Played By: Christoph Waltz
Movie: Inglourious Basterds (2009)
In Quentin Tarantino’s history-warping WWII masterpiece Inglourious Basterds, all the Nazis are despicable, but the worst of them is Colonel Hans Landa. “The Jew Hunter,” as he’s known, has earned his nickname by ruthlessly pursuing Jews in hiding throughout Occupied France so they may be executed. An exceptionally adroit detective and smug quadrilingual intellectual, he hunts because those are his orders and he’s good at it, but he doesn’t believe in Nazi ideology or hate Jews. If he did, or didn't take such overt pleasure in a job well done, he might be slightly less loathsome.
The only things Landa truly cares about are personal advancement and the satisfaction he derives from successful sleuthing. So, while he condemns countless Jews to death to move up in the military hierarchy and strangles German actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), the mystery traitor who collaborates with the English and Americans and leaves him several corpses in a pub, he sells out Hitler and a bomb-rigged movie house full of Nazi officers, ending the war in exchange for immunity, U.S. citizenship with a hero’s welcome, full military pension, and a home on Nantucket.
Yes, Landa is the absolute worst, and that's saying something in a movie that also features Hitler. —JM