10 Best Revenge Sagas Made Into Movies

The best revenge movies include Kill Bill Vol. 1, Gladiator, Old Boy, and The Godfather.

By Rick Gonzales | Updated

Revenge is a dish best-served cold. We know it, they know it, and if we and they do, then Hollywood is sure to know it as well. Revenge is a genre that is one engaging form of storytelling and always seems to do well at the box office. What does that say about us as moviegoers? Maybe that we are a bloodthirsty bunch who loves to see revenge exacted on those deserving.

There are numerous stories where revenge was not only served cold, but it had some heat to it as well. So, we have chosen the 10 best movies that take revenge, serve it on a silver platter, then let it eat.


10. Death Wish (1974)


While there have been plenty of revenge tales before Death Wish, it seems like this was the one that truly kicked the genre into the next gear. This 1974 film stars Charles Bronson as happily married Paul Kersey, a conscientious objector during the Korean War and someone who does not believe that violence is the answer. Kersey will be forced to rethink his stance.

One night, Paul’s wife and daughter are followed home by muggers who intend to rob them. When they discover the women don’t have any money, they instead attack them. Joanna dies from her injuries and Carol ends up catatonic and sent to a mental institution. It is then that Paul’s thoughts on violence change and revenge is now number one in his mind as he turns into a vigilante.

9. The Revenant

leonardo dicaprio


Speaking of revenge best being served up cold, that is exactly what you get with The Revenant, a 2015 frontier piece starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The film begins in the cool Dakota winter as Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a fur trapper, finds himself out hunting game when he is brutally (trust us, if you haven’t seen it yet) attacked by a mama grizzly bear.

Barely alive, the rest of his hunting party makes the decision to leave, but they can’t bring Glass along as the trek is too rough to carry him.

Volunteers are offered money to stay with him until he dies so he can be properly buried. His half=Pawnee son volunteers as do John Fitzgerald (Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter). Fitzgerald has his money, so when Bridger and Hawk are away, he tries to speed up Hugh’s death by smothering him.

Hawk sees this forcing Fitzgerald to turn his deadly intentions toward Hawk. Hugh can only lay there helpless while Fitzgerald stabs his son to death. Revenge? You bet.

8. The Count of Monte Cristo


Dantes thought Fernand was his friend. Turns out, Fernand wanted what Dantes had, the lovely Mercedes. So, in order to get Mercedes for himself, Fernand falsely accuses Dantes of treason, forcing Dantes to be imprisoned on an island for 13 years.

This is how the revenge comes to be in The Count of Monte Cristo, a film starring Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce. During his time away, Dantes bides his time planning his escape and revenge. With help from a fellow prisoner, Dantes is finally able to make his escape, after which he turns himself into the wealthy Count with one thing on his mind.

7. Django Unchained (2012)


Jamie Foxx is Quentin Tarantino’s Django in this revenge yarn, Django Unchained. Django is a freed slave who, with the help of a German bounty hunter, learns the tricks of the trade while on his own personal mission to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation owner.

Christoph Waltz is brilliant as Dr. King Schultz, the man who takes Django under his wing. Leonardo DiCaprio is just as good as Calvin Candie, the plantation owner, and Samuel L. Jackson is on hand as Candie’s right-hand man, Stephen.

Before Django reaches Candie and his wife, revenge is on his mind when he and Schultz track down the vicious Brittle Brothers, the men who oversaw the last plantation of Django’s last owner.

6. V for Vendetta (2005)


V for Vendetta is a dystopian revenge action film that is based on a 1988 DC Vertigo Comics of the same name. The film follows V, a masked freedom fighter who attempts to take down the Norsefire political party through acts of terrorism. In his quest, he is aided by Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman).

Set in the future, Britain finds itself being ruled by the Nosefire party, one that executes people who are considered undesirable including homosexuals, immigrants, and those whose religious beliefs don’t toe the line. While V is hoping for a revolution, he is also seeking revenge on those who, 20 years earlier, created the biological weapon, St. Mary’s Virus, by experimenting on humans, he being one of them.

5. Memento (2000)


Christopher Nolan began his head-scratching run on filmmaking with Memento, a film whose non-linear narrative style put audiences in the shoes of the protagonist, Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce).  Shelby is dealing with anterograde amnesia, which means he has memories of the past, but he is unable to form new memories.

Memento is ultimately a revenge film with Shelby trying to piece together his life after he began to experience his amnesia. The film follows Shelby, back and forth, on his hunt for those who attacked him, and raped then killed his wife. He uses a system of pictures, handwritten notes, and tattoos in his search.

4. Gladiator (2000)


Ridley Scott brought ancient Rome to life with Gladiator, a revenge tale starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, and Djimon Hounsou. Scott’s film tells the story of Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, a man highly respected by Emperor Marcus Aurelius and who the Emperor wishes to succeed him instead of his son, the corrupt and weak Commodus (Phoenix).

Jealousy takes over and Commodus kills his father and appoints himself the new Emperor. He then kills Maximus’s family. Maximus escapes death but is badly wounded, he is found by slavers and is then sold to Proximo, a gladiator trainer. After healing, Maximus ends up being forced to fight as a Gladiator. The action is plenty and gory as Maximus fights his way across Rome to enact his revenge against Commodus.

3. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)


Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is an epic revenge story that sees Uma Thurman as The Bride on the ultimate quest to right all the wrongs she’s suffered. When we first see her character, she is pregnant (ready to burst), lying wounded in a chapel in El Paso, Texas. Her attacker, Bill (who we don’t see until Vol. 2) is standing above her, and just as she tells him the baby is his, he shoots her in the head.

Somehow, the Bride survives. When she wakes up in the hospital, she is no longer pregnant. Her plan now is to exact revenge on Bill. The Bride was a former member of the Deadly Vipers, a group of assassins who did Bill’s bidding. They turned on her and now she is after those remaining, and Bill, as she tries to find out what happened to her baby.

2. Oldboy (2003)


Oldboy is a powerful South Korean revenge yarn considered to be one of the very best films to come from the country. The film stars Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su, a man on his way to his daughter’s fourth birthday when he is arrested for public drunkenness. When he wakes, he finds himself in a hotel room with no way out. He is delivered food through a pet door and finally realizes that he is there to stay.

Dae-su has no idea why he is where he is but eventually finds out that his wife has been murdered and that whoever has put him in the room framed him for the murder. It will be years before Dae-su gets out of the room, suddenly out on the streets after 15 years. Dae-su now tries to put the pieces together to find his captors and learn why he was held for 15 years,

1. The Godfather (1972)


One might not consider The Godfather a revenge film, but it truly is. Regarded as one of the best films ever to grace the big screen, the film follows the Corleones, a powerful mafia family, led by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), as they try to survive other powerful families trying to take their territory.

Al Pacino is son Michael Corleone, a young man returning from the war and who wants nothing to do with the family business. In fact, Vito does not want Michael involved either. Slowly but surely, though, Michael is drawn into the world of crime as his family members begin to lose their lives. Michael then decides to take matters into his own hands and exact revenge on all those who have harmed his family.