“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” In other words, don’t rush it. Sometimes it is better to wait until people do not expect payback.
Revenge may not be part of everyday life, but it is certainly something people turn to when they have been wronged. Of course, there is a danger. People who take revenge often are the targets of revenge later. It is a difficult cycle to avoid.
Filmmakers have long been fascinated with the idea of revenge, whether failed or successful, and have used it as the motivation for their plots. Many of the resulting films, often filled with fast-paced action and plenty of violence, have become classics.
To determine the best revenge movie of all time, 24/7 Tempo considered a database of those movies tagged “revenge” on The Numbers, an online film industry data site owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services, or identified as revenge films in Vulture’s article, “What Are the Best Revenge Movies?“
We then developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. Films that contain elements of revenge, but whose plots are not driven by a protagonist or antagonist seeking or avoiding it, were excluded from consideration. Cast information and directorial credits come from IMDb.
The desire to get even is not unique to certain cultures and seems to be part of the human experience across time and around the world. Some revenge movies have intricate plots. Others are comparatively straightforward tales of people embarking on a quest for justice. Some of them failed to do well at the box office when first released but are now considered among the best films of all time.
The best revenge movie of all time is “Once Upon a Time in the West.” Released in 1968, the film was directed by Sergio Leone and stars Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards. Here are the details:
- IMDb user rating: 8.5 (314,446 reviews)
- Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (65,906 votes)
- Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (65 votes)
This spaghetti western masterpiece follows the interwoven stories of land wars connected to the building of a new railroad and a quest for vengeance against a wanted killer in a wayward desert outpost town. A mysterious gunslinging figure arrives on the scene as things start to heat up. The film was originally a flop at the box office, after studio executives cut 21 minutes out of the movie for its U.S. release. Luckily, it has been restored to its original length and is now considered an absolute classic.
Click here to see which are the best revenge movies of all time.
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