10 Best Revenge Movies (According To Letterboxd)


The critically-acclaimed action-thriller movie, John Wick, spawned a franchise that continues to expand, with the TV show The Continental set to premiere in 2023. The first film has been lauded for its back-to-basics approach that shows a mastery of the elements of a flawless revenge flick.

This is why it’s not surprising that the blockbuster is included in Letterboxd users’ most mentioned revenge movies. Alongside other commercially-successful films about retribution like The Revenant and Kill Bill: Vol. 1, the social media platform for film buffs has made it easy for fans to discover the best and must-see revenge films of all time.


The Revenant (2015)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

The Revenant is set mostly in the wilderness in 1823 where Hugh Glass is guiding a group of trappers through hostile territory. After Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear and left with his son and the untrustworthy trapper John Fitzgerald, a series of violent events inspires the injured man to persevere through the dangerous landscapes to exact revenge.

Often considered among those great movies that should only be viewed once, the film doesn’t shy away from gruesome and brutal scenes that can be almost too painful to watch. Glass’ experiences should have been impossible to survive, but his love for his son motivates him to hunt down his killer.

Once Upon A Time In The West (1968)

Available to stream on Paramount Plus.

The Spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West chronicles the fight against Harmonica and Frank, with the latter being an outlaw who seeks to control land that will soon become valuable thanks to the railroad. Frank soon finds himself up against the mysterious Harmonica, who relentlessly pursues him until a tense standoff occurs.

While Harmonica’s vendetta against Frank seems to come out of nowhere, a dramatic flashback during the ending reveals exactly why the protagonist wants retaliation against the outlaw. He goes through a lot to eventually get it.

Gone Girl (2014)

Available to stream on Peacock.

Often cited alongside the most popular thrillers of the decade, Gone Girl is one of those films that are best seen knowing as little as possible about its plot. It’s centered on the troubling case of Amy Dunne, who goes missing one day. All clues point to her husband Nick being the prime suspect, but things aren’t what they seem.

The mid-point twist in the film points to the glaring motivation for revenge. Nick and Amy’s marriage soured a long time ago and there’s a lot of love lost between them. The unbelievable scheme and complicated plot unfold to reveal just how far someone can go for revenge.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

The second half of the neo-Western story, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, follows the Bride’s continued campaign of revenge against the rest of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Her true goal is to reach their leader and her former boss, Bill, who attempted to murder her and her unborn child during her wedding in the first movie.

The film escalates the violence and brutality from the first movie to new heights, with the protagonist facing off against one of the more talented assassins, Elle Driver. She also goes to great lengths to learn the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique in preparation for her confrontation with Bill.

Memento (2000)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Leonard Shelby is a man with anterograde amnesia in Memento, which means he’s unable to form new memories. The former insurance investigator developed this amnesia after two attackers viciously hurt him and killed his wife, which prompts his quest for retribution.

The unique revenge flick is told in a non-linear fashion, with two seemingly disjointed storylines representing the protagonist’s fractured perspective. They eventually begin to make more sense as Leonard pieces together clues through his system involving the use of Polaroid photographs and tattoos, as it’s the only way he can remember what he uncovers about the attacker.

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

Two plots are set into motion to topple the Nazi leadership in Inglourious Basterds, with the first one from cinema proprietor Shosanna Dreyfus and the second from a group of American soldiers led by First Lieutenant Aldo Raine. Inglourious Basterds is known for subverting war movie tropes through its meta deconstruction of cinema and unique Spaghetti Western style.

The revenge aspect is undoubtedly mostly from Shosanna’s storyline, as she faces off against Hans Landa decades after he murdered her entire family. The way she plots the enemies’ deaths is motivated by the antagonist’s evil actions, which have clearly stayed with her several years after the massacre.

Django Unchained (2012)

Available to stream on AMC+.

The controversial revisionist Western film, Django Unchained, tells the story of the titular protagonist, who is separated from his wife Broomhilda and ends up with the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Schultz teaches Django his profession and promises his freedom in exchange for information about the ​​three notorious Brittle brothers.

Django’s quest for revenge begins when he reaches Candyland, a hellish plantation where slaves are forced to fight to the death for Candie’s entertainment. He and Schultz must figure out how to trick Candie into handing over Broomhilda safely, but their simple plan is complicated by a group of tattletales.

John Wick (2014)

Available to rent on Apple TV.

John Wick immediately became an international hit when it was first released and has been praised for its no-frills approach to the action genre. It tells the story of the eponymous protagonist, who’s targeted by a foolish group of gangsters at his lowest point. This prompts John to pick up his weapons and use his connections from the past to exact revenge on his attackers.

The revenge film is lauded because of its straightforward but entertaining plot, which is driven by John’s burning desire for payback. The badass former assassin is easy to root for, as he is clearly the one who was wronged in that situation.

Oldboy (2003)

A lesser-known revenge film that deserves more attention is Oldboy. After its protagonist Oh Dae-su is captured and imprisoned in a cell for over a decade, he’s suddenly released without warning. As he pursues his mysterious captor, he finds himself increasingly entangled in a complicated conspiracy.

At first, the need for revenge is definitely coming from the kidnapped protagonist, who spends 15 years not knowing why he has been imprisoned. Its twist ending reveals a dark secret and an even deeper cause for retaliation that results in a jaw-dropping revelation.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is the first part of the infamous revenge flick, which follows the character initially just known as the Bride as she attempts to get payback. The group she’s after is the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad headed by Bill, who she used to work for. An attempt on her life during her wedding leads to a long rehabilitation process that doesn’t remove her need for retribution.

With its highly stylized visuals, wild story, and zany characters, the renowned film is a true standout in the revenge genre. The Bride is unstoppable in her quest to find her former colleagues to remind them that they can’t get away with ruining her life like that. Her character has become synonymous with retaliation.

NEXT: 10 Best New Movies To Watch On HBO Max This Month


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