Villains Love Classical: The Supercut

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 19 2014 8:03 AM

Villains Love Classical: The Supercut

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When the avenging hero of Luc Besson’s latest thriller Lucy finally bursts in on the evil villain, he’s lying back, getting a cucumber-mask makeover, and listening to Mozart. It’s no surprise: The villain’s choice of music harkens back to Besson’s most famous villain, the Beethoven-obsessed madman of The Professional. Not to mention decades of other classical-loving bad guys, whom we’ve rounded up in the supercut above. Just last year, White House Down featured a sequence in which an evildoer hacks into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue while jamming out to Beethoven’s Fifth, a sequence that itself was reminiscent of the Beethoven-blaring Die Hard.

Which types of classical do villains love the most? As the examples above suggest, their favorite composer seems to be Beethoven. (Perhaps they’re inspired by A Clockwork Orange.) Meanwhile, their favorite instrument seems to be the piano—recall Bond villain Hugo Drax or Interview With the Vampire’s Lestat de Lioncourt—and they also go crazy for opera. Perhaps there’s no accounting for their killer taste, except that screenwriters seem to use classical again and again to signify that these baddies are frightfully intelligent, have a flair for the dramatic, and are too sophisticated to be trusted.

Nico Burasco is a freelance video editor. You can see more of his work here.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer.