Great Revenge Movies And How To Watch Them

Keanu Reeves in the middle of a fight in John Wick: Chapter 4
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Even the most innocent and forgiving souls can relate to the feeling of wanting to punish those who have treated them wrong, which is why movies like John Wick, star and director Dev Patel's Monkey Man, and other classic tales of characters getting the revenge they deserve are so appealing. Of course, the concept alone is so simple and so familiar that only a handful of films have managed to pull off a truly unique and captivating take on the matter, and we believe we have compiled the best revenge movies that are now available on streaming, for digital rental, or to purchase on physical media.

Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained

(Image credit: Sony)

Django Unchained (2012)

In the pre-Civil War South, a Black man (Jamie Foxx) is freed and enlisted for help by a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who teaches him the tricks of the trade.

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: Even before the plot to rescue Django’s wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) plantation kicks in, watching Django Unchained’s title character punish those who tormented him during his enslavement already makes Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award winner one of the best Western movies of all time.

Stream Django Unchained on Starz.
Rent or buy Django Unchained on Amazon.
Buy Django Unchained on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Promising Young Woman (2020)

A medical school dropout (Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan) conspires against the people involved with a personal tragedy that continues to haunt her. 

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: Emerald Fennell earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for feature-length directorial debut, Promising Young Woman – a clever, twisted vigilante story.

Stream Promising Young Woman on Peacock.
Rent or buy Promising Young Woman on Amazon.
Buy Promising Young Woman on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Joel Edgerton in The Gift

(Image credit: STX Entertainment)

The Gift (2015)

A man (Jason Bateman) sees his life begin to unravel after he and his wife (Rebecca Hall) run into a man from his past (Joel Edgerton).

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: Without giving too much away, The Gift – also Edgerton’s feature-length directorial debut – is not your typical revenge story, due the fact that it does not reveal itself to be one early on and keeps you guessing over who to root for throughout.

Stream The Gift on Netflix.
Stream The Gift on Tubi.
Rent or buy The Gift on Amazon.
Buy The Gift on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Dolly Parton in 9 to 5.

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

9 To 5 (1980)

Three office workers (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton) decide to show their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a manager (Dabney Coleman) who’s boss.

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: Anyone who ever had a boss who was a nightmare to work with will surely feel the gratification they longed for by seeing how the leading ladies in the hilarious 9 to 5 deal with their workplace frustrations.

Rent or buy 9 to 5 on Amazon.
Buy 9 to 5 on DVD on Amazon.

Harrison Ford in The Fugitive

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Fugitive (1993)

A former surgeon (Academy Award nominee Harrison Ford) wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder goes on the run in search of the truth. 

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble goes to unimaginable lengths to clear his name and avenge his wife’s death in director Andrew Davis’ cinematic adaptation of the hit TV series, The Fugitive, for which Tommy Lee Jones received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Rent or buy The Fugitive on Amazon.
Buy The Fugitive on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Aisling Franciosi in The Nightingale

(Image credit: IFC Films)

The Nightingale (2018)

An Irish woman (Aisling Franciosi) enlists the help of an Aboriginal tracker (Baykali Ganambarr) to find the sadistic colonel (Sam Claflin) who killed her husband and infant child.

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: After making her directorial debut with one of the best horror movies of its time, The Babadook, writer and director Jennifer Kent followed it up with The Nightingale – an equally (if not more) harrowing piece of historical fiction.

Stream The Nightingale on Hulu.
Rent or buy The Nightingale on Amazon.
Buy The Nightingale on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes in Big Fat Liar

(Image credit: Universal)

Big Fat Liar (2002)

Hoping to make up for the lies he told in the past, a teen (Frankie Muniz) sets out to prove that an even more dishonest Hollywood producer (Paul Giamatti) stole the idea for his latest movie from his writing assignment.

Why it is one of the best revenge movies: The ways Muniz’s Jason Shepherd and Amanda Bynes as his best friend, Kaylee, turn the tables on Giamatti’s Marty Wolf make Big Fat Liar one of director Shawn Levy’s funniest family films.

