30 Best Revenge Movies

by craigburma | created - 11 May 2014 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Though not considered one of the 7 Basic Plots in literature, "revenge" is a popular artistic theme. Revenge mirrors the human experience of "don't get mad get even."

Out of hundreds of revenge-based titles, these titles are curated to highlight one person's response to injustice to overcome through superhuman effort and intense focus.

I listed these by my favorites; most to least.

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1. V for Vendetta (2005)

R | 132 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.

Director: James McTeigue | Stars: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea

Votes: 953,636 | Gross: $70.51M

2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Drama

80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 2,104,124 | Gross: $28.34M

3. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 892,975 | Gross: $75.60M

4. Man on Fire (2004)

R | 146 min | Action, Crime, Drama

47 Metascore

In Mexico City, a former assassin swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell

Votes: 307,891 | Gross: $77.91M

5. Gladiator (2000)

R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

67 Metascore

A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed

Votes: 1,215,009 | Gross: $187.71M

6. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

73 Metascore

When Jason Bourne is framed for a CIA operation gone awry, he is forced to resume his former life as a trained assassin to survive.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Joan Allen, Brian Cox

Votes: 407,774 | Gross: $176.24M

7. Hannibal Rising (2007)

R | 121 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

35 Metascore

After the death of his parents during World War II, young Hannibal Lecter moves in with his beautiful aunt and begins plotting revenge on the barbarians responsible for his sister's death.

Director: Peter Webber | Stars: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Li Gong, Aaran Thomas

Votes: 97,863 | Gross: $27.67M

8. Falling Down (1993)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

An unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin

Votes: 155,891 | Gross: $40.90M

9. Wall Street (1987)

R | 126 min | Crime, Drama

56 Metascore

A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Tamara Tunie, Franklin Cover

Votes: 134,749 | Gross: $43.85M

10. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

When the menace known as The Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham. The Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 2,070,191 | Gross: $534.86M

11. The Prestige (2006)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

66 Metascore

After a tragic accident, two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion while sacrificing everything they have to outwit each other.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine

Votes: 1,068,187 | Gross: $53.09M

12. High Plains Drifter (1973)

R | 105 min | Mystery, Western

69 Metascore

A gunfighting stranger comes to the small settlement of Lago and is hired to bring the townsfolk together in an attempt to hold off three outlaws who are on their way.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Verna Bloom, Marianna Hill, Mitchell Ryan

Votes: 45,266 | Gross: $15.70M

13. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

40 Metascore

A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured and murderous musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 109,815 | Gross: $51.27M

14. Salt (2010)

PG-13 | 100 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

65 Metascore

A CIA agent goes on the run after a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Olbrychski

Votes: 277,413 | Gross: $118.31M

15. Hanna (2011)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

65 Metascore

A sixteen-year-old girl who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Vicky Krieps

Votes: 179,289 | Gross: $40.26M

16. True Grit (2010)

PG-13 | 110 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

80 Metascore

A stubborn teenager enlists the help of a tough U.S. Marshal to track down her father's murderer.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin

Votes: 284,309 | Gross: $171.24M

17. Mad Max (1979)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Votes: 177,143 | Gross: $8.75M

18. Absence of Malice (1981)

PG | 116 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

64 Metascore

When a prosecutor leaks a false story that a liquor warehouse owner is involved in the murder of a union head, the man's life begins to unravel.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Paul Newman, Sally Field, Bob Balaban, Melinda Dillon

Votes: 10,903 | Gross: $40.72M

19. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

61 Metascore

A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friend", escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Director: Kevin Reynolds | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain

Votes: 120,446 | Gross: $54.23M

20. The Mask of Zorro (1998)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

63 Metascore

A young thief (Antonio Banderas), seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro (Sir Anthony Hopkins), who also pursues vengeance of his own.

Director: Martin Campbell | Stars: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, José María de Tavira

Votes: 156,763 | Gross: $94.10M

21. Les Misérables (2012)

PG-13 | 158 min | Drama, History, Musical

63 Metascore

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever.

Director: Tom Hooper | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried

Votes: 286,272 | Gross: $148.81M

22. In Time (2011)

PG-13 | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

53 Metascore

In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage - a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.

Director: Andrew Niccol | Stars: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde

Votes: 346,387 | Gross: $37.52M

23. The Crow (1994)

R | 102 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

71 Metascore

A man brutally murdered comes back to life as an undead avenger of his and his fiancée's murder.

Director: Alex Proyas | Stars: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson

Votes: 155,431 | Gross: $50.69M

24. First Blood (1982)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure

61 Metascore

A veteran Green Beret is forced by a cruel Sheriff and his deputies to flee into the mountains and wage an escalating one-man war against his pursuers.

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney

Votes: 203,031 | Gross: $47.21M

25. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 342,452 | Gross: $101.16M

26. Now You See Me (I) (2013)

PG-13 | 115 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

50 Metascore

An F.B.I. Agent and an Interpol Detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances, and reward their audiences with the money.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 553,760 | Gross: $117.72M

27. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War

69 Metascore

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent

Votes: 1,121,846 | Gross: $120.54M

28. Revenge (I) (1990)

R | 124 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The retired US Navy pilot comes to Mexico, where he falls in love with the wife of a powerful businessman. The consequences will be cruel and unforeseen.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Kevin Costner, Anthony Quinn, Madeleine Stowe, Tomas Milian

Votes: 15,052 | Gross: $15.65M

29. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

R | 114 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

70 Metascore

Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Patsy Kensit

Votes: 149,150 | Gross: $147.25M

30. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

PG | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

67 Metascore

With the assistance of the Enterprise crew, Admiral Kirk must stop an old nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, from using the life-generating Genesis Device as the ultimate weapon.

Director: Nicholas Meyer | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan

Votes: 105,217 | Gross: $78.91M

31. Assault on Wall Street (2013)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

24 Metascore

Jim, an average New Yorker, lives with a sick but loving wife. Suddenly, everything changes when the economy crashes and causes him to lose everything. Filled with anger and rage, Jim goes to seek revenge for the life taken from him.

Director: Uwe Boll | Stars: Dominic Purcell, Erin Karpluk, Edward Furlong, John Heard

Votes: 19,247

32. The Count of Monte-Cristo (1975 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 103 min | Adventure, Drama, History

A young officer, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friends," escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Director: David Greene | Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Trevor Howard, Louis Jourdan, Donald Pleasence

Votes: 3,718

33. Les Misérables (2018– )

60 min | Drama, History, Romance

Television adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel, which follows Jean Valjean as he evades capture by the unyielding Inspector Javert. Set against a backdrop of post-Napoleonic France as unrest begins to grip the city of Paris once more.

Stars: Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Adeel Akhtar, David Bradley

Votes: 3,770



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