Greatest Movie Henchmen
Every villain needs someone loyal to watch their back and handle the tough work of getting physical with the hero. This is where the henchman comes in, the goons who have no problem cutting lose with the violence and ultimately getting a beatdown from the hero. Sometimes these characters may even steal the show from the main baddie which is why this is a salute to moviedom’s best henchmen.
Oddjob (Goldfinger): Why not start with the most obvious addition to the list. In his service to MI6 over the years James Bond has encountered numerous colorful baddies, who are backed up by memorable henchmen, but one has become just as (if not moreso) popular as the villain he worked for. Portrayed by former Olympian and wrestling star Harold Sakata, Oddjob was the intimidating right-hand man to Goldfinger who makes a powerful statement to Bond by knocking him out and seeing to it his lady love is killed by gold. Famously wielding one of moviedom’s greatest weapons in the form of his razor sharp throwing hat, this baddie has truly made an impression on fans. But as the climactic battle at Fort Knox proved, even without his iconic headwear he is still incredibly dangerous.
Jaws (The Spy who Loved Me/Moonraker): As you may know, the Bond franchise has no shortage of memorable henchmen, and this one proved so popular that the original plan to kill him at the end of the Spy Who Loved Me was changed to keep him around. With his metallic teeth and imposing physicality, Jaws is seemingly a well sought after criminal-for-hire who is brought on by Karl Stromberg in his first film and later is hired by Hugo Drax to aid in his plot to drive humanity to near extinction. Luckily by the end of Moonraker, Jaws does switch allegiances and aids 007.
Bob the Goon (Batman): The Joker famed actor Jack Nicholson gave audiences was a theatrical entertainer. Like so many great entertainers he made sure to always have a hype man with him wherever he went in the form of Bob the Goon. Being loyal to Jack Napier before he took a chemical bath, earned Bob a right hand side to the Joker as he launched his reign of terror on Gotham City. Ultimately his loyalty to the Joker was rewarded with a bullet from the unstable Clown Prince of Crime during the climactic battle with Batman. Despite his fate, Bob the Goon might be the only superhero movie henchman to actually have an action figure produced of him.
Arnold Toht (Raiders of the Lost Ark): Acting as a liaison between the Third Reich and the archeologist Belloq; Toht inspires a squeamishness in viewers from the moment he walks into Marion’s bar. While he may lack in physical intimidation, this Nazi agent makes up for in smarmy cleverness. Though he may be a henchman sent to ensure the main villain of the film does his job, Toht is not above taking over should the situation to keep the mission on track. When he tires of Belloq’s poor attempts to interrogate the captured Marion, he coolly steps in to try his hand at it. For all his devotion to the cause of the Third Reich, viewers were happy to see that his fate was to suffer one of the most gruesome deaths in movie history.
Count Rugen (The Princess Bride): Being pompous royalty, you need someone by your side who is unafraid to get their hands dirty on your behalf. I am sure of all the applicants for this role, nobody impressed Prince Humperdinck more than the six-fingered man who had no qualms murdering a man in front of his young son. Played by comedy genius, Christopher Guest(?), Count Rugen is always quietly right behind the prince as he takes center stage whether in front of his subjects or while searching for Princess Buttercup. Throughout the Princess Bride, he sees to it that Humperdink’s less savory wishes are carried out, even ensuring that Wesley is tormented in a secret torture chamber. Luckily his sadistic ways come to an end when Inigo Montoya introduces himself to the count by means of getting revenge.
Captain Hadley (Shawshank Redemption): Played by the imposing fan-favorite Clancy Brown, Captain Hadley answers only to Warden Norton which gives him a wide range of privilege. He uses said privilege to bully and torment the prisoners under his watch. He memorably beats the character Fat Ass to death to establish the balance power between he and the inmates. That being said he is not above associating with the main character of Andy when it comes to hiding a good chunk of money he falls into. With as horrible as he was, it is all the more satisfying when he gets his comeuppance and is arrested and probably sent into the prison he once dominated.
Wez (Road Warrior): The future is a rough place so you need to be a rough person to survive. Working for Lord Humungus, Wez is that kind of tough guy. Actor Vernon Wells played this baddie as a Vietnam veteran who chooses to deal with his issues by being a thug. When he loses his partner Golden Youth, his ferocity is taken to a whole different level.
Karl (Die Hard): While Hans Gruber was plotting his assault on Nakatomi Plaza, he must have realized having an intimidating German man who was an expert with firearms and physical combat would definitely come in handy. For the cold-blooded terrorist/thief, robbing the plaza is just another job until John McClane kills his brother Tony that is when things get personal. Karl takes charge of a group of Gruber’s men to pursue the blue collar cop throughout the building whenever he pops up. When he finally confronts John McClane, he is sure to tell him that they are both professionals, and he was prepared to treat John as such but with his brother’s death that has gone out the window. It takes a very violent throwdown and a heavy chain for McClane to escape with his life. Even still it was thanks to the last minute heroics of McClane’s ally Al that put Karl down for good.
Otis & Miss Teschmacher (Superman): Lex Luthor may be the greatest criminal mind of all time, but those he surrounds himself with maybe not so much. Residing in Luthor’s underground lair, you realize quickly that Tessmacher is there for eye candy while Otis is kept around as a bumbling simpleton who makes Lex feel even more mentally superior. Loyal as he may be, the bumbling Otis has a tendency to screw things up for Luthor, in fact when we are first introduced to the character he obliviously almost leads a cop right into their underground lair. On the other hand Eve Teschmacher is not as devoted to Lex Luthor’s “Crime of the Century” scheme, and often makes sarcastic remarks to the crime boss. Eventually she has no problem betraying her boss in order to save Superman’s life.