Ah, movie villains. Some we love to hate, and some we hate to love. Their motivations might vary wildly, but one thing that they generally have in common is that their moral compasses are noticeably askew. Not all villains were created equal, though. Every now and then, an antagonist comes along that truly stands out from the decidedly evil pack. These movie villains come with their very own genius plans to get what they want.

Of course, “genius” is a subjective term, but each of the following had a truly brilliant idea for how to achieve their chosen goal. Some are dazzlingly complex, while others are staggeringly simple. One thing’s for sure: we were impressed by all of these movie villains and their capacity for clever schemes.

8. Hans Gruber – Die Hard (1988)

Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard is a classic for a reason, and it’s only partly to do with the total badass that is John McClane. Alan Rickman’s turn as the international terrorist Hans Gruber is truly unforgettable, particularly as it’s such a layered performance. Though McClane spends the entire film thwarting Hans’ scheme, the villain still engineered a truly brilliant plan.

Gruber’s plan is to seize control of the Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper and take its employees hostage during their annual Christmas party. While holding them, Hans intended to leverage the release of political prisoners around the globe. Meanwhile, his cronies would steal the $640 million from the building’s vault, and the “terrorists” would escape via a hidden ambulance.

The plan was genuinely quite brilliant, except that Gruber didn’t plan on McClane’s presence. Had John not infiltrated their hostage situation and picked off the terrorists one by one, Hans would almost certainly have gotten away with the money. Shifting the focus from their thievery by posing as terrorists was genuinely inspired, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned.