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"I just did what I do best; I took your little plan and I turned it on itself."

Examples of the Magnificent Bastard in film.


  • The Man With No Name from A Fistful of Dollars rides into a town and plays both feuding sides against each other for fun and profit. Even when he gets found out, he still manages to dupe one gang into killing the other, then manipulates the remainder in order to kill them off.
  • Jason Bourne from The Bourne Series is a Magnificent Bastard. He's a The Chessmaster of the greatest sort, amazingly able to work every new situation to his advantage. Just when you think you're closing in on him you realize he has you right where he wants you, doing exactly what he wants you to do. He more or less did everything all on his own, holding off one of the most dangerous organisations in the US Government off him, and even taking the fight back to their doorstep, THREE times.
  • The Joker from The Dark Knight is an unorthodox example of this trope. There's just something about the supreme competence and control he exhibits throughout the entire film, not to mention the style and Laughably Evil theatrics, that can make one forget (almost) that he's a Complete Monster. Joker Crosses the Line Twice. Hell, he dances a jig up and down the line.
    • When you manage to convince a man that it's not your fault you killed his wife-to-be, but the fault of those who were working to save both of them, and that it wasn't anything personal because you were just trying to teach Gotham a lesson in mayhem; all while WEARING A NURSE'S OUTFIT, you're a Magnificent Bastard. The best example, however is when he goes through his elaborate plot to kill Dent, gets locked up in jail, but manages to have a bomb in the stomach of another prisoner, which he sets off. Of course, he had to be a part of all this to make it work. Oh, and "How about a magic trick? I'm going to make this pencil disappear! * WHAM* Ta-Da! It's gone!"
      • Which then leads to some degree of Fridge Logic when the Joker claims not to be a "schemer", and the Fandom supports this. The implications seem to be that the Joker has tons of plans going on at once, that he will only put into effect when it seems interesting or fun to do so, while abandoning others because they're just so boring. He is a schemer, but an incredibly chaotic one as opposed to the orderly schemers he's up against.
    • The Book Of The Film gives the backstory of the crime boss known as the Chechen, who rose from being a penniless orphan in Chechnya to being a big fish in Gotham through the drug market and some luck. In the film itself, he's portrayed as having more sense than his Smug Snake colleagues, including being willing to hear Joker's proposition out and noting that he had a point about Lau. His only real downfall was being unable to comprehend the depths of Joker's madness and reasons for doing things, which he honestly cannot be blamed for.
    • There was also Ra's al Ghul from Batman Begins. Aside from the fact that he has trained Batman, he is a competent schemer, a Manipulative Bastard, and very charismatic, coming off as warm and even fatherly in many of his scenes. He also kept his identity hidden by having decoys speak and act on his behalf for many years. Even when his initial plan failed, he was ultimately responsible for the massive outbreak from Arkham Asylum which led to the Joker's rise in Gotham. And when that didn't work out, his former disciple, Bane, rebuilt his organization years later and set out to finish whatever he started. Ra's is pretty much the Bigger Bad of the trilogy in this sense. If it helps, he was also played by Liam Neeson.
    • Bane from The Dark Knight Rises also qualifies. Being a Genius Bruiser of epic proportions and possessing gifted eloquence, Bane was able to challenge Batman in ways that not even the Joker was able to do before him. This is emphasized during their first fight, in which Bane recites a segmented "Reason You Suck" Speech while effortlessly breaking poor Bruce in both body and spirit. He then goes on a literal reign of terror over Gotham by toppling the city government and inciting a (faux) class revolution that would have made Vladimir Lenin envious, all in order to spiritually torment Bruce further (Bruce can see everything that's going down in Gotham on a conveniently placed television set in his prison hole) just before the city gets wiped off the map by a bomb that's set to be detonated by his partner in a matter of days. The most magnificent part is that he accomplished everything the Joker set out to do, minus the horrific end goal of endless chaos, halfway through the film!
      • Selina Kyle and Talia al Ghul are contenders as well. Selina, aka The Catwoman, is an attractive and charismatic woman who's a thief, a trickster, a Manipulative Bitch, and an ass-kicker. Despite her having stolen the necklace that belonged to Bruce's mother, his keepsake of her from when she was murdered, Bruce finds himself fond of her and even attracted to her...even after she steals his car by passing herself off as his wife on her way out of a party. She's a Noble Demon with a strong honor code and sense of fairness. Meanwhile, Talia is the charming daughter of Ra's al Ghul, partner and lover of Bane, and for a while, Bruce's girlfriend AND proprietor of Wayne Enterprises. All of Bane's actions can be traced to her, as she secretly had a hand in all of it and concocted the entire evil plot with him. But she added the extra touch of seducing Bruce so that she can reveal her true colors to him right before killing him, in a literal twist of a knife, to break his heart - all for revenge for her father, whom she blames Bruce for taking from her.
  • L.A. Confidential: The film version of Captain Dudley Smith is a charming, witty corrupt police officer who tries to get control of all criminal activity in Los Angeles after the fall of gangster Mickey Cohen leaves a power vacuum behind. He chases away or kills off all criminal opposition in the city. When officer Dick Stensland and private bodyguard Buzz Meeks try to get more out of a major heroin deal they made with him he kills both of them, one in a diner massacre that leaves a dozen innocent people dead. He frames a trio of rapist criminals for the massacre, and orders them killed during the arrest by his associates to make sure they won't talk. After manipulating the entire department, he later begins eliminating loose ends and even sets up his young rival Edmund Exley sleeping with his muscle Bud White's girlfriend to trick Bud into killing Edmund to get rid of them both. Coming within an inch of victory, Dudley embodies both the charm and corruption that a police badge can conceal.
  • Addison De Witt from All About Eve. You know you've met a larger than life character when he has "wit" in his name. A Deadpan Snarker, Upper Class Wit and Chessmaster, De Witt is a theatre critic with astonishing power and influence. He can destroy the reputation of top actresses in a single column. Smug Snake Eve Harrington makes the mistake of crossing Addison and suffers a Villainous BSOD when he gives her a Hannibal Lecture.
  • Ruthless businessman Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood, though he would be more of a Magnificent Bastard if he were more refined and less erm, hot tempered!
  • The Gift' (2015): Gordon "Gordo" Moseley was a troubled youth horrendously bullied by Simon Callem during high school. Upon learning that Simon still mocks him behind his back, Gordo enacts a complex plan to get back at him. He would tap in to Simon's sound system so he would hear his every move, orchestrating several break-ins at his house, leak information about Simon's underhanded business tactics to his bosses costing Simon his job, and give Simon a video of Gordo next to his wife Robyn. When Simon demands Gordo if he had sex with Robyn, Gordo doesn't confirm or deny the fact causing Simon to rush to the hospital where he is met with scorn from Robyn, whom Gordo told her of Simon's bullying ways. With Simon breaking down after loosing his job and wife, Gordo watch from afar before walking away completely satisfied that he ruined Simon's life similar to how Simon ruined his life.
  • Vito Corleone, The Godfather himself, is the charismatic head of the Corleone family who started the crime family from nothing. After being bullied in his youth by the supposed mafioso Don Fanucci, Vito soon outplayed and disposed of him, becoming a "treasured friend" to the neighborhood who traded favor for favor. Even in his old age, Vito is the true strength of the Corleone family, who holds most of New York's judges and politicians in his pocket. When he is gunned down by the assassins of Virgil Sollozzo, Vito later returns after his eldest son's death, but uses a peace summit to determine who the true mastermind of the war was before making plans so his son Michael will wipe out all the enemies of the family, even after Vito's death. An iconic who defined The Don, Vito misses little chance to show why he is the most talented and powerful Don in the nation.
    • In Part II, Hyman Roth, seeking revenge for his protege and friend Moe Greene at Michael's hands, has Michael's brother Fredo manipulated into giving his men a chance to murder Michael. Also manipulating a situation in New York through his proxies the Rosato Brothers, Roth has them attempt to murder Michael's New York caporegime, Frank Pentangelli, while making him think it was Michael's doing. Roth then uses Frank's survival to get him to turn witness for the State, even buying out the members of the Senate's investigative committee so Michael will be personally indicted. Soft spoken and relaxed, Roth hides an utterly devious mind, seeking personal revenge under the guise of everything being "strictly business" and comes closest to bringing Michael down.
  • Hayley Stark in Hard Candy is an extremely gifted teenage girl, who uses her intellect to lure out pedophiles, rapist and murderers. Hayley gets them into a false sense of security making them believe she is a naive young girl, before tearing into to them both physically and emotionally, then driving them to suicide. Upon luring out Jeff, Hayley tears into him so bad that she pushes him into the Five Stages of Grief, until finally calling his alleged former hookup, Janelle, and threatening to play the victim card in front of her unless Jeff kills himself.
  • Though possibly more of a Guile Hero, Danny Ocean from Ocean's Eleven exemplifies the protagonist angle of this trope. A persuasive, imaginative, charismatic and highly organized professional criminal with an impeccable sense of style, Danny Ocean pulls off an impressive Plan; robs the central vault of three casinos and gets his ex-wife to break off her relationship with the antagonist.
  • John Dillinger from Public Enemies. There's a reason he's so hard to catch. The guy pulls off heist after heist on guarded banks while leading his gang, never losing his gentlemanly exterior and refusal to rob civilians that makes him a folk hero to many. Upon being arrested thanks to a fire at his hotel, Dillinger carves a wooden pistol and uses it to take the guards hostage, bluffing his way to freedom where he resumes his usual activities and remains one step ahead of the law the whole way through. Dillinger at one point even strolls into a police station wearing a disguise just to ask the cops the score to a baseball game out of sheer audacity, repeatedly showing that as one man against the federal government, he usually has the advantage.
    • If you were to read the history of his real-life counterpart, he was arguably more awesome than the film depiction.
    • Also from another Michael Mann crime film, Neil McCaulay from Heat. Pulling off a daring heist against an armored car to steal bearer bonds and then sell them back to their original owner, things go wrong when the psychotic Waingro executes a guard and escapes Neil's attempt to kill him in retribution. Neil then plans a masterful bank heist, executing it almost flawlessly if not for Waingro and his arch-nemesis Steve van Zant tipping off the cops. After losing his friends and comrades, Neil even forsakes a chance to get to safety in order to avenge them by killing van Zant and Waingro before facing off with his nemesis, LAPD cop Vincent Hanna with whom he shares an incredible respect despite being on the opposite ends of the law.
  • Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects. Just...watch the film, get to the ending, and you'll see why he is unquestionably one of these.
  • Ozymandius of Watchmen, arguably moreso than his comic book counterpart as his masterstroke doesn't rely on a fake, alien, psionic squid thing.
  • Hannibal Lecter of Silence of the Lambs, who escapes being a Complete Monster by not eating people who are polite to him (which includes not insulting his intelligence by trying to outsmart him).
  • Graham Marshall (Michael Caine) in A Shock to the System. He methodically murders his bitchy wife and sleazy boss, beds his beautiful coworker, gets her to help him cover up the crimes after she finds out he did it (and drugged her to create an alibi), rubs the homicide cop's nose in it, and in the last scene takes out the chairman of the board and takes his place. And does it all with a Deadpan Snarker narration that is 200-proof Michael Caine gold.
  • One word: KKHHAAANNNN!!!!, Star Trek's best example of the Magnificent Bastard, though not the last.
    • Chang, played with brilliant bastardliness by Christopher Plummer, in Star Trek VI the Undiscovered Country. He banters with Kirk at dinner, claiming Shakespeare is best recited in the "original Klingon", and even as he's pounding the Enterprise to death while cloaked, he still has time to quote Henry V, Julius Caesar and Hamlet.
    • In Into Darkness, John Harrison plays just about everyone with ease and style. And then it's revealed that he's Khan. It was perfectly obvious that he would inevitably fit this trope with ease even before the movie was released.
  • Senator / Chancellor / Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. Sith-ness notwithstanding, he managed to shape the entire galaxy in his image, had manipulated every major event for the past two decades or so, and had kept everyone assured of his respectability and trustworthiness while doing so. As he declared himself ruler-for-life (and was applauded by the Senate for doing so) he could justifiably claim to have earned it. And his start to political prominence was over a seemingly minor trade dispute. Which he started. Manages to be both this and a Complete Monster, since it helps he's motivated by pure ambition.
  • In the Saw films, John Kramer aka the Jigsaw Killer was a law-abiding civil engineer before losing his unborn son, becoming estranged from his wife, and being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in quick succession. Jigsaw uses his skills and intellect to become a prolific Serial Killer, designing elaborate death traps and picking his victims on the basis of their perceived lack of gratitude for the blessing of life. Fostering multiple protegés, only some of whom are even aware of each other, Jigsaw blackmails a hospital orderly to impersonate him to allay suspicion, manages to escape from police custody by manipulating the lead detective responsible for capturing him, uses his more devoted followers as back-up insurance against those who do not follow his teachings properly, and is responsible for schemes planned so far in advance that he continues to effect events even a decade after his death.
  • Tony Wendice in Dial M for Murder. After discovering his wife Margot is cheating on him, he creates a complex plan to kill her while arranging a perfect alibi for himself and mentally punishing the man who cuckolded him at the same time. When Margot proves more resilient than he expected and kills the man he blackmailed into doing the deed, he only needs a few minutes to come up with a new plan to make it appear that she committed the act in cold blood. Even when his scheme is in danger of being exposed, he is quickly able to come up with a new way to turn the situation to his advantage. And finally when against all odds his whole plot is exposed, he turns out to be one of the all time great Graceful Losers, pouring wine for everyone who had a hand in finding him out (except a cop who he notes is still on duty).
  • Leslie Vernon, from Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. He's an aspiring spree killer (in the vein of Jason Vorhees and Freddy Krueger, as the movie is a big Deconstructor Fleet of slasher films) who is chosen to be the subject of a documentary that the main character, Taylor Gentry, is making. She eventually becomes great friends with Leslie, who turns out to be quite charismatic. Then, she is surprised when he does go through with the killings, his chosen victims trapped in a mansion that he pretreated to be lethal. She decides to help, but when she goes into the mansion, she realizes Leslie's real plan: she and her crew were also intended to be his victims, and they're playing right into his hands. Finally, she is the last victim left, and manages to kill him in exactly the way he said the final girl would. Unfortunately, he planned this the whole time, taking the preparations required to fake his own death...
    • And he even tells her how and by which means he is going fake his own death!
  • Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can is a born Con Man whose first relatively harmless scheme involved impersonating his French teacher, fooling the entire school for weeks. His later criminal actions consist of acquiring millions of dollars by writing fraudulent checks, sending out fake letters, and posing as air plane pilots, doctors, and lawyers, all to live a lavish lifestyle spent in expensive hotels, throwing parties, and sleeping with numerous women he seduces, as well as a high-class prostitute whom he tricks into paying him for the night spent with her. When the FBI's Financial Crimes unit starts pursuing him, Frank cleverly manages to avoid capture numerous times, such as performing a Bavarian Fire Drill that convinces FBI Agent Carl Hanratty that Frank is a Secret Service agent, and in his most audacious scheme, smuggling himself through an airport filled with FBI agents by recruiting a group of handsome stewardesses to distract the men supposed to be watching out for him. Although the law ultimately catches up with him, Frank is a Lovable Rogue who is so good at what he does that he's able to elude the authorities for years and all before he was even 21.
  • Kuwabatake Sanjuro from Yojimbo. Not only does he play two rival gangs like fiddles, causing them both to collapse with little suspicion drawn to himself, he's able to turn his capture, which he didn't plan to his advantage.
