10 Movie Villains Whose Conscience Got The Better Of Them

When good things happen to bad men.

Watching a ruthless villain get what they deserve is among the most satisfying feelings a film can deliver, and for good reason, most times, the resolution of a film with a clear "good guy vs. bad guy" premise will play out this way. The bad guy will perish or languish in prison, the good guy will nod victoriously and set his jaw for the inevitable sequel, and things will return to normal for a while. But that trope is often turned on its head, with the villain realizing the error of his ways and moving toward some measure of regret or redemption before the end credits roll. Real life doesn't always follow this formula (wouldn't it be great if it did?), but this turnaround does humanize the villain and make him more than just a mindless killing machine. That's a sure-fire recipe for more delicious complexity. There are some villains that are just too bad to change their minds and suddenly try to make up for it - it's perverse to picture The Joker apologizing to Batman for all the wrong he's done, or Sauron deciding he doesn't really need control of Middle-Earth after all. Many times, though, it can be more satisfying to see a rotten film character turn over a new leaf than it would be to see them suffer for their crimes. Obviously, spoilers abound for the handful of films that follow, but most of them are famous enough or old enough to be fairly well-known by now. Without further ado, here are ten film villains whose conscience got the better of them...

Matt is a writer and musician living in Boston. Read his film reviews at http://motionstatereview.wordpress.com.