10 Greatest Criminal Masterminds in Movies

They are clever. They are cunning. They are smart. But alas, they use their minds to commit crime and evil. Yes, we are talking about criminal masterminds in movies. The biggest quality of these masterminds are that they are unforgettable — and that’s why they sometimes become bigger than even the movies they star in. Even though you might not want to confess it, but their intelligence leaves you completely charmed. In this article, we will list down 10 such criminal masterminds who left an indelible impression on the minds of movie goers.


10. Catherine Tramell, ‘Basic Instinct’

Catherine Tramell is portrayed as author of best-selling crime novels. It is suggested that the modus operandi of her murders includes using her novels as alibis, as people then assumed she would never be foolish enough to execute a crime she herself wrote about. Catherine Tramell appears as a brilliant, charismatic narcissist, who masterminds everyone around her, largely for her own amusement and enjoys killing people.


9. Dalton Russell, ‘Inside Man’

One of the most brilliantly executed heists ever in cinema is done by none other than Dalton Russell. He and his gang march into a bank and take it over and outwit police at every turn: he dresses all the hostages up like him and then places his own gang members into the hostage pool. For most of the movie, he wears a disguise of a hood, mask, and sunglasses. Clive Owen, who plays Dalton, nearly turned down the role because of the concerns over the disguise. Later, of course, he realized the brilliance of director Spike Lee and the mastermind of Dalton Russell.


8. Danny Ocean, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

It is true that Danny Ocean in certain sense is not a villain — since he is stealing from another bad guy. But this list is not about villains; it is about criminals. And there’s no denying that Danny is criminal and that too a very smart one. He is not evil, but he is surely a mastermind. On top of that, he is suave and sexy. How can he not be, when he is played by Geroge Clooney. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ is a copy of 1969 film of the same name, and the only reason I didn’t put Danny Ocean from the original film is because this one is savvier.


7. John Kramer, ‘Saw’

When death knocks at one’s door and he waits for it to embrace, probably the only thought that comes to mind that how well one has lived this life. But how many have truly understood the purpose of this life? John Kramer at his death bed thinks of this and concludes that until put into adverse situations, no one truly values this life. And to inculcate this knowledge to value one’s life, he masterminds a plan that becomes a mechanism to test one’s worth to live. While John eventually meets his death, but the legend of Jigsaw lives on.


6. John Doe, ‘Se7en’

An unknown man, goes on a killing spree, over seven days. Each of his victims were killed in a manner, which depicted the seven deadly biblical sins. And he thought he was purging the world from the evil, by being the messiah. He truly believed that his methods shall be puzzled, studied and followed forever. Setting the example, he didn’t even flinch when he evoked the wrath of Detective Mills by informing him about his final victim, for he had become the prey of envy. And what’s the American naming convention of the mastermind of evil and unknown? It’s John Doe.

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