  • The enigmatic, philosophical Villain Protagonist of Collateral, "Vincent", is a ruthless yet suave Professional Killer, tasked with eliminating witnesses to the crimes of drug lord Felix Reyes-Torrena. Bribing taxi driver Max Durocher to unwittingly assist him, Vincent has Max transport him while he murders his targets. Genuinely affable, Vincent respectfully listens to the story of a jazz club owner before offing him and visits Max's sick mother in the hospital, even bringing her flowers. Adapting when Max destroys the files on his targets, Vincent has Max retrieve a new copy from Felix, both keeping his anonymity and leading the police to mistakenly believe Max is him. Fatally wounded by Max while hunting his last target, Vincent chooses to calmly accept his fate, giving Max some parting words before passing.
  • In Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Lee Geum-ja once took the fall for murder for her older lover Mr. Baek, who threatened to murder her daughter if she refused. Geum-ja spends over a decade in prison, cultivating a reputation as a kind-hearted saint who does favors for everyone, even giving a kidney for a woman who needs an operation. Geum-ja also poisons the rapist prison bully, and upon being released sets about getting revenge on Baek. Calling on all her favors and finding her daughter, she manipulates Baek to his capture and discovers he is a serial child killer. To deal with him, she allows the parents of his victims to torture him to death, and insure equal complicity so that none of them will talk without implication themselves.
  • Target (2018 film): Raditya Dika's friend, Hifdzi Khoir, is the mastermind behind the suffering of Dika and his other friends. Kidnapping the wife of a master hypnotist, he forces the hypnotist into playing as the patsy of his schemes. Seemingly a Butt-Monkey for much of the film, he pretends to suffer injuries to force his friends into being contestants in the decoy mastermind's game. Saving the survivors from the decoy mastermind, he reveals himself to be the one pulling the strings, making off safely after playing his friends. Though Hifdzi showed he was a callous manipulator, his whole scheme was done to honor his late father and show his disgust for what he sees as deceit in modern movies studios fabricating their stories.
  • Harry Lime from The Third Man. "Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax--the only way you can save money nowadays." And he's played by Orson Welles.
  • Unbreakable: Elijah Price, aka "Mr. Glass", was born with a genetic disease that causes his bones to be exceptionally brittle. After seeking solace in comic books handed him by his mother, he sets out to fulfill his life's purpose by becoming a supervillain and finding his heroic counterpart. He orchestrates several large-scale disasters such as train wrecks, hotel fires, and blowing up passenger planes, until he finally finds a miraculous Sole Survivor in David Dunn. Elijah proceeds to stalk David and his family, subtly manipulating him into fulfilling his destiny as a superhero until David answers his calling and saves several lives. Only then does Elijah knowingly expose his machinations to David, revealing David's new friend to in fact be his ultimate arch-nemesis, an Evil Genius who managed to kill hundreds while remaining undetected and was able to hide his true nature even from the hero.
  • Bill "The Butcher" Cutting from Gangs of New York has the hero at his mercy at one point in the movie, but instead of killing him decides to build him into a Worthy Opponent so they can have a Battle Royale With Cheese because having everyone living in terror of him is boring. Well, not quite. He lets the hero live because he considers him Not Worth Killing, who views being left alive by the Butcher as shameful. Which, in fact, may add to this magnificence. It helps that he's played with gusto by Daniel Day Lewis.
  • Bill, namesake of Kill Bill, who drove his former employee/lover to come out of a 4-year coma just to kill him for his magnificent bastardry. Oh, and he put a "cap in [The Bride's] crown" AS she told him she was pregnant with his baby. Then proceeded to adopt that baby. Magnificent.
  • Hans Gruber from Die Hard holds a building hostage in order to trick the FBI into helping him steal huge sums of cash from it. That alone qualifies him. But when he's played with deliciously slimy charisma by Alan Rickman, well, Magnificent Bastardry ensues.
    • His brother, Simon Gruber, the Big Bad of Die Hard 3, proves that Magnificent Bastardry must run in the family. He sends riddles to his opposition to give them a fair chance at stopping him, holds an entire city hostage, fakes out the police, and nearly bluffs his way into victory, all without losing audience sympathy.
  • In Hellboy, Grigori Rasputin is the agent of the Ogdru-Jahad on Earth, and the ultimate villain of the film. Responsible for summoning Hellboy in the first place during World War II, Rasputin returns from death sixty years after the fact in order to oversee the next stage of his plan, manipulating Liz into returning to the BAU, reviving Sammael the Desolate One, infiltrating the BAU with Kroenen, and using the murder of Professor Bruttenholm to bring Hellboy to Moscow. Luring the BAU team into his mausoleum, Rasputin subdues them all, and offers Hellboy a veritable Deal with the Devil, promising to return the soul he has stolen from Liz in exchange for Hellboy choosing to summon the Ogdru-Jahad and end the world. Killed when this plan fails, Rasputin's last act is to gloat as Sadu-Hem, spawn of the Ogdru-Jahad, uses his body to enter the world, proving with yet another death, that his own mortality is still no obstacle to his plans.
  • Ms. White from Inside Man. She's apparently made a career (or at least a lucrative hobby) of pulling strings and doing favors for the rich and powerful, so she can demand return favors in her own time. Early in the film, after she extracts a demand from the Mayor, all he can say to her is, "You are a magnificent cunt."
    • Dalton Russell would also classify. He takes a bank hostage and creates a foolproof plan to achieve his objective (hint: it's not robbing the bank) while escaping by literally walking out of the front door. Keith Frazier's entry into the plot doesn't even faze him. Russell merely modifies his existing plan and turns Frazier into an unknowing accomplice.
  • In The Name of the Rose, Jorge De Burgos is a blind, elder monk wholly convinced that mankind's salvation lies in complete obedience to God. Abhorring the ancient literature contained in the labyrinth beneath the abbey for what he perceives as its blasphemous humor, Jorge uses a book with a poisoned page to kill several monks who had knowledge of the secret library, which prompts the Abbey to call for the Jesuit William of Baskerville to investigate the mysterious deaths. When William eventually discovers the library, Jorge tries to trick William into touching the poisoned book, and when this fails, eats the poisoned pages himself and sets fire to the library, ensuring Christendom's supremacy for centuries to come.
  • Little Bill Daggett of Unforgiven. Play by his rules while in town, particularly by handing over your means of defending yourself, and he's smiling, affable, and friendly; charming, really. Cross him, however, and he'll first put you in a position where you can't fight back and then beat you within an inch of your life or kill you outright for sheer fun. He even has a speech mid-way through detailing that what makes him formidable isn't speed or skill so much as his willingness to stand his ground and count on his manipulation of the odds where other people would piss themselves with fear. He also has a speech detailing that what makes him formidable is that he takes the time to aim THE trait that makes all formidable gunfighters formidable to this day.
  • The Merovingian from The Matrix seems to fit the trope closer than Agent Smith. The Frenchman is cultured and honourable in keeping his promises, but he is still a bastard. His magnificence is mostly hinted at but he has colourful henchmen, a hot wife that he cheats on, digital love potions, an underground railroad, legions of minions, a chateau in the mountains etc.
    • Also, this is after surviving multiple reformats and rewrites of the reality he inhabits, most designed to (as a side effect) eliminate him or reduce his potential power. He's even gained Vetinari Job Security in the process, being the only undisputable leader for the variety of misfit programs ("monsters") under his control, though this became more relevant in the (defuct) MMORPG than it did in the films.
    • Agent Smith is certainly a Magnificent Bastard too. He has a goal of his own, and unlike most agents he is more individualistic, charming and has well laid plans. He eventually subverts the entire Matrix to his plans, and his power bleeds out into the real world.
  • Norman Stansfield in Leon / Léon: The Professional is a corrupt DEA agent who casually shoots up an apartment, tells the owner he stopped right in front of him because Beethoven gets boring after his overtures, and even convinces the cops that it was self-defense, despite a single person in the apartment having a gun. He's also played by Gary Oldman.
  • Jackie Brown, who manipulates almost every character in the film against one another, while she steals millions of dollars and is granted freedom from prosecution, with only her lover the wiser.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera has Rotti Largo who planted poison in Nathan Wallace's home lab, thus killing the woman they both loved. Then he convinced Nathan that Marni's death was all his (Nathan's) fault and made him work as a Repo Man for Gene Co. And that's not much considering some of the other stuff he gets away with (and tries to get away with) in the movie. In a deleted scene he managed to get Shilo to extract zydrate from her mother's corpse.
