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Author Topic: Who Are Your Favorite Villains of Literature and the Movies?
EDanaII
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@ Koner & Syzygy

Gollum is a villian, but he is a lesser villian, as were the Nazgul and various other characters. Certainly Gollum had influence on the hero's, and that he was a "victim" makes him no less a villian. His villiany was simply secondary to the effect that the ring had on the hero's.

The villians in LotR were, in order of effect on the heros:
* The Ring.
* Sarumon
* Gollum
* The Nazgul
* Wormtongue
* Denethor.
* Etc...

I don't place Sauron on the list because he was more background than villian. Although you could argue that he and the ring were synonymous.

Ed.

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sruffelman
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My two favorite villians of all time have got to be...

Darth Vader (from the Star Wars saga) because he is so scary with the breathing, super-intelligent, and also he makes you feel sorry for him in the end. No villian I have seen has that much to him (besides no. 2)

Gendo Ikari (from Neon Genesis Evangelion) because he is in some ways the most powerful man in the world and he starts this entire project and ruins the lives of hundreds of people simply to see his dead wife again. If you have seen NGE, you know exactly what I am talking about.

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sruffelman
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I would disagree with calling the ring a character. Dictionary.com says a character is:

"A person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or novel."

The ring is in no way personified. It simply is a temptation of power from a greater villian (Sauron), much like as Emperor Palpatine tempts Luke with his lightsaber to kill him.

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bearcatmark
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Heros:
Ender
Ash(Bruce Cambell vs. the Army of Darkness)
Captain Jack Sparrow
The Terminator
Hazel(Watership Down)
Heri Seldon(Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation and Foundation)
Indiana Jones
Frank Drebin(The Naked Gun)

Villians:
Keyser Soze
Darth Vader
General Woundwort

Having trouble thinking right now, so that is it for now

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Ray Bingham
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Galadriel would've made a great villain, had she taken that darn ring... but alas, she's kind of a hero of mine, as a result... same with Gandalf, come to think of it... [Wink]

Those who have great power, but choose not to use it when it seems pretty clear they need to, in my book, make great heroes.

--Ray

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Rte66
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good list musket.
Here's mine
  • Kaiser Soze "The Usual Suspects"
  • Raven - "Snow Crash"
  • Kojiro Sasaki - "Musashi"
  • Terminator - "Terminator"
  • Alien - "Alien"
  • Vicini - "Princess Bride"

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jedilaw
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Well, Sauron is actually a minor villain in the larger story of Middle Earth (servant of Melkor, after all, who was the biggest of the baddies). Within the trilogy proper, he's a central villain with many embodiments/agents, e.g. the ring (which is directly bound to his will), the Nazghul, Sauruman, etc.

My list (in no special order):

1) Vader ("I find your lack of faith disturbing")
2) Khan ("He tasks me, and I shall have him!")
3) Nixon - no, wait, this is fiction, sorry. Well, there's that Oliver Stone movie with a Brit playing Nixon (ugh).
3)(redux) Magneto, especially as portrayed in X2: X-Men United ("You should have killed me when you had the chance, Charles!")
4) Laura Bristow / Irina (Alias)
5) Arvin Sloane (Alias)
6) Cigarette Smoking Man (X-Files)
7) Scar (Lion King)
8) Lady MacBeth
9) Iago
10) Claudius
11) The Borg Queen (St:First Contact)
12) Kerrigan, the Zerg Queen (Starcraft: Brood War)
13) Palpatine / Darth Sidious
14) Baron Harkonnen
15) Leto II (God Emperor of Dune)
16) Omne (Star Trek: Phoenix novels)

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FIJC
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Okay, if I had to pick my favorite heros, they would be (in no specific order):

1. John Sheridan
2. Delenn
3. Ender
4. Aragorn

(I will probably add more as I think of them)

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Kamisaki
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Hmmm.. good posts everybody. I don't have a whole lot of new characters to add to the list, but here goes, in no particular order.

-Darth Vader and the Emperor. Vader just because he's Vader, and the Emperor because his plans are so good! I mean really, he's been plotting since the beginning of time, and if the real world ever saw someone as competent and evil as him, we'd all be screwed.
Scar has always been my favorite Disney villain too, jedi.
-I Second (or third, or whatever) the vote for Magneto.
-And, since jedi opened up video games as valid source material, I have to include Kefka from Final Fantasy III (or VI, if you're a stickler for using the Japanese titles). That guy was just completely and utterly psycho. None of this wussy "stop when you achieve world domination" stuff for him. Nope, the only reason he wanted to dominate the world was to destroy it. Literally, destroy everything, himself included. You don't get any more extreme than that.
-Emperor Jagang from the Sword of Truth series.

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Rte66
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Doh!
How could I forget Unforgiven:
  • Clint Eastwood .... William 'Bill' Munny
  • Gene Hackman .... Little Bill Daggett
  • Richard Harris .... English Bob
I like that all three are both heroes and villains.
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EDanaII
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@ Sruffleman

Actually, you're arguing technicalities. Characters in novels make choices that affect others. The Ring makes choices in the novel that affect the entire outcome of the novel. The Rings actions are just not overt or obvious.

From the Fellowship:
quote:
"There was more than one power at work, Frodo. The Ring was trying to get back to its master. It had slipped from Isildur's hand and betrayed him; then when a chance came, it caught poor Deagol, and he was murdered; and after that Gollum, and it devoured him. It could make no further use of him: he was too small and mean; and as long as it stayed with him he would never leave his pool again. So now, when it's master was awake once more and sending his dark thought out from Mirkwood, it abandoned Gollum."
Clearly, Tolkien establishes the Ring as a character, which makes choices and influences other players in the story.

As witless chum pointed out, Jackson recognized this by, not only making the prologue from the Ring's POV, but also by having the ring continually whisper to Frodo throughout the entire film.

@ Jedi

I agree. But Sauron is never actually addressed in the novels; he is always in the background. The movie Casablanca is about WWII. Does that mean that Hitler is the villian? Sure, in a backgroundy sort of way. [Smile]

While the ring is not a "traditional" villian, it is still the major force on all the characters within the novel.

Ed.

[ April 08, 2004, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: EDanaII ]

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RickyB
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Wasn't a villain? Are you serious????????????

Email me and I'll try to cure you of this strange affliction you seem to be suffering from [Big Grin]

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Arileth
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For a villain, I am surprised no one has mentioned RANDAL FLAGG from "The Stand" by Steven King... Actually, his character is in many of Kings books. He plays his biggest role (besides The Stand) in "Through The Eyes of The Dragon". That is one of Kings less known, and perhapse best, books.

Other favorite villains:

Penny Wise
The Martians from Mars Attacks
Marvin The Martian
Clubber Lang (from Rocky)
Q (Star Trek)
BORG (Also Star Trek)

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pickled shuttlecock
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I'll have to go with the Borg as well. What's so frightening about them isn't malevolence: it's the complete lack of it. They care about nothing at all, except to grow. And you? You are a tool, a prop. An object. Your biological assets are worth more than you are. Your inevitable destiny is to become nothing more than a cell. Your identity is worthless.

They were scary, that is, until Voyager ruined them.

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Enumclaw
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quote:
For a villain, I am surprised no one has mentioned RANDAL FLAGG from "The Stand" by Steven King... Actually, his character is in many of Kings books. He plays his biggest role (besides The Stand) in "Through The Eyes of The Dragon". That is one of Kings less known, and perhapse best, books.
I was thinking the same thing. This character just keeps turning up in book after book from King, which either is some kind of genius linking all his works or indicates that he's completely lost it and has no more original thoughts. [Smile]

Personally, I think the first is true. Authors go through phases and cycles. For example, I think OSC is a fantastic author, and even a relatively "bad" OSC book is usually a hell of a lot better than most other books.

But, and I'm going to be struck down for heresy here, OSC's latest work is... um... slipping. It's just not as good. Crystal City is, frankly, quite weak.

It's kind of natural, if you think about it. Everyone is going to have a time period when they're truly on top of their game; they're going to have a leadup period before that point and they're going to have a falling off period after that point.

It doesn't mean that they can't be great in flashes before, or after, but it happens. It's a different age, too, for different things. Olympic-level female gymnasts? Age 14-16, they're on top, after that it's all downhill. Baseball players usually have their "career year" at age 27, 28ish or so. I think that the truly great politicians hit their best stride around 40-50 (assuming they started relatively young) and then get too corrupted or jaded to be as effective as possible.

Authors are similar, but I think they have a longer period of being "on top" and a slower slide down. Of course, it often takes them longer to really get to be on top of their game, considering that many started writing in their early teens or earlier.

