Top 10 Nazi Villains in Film
Top 10 Nazi Villains in Film

“Quite frankly, watchin’ Donny beat Nazis to death is the closest we ever get to goin’ to the movies.”

– Lt. Aldo Raine, “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)


With Quentin Tarantino’s latest picture, “Inglourious Basterds,” opening in the U.S. on August 21st, 2009, Christoph Waltz’s Colonel Hans Landa will surely go down in history as one of the greatest Nazi movie villains (if not one of the best movie villains, period). In honor of his gut-wrenching, perfectly devious performance, film critic Joel Massie investigates the 10 most impactful, unequivocally evil Nazis in film. These are the types of characters bound to be called “basterds” by the hordes of fans who will now forever misspell that slur.


10. Lieutenant Kotler from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)


Though young Bruno’s father is more of a villain in the world of the naive protagonist’s experiences, Kotler receives the brunt of the animosity as the sadistic Nazi lieutenant who brutalizes the Jewish prisoners at every opportunity.


9. Blackwolf from Wizards (1977)


Two million years in the future there are still Nazis. Sort of. The dark wizard Blackwolf uses Nazi propaganda to inspire his troops and win battles against his twin wizard brother, Avatar. Fairies, elves, and robot assassins must wage war against Blackwolf to prevent another Holocaust. I couldn’t make this stuff up.


8. Dr. Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)


Working as a double agent for the Nazis, Austrian art professor Elsa Schneider seduces both Jones boys and causes her employer Donovan to disintegrate before her eyes. Plus, her carelessness brings the entire Grail Temple crashing down at a most inopportune time.


7. Neville Sinclair from The Rocketeer (1991)


When he’s not James Bond or fending off Fran Drescher, Timothy Dalton is usually filling more villainous roles. His arrogant actor turned Nazi spy, Neville Sinclair, was one of his most memorable, as the vicious scoundrel planned to turn the Rocketeer’s jetpack over to the Nazis and take advantage of a young Jennifer Connolly. Which one is more dangerous, no one knows for sure.


6. Ilsa from Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975)


Inciting countless spin-offs, sequels, and copycats, no wicked Nazi warden could measure up (in more ways than one) to Dyanne Thorne’s Ilsa. “Nazi Love Camp,” “SS Experiment Camp,” and “The Gestapo’s Last Orgy” are just a few of the colorfully titled additions to the Nazi Exploitation genre started by this terrifying She Wolf.


5. Nazi Zombies from Dead Snow (2009)


No list would be complete without some zombies, and none would fit this assortment better than Nazi zombies. Ranging from ferociously scary to make-up-falling-off pathetic, these baddies sport the garb and follow a simpler rule of raining terror – just eating the living. “Shock Waves” and Zombie Lake” are runners-up with the same brand of antagonists.


4. Christian Szell from Marathon Man (1976)


Perhaps violent Nazi Christian Szell is most memorable for the bad dentistry techniques he used on Dustin Hoffman’s “Babe,” but he did a lot of other evil things too, like … well, the dentist stuff was about the worst of it. And from the great Laurence Olivier no less; talk about a convincingly petrifying performance!


3. Amon Goeth from Schindler’s List (1993)


In the most acclaimed movie to deal with Nazis on this list, Ralph Fiennes portrays the monstrous, real-life Amon Goeth with award-winning precision. Apparently, he did such a good job that the actual Holocaust survivors on set were scared of the actor.


2. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen from Hellboy (2004)


Sporting razor-sharp swords, a gas mask, and a mean black trenchcoat, Kroenen brought hell to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense by unleashing the slimy hound Sammael and offing Hellboy’s “father.” Though he was practically a rotting corpse under his black garb, Kroenen was still a Nazi.


1. Major Arnold Ernst Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)


Supposedly, Spielberg originally envisioned Toht as a cyborg with a flamethrower for an arm, but it’s hard to imagine him more sinister than as portrayed by the unassuming, almost nerdy Ronald Lacey. The whiny Gestapo agent provides plenty of suspense, terror, humor, and face-melting fun. He gets it worst of all in the end – in the most creatively cathartic method of demise imaginable.