    • Amber Sweet, Rotti's daughter, has shades of this as well, mainly by the end of the film. Being played by Paris Hilton makes this all the more magnificent.
  • Evil, as portrayed by David Warner in Time Bandits, particularly during the final fight scene.
    • Jack the Ripper, also as portrayed by David Warner in Time After Time
  • Al Pacino as John Milton (The Devil) in The Devil's Advocate
  • The entire premise of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a competition between two con men to see which one is more of a Magnificent Bastard than the other. They both lose to an unknown third player.
  • The Prestige features two magicians trying to beat each other with Magnificent Bastardry.
  • Dr. Frank N Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show is this at times. He's able to manipulate two people whom he's barely met (IE: Brad & Janet) into sleeping with him, tricks said people into eating the remains of someone he killed out of pure spite (Meatloaf, anyone?), and FINALLY brainwashes not only Brad and Janet, but also his groupie Columbia and his own creation Rocky into performing a floorshow with him. All the while, for the most part, maintaining a very charismatic appeal to him.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Billy Flynn.
  • From Thick As Thieves we have Keith Ripley, a master thief who has been manipulating the steps of Miami thief Gabriel Martin (Antonio Banderas) from beginning to end, in order to pull off a heist for some Faberge Eggs from a high security vault, and he does this with so much class that you have to just love him.
  • Lacenaire, the poet, playwright and murderer from the French movie classic Children of Paradise is an outstanding example of this trope. He's proudly evil ("I'll hold my head high, until it falls into the basket"), spends the second half of the movie manipulating events even when they don't go his own way and treating the other characters in the movie as if they are figures from his plays, is charming and foppish to the point of dandyism (in the original sense of the word, he lives during the era when the term was coined), he's witty and calm even when the lesser villain, the Count of Montray, has him bodily ejected from a theater and he gets even with the count with first a Crowning Moment of Awesome and then a Crowning Moment Of Badass that must be seen to be believed. His real life namesake and counterpart was pretty salty himself, holding all Paris spellbound during his murder trial and inspiring writers like Baudelaire and Dostoevsky, who used him as one of his models for Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.
  • More like Magnificent Basterd, Standartenfuhrer (Col.) Hans Landa, aka The Jew Hunter of Inglourious Basterds steals the show with his awesomeness and magnificence. Despite being a brutal, sadistic maniac tasked with searching all of France for Jews in hiding, his wit, intelligence, romanticism, and charisma make him the real star of the show, not Raine and his Nazi-hunting Basterds. By the end of the film he's managed to take credit for killing the Nazi high command and ending the war in Europe, and got a nice seaside house in Nantucket on the side, all while allowing everyone else to do the work for him. The only hitch in the otherwise flawless execution of his plan is the swastika permanently carved into his forehead and Raine's shit on his chest. Quentin Tarantino has remarked that Hans Landa might be the greatest character he's ever written, and considering this is the guy who created Jules Fuckin Winnfield, that's saying something.
    • This character was so complex and such a magnificent basterd that we are all essentially rooting for a man called the fucking "Jew Hunter." He even says that he likes his nickname, because he feels he's done everything in his power to earn it. Until later, when he reveals to Lt. Aldo Raine that he hates the nickname, and was likely just making the statement as a manipulation tactic.
  • Nathan Muir of Spy Game may fit into this category. He demonstrates a certain amount of Chessmaster proclivities, risks his pension and his retirement to get his protege free, and manages to charm his way into the information he needs to get the job done.
    • The scene at the end, where his coworkers discover that he was never married, and he's been lying to all of them for years just for the hell of it, cements it.
    • The best intelligence agencies in the world don't even know his birthday
  • Lady Kaede is the true villain of the film Ran. Desiring revenge against Hidetora and the Ichimonji clan for slaughtering her family years ago, Kaede convinces her husband, Hidetora's eldest son Taro, to usurp his father and war against his brother Jiro. Upon Taro's death, she effortlessly seduces Jiro, convinces him to kill his wife and then manipulates him into disastrous strategies that bring the Ichimonji to ruin. When Jiro's general Kurogane confronts her when the battle is lost, Kaede calmly admits to everything, showing absolutely no fear of dying with her ultimate goals achieved.
  • One of the most dynamic villains of 80s action cinema, Damon Killian of The Running Man is a smiling, charming game show host who runs and created the "Running Man" where criminals are hunted down by the state sanctioned "Stalkers". With enough power to blackmail even the dystopian government itself, Killian forces them to give him The Hero Ben Richards for the game and tricks him into participating willingly, also throwing Richards' friends into the game as Killian plays the crowd against Richards and the rest even while upping the ante to finish them off. Having any supposed winners of the show secretly murdered, Killian in effect controls the population through his shows, and when Richards threatens he will be back before being launched in the game, Killian's only response? "Only in a rerun".
  • Crop-duster turned bank robber, the titular Charley Varrick disguises himself as an injured old man to discreetly complete his theft. Discovering the money he stole belonged to The Mafia, Varrick suggests to his friend, Harman, that they lay low, avoiding spending it for four years, to avoid suspicion. When Harman's avarice leads to him spending, Varrick double-crosses him by swapping their dental records and forging a passport to confuse the hitman sent after them. Acting friendly to the corrupt bank president, Varrick leads the hitman to believe they are associates, resulting in the president being killed. Tricking the hitman into trying to retrieve the money from a car he rigged to explode, Varrick kills him, getting away clean.
  • Following: Cobb is ordered by a gangster (The Bald Guy) to kill one of his former lovers after she started blackmailing him, then notices that a stranger (the Writer) has been following him. He plays the Writer for a complete fool, implicating himself in the murder Cobb is planning under the guise of teaching him the art of burglary. He pretends to be working with the Blonde to implicate the Writer for another murder. He reveals he's working for the Bald Guy, kills the Blonde with the same weapon the Writer used earlier in another burglary, then disappears into thin air to let the Writer take the fall.
  • In Fracture, Anthony Hopkins' character, Theodore "Ted" Crawford, with a bit of Gambit Roulette hatches a plan that allows him to shoot his cheating wife, hide the murder weapon, confess to his crime, have his charges acquitted and be immune against further trial, cause the suicide of the man sleeping with his wife, pull the plug on his comatose wife, and get away with it all. Until the last two minutes of the film anyway...
    • Which in all honesty, wouldn't get him behind bars. The evidence was obtained illegally, and he wasn't technically the one who killed her. The doctors did that, and if her death was ruled a murder, then it would mean that any and all doctors who have ever invoked a patient's "right to death" rights would have to dragged in on counts of murder.
  • Vincent Price's title character of The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a cultured, accomplished organist and theologian lashing out after the death of his beloved wife. Blaming the surgical team, Phibes spends years in hiding, letting them believe him dead, until he resurfaces and begins to murder them in a series of killings designed to emulate the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Phibes is repeatedly a step ahead of every attempt to stop or capture him and ends the film almost completely victorious. Resurfacing years later, Phibes once again destroys his rivals as he seeks to restore his Victoria to life, ending up completely untouchable by the end, with his calculating mind seeing him through every challenge.

 What kind of fiend are you?
The kind that wins!

  • Tyler Durden from Fight Club. Much like Keyzer Soze, his status will not become clear until the first viewing of the film is done.
