for revenge on slave owners.
13. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Another fascinating revenge thriller film is considered a tribute to martial arts films written and directed by Quentin Tarantino that pays homage to his appreciation for the 1973 film Lady Snowblood. Uma Thurman portrays the Bride, a former assassin who intends revenge on a group of assassins led by their leader, David. David and the assassins attack the chapel, shooting everyone, including the Bride, and killing her unborn baby, who had been David’s child. She falls into a coma and is ready to pay revenge
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This article was initially published and syndicated by The Cents of Money.