Rent or buy Big Fat Liar on Amazon.
Buy Big Fat Liar on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Matilda Lutz in Revenge

(Image credit: Shudder)

Revenge (2018) 

A young, naive, American woman (Matilda Lutz) undergoes a dramatic, hardening evolution to punish her married boyfriend and his hunting buddies after a despicable act leads them to leave her for dead in the Moroccan desert.

Why it is a great revenge movie: The title says it all, but French writer and director Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge – which is also available with a Shudder subscription – exceeds its simple concept by offering one of cinema’s grittiest, bloodiest, and most inspiring subtextual messages of female empowerment in recent memory.

Stream Revenge on Amazon Prime with AMC+ add-on.
Buy Revenge on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Vol. 1

(Image credit: Miramax)

Kill Bill (2003-2004) 

A retired assassin (Uma Thurman) embarks on an international journey to punish her old boss and ex-lover (David Carradine) and her former colleagues after nearly killing her in a brutal attack. 

Why it is a great revenge movie: Two of the best Quentin Tarantino movies, 2003’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2 from the following year, turn the action genre on its head with its provocatively gory and enchantingly balletic style.

Stream the Kill Bill movies on Netflix.
Rent or buy the Kill Bill movies on Amazon.
Buy the Kill Bill movies on Blu-ray on

Keanu Reeves in John Wick

(Image credit: Summit Entertainment)

John Wick (2014)

A retired assassin (Keanu Reeves) gets back to business to punish the arrogant son of his former colleague after he steals his car and kills his dog shortly after the death of his ill wife.

Why it is a great revenge movie: Action movies (and Reeves’ career) would face another major turning point upon the release of the first chapter of the John Wick movies, which brought “gun fu” to the mainstream and made mysterious world-building a more in-demand point of interest in the genre.

Stream John Wick on Peacock.
Stream John Wick on Apple TV+.
Rent or buy John Wick on Amazon.
Buy John Wick on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool costume

(Image credit: FOX)

Deadpool (2016) 

A former mercenary (Ryan Reynolds) – made immortal, but also physically grotesque by an experimental procedure – hunts down the man who screwed up his face and his relationship with his fiancée. 

Why it is a great revenge movie: Superhero movies would also face a major evolution upon the release of Deadpool – a hilarious, exciting, and unapologetically R-rated adaptation of Marvel Comics’ crass, fourth-wall-breaking Merc with a Mouth, whom producer Reynolds was undeniably born to play.

Stream Deadpool on Disney+.
Stream Deadpool on Max.
Rent or buy Deadpool on Amazon.
Buy Deadpool on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Charles Bronson in Death Wish

(Image credit: Paramount)

Death Wish (1974)

An architect (Golden Globe winner Charles Bronson) takes up a side gig as a vigilante, posing his deadly attacks on New York City’s vicious muggers as self-defense, shortly after the senseless murder of his wife.

Why it is a great revenge movie: One of the first movies to prove that vengeance can inspire any average person to become a lethal purveyor of justice was the original Death Wish – director Michael Winner’s grounded and gratifying adaptation of Brian Garfield’s novel that also made then-53-year-old Charles Bronson America’s favorite badass.

Rent or buy Death Wish on Amazon.
Buy Death Wish on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Nicolas Cage in Mandy

(Image credit: Shudder)

Mandy (2018) 

A lumberjack (Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage) goes on a furious killing spree against a sinister cult leader, his devoted followers, and a pack of demonic bikers after they murder his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough) right in front of him.

Why it is a great revenge movie: Cage gives one of the greatest and most wonderfully manic performances of his career as the brutally vengeful, unlikely hero of one of the best horror movies on Hulu, Mandy – a surreal, acid-dipped, and action-packed heavy metal album cover brought to life from director Panos Cosmatos.

Stream Mandy on Hulu.
Stream Mandy on Pluto TV.
Rent or buy Mandy on Amazon.
Buy Mandy on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Logan Marshall Green in Upgrade

(Image credit: Blumhouse)

Upgrade (2018)

In the near future, a technophobic mechanic (Logan Marshall Green) is implanted with an experimental device that allows him to walk, fight, and track down the people who made him into a quadriplegic and murdered his wife (Melanie Vallejo).