  • Bricktop from Snatch, is really a near miss. He doesn't do much for convoluted planning, but he's a Complete Monster who nonetheless is quite funny, carries himself (and gives speeches) with style, is ruthless and willing to kill anyone in a second, and generally always seems to have control of the situation and be one step ahead of other characters. (For example take the following scene: Turkish has failed to come through on a favor to Bricktop and cost Bricktop a lot of money. Turkish runs back to his office, hoping he can get to his safe where he has enough money to flee Bricktop. Bricktop and his goons are already waiting there, they catch Turkish by surprise and have a surprisingly civilized conversation where Bricktop tells Turkish what Turkish will have to do in order to make things right, all while Turkish expects Bricktop to kill him at any moment. Then, just before leaving, Bricktop stops on his way out the door and says "Now, I know you came back here to open your safe" * Bricktop pushes aside a picture hiding the safe* "Well, now you can open it." The next scene begins with Bricktop counting all of Turkish's savings as he walks out to the car, knowing that he's left Turkish no escape and now virtually owns Turkish). Unfortunately, Bricktop's lack of planning comes back to bite him in the end, as he is badly, badly, Out-Gambitted by the movie's resident Wild Cards.
  • In Wild Things, Suzie Toller is a teenage girl from the wrong side of the tracks, masking her genius-level intellect by appearing as white trash. After one of her best friends was murdered by corrupt cop Ray Duquette, who then busted her on a bogus charge, Suzie vowed revenge. She hatches a plot wherein Suzie, her guidance counselor Sam Lombardo and Kelly Van Ryan, the rich girl Sam was sleeping with, are able to con Kelly's mother Sandra Van Ryan out of millions of dollars by having both girls falsely accuse Sam of rape, then cracking on the stand and opening the Van Ryans to a countersuit. Suzie also ordered Sam to draw Ray Duquette into the scheme by convincing him that he and Sam would get rid of both girls and split the money between the two of them instead of three-ways. After multiple betrayals and counter-betrayals and even faking her own death, at the end Suzie is the only conspirator left standing: a high-school drop-out responsible for several murders with a fortune safely stored away in an overseas account.
  • The original working title for The Good the Bad And The Ugly was The Three Magnificent Rogues. If we assume 'rogues' is, here, an Unusual Euphemism for 'Bastards', it's a much more accurate description of the film's contents than The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ever was.
  • Lee Woo-jin from Oldboy is this, through and through. Imprisoning Oh Dae-su for 15 years was only the start of his plan to ruin his life.
  • Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth, played by David Bowie. The Large Ham aspect of this trope is definitely present. As is the manipulative part, as evidenced by his plan with the drugged peach. He's also very charismatic, and manages to keep Sarah from realizing he can't directly influence her until events are down to the wire.
  • In Last of the Mohicans, the Huron warrior Magua was enslaved by the Mohawks thanks to the British Colonel Munro. Seeking revenge, Magua won over the Mohawk, becoming their blood brother until he could rejoin the Huron, only to discover his wife, thinking him dead, had married another after their children died. Filled with rage, Magua bides his time, leading a British patrol to its doom and later causes the fall of Munro's fort before massacring his followers and carving Munro's heart out before seeking to kill his daughters. When he faces Nathaniel Bumpo's adoptive brother Uncas, Magua shows his skill by killing him with no effort whatsoever, repeatedly showing why he is one of the most dangerous men on the frontier.
  • Clyde Shelton in Law Abiding Citizen. You may not approve of the idea that guides him but you have to admit and admire his style and execution.
  • Barbara from Notes On a Scandal, whose plan comes nearly to completion, after lots of manipulation. However, she was undone by her diary.
  • Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), the main character in The Bad and The Beautiful. The impoverished son of a legendary movie mogul who died bankrupt, he built up his own studio from nothing and made five Best Picture winners...and cheerfully stepped on everybody he had to in order to get it done. Some highlights: he got his best friend and creative partner to tell him all about his dream project, then stole the credit for all his ideas and gave the directing job to someone else; he recruited the alcoholic and mentally unstable daughter of a Hollywood legend to star in his next big movie, seduced her to get her through production sober, then started boffing one of the extras before the premier party was over; and he got his hot new screenwriter to finish his script by paying one of his Latin Lover leading men to seduce the guy's wife to keep her from distracting him...until the lover and the wife died in a plane crash the day they finished the final draft. So what's so magnificent about all this bastardry? In the film's final scene, all three of those people, who have gone on to become industry titans, agree to do one more film with him, saving his studio from bankruptcy. The man is just that damn charismatic.
  • Lucky Number Slevin: Slevin Kelevra was just a normal kid when both his parents were murdered on the orders of two mob bossess, The Boss and The Rabbi, to make an example of his father for trying to place a bet on a fixed horse race. The contract killer sent to take care of Slevin, Mr. Goodkat, couldn't bring himself to kill Slevin and instead raised him to follow in his footsteps as an assassin. Slevin spent years plotting the demise of his parents' killers with Goodkat's help, killing the Boss's son and both bosses' book keepers to make them even more paranoid of each other after they had already previously broken up their partnership. Goodkat then kills Nick Fisher so Slevin can pose as Nick's friend and be taken to the bosses to settle Nick's outstanding debts to both men. Slevin makes himself appear harmless before later killing the Rabbi's son as well and faking his own death, then kidnapping both mob bosses and suffocating them to death after explaining his reasons for wanting revenge. Slevin demonstrates that a dish Best Served Cold requires real mastery of the Kansas City Shuffle.
  • This phrase is used in the film Dead Man on Campus, in a reluctant appreciation of another character's immoral yet effective cunning.
  • Obadiah Stane in Iron Man. He manipulated Tony Stark's kidnapping, sold weapons to both sides of an armed conflict, and was thorough enough to eliminate the witnesses not on his payroll. Who knows what else he'd been up to before the film started? If he'd just killed Stark instead of leaving him to die of heart failure, he'd have succeeded with his plans to mass-produce Iron Man units.
    • Ivan Vanko and the Mandarin from the sequels also qualify. The former being a Genius Bruiser who hijacked Smug Snake Justin Hammer's plans of mass-producing his own Iron Man units so that they could instead be his instruments in taking revenge on Tony Stark for stealing his father's work and glory. All while keeping his composure, even right before his own death! The latter is even moreso since he turns out to be evil businessman Aldrich Killian who is using an actor named Trevor Slattery to pose as the Mandarin character in fake terrorist videos used for covering up the explosions caused by the extremis project of Killian's company, AIM. He played Trevor, Tony, the Ten Rings, and the freaking American government as part of his plan to become the country's leader who could control and capitalize off of the war on terror.
    • From another Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Loki in Thor. Manipulates the events behind his brother's banishment, then helps the king of the Frost Giants attack Odin only to kill him and launch what seems to be a justified attack on Jotunheim, all while keeping Thor in the dark on Earth. Like the above example, his downfall is in lying to Thor about what's happening in Asgard, as it motivates Thor to become worthy of his hammer and reveals Loki as the villain after Thor reunites with his warrior friends.
      • Loki's status as a Magnificent Bastard is solidified in The Avengers when he kicks off the film by opening a portal, stealing the Tesseract, killing about a dozen people, and taking control of the minds of Hawkeye and Selvig. He later reveals his plot to seize control of Earth--all fueled by a personal vendetta against Thor.
      • And in Thor: The Dark World, Loki goes from being confined to a jail cell, hated by all, never to see his mother in person again, for the rest of his very long life to the King of Asgard, having faked his own death and taken on Odin's countenance. As a result, he now possesses the Tesseract again! Bravo, Loki - you little shit!
    • Captain America: Civil War: Helmut Zemo proves his stripes as one of the greatest manipulators of the franchise. Overcome with grief over losing his family during the Avengers battle with Ultron, Zemo decides to enact vengeance against them. Knowing he is no match for them in strength, Zemo instead devises an intricate plan to break them up. Launching an attack on a UN conference, Zemo frames Bucky Barnes for the attack which starts a manhunt against him. After Bucky is captured, Zemo impersonates a UN interrogator to activate Bucky's Trigger Phrase which will put him under his control to give him information on the death of Tony Stark's parents. Finally, Zemo leaks this ruse to the media, counting on Tony Stark following Cap and Bucky to the Hydra compound in Siberia so he can accomplish his real plan: show Tony evidence that Bucky killed his parents, causing him to fly into a murderous rage and attack Bucky and Captain America, permanently fracturing the Avengers in a way they may never fully recover from. By the end, in spite of being captured by T'Challa, Zemo still accomplishes what he wanted and gracefully accepts his capture and even offers to let T'Challa kill him to avenge the death of his father. Zemo stands out in a world full of super-powered beings, aliens, sorcerers and cosmic entities with only his intelligence and able to cement himself as one of the work's most successful villain, being the man who broke the Avengers.
