It’s difficult to imagine some of history’s most despised humans had some downtime and enjoyed watching movies just like regular folks do.
And while you may assume these real-life villains would be drawn to movies that glorify violence, some of them actually loved romantic flicks and slapstick cartoons.
From brutal dictators to twisted serial killers, here you’ll find the favorite movies of some of history’s most evil souls.
Known for: Brutality and ruthlessness of his regime as the president of Uganda.
Favorite movie: “Tom and Jerry theatrical shorts.”
Dubbed the “Butcher of Uganda,” Idi Amin was the country’s third president from 1971 to 1979, and best known for his explicitly tyrannical regime, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people.
In his free time, however, the despot enjoyed watching cartoons, especially the slapstick variety. According to Jaffar Amin, the son of the Ugandan dictator, his father enjoyed cartoons like “Tom & Jerry” as well as other western forms of entertainment.
When Amin was deposed, officials found a box of “Tom & Jerry” cartoons —and grenades — in his bedroom.
Known for: The founder of Italian Fascism
Favorite Movie: “Ecstasy”
When he was not leading the Fascist movement in Italy, Benito Mussolini enjoyed watching Czech movies.
“Il Duce” had a massive crush on Austrian-American actress Hedy Lamarr and treasured a copy of Gustav Machatý’s 1933 drama “Ecstasy,” his favorite movie.
The Italian dictator was often seen at house parties held by the actress and her husband, Austrian munitions magnate Freidrich Mandl.
Known for: Chief propagandist for the Nazi Party and Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945.
Favorite Movie: “Battleship Potemkin”
Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich’s propaganda minister, knew a thing or two about films. Goebbels was well aware of the power of cinema to captivate citizens, and the Soviet propaganda film “Battleship Potemkin” was an excellent example.
When Goebbels first saw the movie, he was blown away.
“In the evening we saw Potemkin. I have to say that this film is fabulously made. With quite magnificent crowd scenes. Technical and landscape details of succinct power. And the hard-hitting slogans are formulated so skillfully that it is impossible to contradict them. That is what is actually dangerous about this film.” Goebels is quoted saying in the book “Nazi Propaganda Films: A History and Filmography.”
Known for: The leader of Germany’s Nazi Party, chief architect of the Second World War, and responsible for the genocide of the European Jews between 1941 and 1945.
Favorite Movie: “Gone with the Wind”
Plotting a genocide and world dominance is not an easy feat. That’s why Adolf Hitler found an escape in watching movies — those made in Hollywood, in particular. The notorious German dictator was a major film buff who was known to watch two to three movies at night in his private projection room.
“The Rider on the White Horse,” “Laurel and Hardy’s Block-Heads,” “Camille,” “Gabriel Over the White House,” “Marie Antoinette,” and “Way Out West” are among the films Hitler owned and cherished. Many of these movies were provided by Josep Goebels.
As for his favorite, “Gone with the Wind,” Hitler’s then bodyguard Rochus Misch recalled the leader watched it three times. Hitler had a long-time obsession with Clark Gable. So much so that he once put out a reward to anyone who could capture Clark Gable and bring him back alive. So, yes, he was a fan.
Known for: Serial Killer
Favorite Movie: “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi“
Fittingly dubbed the “Milwaukee Monster,” Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer responsible for the death of 17 women and men between 1973 and 1991. Dahmer was considered the epitome of evil at the time, seemingly controlled by a dark force.
The twisted killer was fascinated by the “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader, according to Park Dietz, a forensic psychologist who spent 18 hours with him in custody. The two watched movies, including “The Exorcist,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “Hellraiser II.” Dahmer told the psychologist that he admired the “Emperor” and that it inspired him to create a temple made of skulls.
“He wanted a black leather chair so that he could sit in the leather chair and admire his collection,” Dietz is reported as saying.
Known for: Dictator of the Soviet Union
Favorite Movie: “Tarzan”
Here’s yet another dictator from the WWII era who was a movie aficionado. Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union as a dictator for more than 30 years and was responsible for the death of millions.
Just like his nemesis Hitler, Stalin would also spent his evenings watching movies in his private screening rooms.
