Top Five #034: Fictional Criminals

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

They are rarely good, and their crimes are lengthy. This week, our favorite fictional criminals!


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  1. Guys – I agree with most of yours, but you know… here’s my Top 5

    5 – The Skeksis (Dark Crystal) – when your a kid and you watch this movie, it creeped me out…

    4 – The Joker (Batman) – how could Stephen NOT have included this? I mean, do I really really really need to explain why he’s just so awesome?

    3 – GLaDOS (Portal and Portal 2 {electric boogalo})- She’s bad, and she’s going to put you to the test, then sing about how badly she wants to kill you

    2 – The Master (Doctor Who) – probably one of the best characters in all Doctor Who-dom outside of The Doctor himself.

    1 – Q (Star Trek TNG) – you have unlimited power and you can do bad or good, but good is boring….

  2. Why are half the “Criminals” the heroes of the story? Weird. Also, Bender did not start as a criminal. In the pilot episode he gets zapped by electricity in the head museum.

    • Because they’re our favorites?

      Each of the characters fits some definition of criminal, and they are the ones we chose to spotlight. Why does it matter what dramatic role the characters chosen play?

  3. The rss feed reads “villains,” which made me savor the distinction between the two. I loved the episode and have to ask: how do you structure this stuff? how do you prevent repetition? How are disputes over who gets what settled? (Threats? Bribery? Passive-agressive haiku?) To sum up, as a complex and nuanced appreciation is condensed into a sturdy phrase polished by the dual forces of concision and sincerity, and I liked it.

  4. my top 5ish

    7. Napoleon (Animal Farm Book) – Sly and surrounds himself with the right
    people for the job (Squealer and the dogs).

    6. Simon Skinner (Hot Fuzz movie) – cruel, cunning, handsome, what more
    could you ask for.

    5. Dagda mor (Elfstones of Shannara Book)- Ruthless, powerful, full of hate,
    so evil he invokes fear in other demons, only goal is the complete
    destruction of non-demons, rides a giant bat.

    4. Artemis Entreri (R.A. Salvatore Books)- he is tactical, deadly,
    professional and efficient, existing only to kill.

    3. Erik Phantom of the Opera (From the book) – Genius, a cool mask,
    musically talented and full of hate and resentment

    2. Hannibal lector (Books and Movies) – brilliant psychiatrist, great taste
    in victims, had a real life Venezuelan Serial Killer named after him.

    1. Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes Books) – He is the Napoleon of crime!

  5. 5) Ernst Stavro Blofeld – who else has stood up to Bond for 6 movies. (and no Never Say Never Again doesn’t count!)

    4) Hannibal Lecter – Come on…he eats people.

    3) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – two for the price of one.

    2) Robin Hood – the archetypical hero who’s a criminal

    1) The Man with No Name – Ok, as a gunfighter, he might not technically be a criminal, but he’s at least a scoff law right?

  6. My number one.

    He can steal anything with charm and style. Hevwears a cape and a top hat. He rules a criminal empire. He commited heists even while in prison. Was a detective at one point. Passed himself as the police chief for a few years. Battled a badly spelled londonian detective. Dealt in international intrigue. Built a north african empire.

    Arsene Lupin.

  7. I’ve got a couple favorites for your consideration:

    Baron von Wulfenbach, from the webcomic Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio. Sure, he’s a tyrannical dictator, and sure, his essay on workplace communication was banned by the Pope, but you gotta love him. Plus, his other car is a gigantic zeppelin-fortress.

    Schmendrick the Magician, from the novel “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle and the Rankin-Bass animated movie based on the novel. His criminal activities are mostly limited to stealing keys and picking a few pockets, but it counts. I think Matthew and the Munchkin would both appreciate him.

  8. My Top 5 Criminals

    5: Porco Rosso
    -Watch this movie. The man character he I can’t say much more
    -Oh and the main character is somehow been turned into a pig

    4: Professor Moriarty
    -The man who almost killed the worlds greatest detective
    -Tries to kick start wars
    -An inventor and expert strategist

    3: Arsene Lupin
    -The true gentleman theif and what more could be wanted.
    -He’s a smarter, faster, and all around better thief then Moriarty

    2: Lex Luthor

    1: Kaiser Soze
    -You fail to not have this man on one of your lists
    -Lets see, oh you take my family hostage. I shot them before you can shoot them. Then I kill you except 1. Then I hunt down your family, your friends, and even simply the people who owe you money.
    -His face is a unknown.
    -He organizes a group of criminals to do his bidding to pay back damages they caused him. All just to kill them off

  9. There seems to be some confusion. There is the Top 5 Criminals vs. Top 5 Villians. There IS a difference. The villian in any story must be the antoganist, whereas a criminal may be either protagonist or antagonist. (i.e. Darth Vader. Villian, yes. Criminal, no since the Empire is the ruling force) So, here’s my Top Five Criminals
    5) Robin Hood –
    4) Tony Soprano – Everybody’s favorite Mob boss and father.
    3) Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto) – Driven to hate humanity through despicibale acts done to him and his people.
    2) Neal Caffrey – Master forger, amazing dresser, and all around scoundrel. His interactions with FBI agent Peter Burke are classic as Peter acts as both an adversary and a father figure at the same time.
    1a) Keyser Soze – Greatest movie criminal of all time. The way he completely manipulates everyone involved is beyond genius.
    1b) James Moriarty – Greatest book criminal of all time. For someone only directly mentioned in TWO of Doyle’s canonical stories, his myth has grown beyond all reason and measure. Ultimately he is the silent partner of the man behind the man behind the man behind the man, and nothing can be directly tied to him. No matter what dealings go down in Victorian England, you never know that you crossed James Moriarty.

  10. You know what would be a great list to do? Top 5 Criminals. Because your criminals suck. This is the Fredo Corleone list of criminals you have created. (see #2) Try this:

    5. James Moriarity, modern Sherlock incarnation. In the “Criminal Genius” category, he’s the difference between a criminal and a villain. Christopher Nolan’s Joker? Villain. Moriarity? Criminal.
    4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. You know who had more fun doing crime? Nobody ever.
    3. Jules Winnfield of Pulp Fiction. Tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.
    2. Vito Corleone. An aristocrat among criminals. Loved, feared, most of all, respected. And not above an orange peel in the teeth with the grandkids.
    1. Keyser Freakin’ Soze.

    Honorable mentions: Johnny Hooker, the Robert Redford character from the Sting. Would have made the list, but I couldn’t pass up Butch and Sundance. Mal Reynolds of Serenity. If I include Mal, I have to include Han, and there goes the neighborhood. Cool Hand Luke. The Brain, from Pinky and the Brain. The Dirty Dozen, et al. Sky Masterson from Guys and Dolls. Harry Lime, the Third Man. Tony Montana (not my cup of tea, but the most iconic criminal-going-down line ever.) Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Props on Harry Tuttle, but he’d be on my list of Revolutionaries, or Guys Outside the Law. OK, that’s enough. Go watch some movies from the late ’60s and 1970’s, eh?

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