But King... that whole getting smacked while jogging thing really did something for him. He's written some GREAT stuff lately, and I have high hopes for the remainder of the Dark Tower series. (I haven't read Wolves of the Calla yet because I'm too cheap/thrifty/whatever to buy hardbacks.)

Anyway, my villians... I loved/feared/hated Vader, of course. Hannibal Lecter was awesome in the books up to "Hannibal", at which point Thomas Harris had apparently completely lost his mind, because "Hannibal" just stunk.

Who else... well, I read a lot of mysteries and crime stories, so there's a new villian in each one. One serial killer type that I'll always remember, even though I can't recall the author, was the guy who killed a woman by... (graphic ugly mystery killing story follows)
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
tying her to a chair that was in the shower of her high-rise apartment building in New York City, then turning the shower on to full-hot and leaving her in there to scald to death- slowly, over hours under hot-hot water. Yikes. I mean, I've read some of the worst serial killer types of stories, both true-life and fiction, and that one just stuck with me for some reason.

Paul

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Arileth
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quote:
But, and I'm going to be struck down for heresy here, OSC's latest work is... um... slipping. It's just not as good. Crystal City is, frankly, quite weak.
I don't know about heresy, but I disagree about Card slipping. I have not read Crystal City as of yet, but I think his new books in the Ender Universe are amazing.
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Arileth
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Now that video games are on the table... I have to say Darloks from Master of Orion. I always hated them because they stole all of my technology in every single game! They were always first on my list of folks to exterminate... Man what a great game that was! [Smile]
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musket
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Jeez, how could I have forgotten Mr. Bob Gray, AKA Pennywise? "IT" is is my fave of King's long books.

"Wolves of the Calla" is okay, though little more than a pastiche of John Sturges' pastiche of Kurosawa. I like the series but am not a nut about it, as many King readers are... frankly, I wish Roland and Company would get to the damn tower already.

Not sure I agree that King has changed all that much since his accident. He's been uneven, as usual. When he's good, he's great, when he's bad, he's, well... bad. He says he's gonna put down his pen after the last Dark Tower book, having said all he wants to say (and many times at that).

Oh well, he certainly hasn't gone as far downhill as Anne Rice. "Blood Canticle" was even worse than "Blackwood Farm," and I can't blame her for wanting to wrap up the vamps and the witches forever.

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EDanaII
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Originally posted by Pickled Shuttlecock:
quote:
I'll have to go with the Borg as well. What's so frightening about them isn't malevolence: it's the complete lack of it.
Yea, but the Borg were always (to me, anyway) a cheap knock off of Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series. Berserkers were better. [Smile] And I'm surprised nobody in Hollywood has tried to make a Berserker film. Perfect for today's Hollywood.

Ed.

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RickyB
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My brother just came to visit, and he came up with a villain I'm shocked no-one mentioned: Professor Moriarty.
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musket
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I mentioned the "Napolean of Crime" in my first post.
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Adam Lassek
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My favorite would have to be Brad Pitt in both Fight Club and 12 Monkeys. He has that psychotic bad guy act down so well you wonder if it even is an act.

I would mention Achilles, but OSC dragged it out so long I was thoroughly sick of him by Shadow Puppets.

EDIT: Ooh! I almost forgot. All three of China Mieville's novels have some very interesting, unique villians; The Piper in King Rat, the Slake Moths in Perdido Street Station, and the Grindylow in The Scar.

[ April 09, 2004, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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WmLambert
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Moriarty, of course.

(That was Alan Rickman playing Hans Gruber in the 1988 film Diehard.)

Ted Levie playing Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb in the 1991 Silence of the Lambs. "It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again. It does this whenever it's told." (Much scarier than Hannibal.)

Pod people from the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Slugs from Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters

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FIJC
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Alan Rickman is great as Snape in Harry Potter as well.

The new Harry Potter movie comes out in June; I can't wait till it comes out.

http://raincloud.warnerbros.com/harrypotter/us/med/azkaban/azk_tlr1_300.asx

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Everard
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How about Agamemnon in the Iliad? [Smile]
The Storm King in Memory Sorrow and Thorn

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simplybiological
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issues:

vicini isn't the real villain in princess bride, HUMPERDINK is... vicini is just a petty criminal who sets the story in motion, and his lack of status as the villain is pretty clear given his companions.
the hero is clearly wesley, and vicini is no match for him, he's easily bested. humperdink is the one who hooks wesley up to the torture machine, who takes his love away, etcetc.

also... i would argue that you cannot call brad pitt a villain in either 12 monkeys or fight club. in 12 monkeys, he's not even "the bad guy" if you want to reduce the film to that. in fight club, it's all subjective.

