(WARNING: This article contains MASSIVE spoilers for the movies mentioned. Continue at your own risk)
Both in real life and in the movies, there isn’t an act more horrible than betrayal. Here we’ve got the worst of the worst, the 10 biggest traitors in cinema history. These are the men/women who deceived their allies, their friends, and even their own families in order to get glory, riches, and power. Get ready for a journey filled with venality, deception, and malice, because we’re about to begin the countdown.
10. Talia al Ghul ('The Dark Knight Rises')
Despite the fact that many fans actually devalue Marion Cotillard’s Talia in The Dark Knight Rises, there’s no doubt that the last-minute plot twist caught us all off guard. After spending months in captivity, Batman returns to Gotham to stop Bane, only to realize that the real mastermind behind the warlord’s plan in none other than his close associate, Miranda Tate, who is, in fact, the daughter of his old enemy and former master Ra’s al Ghul.
9. Dennis Nedry ('Jurassic Park')
Dennis Nedry is the nedry (wink wink nudge nudge) computer programmer at #JurassicPark, a guy whose financial problems drove him to villainy. Dennis was hired by a rival company to steal the ideas of John Hammond and smuggle dinosaur embryos off the island. His fatal mistake was to stay in a car with a Dilophosaurus, one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs of the early Jurassic period. Although he only appeared in the first installment of the series, Dennis is a fan favorite thanks to his clumsiness and goofiness. I mean, he even has his own meme.
8. Carter Burke ('Aliens')
Burke wanted to pass himself off as a nice guy, but he later showed his true colors. In reality, he was a sneaky schemer, a man who wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice human life in order to accomplish his own goals. When Ripley and the Marines decided to execute him for his treason, Burke managed to slip away, only to later accidentally lock himself up with a Xenomorph.
7. Elsa Schneider ('Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade')
What’s worse than a traitor? A Nazi traitor, of course! At first glance, Elsa seemed to be the stereotypical love interest of the macho hero; however, she proved to be a spy for the SS. She betrayed both father and son, using her good looks in order to get access to their secrets. Although she is a nothing more than a double-crossing seductress, Elsa didn’t really care for the Nazi party and was more interested in getting the Holy Grail. It's also obvious that she did, in fact, have some feelings for Indy. At the end of the day, you can’t really hate her.
6. Peter Pettigrew (Harry Potter Franchise)
Wormtail is the living proof that not all Gryffindors are brave and loyal. A coward by birth, Peter decided to change sides and become a Death Eater during the first Wizarding War. Peter ratted James and Lilly Potter out to Lord Voldemort, resulting in the couple's death. Despite the fact that he passed on some very useful information, Peter’s traitorous nature made him quite unpopular among the dark wizards. Voldemort himself thought of him as a foolish lackey, as a tool. In a surprising moment of guilt, Wormtail hesitated to kill Harry Potter and ended up losing his life as punishment for his incompetence from the Dark Lord.
5. Saruman (The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy)
Saruman is commonly known as the greatest traitor in Middle Earth! He left the White Council and allied himself with the evil Sauron, being corrupted by the power of the One Ring. It should be mentioned that Saruman, unlike most of the others in the list, is a more prominent figure than the master he served, with the white wizard getting much more screen time than Sauron in the LotR trilogy. Unfortunately, his tragic death is absent from the final cut. Peter Jackson excluded the awesome scene in which Grima stabs him in the back (isn’t that ironic?) Regardless, the portrayal of Saruman is truly outstanding, with Christopher Lee shining brighter than every other actor in the three films.
4. Alec Trevelyan ('GoldenEye')
"For England, James? No, for me." Who can forget 006 from GoldenEye, a movie that is, without a doubt, by far the best one of Brosnan’s run? In this iconic 007 flick, Alec Trevelyan serves as the main antagonist, being one of the best baddies in 007’s rogues gallery. Originally a fellow 00 officer, Trevelyan faked his own death in order to establish his criminal organization and destroy the British intelligence agency as an act of revenge for his parents’ demise. However, his plans brought him against James Bond, a decision that immediately made him sign his own death warrant. To be fair, he didn’t stand a chance from the beginning (he was portrayed by Sean Bean, what did you expect?)
3. Cypher ('The Matrix')
At No. 3, we’ve got a man who sold his own kind (humans) to the machines. In contrast with the other members of the Nebuchadnezzar, Cypher preferred the virtual world to the depressing reality and sided with the machines, closing a deal for a better life with Agent Smith. Just like with what happens to most stool pigeons, Cypher gets caught by one of his former co-workers, who doesn’t take the whole betrayal thing very well. In the end, Cypher gets killed by Tank’s lightning rifle.
2. Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars Franchise)
The prequels ruined #DarthVader for most of the fans. However, no one can really deny that Anakin’s betrayal was arguably the most monstrous one in the franchise, with the troubled young Jedi Knight selling the Jedi Council out and becoming one of Sidious’s pawns. Although his acts during Order 66 were truly unforgivable, it was revealed that he did still have some humanity left inside him, sacrificing himself to save his son. In the end, Vader went off like a real hero, clearing his name and earning a place between his former master and Yoda.
1. Fredo Corleone ('The Godfather II')
When it comes to traitors, Fredo is my personal favorite. He is by far the most tragic character on the list, probably followed by Vader. Being the second son of New York’s most intimidating crime boss, Fredo believed that he would take the driver’s seat after the death Santino, his bigger brother. However, Vito passed the torch to Michael, the youngest of the three brothers, since Fredo was immature, naive and frivolous. Fredo, although furious, remained loyal to his brother and decided to help Michael rule the Don’s empire. Things got out of control when he accidentally gave away useful information about Michael’s whereabouts, a silly move that almost led to the deaths of his brother and his family. Despite the fact that he had good intentions, and although he asked for forgiveness, Michael’s heart proved to be cold as ice, and Fredo ended up sleeping with the fishes.
The middle Corleone child wasn’t ruthless, greedy or traitorous by nature, he just wanted to impress his little brother — he wanted respect. His death was a real shocker and proved that there are no second chances in the Mafia, even from brother to brother.
Bonus: Roose Bolton ('Game Of Thrones')
I just couldn’t prepare this article without making a mention of Roose Bolton, the most hated and abominable backstabber in Game of Thrones, a series based on the lies and the deceit of the political leaders of Westeros. Roose was Robb Stark’s second in command, playing a big part in the War of the Five Kings. When Robb started losing, the Leech Lord chose to betray the Young Wolf, orchestrating the Red Wedding, the massacre of the northern army at the wedding feast of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. As a reward for stabbing the King in the North in the heart, Roose became the Warden of the North, ruling his territory with an iron fist by destroying the remaining Baratheon forces, giving Sansa as a wife to his son and getting rid of the Ironborn from his land. He finally gets what’s coming to him, being murdered by his own bastard son Ramsay, who puts a knife through his heart, the same way he once did to Robb Stark.