    • Spider-Man Homecoming: Adrian Toomes was once a hard working man who made a living salvaging Chitauri technology from The Incident. After having his occupation taken by Damage Control, he became a career criminal, taking the moniker The Vulture, and turning what was left of his salvaging company into an underground arms dealership, that would steal said technology and sell it to criminals. Toomes made sure not to leave any evidence for government officials to track his operations, while also making sure they aren't too big so that the Avengers won't view them as a threat; This process worked great for Toomes and his criminal business lasted for eight years without any problems. However, when he does face a problem in Spider-Man he isn't afraid to fight Spider-Man himself on several occasions; Spider-Man barely manages to survive those encounters with him. He is also able to uncover Spider-Man's civilian identity, Peter Parker, simply by analyzing Peter's behavior, and finds an opportunity to intimidate Peter from interfering with his operations. When this fails he sends The Shocker to distract Peter and later fights him for the final time so he wouldn't foil Toomes' latest heist job. Although threatening to kill Peter and his loved ones, its shown that Toomes greatly respects him, showing gratitude for saving his daughter's life, as well as his own, by not selling out his Secret Identity in prison, cementing Adrian Toomes as one of the most honorable, yet cunning foes in the films.
  • Gene Hackman's Herod from The Quick and the Dead. This magnificent bastard not only holds an entire town hostage as his own little kingdom, once killed a group of priests who nursed him back to health and burned down their mission, shoots and kills a boy who loves and looks up to him as a father, and was the man who forced a small girl (the protagonist) to accidentally shoot and kill her own father as she attempted to shoot through his hangman's noose (Y'know, for kids!), but he also hosts an annual picnic-and-quick-draw competition where anybody who wants to take a shot at him (literally) can do so (and most likely end up dead for the effort), all with an eat-your-heart-out smirk on his mug the whole time!
  • While we're talking about Hackman, the man whose best roles are MB roles, let's not forget Mr. Royal Tenenbaum, Esq. of Wes Anderson's film of same name. A rotten husband who refuses to give his wife the divorce she requests, who worms his way back into the affections of his children and estranged wife by faking cancer, who is likely 90% responsible for the failures of his prodigious offspring, who introduces his adopted daughter as "my adopted daughter," who shot his own son (while on the same team, a fact he cavalierly dismisses) with a BB gun, and who starts a fight with the estranged wife's new beau by using antiquated racial epithets is still, somehow, mourned when he dies at the end of the film! A breathtaking and awe-inspiring bastardy magnificence.
  • Lamar Burgess of Minority Report is the director and founder of the Precrime program, which uses premonitions extracted from three telepathic humans to predict and prevent all murder within the Washington D.C. area. However, at the same time Burgess is cunning enough to have literally made a career out of faking out Precrime; first by disguising Anne Lively's murder as an "echo", then by disguising all three visions of Crow's death as brown balls by putting the plan in action while Anderton was at the office, ensuring that he would either be arrested immediately or run, so when Crow would be found with the Orgy of Evidence that could lead Anderton to murder him, it looked planned by Anderton. When Federal Agent Danny Witwer catches on to him, Burgess promptly murders him, knowing that the system being deactivated will allow him to get away with it. The only thing Burgess couldn't see coming was Anderton figuring out everything in time to tell it all to his wife, even if he wasn't free to act on the information himself. However, even when his plot is exposed and faced with the impossible choice of either killing Anderton and going to prison or letting him live and discredit Precrime, Burgess manages to go out on his own terms by killing himself instead.
  • Tom Reagan from Miller's Crossing is a rare protagonist example as he plays both sides in a mob war to make sure his boss comes out on top. It works.
  • Gordon Gekko is a notorious Magnificent Bastard in both Wall Street and it's sequel. So much so that he made several real life audience members believe "greed is good."
  • Major Lemond in Air America pretty much openly admits to the visiting Senator Davenport that, yes, he is behind the drug smuggling operation in Laos, then delivers a pretty stinging Hannibal Lecture to him about how he'll still get away with everything.

 You can't touch me without cutting your own throat! You know why? Because the president loves my ass!

  • Everything about M. Bison in the Street Fighter movie is larger than life (except, of course, for his actor Raul Julia's slight frame). He kidnaps AN delegates to ransom them for seed money so that he can, among other things, build a mall (with the help of outside investors, no less!). Not to mention creating his own currency and valuing it against the British pound, with the justification that the British banks will honor that amount after he kidnaps their queen. And when his men capture AN soldiers intent on killing him? He turns them loose one at a time so he can fight to the death on live television! Not to mention that, for him, killing peoples' fathers is just a Tuesday. Raul Julia based his performance on Richard III from Shakespeare's play of the same name who was quite the Magnificent Bastard himself.
  • Oddly (and infuriatingly) enough, Dr. Loomis was turned into one of these in the Halloween 2 remake.
  • Lady Van Tassel from Sleepy Hollow. Just, Lady Van Tassel!
  • Disney movies also have some memorably clever villains in them...
    • Jafar from Aladdin. While he was a Smug Snake (and a literal one) in the first movie, he learned of his mistakes and graduated to a Magnificent Bastard in the second movie. The first thing he did when he was freed by Abis Mal was to play on Mal's greed for gold, fear for his life and his hatred for Aladdin in order to make him at first waste two wishes at nothing and then convince him to help him with promises of large riches and revenge on Aladdin. Once he had Abis Mal around his finger, he decided to force his former ally Iago to work for him again and use the trust Aladdin had developed for Iago into fooling him and the Sultan away from Agrabah into a trap, while himself took care of Genie and Abu. When the trap proved successful, he made it look like Aladdin had killed Sultan simply by placing it, slashed, in Aladdin's room, which would ended with him executed for the murder on the Sultan, seemingly ordered by a deceived, distraught Jasmine. If he had turned more attention on Iago's conflicting behavior, then maybe he would've been the one who won.
      • Even better. It wasn't a deceived Jasmine ordering Aladdin to be executed, she had already been captured. It was Jafar himself in disguise who gave the order. And he comes back in that same disguise just to reveal his true self briefly and rub it in Aladdin's face right as he's about to be executed.
    • Scar, from The Lion King definitely counts. Well ... until he became The Caligula.
      • Oh definitely. He was arguably one of the most successful (if not THE most successful) Disney villain. He succeeded in his plans just halfway through the movie and had the benefits of those successes until the very end. He kills the Big Good (his own brother) and convinces Simba that it was his fault, and then sends the Hyenas to kill him when he runs. When Simba does unexpectedly come back years later, Scar actually manages to turn the situation around and manipulates Simba into admitting he killed Mufasa. Not a single one of the heroes knew he was the villain until mere moments after the climax. Also managed to be a Complete Monster.
      • Zira from the sequel follows in his footsteps, despite having an even more intense psychotic streak.
    • Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Shows up to a infant's birth that she wasn't invited to and curses the infant on a whim, and then manages to stay ahead of the game with the only setbacks coming from her own stupid lackeys. Yet she still manages to nearly accomplish her evil goal and, had the three fairies good magic not been strong enough, would have won.
      • Maleficent could also be called a Complete Monster (almost literally so by the end of the movie), but her speech to Prince Philip detailing her revenge on him and the princess (i.e. hold him prisoner for a hundred years then let him rescue his true love as a decrepit old man) is magnificently bastardly indeed.
    • Shere Khan from The Jungle Book has the personality down, but really ascends to this in the Disney Afternoon TV series Tale Spin.
    • Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective is an odd example who is both certainly this and a Smug Snake.
    • Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid, who's on top of a situation before anything even starts happening!
    • Hades from Hercules. Like Daniel Plainview, his hot temper is his only big drawback. Otherwise he's very efficient on top of being ridiculously entertaining.
