I was thinking today, why shouldn´t I write a post on the war movie characters I hate most? Obviously I am not talking bad acting here. On the very contrary, it is maybe more difficult to play a truly unlikable and obnoxious character. A true bully or a monster like Hitler. Bruno Ganz who stars as Hitler in The Downfall aka Der Untergang apparently refused the role at first whereas I believe I remember having read, Anthony Hopkins found his role in The Bunker to be particularly challenging and he did enjoy such a challenge.
But apart from extreme evil historical people like Hitler, there are numerous mean characters populating war movies. The list I made are those that came to my mind easily, those I will never forget, no matter how many years have passed since I last saw the movie. Often those really evil people are paired with good ones like in Platoon, Casualties of War and Cross of Iron.
Here´s my list of war movie impersonations of meanness or just plain unlikable geeks.
Gny. Sgt Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) in Full Metal Jacket. THE Boot Camp Devil.
Herbert M. Sobel (David Schwimmer) in Band of Brothers. Mean and dumb.
Sgt Barnes (Tom Berenger) in Platoon. How evil and sadistic can you possibly be?
Lt. Bruno Stachel (George Peppard) in The Blue Max. Over ambitious with and inferiority complex. An annoyingly obnoxious arriviste.
Cpt Hauptmann Stransky (Maximilian Schell) in Cross of Iron. A conceited, arrogant upper-class Prussian officer.
Sgt. Tony Meserve (Sean Penn) in Casualties of War. An abusive rapist.
Lance Cpl Harold James Trombley (Billy Lush) in Generation Kill. Total lack of feeling, an empty shell.
I am not sure which one I consider to be the worst. I guess either Sgt. Barnes or Hauptmann Stransky.
I am sure the world of war movies contains many more bad people than those I just mentioned. Who is your most hated character?
Excellent list! Allow me to add a few.
Magua – if you classify “Last of the Mohicans” as a war movie, he has to rank as one of the most chilling foes
Crassus – the pompous dictator wanna-be who defeats the saintly Spartacus
Saito – the evil commandant from “Bridge on the River Kwai”
Gen. Mireau – incompetent and heartless in “Paths of Glory”
Amon Goth – sociopath in “Schindler’s List”
unnamed German in “Saving Private Ryan” who knifes the Jewish guy
saving the worst for last – Jack Simpson of Hornblower’s “The Duel” – I hate that guy!
You got some nasty characters here as well. I forgot about Jack Simpson. And some of the others. I am sure we would find more.
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