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Shane Roe
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The six-fingered man in "The Princess Bride"

Jabba (sw)

The Ravers (from "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)

Snidely Whiplash

MacMurphy from the film "Chisum"

Moridin from the Robert Jordan series.

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musket
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The six-fingered man was played by Christopher Guest, now better known as Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap, and for his other "mockumentaries."

I knew him when. He was a regular at the ultrahip NYC guitar shop where I worked as a repairman and restorer in the early 70s, hardly a day when by when he didn't drop in to hang out. His talent was obvious back then, but if anybody had told me he'd end up marrying Jamie Lee Curtis, I woulda laughed them right out of the store.

He also played a good, slime-ball Robert Ford, killer of Jesse James, in one of my favorite westerns, "The Long Riders."

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Shane Roe
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Hey Musket, that's interesting info about Guest. I've never seen The Long Riders, but it sounds interesting. BTW, that's cool that you used to work in a guitar shop. I've spent many an hour inside that playing rooms at various guitar stores, pining for this or that guitar.

Shane

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WmLambert
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A guy named Shane hasn't seen "the Long Riders?"
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simplybiological
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was about to put in the dvd and realized:

al pacino in "devil's advocate". gooooood villain.

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RickyB
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sb, I also thought of Al P. in that flick. Good one. "God is an absenty landlord!" [Big Grin]
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Hannibal
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what about the SPECTER organization
i liked Goldfinger the best, what a brilliant idea, nuking america's gold so they couldnt access it, and making his gold worth much more.
brilliant. and ofcourse he had the coolest "big guy" ,besides jews, oddjob.

and here are some literature villians:
Thakisis, (dragon lance)
Reistlin, (dragon lance)
Xar, (death gate cycle)
Sang Drax (death gate cycle)

and some of the greatest heroes of literature:
Tasselhoff Burrfoot (dragon lance)
Alfred, Haplo and ofcourse the Dog (death gate)

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WarrsawPact
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Nurse Ratched in the book "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." An icon.

Read "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski, people. Now.
I mean it. Read it. You want a "villain"? Heheheheh... if you have any love of books at all, this one will make you lose sleep... maybe *too much* sleep. It's my favorite book of all time.

"Devil's Advocate" was a good call too.

(erm... Hannibal, you misnamed a Bond villain.. you called him Jews but his name is Jaws.)

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Leto
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Leto II is both the ultimate hero and villain in God Emperor of Dune.
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Hannibal
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oops
ofcourse! silly mistake, i should really give some more attention to my posts.

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musket
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Shane, I started working in the guitar industry in 1968... been in every aspect of it save wholesale, until about seven years ago. Now I still do some advanced repairwork, and play, but that's all.

"The Long Riders" is not accurate historically in many respects (anybody who thinks the real Belle Starr looked anywhere near as good as Pamela Reed, or had an affair with Cole Younger, is dreaming), but a lot of fun nonetheless. Plenty of action, and it's hard to go wrong with Ry Cooder doing the score... terrific music.

Kind of a nifty concept, having brothers play brothers-- Carradines for Youngers, Keaches for Jameses, Quaids for Millers and Guests for Fords. (James Keach really does bear a certain resemblence to Jesse James, and does a fine job recreating what is known of the real man's character).

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EDanaII
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Originally posed by WmLambert:
quote:
A guy named Shane hasn't seen "the Long Riders?"
I'd be more concerned about a guy named Shane having never seen a movie named "Shane". [Smile]

Come to think of it, Jack Palance's part in that movie wasn't too low on the villany scale...

Which gets me to thinking more... You guys are naming mostly modern movies. Being a fan of the old classics, myself...

  • Messala, from Ben Hur. He was a stinker.
  • Nero, (the late Peter Ustinov) from Quo Vadis. He was a big stinker in a weenieish sort of way.
  • Mr. Potter, from It's a Wonderful Life. Evil man.
  • Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Greedy.
  • Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck), from Double Indemnity. Pure evil...
  • Professor Fate (Jack Lemon), from the Great Race (a personal fave).
Ed.
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musket
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Sian Phillips as Livia in "I, Claudius."
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chunga01
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Satan in Paradise Lost
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