Favorite Movie Villains: The Joker, Hannibal Lecter, Bane

Moviegoers love to hate a good villain.

In a new study based largely on Google Trends, Shane Co. has identified which live-action villains America hates the most. Here are some insights from the research.

Who is the most popular live-action villain?

The joker.

In particular, The Dark Knight’s Joker was the most popular villain in live-action films overall, with the following nine states most searched for Batman’s nemesis:

  • Florida.
  • Kansas.
  • Kentucky.
  • Mississippi.
  • Nevada.
  • New Mexico.
  • North Carolina.
  • Oklahoma.
  • Texas.

Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs was runner-up for Favorite Live-Action Movie Villain and the Most Wanted Villain in the following six states:

  • Iowa.
  • Maine.
  • Missouri.
  • Montana.
  • West Virginia.
  • Wyoming.

Batman’s arch-enemies rule the internet. Bane from “The Dark Knight” Rises was the third most popular villain in live-action movies and the favorite in the following four states:

  • Alaska.
  • Illinois.
  • New York.
  • Pennsylvania.

Overall, the DC movie villains – including Joker and Bane – were the most popular villains and favorites in 13 states combined. Marvel villains – like the Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus and Thanos – were the most popular villains in five states. Star Wars villains — specifically Kylo Ren and Darth Vader — were most popular in two states.


Shane Co. recently analyzed Google Trends to identify the most popular live-action villains in each state.

What about Utah?

The award for Utah’s Favorite Live-Action Antagonist goes to Darth Vader. Utah searched for Darth Vader more than any other state.

This shouldn’t be too surprising given another recent study by Shane. Co noted that Utah is the #1 state in the country when it comes to Star Wars fandom, the Deseret News reported. This study also revealed that Utah’s favorite Star Wars hero is Yoda.

What are some other popular live-action villains?

  • Calvin Candle from Django Unchained, Detective Alonzo Harris from Training Day, Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds and Tyler Durden from Fight Club each had the hearts of three states.
  • Amon Goeth from Schindler’s List, Dr. Octopus from the Spider-Man franchise, Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Thanos from the Avengers franchise were each the two-state favorites.
  • The study noted several one-off appearances, including Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life (Arkansas); Kylo Ren from the “Star Wars” franchise (Arizona); Lord Voldemort from the “Harry Potter” franchise (Michigan); and Norman Bates of Psycho (New Hampshire).

The methodology

Shane Co. compiled a list of 37 popular live-action movies and used Google Trends to analyze the search volume of villains in those movies over the past five years.

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