Top 10 Revenge movies that get vengeance right


Justice doesn’t always take a lawful course, so naturally people often choose to seek vengeance on their own (fact source: movies). Were you recently betrayed by a friend, cheated on by your beloved or just furious about the way of our world right now (I’m talking about you Trump)? Revenge is a thrilling cinematic theme, because who hasn’t been in a position where they wanted to see someone pay the price of karma?

Sometimes a good vengeance movie is exactly what you need when your own revenge demons get too loud to bear. Watching a person get their payback can be truly satisfying. So, without further ado – here are 10 awesome revenge movies worth watching!

The Crow (1994)

The Crow a revenge tale

An intelligent, stunningly executed film by Alex Proyas, that sadly ended in real life tragedy, when actor Brandon Lee died in a fatal accident filming a scene for the movie.

It’s a dark, sinister yet beautiful movie centering on a man who rise from the death after being killed along with his fiance one year earlier. It was a gruesome murder on the night before Halloween (Devils night), and it’s on the same day one year later that Eric rise from his grave. Guided by a raven who acts as a link between life and death, he sets out on a quest to avenge the murder of his fiancé and himself.

Brandon Lee was well on his way to become a well-known actor, but was sadly killed in the accident only 28 years of age. To add to the devastation even further, his passing was 17 days before his wedding. But Brandon’s death aside, the movie stands on its own as brilliantly surreal and gothicly beautiful.

Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy tale of vengeance

Oldboy was the second release of director Park Chan-wook’s original, bizarre and fascinating vengeance trilogy. The first was Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), and last came Lady Vengance (2005). An amazing trilogy and a must watch for anyone who likes revenge movies. Oldboy is definitely my favourite among the 3, with its twisted, well thought-out story and believable crude characters.

Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is held captive in a room for 15 years, without knowing by who or why. His only connection to the outside world is a TV, and it’s from this television he receives the news that his wife has been killed, and someone tied him to the murder. Without explanation Oh Dae-su is set free after 15 years, and a plan for revenge is immediately put in place. A painstakingly brutal, bitter journey begins.

Choi Min-sik does an outstanding performance as the lead and we follow his course intimately as he reconciles with a world new to him, finds love, and confronts his past. Despite his apparent blood thirst and bizarre personality, he’s the one you’ll root for. If you’re looking for a movie that will make you feel both disgusted and amazed, this is it.

Memento (2000)

Memento search for revenge

Christopher Nolan made his name with this epic, original film that set the bar high for the Neo-noir genre. A brilliant movie that requires attention and thought, and the more of yourself you give it, the more it repays you.

A movie that begins where it ends and plays in reverse, much like the mind of the lead character, Leonard Shelby. A man who lost his short term memory in an assault. With his wife raped and murdered, Leonard sets out to find and kill the assaulter. The only catch – he is only able to remember about 15 minutes at a time. With no way to create new memories, he creates a system of notes, polaroid photos and tattoos to keep him on track.

A brilliant, intelligent brain-teaser that puts you straight into the shoes of Leonard Shelby. We’re thrown into the mind of a man with no memory, only to embark on his unknowing journey and trust in the notes he keeps. Edited in a stylish and unique fashion and with an insanely clever script, it was no surprise the movie received Oscar Nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

Léon (1994)

Leon the Professional 1994

Playing with the concept of good and evil has always been an interesting subject in cinemas, but when Luc Besson released Léon in 1994 he took this concept and blew the lid off. Showing off the moral grey area that appears when an otherwise unsympathetic killer shows kindness. Simply genius!

Léon is a story about a hitman (Jean Reno), whose only friend is a plant. After his neighbor, 12-year-old Mathilda’s (Natalie Portman) family is killed by a corrupt police officer, he reluctantly takes her under his wing of protection. Mathilda quickly gains interest in Léon’s questionable career, seeing it as her chance to avenge her family’s (mostly brother’s) murder.

But Léon is much more than a tail of vengeance. It’s a story about an unlikely friendship, about a man who thought he couldn’t love and a girl who thought she had nothing left. A brilliant movie unlike any other. A timeless masterpiece.

I Saw the Devil (2010)

I saw the Devil korean revenge story

Talented director/writer Jee-woon Kim adds I Saw the Devil straight to the top of incredible Korean revenge movies. A movie characterized by visual perfection, gloomy irony and raw violence. This genius director/writer is a master of putting together movies, which I realized after watching “A tale of two sisters”, a movie that deserves at least 10 watches in order to figure out the absolute genius that this director delivers.

Revenge is for movies” states a guy, but our lead character Kim is not a man of the same opinion. He purposely let the man who killed his beloved escape alive, in order to facilitate an lengthened plot of vengeance against him.

I’m not a huge fan of action movies, well at least Hollywood action that relies heavily on jump-cuts to make a fight scene. Don’t worry, I Saw the Devil has none of that! The epic, violent, gory fight scenes you’re witnessing are properly choreographed. Filmed with a “real time” effect and no awful jump-cuts, the punches and cuts will almost hurt you.

Sleepers (1996)

Sleepers 1996

Legendary filmmaker Barry Levinson added yet another masterpiece to his already impressive resume back in 1996. Sleepers is a well-crafted movie that with its 147 minutes keeps your attention from the absolute first scene to the last.

Violence and crime are an everyday occurrence in Hell’s Kitchen, New York and after a petty prank went disastrously wrong, teenagers John, Tommy, Michael and Shakes are sent to a detention center where hell awaits them. Daily sexual assaults and brutalization by the guards becomes their new reality. 13 years later the estranged friends come together once again when a chance for revenge occurs.

A stellar all-star cast featuring Kevin Bacon, Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt that lead the narrative with their incredible performances. Sleepers is not for the faint of hearts, with moments so intense you’ll feel like shying away. Knowing it’s based on a true story only makes it even more intense.

Straw Dogs (1971)

Straw Dogs 1971

Straw Dogs is a slow burner that explodes with intensity in the end. The long build-up is essential in order to understand the relationship and emotions of the main characters, David and Amy. A fantastic thriller by Sam Peckinpah that holds its own even after 49 years!

Wife and husband, Amy and David move from American to England. A man who keeps telling himself he needs peace and quiet to pursue his mathematical research. A restless woman who sees the move as evidence of her husband’s cowardness (an escape from being called to the Vietnam war).

With pressure on the relationship it starts to deteriorate, agitation growing from David and boredom rising in Amy. Don’t want to spoil anything. Just let the match burn out slowly, it’s actually a dynamite.

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

I spit on your grave revenge movie

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Steven R. Monroe, but this one he got right! I Spit on Your grave is a remake that turned out better than the original. At least in my opinion. I don’t really get the harsh reviews movies like these receive, being doomed as torture porn or said to glorify violence. But that’s me, I also don’t get when people say “unnecessary violence”, so I might be bias.

Jennifer is a young writer who leaves her home in Manhattan and rents a cabin by a lake in order to get the peace and quiet she needs to finish her novel. It’s a perfect, inspiring, idyllic place and everything seems just right until 4 men change her life forever. One after one they rape and brutalize her to the point she can’t even stand on her own two feet. Then they leave her to die, which will be a choice they’ll come to regret. Jennifer survives the horrendous night, and once recovered, her mission is revenge.

Some people call this movie a “misunderstood masterpiece”, some call it a “vile bag of garbage”. I wouldn’t call I Spit on Your grave a masterpiece, but it is a great movie. I think the violence displayed is essential and I reject the idea that this would be torture porn. But if it is to some, great! If someone can jerk off to this instead of causing others harm – perfect!

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds

Revenge, agony, triumph, joy, but above all – revenge. Ultra-blooded revenge. Tarantino made an all time comeback after Death Proof, releasing Inglourious Basterds, a crazy tale filled with nazi slaughter (I mean the right kind, the slaughter of nazis.) wonderful dialogue and an epic (as always) soundtrack.

It’s 1941 and France is occupied with nazis. They slaughter a Jewish family in a cold-blood, but Shosanna manages to escape the gruesome mass murder alive. Karma has its way of finding reckoning and that’s just what happens when Shosanna befriends a group “Besterds” whose mission is to kill as many nazis as possible. Together they form a plan for vengeance.

Inglourious Basterds daringly rewrites history, with Hitler even crazier and World War II sillier. Somewhat tabu? Well, it’s a Tarantino movie. It’s probably one of Tarantino’s most misunderstood movies, with some very harsh reviews from critics and audiences declaring it a mockery of the holocaust. I disagree, it’s a movie – not a documentary. It’s supposed to be disturbing, and what better way to disturb people than to make an absolutely tragic event in history funny? Tarantino doubtlessly made people feel uneasy. Brilliant.

Carrie (1976)

Carrie 1976 a vengeance tale

Brian De Palma’s classic take on Stephen King’s book Carrie is one you’ll never forget. No re-make has come even close to being as good as the original. Sissy Spacek’s and John Travolta’s career skyrocketed after this movie, and it’s no surprise why.

Based on Stephen King’s bestseller, Carrie follows the story of an odd highschool girl who is tormented by low self-esteem and loneliness. She doesn’t know she’s in fact very special and possesses telekinetic powers. When her psychotic mother and sadist classmates finally go too far, Carrie transforms from a shy teenager to an unrestrained, vengeful powerhouse who causes chaos and an inferno of blood, fire and terror.

De Plama does an excellent job of putting us in the shoes of Carrie, who we come to identify with. We learn, as does Carrie, not to trust anyone. This distrust of her surroundings really adds to the horrid atmosphere, keeping the suspense throughout the entire movie.

Written By


I've always had a deep love and fascination for movies, being an especially strong advocate for the weird, foreign, underrated, under-budgeted and unfairly NC17 rated films of our world. Cinesister is the embodiment of this passion (which some might call an obsession).

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