8 of the nastiest villains in Nazi movies
The Nazis provided audiences with perfectly hateful villain movies dating back to the late 1930s. They were the go-to villains in the 1980s, and they even managed to play a role in the greatest modern superhero series.
The real Nazi atrocities were hard to understand when they came to light at the end of World War II. Movie Nazis are generally less grounded in reality, and their generally recognized evil makes them the villain everyone likes to hate.
Of course, there are some brilliant films featuring brutal, real-life Nazis like Amon Göth in “Schindler’s List”. We’re going to skip those real criminals on this list and stick with the imaginary villains that have fueled some of our favorite movies.
1. Colonel Hans Landa, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)
No other Nazi takes so much pleasure in his job. Christoph Waltz won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Colonel Hans Landa, a German officer proud to be known as “The Jew Hunter”.
Quentin Tarantino uses the real-life story of WWII as the starting point for a fantastic reimagining of the fall of the Nazi state. There’s a lot of blood and guts, but there’s also QT’s underhand reinterpretation of the facts. His Nazis might be cartoon characters, but they’re still bad.
Of course, Landa is perhaps the most Nazi Nazi of all Nazis, as his Third Reich tenets vanish after an explosion in a movie theater called the outcome of WWII into question. He tries to strike a deal with Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) to defect and live his life in luxury on a beach in the good ol ‘United States. Nazzy killer Raine isn’t the type to disobey orders, but he’ll never let Landa get away with it easily, either.
“Inglourious Basterds” has just been released for the first time in 4K UHD with over two hours of bonus content. Some Tarantino fans will say this is his best film and that this enhanced HDR presentation is worth the investment if you’re a fan.
2. Major Arnold Toht, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
When Steven Spielberg and George Lucas decided to pay homage to the adventure movie serials they loved growing up, they knew the Nazis would make the best villains and the Bible’s Ark of the Covenant would be an incredible lost artifact. for their hero Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) to discover.
A large group within the Nazi leadership really believed in all kinds of ancient mystical gibberish, so the idea that they would create a unit to locate legendary artifacts isn’t completely far-fetched. Hitler’s version of this film believes that the ark, which is said to contain the tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moses brought back from Mount Sinai, will make the German army invincible.
Major Arnold Toht (Ronald Lacey) is the Nazi leader in charge of the hunt, ready to kidnap, steal and kill to determine the secret location of the ark in Egypt. He ultimately succeeds but pays the ultimate price that almost all Nazis in cinema have to pay.
The Indiana Jones 4-Movie collection was released in 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos, and the results are spectacular. All four movie bonuses are included on their own Blu-ray disc, and you get 4K digital copies of each title. You can’t buy each movie individually on a 4K disc yet, so you’ll have to wait if you can’t stand having a copy of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in your collection.
3. Dr Christian Szell, “Marathon Man” (1976)
The mid-1970s was only 30 years after the end of World War II, and there were still many living Nazis who escaped prosecution after the conflict. Laurence Olivier plays Dr Christian Szell, a Nazi war criminal whose brother hid a fortune in diamonds in a safe in a New York bank.
Doc Levy (Roy Scheider) is a government agent who worked as a courier for Szell in exchange for Szell providing information that will help track down other Nazis. Once his brother is dead, the Nazi doctor goes mad and aims to kill all his messengers and find the diamonds.
Enter Doc’s brother Babe Levy (Dustin Hoffman). Once Szell arrives at Doc, he decides that Babe must now know the secret location of his diamonds. Babe has no idea and Szell pulls out the dental tools for an extended torture session.
The “Is it safe?” The scene is by far the most terrifying moment of any movie ever made, and Szell makes Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and the Jigsaw Killer look like the amateurs they are.
4. Major Heinrich Strasser, “Casablanca” (1942)
Rick (Humphrey Bogart) loves Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), but Ilsa loves her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), but maybe more because of his principles than if he makes her knee-weak. Maybe she really loves Rick after all.
Of course, “Casablanca” would only be a dripping romance without the real threat posed by German Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt). Strasser is determined to hunt down Laszlo and hold him accountable for all the mean things he said about the Nazis.
“Casablanca” is perhaps the most beloved Hollywood film of all and served as a great morale builder as the Allies began to have real influence at the end of 1942. Strasser was a calm and ruthless killer, a villain that everyone on the home front could understand as a threat to our way of life.
5. Dr Josef Mengele, “The Boys of Brazil” (1978)
The ever-versatile Laurence Olivier is back, this time as Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman. Gregory Peck plays a fictional version of Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, who was believed to be both dead at the time of the film’s production and also the subject of a global hunt for Nazi war criminals.
The real Mengele was actually living in Brazil at the time, but it was unlikely that he was behind an evil plot to create young Adolf Hitler clones who were raised in circumstances similar to those that helped to feed the German führer.
The experience goes horribly wrong for Mengele, but what can you expect when you set out to raise little Hitlers? Peck hasn’t played the villain too many times in his career, but he’s terrifying as the deluded lab rat in “The Boys from Brazil.”
6. Johann Schmidt, “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011)
What could be worse than Nazi Germany? Hydra! Johann Schmidt (played by Hugo Weaving from “The Matrix”) directs Hydra, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the science division of Nazi Germany during World War II.
Schmidt was actually deformed into a Red Skull by an early formulation of Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum. Once he acquired the Tesseract (which is powered by the Space Stone from the Infinity Stones), he parted ways with the Nazis to establish Hydra as the true force of evil on Earth.
If you find Marvel’s mythology tiring or incomprehensible, just know that “The First Avenger” is the rare movie in the series that makes sense to newcomers, and the Hydra / Nazi crossover is particularly easy to fight.
7. Franz Kindler, “The Stranger” (1946)
Orson Welles needed the money, so he agreed to direct and star in this post-war noir film noir about Franz Kindler, a Nazi war criminal who tried to erase his past. He reinvented himself as Professor Charles Rankin, a teacher at an elite Connecticut prep school, and even managed to get engaged to the daughter of a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
When another Nazi named Meinike shows up in town and urges him to tell the truth about his past, Kindler strangles him. A Mr. Wilson of the United Nations Commission on War Crimes (Edward G. Robinson) tracks Meinike in the small town and is determined to solve the death.
Welles’ Kindler is charming, bold, and terrifying at the same time. “The Stranger” is one of the actor / director’s most underrated images and the only film he directed to be a real box office hit when it was first released.
8. Elsa Schneider, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)
Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) may have convinced herself that she was just an Austrian art teacher desperate to find the holy grail, but Indiana Jones knows she is just as Nazi as she is. doesn’t matter who she works for. in the German government.
Elsa first seduces Indy’s father, Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) as she tries to use the old man’s searches to locate the Grail. When Indy shows up, she also goes for him but may actually be in love with him.
Jones Jr. is of course pissed off that he romanticized a Nazi. The villains arrive at the secret Grail location first, but it’s the pure-hearted Jones boys who allow one of them to solve the puzzle and reach the Grail. Elsa, not so pure, eventually meets a fitting Nazi fate.
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