What makes revenge films so popular? Is it the catharsis of knowing that justice has been served? Is vengeance universal to the human experience? No matter the reason, today we are taking a look at some of the best movies of all time that deal with revenge. 


“The Godfather” (1972)

Director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece, “The Godfather” is hailed as the best revenge movie of all time. This is in part due to the performances of Marlon Brando as mob boss Don Corleone, and Al Pacino. Pacino’s character goes on to succeed his father as the mob boss and plans to kill the murderers of his older brother, his wife, and the gangsters who killed his father. 


“The Dark Knight” (2008)

While Batman is dedicated on dispensing vigilante justice, “The Dark Knight” focuses on the character Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart), a staunch district attorney. In wreaking havoc in Gotham City,  the Joker sets off an explosion that disfigures the attorney and kills the woman he loves. In his quest for revenge, Dent believes that fate should be left to chance, flipping a coin to determine whether a person lives or dies. 


“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968)

Considered one of the best westerns of all time, Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West” is about a woman who moves to Utah from New Orleans only to discover that her entire family has been killed. In order to avenge her family, she hires a gunman to find the killers who are led by a psychopathic assassin. 


“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

“The Shawshank Redemption” stars Tim Robbins as a prisoner who has been wrongly imprisoned for two murders. He takes his revenge out on the warden who refuses to free him despite the evidence that proves his innocence. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards. 


“Taxi Driver” (1976)

Martin Scorsese directs this gritty crime drama that takes a look at the violence and chaos of 1970s New York City. Disgusted by the decadence that surrounds him, the taxi driver, played by Robert De Niro, turns to a path of violence in order to free a teenager (Jodie Foster) from a life of sex work. 


That sums up our list of the top five revenge movies of all time. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, so you are free to suggest more titles. What are some of your favorite movies about revenge, or do you think that the best is still yet to come?