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Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Hannibal voted top film villain
Sir Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal
Hopkins reprised the role in this year's Hannibal
Hannibal Lecter, the flesh-eating doctor from The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, has been voted the "best baddie" in cinema history.

The character, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, topped a poll of more than 17,000 film fans.

Best film baddies
1. Hannibal - The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal
2. Darth Vader - Star Wars films
3. Norman Bates - Psycho
4. The Sheriff of Nottingham - Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
5. Annie Wilkes - Misery
Dr Lecter was followed by Star Wars' Darth Vader and Norman Bates, the killer from classic thriller Psycho.

Hopkins won a best actor Oscar for his portrayal of the serial killer in Dr Lecter's first screen outing, The Silence of the Lambs, in 1992.

The film, which also starred Jodie Foster, picked up another four Oscars and its suspense has become embedded in cinema history.

The vote was carried out on the Only-Movies website, and a spokesman said Hannibal's wit made him appealing.

"People love Hannibal's one-liners," he said.

Darth Vader
Darth Vader: Voted second by film fans
Hopkins reprised the role for this year's Hannibal, in which the character was seen coming out of hiding and returning to America.

But it has failed to repeat the critical success of its predecessor.

It has been reported that Hopkins is considering whether to play the role again, in a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs.

Nosferatu, Max Shreck's vampire in the 1922 film of the same name, was the oldest villain to make the list.


Another vampire, Christopher Lee's 1958 Dracula, was among the other classic villains, as was Richard Widmark's psychopathic killer Tommy Udo in the 1947 film Kiss of Death.

Nightmare-inducing characters in the poll were not limited to humans - the shark from Jaws came in at number 30.

The fantastical family film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang even gets a mention, at number 25, for the Child Catcher played by Robert Helpmann.

Kevin Spacey makes two appearances on the list - for his roles as a shadowy mastermind in The Usual Suspects and methodological killer John Doe from Se7en.

Alan Rickman is the only other actor to appear twice - for Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Theives, and Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

See also:

06 Jul 01 | New Media
Hannibal's computer adventure
09 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Guess who's coming to dinner?
06 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Hannibal chomps Chocolat
16 Feb 01 | Entertainment
The real Hannibal Lecters
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