9 Most Sinister Sports Movie Villains
In both sports and movies, while it’s always great to have someone to root for, it’s even better if you also have someone to root against. It’s only logical, therefore, that a lot of great sports movies would have truly great villains. Sure, sometimes these characters are over the top with their sinister plots and irrational hatred for the film’s underdog protagonist. Then again, that’s pretty much the point. We don’t want to see the human side of movie bad guys because we don’t feel guilty about hating them. So here’s a rundown of the best sports movie villains of all time. They’re evil, dirty, cheating, cold-hearted pieces of human garbage—and they’re awesome.
9. Shooter McGavin, Happy Gilmore
What would Happy Gilmore have been without the arrogant scumbag Shooter McGavin (played by Christopher McDonald)? Threatened by Happy’s popularity and success on the PGA Tour, Shooter does what any cold-hearted villain would do: he buys Happy Gilmore’s grandma’s house at an auction and threatens to burn it down and piss on the ashes—unless, of course, Happy quits golf. You gotta love a villain who would burn down an old lady’s house just for spite.
8. Judge Smails, Caddyshack
Any slapstick comedy about class warfare at a snobby blue-blood country club has to have a character who embodies everything that’s wrong with the place. Enter the elitist, racist, chauvinist, and all-around shit of a human being, Judge Smails (played by Ted Knight). If you can’t root against a guy who brags about sending minors to the gas chamber, you might be a sociopath.
7. Warden Hazen, The Longest Yard
You have to be a pretty bad guy to make a movie audience feel sorry for a bunch of convicted felons. But Warden Hazen from The Longest Yard was pretty nasty. Played by Eddie Albert in the 1974 original and James Cromwell in the 2005 remake, in both films the character is a vindictive football-obsessed prison warden who brutalizes his inmates and forces them to play in a violent match against the prison guards. Sure, the plot of the movie is a little convoluted, but as far as villains go, Hazen is top notch.
6. Dan Devine, Rudy
Is the fictionalized Dan Devine (played by Chelcie Ross) from the film Rudy evil? Not really. Okay, not at all, in the strictest sense of the word “evil.” But he is the complete antithesis of this film’s feel-good sentiment. Coach Devine is a sour, stubborn jerk who doesn’t want to let little Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger play in just one measly little game. In fact, he scoffs at the idea of Rudy being rewarded for all his heart and hustle. And at that point in the film, after watching Rudy struggle and fight and claw his way onto the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, this behavior is pretty contemptible.
5. Coach Kilmer, Varsity Blues
Coach Bud Kilmer (played by Jon Voight) is a ruthless son-of-a-bitch who will do anything to win. That includes berating his players and jeopardizing their careers and even their health. Among other things, Kilmer has his college-bound star quarterback take cortisone injections so he can play on a sore knee, which of course leads to a catastrophic injury. Luckily, backup QB-turned-team leader Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (played by James Van Der Beek) shows the team they don’t have to put up with Kilmer’s bullying. There’s a locker room mutiny, Coach Kilmer is forced into retirement, and everyone but him lives happily ever after.
4. Rachel Phelps, Major League
Would a Major League Baseball team owner rather have her team lose so she could move the team to Florida, or win and collect the insane revenue that a playoff run would generate? I think the answer is obvious. But when watching Major League, you just have to go with the premise of the movie. And the premise is that the conniving bitch owner of the Cleveland Indians, Rachel Phelps (played by Margaret Whitton), wants her team to lose.
3. Chong Li, Bloodsport
Warning for those not familiar with this film: this clip contains some graphic violence.
This villain from the classic Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts film Bloodsport is just pure evil. Chong Li (played by Bolo Yeung) is the reigning champion of the illegal underground Kumite martial arts tournament, and he is merciless in defending his title. As you can see from the above Chong Li montage, the man routinely kills and maims his opponents just for fun. Thank goodness the virtuous JCVD comes along and defeats Chong Li in the final bout of the tournament.
2. John Kreese, The Karate Kid
Teaching his teenaged Karate students mottos such as “mercy is for the week” and “attack first,” Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese (played by Martin Kove) was just a first-class scumbag and the bane of Daniel Larusso’s existence. I mean, just look how terrified Johnny Lawrence is when his sensei gives him the command to “sweep the leg.” So of course it was extra sweet when Daniel defeated Kreese’s #1 student with Mr. Miyagi’s super secret Karate move, The Crane.
1. Ivan Drago, Rocky IV
Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren) was not just a bad-ass dude on steroids who beat Apollo Creed to death in the ring and told Rocky Balboa, “I must break you.” In Rocky IV Drago was basically the personification of the Soviet Union—hard and cold and scary and unrelenting. Of course, in the end (SPOILER ALERT), Rocky, CLAD in his American flag shorts, defeats the mighty Drago and makes the world safe for democracy.