In the wake of the Soviet defeat of the Third Reich, Stalin seized Joseph Goebbels’ movie collection.
The Communist leader had a lot of movie favorites, including “It Happened One Night,” Charlie Chaplin movies, “The Great Waltz,” “Volga-Volga,” and several American Westerns.
But reportedly, “Tarzan” was his number one favorite, as it was for many in the Soviet Union.
“The Tarzan series alone, I daresay, did more for de-Stalinization than all Khrushchev’s speeches at the 20th Party Congress and after,” wrote Russian-American Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky.
Known for: Supreme Leader of North Korea
Favorite movie: “Friday the 13th”
The notorious supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, was so much of a cinephile that in 1978 he kidnaped two filmmakers for eight years to make movies. Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee, produced several films such as “Salt,” “Runaway,” and “Pulgasari.” The hostages managed to escape during a trip to Austria and told their story, revealing that the dictator had a collection of 15,000 movies. Among his favorite were “Rambo,” the James Bond series, and horror classic “Friday the 13th.”
Mao Zedong (Mao Tsé-Tung)
Known for: The founder of the People’s Republic of China
Favorite Movie: “Fist of Fury”
Mao Zedong, the Chinese communist revolutionary and the founder of the People’s Republic of China is credited with the highest death toll of all dictators.
The notorious dictator developed a taste for movies in old age, particularly films starring Bruce Lee. He reportedly saw “The Big Boss,” “The Way of the Dragon,” and “Fist of Fury,” which seemed to be his favorite.
Known for: Libyan dictator
Favorite movie: “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.”
Reportedly, the Lybian dictator Muammar Gaddafi loved the space epic “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension” so much that he demanded a Libyan TV station play the 1984 film around the clock.
Osama bin Laden
Known for: Founder of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and the architect of the 9/11 attacks.
Favorite Movie: Various martial arts movies starring Bruce Lee
Following Osama bin Laden’s death in 2011, the U.S. government seized his hard drives and released much of their contents. It included adult films, cartoons, TV episodes, and a rather eclectic collection of movies, including “Antz,” “Chicken Little,” “Shrek Forever After,” “The Three Musketeers,” “Home on the Range,” “Resident Evil,” and Morgan Spurlock’s documentary “Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?”
He also liked martial arts movies, especially those with Bruce Lee, according to his childhood friend and neighbor Khaled Batarfi.
Known for: Druglord and narcoterrorist
Favorite Movie: James Bond movies
When the infamous drug kingpin wanted a break from running his $4 billion drug cartel, he would lay back in his self-built prison called “La Catedral” and enjoy some movie time with his family, who would come to visit him.
“We’d spent many weekends of my childhood watching James Bond and Charlie Chaplin movies together, so I brought him the complete filmography of the famous English spy on VHS, which made him really happy,” wrote Sebastián Marroquín, Escobar’s son in his book “Pablo Escobar: My Father.
Known for: Serial Killer
Favorite Movie: “The Silence Of The Lambs”
Known as “The Night Stalker,” Satanist Richard Ramirez was responsible for a number of killings, countless burglaries, and sexual assaults in the late 1980s. In a very grisly “art imitates life or vice versa,” after his incineration, Ramirez told the New York Post that his favorite movie was ‘The Silence Of The Lambs,” specifically Ted Levine’s portrayal of serial killer Buffalo Bill.
“That guy on the show ‘Monk’, I really liked him,” said Ramirez. “That scene where he says, “It rubs the lotion on its skin,” I really like it.” Just when you thought he couldn’t get any creepier.
Known for: Serial Killer
Favorite Movie: “Mrs Brown’s Boys”
According to The Sun, the twisted serial killer Sutcliffe’s favorite TV included Saturday night prime time staples like “The X Factor,” “Strictly Come Dancing,” and “Mrs. Brown’s Boys.”
Known for: Iraqi dictator
Favorite Movie: “The Godfather”
The Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein that made The Godfather’s Don Vito Corleone look like your next-door neighbor, reportedly considered Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece his favorite.
A few more of the despot’s faves were “The Conversation,” “The Day of the Jackal,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” and “Enemy of the State” — but they likely stood in the shadow of the Mafia epic.
This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.