15 Movies Where the Bad Guys Won and Everyone Is Okay With It

In the world of movies, we’re used to seeing the hero triumph over the villain, restoring peace and justice by the time the credits roll. But what happens when the bad guys win instead? Surprisingly, some films take this unexpected route, and rather than leaving us upset, they manage to make us okay with the outcome, or even secretly satisfied.

These movies twist our expectations, offering a fresh take on typical storytelling and leaving us with something intriguing to think about.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

1. “The Usual Suspects” (1995)

The Usual Suspects.
Image Credit: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment.


In this intricate thriller, Kevin Spacey’s character, Verbal Kint, narrates the story of how his criminal crew was manipulated by the mysterious mastermind Keyser Söze. Throughout the film, viewers are led to believe that Söze might be a fictional character or dead.

However, in a stunning final twist, it’s revealed that Kint himself is Söze. As he walks away free while the police remain oblivious, the audience can’t help but admire the cunning with which he orchestrated the entire plot.

2. “Se7en” (1995)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.


This dark and gritty film takes viewers through a chilling narrative where a serial killer uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. Detectives portrayed by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman find themselves at the mercy of the killer, John Doe, who turns himself in and leads them to the final crimes. In a horrifying climax, it’s revealed that Doe has planned the deaths, including his own, to complete his macabre masterpiece, leaving the detectives and the audience horrified yet captivated by the completeness of his victory.

3. “No Country for Old Men” (2007)

No Country for Old Men.
Image Credit: Paramount Vantage.


This film presents a bleak and relentless chase between a hunter who stumbles upon drug money and a psychopathic hitman. Despite efforts by an aging sheriff to intervene, the hitman, Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem, methodically eliminates anyone connected to the money.

The film ends with Chigurh walking away from a car crash, injured but alive and unrepentant, underscoring the randomness and inevitability of violence and evil.

4. “Gone Girl” (2014)

Gone Girl.
Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.


In this psychological thriller, Amy Dunne stages her own disappearance to frame her husband for murder after he cheats on her. Through meticulous planning and manipulation, she turns public opinion against him.

Eventually, she returns home, fabricating a story of kidnapping and survival that leaves her husband trapped in the marriage to keep up appearances. The film concludes with Amy winning, as she secures her husband’s loyalty and controls the narrative, leaving viewers in awe of her manipulative genius.

5. “Fight Club” (1999)

Fight Club
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.


In this cult classic, the line between hero and villain blurs as the protagonist, played by Edward Norton, battles with his alter ego, Tyler Durden, portrayed by Brad Pitt. As the film progresses, Durden’s anarchistic philosophy takes root, leading to the ultimate destruction of major financial buildings.

Despite the chaos he creates, there’s a strange sense of liberation and catharsis in his victory, which resonates with the audience’s anti-corporate sentiments.

6. “Watchmen” (2009)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.


Set in an alternate reality where superheroes exist but are outlawed, “Watchmen” explores the morally grey decisions made by its characters. The plot culminates in the victory of Ozymandias, who orchestrates a fake alien invasion killing millions to prevent a nuclear war.

His success in achieving ‘world peace’ at such a high cost leaves the audience pondering the complexities of his actions, which are horrifying yet arguably necessary.

7. “Swordfish” (2001)

Image Credit: Jonathan Krane Group.


John Travolta’s character, Gabriel Shear, is a charismatic and ruthless villain who plans to siphon billions from illegal government funds. The film ends with him successfully executing his plan, escaping with the money and leaving the authorities in the dust.

Despite his dubious morals, Gabriel’s charm and the thrill of his high-stakes heist leave viewers almost rooting for him and satisfied with his win.

8. “Primal Fear” (1996)

Primal Fear (1).
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.


This film features a young Edward Norton as an altar boy accused of murdering a priest. Throughout the trial, his lawyer, played by Richard Gere, believes his client’s innocent and traumatized persona.

However, in a shocking twist, it is revealed that Norton’s character was faking his multiple personalities, manipulating everyone to secure his acquittal. The clever manipulation and the subsequent reveal that he is the true mastermind leave the audience impressed by his cunning.

9. “Oldboy” (2003)

Image Credit:
Show East.


This South Korean thriller presents a disturbing tale of vengeance where the antagonist, Woo-jin, masterfully manipulates the protagonist, Dae-su, throughout the film. After being mysteriously imprisoned for 15 years, Dae-su’s release leads him on a quest for revenge, only to discover a horrifying truth orchestrated by Woo-jin.

The ending, where Woo-jin achieves his goal of emotional and psychological revenge before taking his own life, leaves viewers shocked yet captivated by the precision of his cruel plan.

10. “Arlington Road” (1999)

Arlington Road.
Image Credit: Screen Gems.


In this suspenseful thriller, Jeff Bridges plays a college professor who suspects his new neighbors are terrorists. Despite his efforts to expose them, the plot thickens, and in a tragic twist, he inadvertently helps them complete their terror attack.

The film concludes with the terrorists framing him as the perpetrator, and they walk away scot-free, leaving the audience dismayed by the success of their plan yet impressed by the film’s bold narrative choice.

11. “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs.
Image Credit: Orion Pictures.


Although not the central narrative, the escape of Hannibal Lecter, a sophisticated and cultured serial killer, at the end of this iconic film is a victory for its villain. Lecter’s calm and composed demeanor, coupled with his intellectual prowess, make his escape seem almost justified, if not inevitable.

The audience is left with a chilling yet awe-inspired feeling as he disappears into the crowd, free to continue his life.

12. “Skyfall” (2012)

Skyfall (2012).
Image Credit: MGM.


In this James Bond film, the villain, Silva, played by Javier Bardem, seeks revenge against M, the head of MI6, for betraying him. Although Bond strives to protect M and stop Silva, the villain ultimately succeeds in his personal vendetta when M dies.

Silva’s complex character and tragic backstory evoke a degree of sympathy and understanding from the audience, making his partial victory uniquely unsettling yet compelling.

13. “Nightcrawler” (2014)

Image Credit:
Bold Films.


This film features Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a driven yet ethically murky freelance journalist who manipulates crime scenes to capture exclusive footage. His relentless ambition leads him to success, despite his increasingly questionable methods.

As Bloom profits from the misfortunes of others without facing any real consequences, the audience is left with a chilling reflection on the price of success and the moral compromises of ambition. His victory, though unsettling, is a critique of media consumerism that resonates deeply with viewers.

14. “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street.
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.


Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who rises to prominence through fraud and corruption, captivates the audience with his outrageous lifestyle and charismatic manipulation.

Despite his eventual arrest, Belfort’s minimal punishment and return to a life of motivational speaking suggest a skewed form of victory. The film ends with the implication that his greed and deception are not only unpunished but rewarded, prompting viewers to ponder the ethics of the financial world.

15. “There Will Be Blood” (2007)

There Will Be Blood.
Image Credit: Paramount.


Daniel Day-Lewis’s character, Daniel Plainview, is a ruthless oilman whose thirst for power and wealth leads him to betrayal and murder. His success is achieved at the cost of his soul and personal relationships, culminating in a final scene where he murders a rival preacher.

The film closes on Plainview’s declaration of “I’m finished,” a line that echoes both triumph and the hollow emptiness of his victories. The audience is left to grapple with the moral decay inherent in his pursuit of the American Dream.

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Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998),
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.


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Brid Box.
Image Credit: Netflix.


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