    • Long John Silver from Treasure Planet. As magnificent a bastard here as he is in literature and other adaptations.
    • Dr. Facilier, the suave, scheming, quick-thinking, manipulative, and "very charismatic" Voodoo man from The Princess and the Frog
    • Mother Gothel from Tangled. Especially seen in her dealings with the Stabbington Brothers and emotional manipulation of Rapunzel, as well as her theatricality in both renditions of her Villain Song, "Mother Knows Best."
    • Prince Hans from Frozen. He managed to improvise his way through a scheme to claim the throne of Arendelle for himself, all while posing as a noble, caring Prince Charming type character. Had Anna not survived his attempt to leave her freezing to death, Hans would have successfully done away with both princesses and become Arendelle's king. Plus, he gave us the "If only there was someone out there who loved you" meme.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow, of Pirates of the Caribbean. Even his enemies can't help but admire his ambitious gambits... savvy?

  Jack Sparrow: Me, I'm dishonest. And a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest, honestly. It's the honest ones you have to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're about to do something incredibly...stupid.

      • Barbossa fully qualifies in On Stranger Tides. He actually makes you feel like cheering as he pulls off a Karma Houdini!
  • Riddick from Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick. He routinely makes it appear as if he planned each step. This is especially true when he is fighting the Lord Marshal and is able to think fast enough to figure out where he's going to be moving next.
  • Depraved Bisexual Catherine Tramell of Basic Instinct. Sexy, snarky, and charming, she quite literally gets away with murder in the end.
  • Both Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Metruiel in Cruel Intentions. Given that they're based on the Villain Protagonist characters of Dangerous Liaisons, it's no surprise.
  • Jenner, from The Secret of NIMH. He's Affably Evil, as well as very competent, being one of the most successful movie villains in history, seeing how he succeeds in killing Nicodemus by cutting one of the ropes used to carry Mrs. Brisby's home to another location and causing the house to drop, drag him with it, and crush him under its weight. And not only that, he makes it look like an accident so that no one suspects his evil deed. Now, had he focused his attention on Mrs. Brisby warning the other rats of NIMH about exterminators coming to kill them, as well as Sullivan telling Justin about his plans, he would've gotten away with his plan to prevent the rats from moving to Thorn Valley. A case of a villain that happens to be a combination of both this and a Complete Monster.
  • Matsu, protagonist of the Female Prisoner Scorpion series, has all the basic characteristics, plus a classic death glare and an iconic costume.
  • Sarone in Anaconda, who plays every other character like a fiddle in his quest for the snake. Eric Stoltz is the only person who manages to outsmart him even once.
  • Mike Wilson from How to Be a Serial Killer. A Trickster Mentor and Serial Killer extraordinare, with charisma to spare and standards.
  • Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2 is as close to completely embodying this trope as you could get in an animated film.
  • Mok Swagger from Rock and Rule. He's the biggest thing since World War III after all.
  • Another rare heroic example is Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption. Upon discovering the deteriorating condition of the wall of his cell, he slowly (as in over the course of twenty years) carves an escape tunnel through it. Meanwhile, he works his way into the trust of the Warden, who is under the mistaken assumption that he is the Magnificent Bastard. Twenty years later, Andy escapes from the prison, taking a new identity--that he happened to create for the purposes of laundering the Warden's embezzled money, thus making himself a millionaire--and having the Warden and sadistic guard both arrested...all without mentioning a single word of his plan to anyone...not even his best friend. Andy is like the heroic version of Keyzer Soze, and gives us one of the most satisfying endings in film history.
  • Richmond Valentine of Kingsman is the Genre Savvy tech mogul who uses this good publicity to convince the general mass to get his SIM chips, while persuading the world's 1% into supporting his cause, implanting them SIM chips so to track their every move, making sure they don't betray him. It would soon be revealed that these SIM chips are connected to his satellites that when activated, would cause people to kill each other; he tests its capabilities on a racist church community with only a Kingsman surviving the onslaught, before killing the Kingsman himself. After which the full-scale of Valentine's plan is revealed; he would launch a global frequency that leads to general masses killing each other off with only Valentine and his followers surviving. Despite attempting to cause massive loss of life, it is done so out of Valentine's belief of saving the world and the rest of humanity and is genuinely affable to allies and enemies alike, even asking Eggsy if he's going to make an incredibly lame pun before going out with a smile.
  • Sebastian Shaw from X-Men: First Class certainly qualifies. He is a well reputed businessman, masterfully manipulating America and Russia against each other to further his goals even improvising every single odd situation into his favour without losing his cool at all. He would have actually succeeded in his goal had he not killed Erik's mother all those years before hence forcing Erik to go on a literal roaring rampage of revenge
    • Magneto definitely counts. A brilliant schemer, manipulative to the bone, and manages to keep his cool even during the thickest situations. He even manages to pull a Xanatos Gambit or two in the film.
      • For perspective, his escape from a plastic prison in X2 involves playing on a skill the guards a) didn't see coming, b) wouldn't have thought to counter and c) probably didn't think him cruel enough to use - He literally tears the iron from an unsuspecting guard's blood, having been spiked by Mystique. And even after that, he is sassy, witty and cunning. He saves our heroes knowing they will in turn rely on him, and kills the Big Bad.
  • In Escape from Alcatraz, Frank Morris is a career criminal and prison escapee who is sent to Alcatraz Island to ensure his permanent imprisonment. While there, the stoic Morris hatches an escape plan with three other inmates that takes months of preparation, outwitting the guards repeatedly to get the necessary tools for the task and keeping their work a secret. Morris and two of his conspirators are the only men to escape Alcatraz and never be caught, only leaving behind a secret message for the Warden as a last taunt to his previous boast that no one will ever escape Alcatraz.
  • Benedict from Last Action Hero, an action-movie Big Bad who escapes into the Real World. Toward the end of the film, he becomes so Dangerously Genre Savvy that he's able to anticipate and exploit the genre-savviness of his rival Jack Slater.
  • Xibalba from The Book Of Life is the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten who has grown bored of his rule. To this end, he proposes a wager with the Land of the Remembered ruler, La Muerte, concerning the love triangle between the childhood friends, Manolo and Joaquin, who tries to sway Maria’s heart. Taking Joaquin as his trump card, he disguises himself as a beggar and gave Joaquin a medal that made him immortal. Years later when Manolo almost made a heartfelt connection towards Maria, Xibalba sends his dual-headed snake staff to put Maria into a coma so that he could lead Manolo to believe that Maria is dead by manipulating his grief-stricken state and kills him. When La Muerte founds out that Xibalba has been cheating all along, he then proposes another wager towards Manolo by forcing him to fight all the bulls that his family had defeated in the past. Despite portrayed as a guy who doesn’t like to lose his bet most of the time, in the end of the day, he accepts his defeat gracefully by honoring the deal and reconcile with La Muerte in the end.
  • Miles Jackson is a suave, perpetually cheerful terrorist who masterminds the entire plot pf 12 Rounds. Miles has evaded capture and conviction for his atrocities for years, always staying one step ahead of his law enforcement pursuers, and is introduced tricking a mole in his organization into betraying the F.B.I. and robbing them, after which Miles murders the same mole for ever thinking of turning on him. Though imprisoned for several years thanks to a freak accident, Miles breaks out of prison and sets up the game "12 Rounds" to be played with his arch enemy Danny Fisher. Using the excuse that he is getting revenge for his deceased girlfriend, Miles sets up various puzzles and traps throughout the city for Danny to figure out and stop, using the man's wife as a hostage the hold time. Miles' true magnificence comes with the reveal that the entire point of 12 Rounds was solely to serve as a long, complicated set-up to a bank robbery for millions of dollars, and that every round Danny played further assisted Miles in his scheme. Always ready with a quip and possessing a swaggering charisma that draws all eyes on him, Miles is an intelligent, charming villain, one capable of ridiculous amounts of manipulation and strategy, and whose very first scene illustrates his character perfectly by having him win a losing chess game for a stranger on a whim.
  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007): Ben Wade in the remake is a charismatic bandit leader who starts the film by driving cattle to block an armored car and then rob it. Famed for his brilliance and skillful gambits, Ben is eventually caught thanks to rancher Dan Evans and is sent to be taken to a train to be sent to Yuma prison with his former gang pursuing. Ben shows himself to be a slippery prisoner, constantly outwitting his captors and killing the most morally bankrupt of them. When he learns Dan's reasons for trying to get him to the train at the end, Ben even fights to assist in getting himself to the train and after Dan is mortally wounded, steps on board of his own free will, cementing Dan as a legend. Ben also reveals to Dan that he's been to Yuma prison twice-and escaped twice (which he and Dan both laugh over), and the film ends with him clearly planning his escape once again.
  • Con Air: Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom is a charismatic, ruthless psychopath who organizes the scheme to seize control of a flight full of convicts, then puts together the plan to exchange prisoners at Carson City and escape with his partner, a powerful drug lord, so he can flee to South America with his compatriots. Cyrus constantly displays a sardonic, dry wit and black humor even in stressful situations, before organizing an ambush for national guard troops and killing his drug lord partner when the man attempts to betray the convicts. Soon catching on to a traitor in their midst, Cyrus even survives the crash of the plan and nearly pulls off an escape to get revenge. A compelling villain who retains a few moral standards such as his hatred of rapists, Cyrus constantly plays the government for fools and comes perilously close to a free and clear escape.
  • Sebastian Rooks of Cypher is a dangerous freelance operative who has made a fortune inventing a brainwashing program for the mega corps DigiCorp and Sunway Systems, although loyal only to himself and his lover Rita Foster. In order to secure Rita's safety, Rooks hatches a plot to erase his own identity and become Morgan Sullivan, so he can pass a set of lie detector tests for one company and fail a set of lie detector tests for the other company to infiltrate both, all while appearing as a hapless pawn to both sides. By the end, all his enemies are dead, his plan to steal a specific data file is a complete success, and his real identity is still known only to Rooks and the woman he went to hell and back for.
  • Tom Reagan of Millers' Crossing is a fine example of a Magnificent Bastard protagonist. He's The Dragon to Leo, an Irish-American mobster, but it's clear who has the brains in the operation. Tom is a duplicitous alcoholic who's sleeping with Leo's fiancee and spends the movie double-crossing everyone he meets (and usually being beaten within an inch of his life by them). Then, at the end, it turns out the whole movie was a Batman Gambit on Tom's part. Everything he did, he did for Leo. He manipulates Leo's enemies into killing each other, personally kills the Smug Snake who was blackmailing him (with a truly badass one liner no less), ensures that Leo remains firmly in power, and leaves his life of crime behind for good.
  • Gabriel Shear, of Swordfish, may in fact be the ultimate epitome of this trope. To examine:
    • Brilliance- A mastermind who plots and flawlessly executes the largest heist in human history, all while getting away with it in the end with absolutely no trace, and not even his true identity being revealed
    • Smooth Operator- Always keeping a calm, jocular demeanor, even when a SWAT team has guns to his head
    • Goal- A visionary villain, he is a fanatical counter-terrorist who has stared too far into the abyss and is willing to kill, say, an innocent teenager and the surrounding police, to protect America from the greater terrorist threat
    • Charisma- When not committing elaborate heists, he spends his days partying, drinking, and driving expensive cars
    • Badassery- More than happy to pull out a machine gun and fire out the door of a moving car when need be
    • Genre Savvy- Dangerously so. Even uses the flaws of Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon to describe why pragmatic mercilessness will bring success to his robbery.
    • Gabriel is essentially an amalgamation of James Bond, Tyler Durden, and Keyser Soze, the ultimate Magnificent Bastard. To quote Axl Torvalds- " He exists in a world beyond your world. What we only fantasize, he does. He lives a life where nothing is beyond him.But it is all an act. For all his charisma and charm. For all his wealth and expensive toys. Beneath it all he is a driven, unflinching, calculating machine,who takes what he wants, when he wants, then disappears "
  • Speaking of James Bond, Agent 009 has gone up against a number of these in his films:
    • Dr. No: Dr. Julius No is one of SPECTRE's top operatives and a man of charm and charisma who rules Crab Key, Jamaiaca with his two metal fists. Seeking to disrupt a shuttle launch from America, No outplays everyone sent to the area until Bond's arrival, and even for much o the film Bond is entirely within No's power, only surviving thanks to outwitting No's assassins. When encountered by Bond, No reveals how he completely outwitted the Tongs after crawling up from nothing in Hong Kong as the son of a German missionary and a Chinese woman. Joining SPECTRE, No seeks to help overthrow the orders of east and west blocks alike, and remains one of the most dynamic and striking villains Bond ever faces.
    • The Man with the Golden Gun: Francisco Scaramanga was once a circus boy who loved an elephant. When the elephant was abused to death by its trainer, Scaramanga murdered the man and discovered a love for, and talent at killing. Becoming a master assassin, Scaramanga keeps his skills sharp by having his sidekick Nick Nack hire assassins to kill him so he can always test himself with his life on the line. Scaramanga also outplays the ostensible villain of the film, the industrialist Hai Fat, killing him to steal the powerful solar device to sell to the highest bidder and retire. When he has his hands on Bond, Scaramanga demonstrates his respect and wish to challenge Bond by challenging him to a duel, gleeful to show his own talents against the world's greatest secret agent.
    • Goldeneye: Once James Bond's best friend, Alec Trevelyan was the son of Cossacks who killed themselves after the betrayal of the British and Stalin's execution squads. Seeking revenge, Alec faked his death, betrayed the British and formed the Janus Crime syndicate. Alec proceeds to manipulate and organize several schemes to get his hands on the Goldeneye Satellite, even completely outwitting Bond and nearly killing him on several occasions, all while intending on robbing the British bank and then using the Goldeneye to erase the records, also nearly collapsing western civilization. One of Bond's most personal adversaries, Alec Trevelyan conducts himself with pure charisma, able to get under Bond's skin like no other by knowing him better than anyone else.
    • Skyfall: Once one of M's finest agents named Tiago Rodriguez, betrayed by her to the Chinese and tortured to the point of a bungled suicide that left him hideously disfigured, Raoul Silva escaped, joined SPECTRE under his new name and became a cyber-terrorist who plays the entirety of MI-6 perfectly. Using a series of terrorist attacks to lure out Bond, Silva proceeds to play mind games with him from their meetings, and allows his own capture so his encrypted laptop allows his men access to MI-6's systems. Escaping MI-6's custody, Silva hunts down M with the intention of achieving a mutual suicide with her, to end his pain with hers and secure his revenge against the woman he sees as a mother who betrayed him. One of Bond's most effective and brilliant adversaries, Silva even dies achieving almost everything he sets out to do, with M following him to death moments later.
    • If Mr. White of Quantum isn't a Magnificent Bastard yet, he's getting very close. In Casino Royale he was an unremarkable "next-link-in-the-money-chain" type, by Quantum of Solace, he's been upgraded to a Wicked Cultured, total Deadpan Snarker who laughs in Judi Dench's face while being tortured, can say "we have people everywhere" and mean it, and gets away scot-free at the end of the movie (though he'll probably get his comeuppance in the next one). Oh, and he was also the only member of Quantum to keep his head down when Bond was pwning all the other Quantum operatives during the Opera scene.

 "Well, Tosca's not for everyone."

  • Wonder Woman (2017): The God of War, Ares, once wiped out his fellow gods when they quarreled over Ares' wish to eliminate humanity. Surviving while injured and crippled, Ares instead plays on humanity's own preexisting prejudices and fears to sway them to destroy themselves, giving humans ideas for weapons and helping to manufacture peace that he knows they can't keep, setting the stage and giving them the matches to burn it down. When he reveals himself to Diana, Ares elaborates on his methods, also wishing Diana to join him to wipe out humanity and make the world a paradise.