Why it is a great revenge movie: Green’s average, unlikely hero gets some special (and much-needed) help to become a purveyor of justice in the form of a highly-advanced artificial intelligence in Upgrade – the sophomore directorial effort of Leigh Whannell that is more action-packed but equally as thought-provoking as many of the best Black Mirror episodes so far.

Rent or buy Upgrade on Amazon.
Buy Upgrade on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Brandon Lee The Crow screenshot

(Image credit: Miramax)

The Crow (1994) 

A rock star (Brandon Lee) is magically brought back from the dead with supernatural abilities and a mission to punish the people who killed him and his fiancée exactly a year earlier.

Why it is a great revenge movie: The slain, unlikely hero of The Crow – one of the best non-Marvel or DC-inspired comic book movies – has some special and much-needed help to become a spirit of vengeance in the form of a mystical entity in Alex Proyas’ beautifully told adaptation of James O’Barr’s influential comic book series.

Stream The Crow on Amazon Prime.
Stream The Crow on Paramount+.
Buy The Crow on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

(Image credit: New Regency)

The Revenant (2015)

After suffering a near-fatal bear attack, a frontiersman (Leonardo DiCaprio) endures harsh terrain and numbing temperatures in order to track down and punish the fellow fur trader (Tom Hardy) who killed his son right before his eyes in 1823.

Why it is a great revenge movie: Based on Michael Punke’s harrowing historical fiction novel, The Revenant is a thoroughly captivating visual feast from co-writer and director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu which finally earned DiCaprio his first Academy Award. 

Stream The Revenant on Max.
Rent or buy the Revenant on Amazon.
Buy The Revenant on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit

(Image credit: Paramount)

True Grit (2010) 

A precocious teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld) enlists the help of a grizzled, drunken, one-eyed U.S. Marshal (Jeff Bridges), and also receives the unrequested help of a proud Texas Ranger (Matt Damon), to track down and punish the dirty criminal (Josh Brolin) who killed her father in 1878.

Why it is a great revenge movie: Celebrated writing and directing duo Joel and Ethan Coen managed to adapt Charles Portis’ classic novel, True Grit, into a film that some believe surpasses the 1969 original Western classic starring John Wayne and also earned a very young Steinfeld her first Academy Award nomination.

Rent or buy True Grit on Amazon.
Buy True Grit on Blu-ray on Amazon.

Macon Blair in Blue Ruin

(Image credit: RADIU-TWC)

Blue Ruin (2013) 

A homeless man (Macon Blair) returns to his childhood home with a mission to track down and punish the man who killed his parents, after learning that he was recently released from prison.

Why it is a great revenge movie: We have talked about unlikely vengeful heroes a lot throughout this list, but none hold a candle to the pathetically amateur and foolish vigilantism of Blair’s otherwise empathetic protagonist in Blue Ruin – a wicked, heart-wrenching cautionary tale from an expert in brutal and grounded drama: Green Room writer and director Jeremy Saulnier.

Stream Blue Ruin on Tubi.
Stream Blue Ruin on Freevee through Amazon.

The Ocean's Eleven cast

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

A convicted thief (Academy Award winner George Clooney) enlists the help of 10 other professional criminals to pull off an elaborate heist targeting the smug Las Vegas casino owner (Andy Garcia) who is currently dating his ex-wife (Julia Roberts).

Why it is a great revenge movie: Writer and director Steven Soderbergh proved that not all revenge tales have to be so dark, gritty, and morbid with his irresistibly witty, remarkably clever, and damn near perfect modernization of a snatch-and-grab classic, which also boasts one of the coolest, star-studded ensembles that Hollywood could ever afford in the Ocean's Eleven cast.

Stream Ocean’s Eleven on Hulu.
Rent or buy Ocean’s Eleven on Amazon.
Buy Ocean’s Eleven on Blu-ray on Amazon.

If you have never acted on your own vengeful instincts, that’s a good choice. Reward yourself by checking out some of these great revenge movies.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.