IMDb Polls

Poll: Who is Your Favorite Nihilist?

Nihilism is the rejection of all religious/moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. It takes several forms including moral and existential nihilism, which are prominent themes of many films.

This is a list of characters who hold beliefs of life and humanity's inherent lack of meaning. Their actions, activities and indifference directly relates to their cynical, misanthropic and nihilistic aims or their entire lives/activities prove a nihilistic principle in themselves, their situation or the film they're in. Poll Suggestion board! List suggestions welcome!

Make Your Choice

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    The Joker

    Believes all morality is false, and pursues societal chaos due to the impurity of human civilization and it's rules.
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    Anton Chigurh

    This silent, demented bounty hunter is a function of unstoppable evil. Though many of his actions serve no true value in the scheme of correction or true fate, Chigurh operates on his own human-less basis serving as a human personification of nihilism than an actual believer or practitioner of it. However, his presence is an execution of nihilism effecting all from Carson Wells to Sheriff Ed Tom Bell.
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    Tyler Durden

    Believes that human existence is meaningless, and a conceited construct serving the purpose of justifying a meaningless existence through materialism.
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    Agent Smith

    Hates existence in all it's form and splendor. He originally wished to leave his existence in the human world but upon becoming "unplugged," he realizes anything within in any form of existence is meaningless and pursues actions to destroy all existence.
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    A sociopathic youth, Alex experiences violent hooliganism, rehabilitation and civilization, realizing that none of these experiences result in any meaningful declaration of life, or indication of true civilization. Instead, he discovers the corruption of man's inherent meaningless and unattainable desire for fleeting self-gratification, stability and control.
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    Travis Bickle

    A stark loner disenchanted with the meaningless, vile pursuits of New York City lowlifes, he wishes to wash them off the streets in blood.
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    John Doe

    Believes humanity is an unintended species without any sense of righteousness. He seeks to prove how wretched the human species is through a grisly campaign of murder proving how meaningless and horrible the species is.
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    Bane

    A terrorist, Bane reveals Gotham City corruption and the societal rules kept in place to keep the rich thriving and the poor starving. However, his secret plan is to destroy the city including himself in realization that a society with or without rule both leads to the corruption that his League of Shadows is charged with destroying and by its own genocidal aims is guilty of itself.
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    Raoul Silva

    A man betrayed by country, Mr. Silva seeks a campaign of blood-soaked revenge. Coming across James Bond, he espouses the view that all his running around for Queen and Country is a shell game, leading to his own irrelevance. He seeks to destroy all symbols of that irrelevance from the MI6 building to it's leader M.
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    Roy Batty

    He wishes to live beyond his imposed short lifespan but upon realization of his basic function and the impossibility to live beyond it, he discovers that despite his vast travels and experiences, he nor those experiences will count for anything as everything he is and has ever done "will be lost in time, like tears in rain."
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    Ultron

    He believes that humanity must be perfected from it's violent, imperfect form but secretly realizes this cannot be achieved, and therefore looks to destroy the entire human species as it is the most logical outcome of saving the human race from itself and it's meaningless actions.
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    Frank Booth

    This amyl nitrate-sniffing dry humper has no intellect to speak of, though his mayhem of rape, drug-dealing, torture, disfiguration, murder and swearing has no meaning beyond it's impact. His actions reveal his lack of philosophy, rhyme or reason. His nihilistic-slanted pursuits often lead to death, the greatest illumination of it all being for nothing.
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    Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

    An excellent study of human barbarism, Kurtz's insanity sends him into a nihilistic state of apathy and disenchantment with the rigors of military war. Reflecting his violent studies, he reveals the pointlessness of war and the mission of the man sent to kill him by "grocery clerks coming to collect the bill."
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    Tate Langdon

    Believes the world is a filthy horror show not worth the paper it's printed on. This justifies his horrific actions from murder, rape and assault.
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    Vincent

    A dedicated hitman on a L.A. mission at night, his end recalls an earlier conversation about a dying man on a train who was not noticed until long after his death. As he lays on a train close to his own death, he asks if anyone would notice... foreseeing the possibility that in a city of blinding lights and possibilities, he might not be noticed as he blends into a night of meaningless gestures.
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    Daniel Plainview

    A man with no faith in man or God, Plainview's pursuits are about destruction of competition and use of the meaningless hoards to accomplish this. Occasionally a victim of the human nature of love and attachment, he cancels this for his pursuits, which serve no meaningful purpose other than to destroy what is as he becomes further encapsulated into a tower of nothingness.
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    Ed Tom Bell

    Obviously over-matched by the level of graphic violence plaguing the Texas region, Bell feels ineffectual and without influence. Upon learning that violence has always been the lay of his land, he realizes the pointless nature of his life's work and that he followed a cycle that engulfed his ancestors... and then he "woke up."
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    White

    A jaded professor, White is a suicidal atheist who openly detests humanity, himself and existence. As he debates a man of opposite beliefs, he eloquently argues for the absence of community, the Church of Nothingness, and that everything in life leads to a single conclusion. He is not interested in life... only it's conclusion.
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    Bob Harris

    A Hollywood actor stuck in the jaded essence of his celebrity life, Harris is stuck in a state apathy over the meaningless actions within the celebrity culture of ego and self-gratification. For him, “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.”
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    Johnny

    A cynical intellectual bully, Johnny is a man constantly at odds with his environment yet also a victim and perpetual element of it. His rants of disenchantment are balanced by his commitment to them becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of his own disillusionment and nihilism.
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    Charles Bronson

    A prisoner, Mr. Bronson is a violent criminal whose aims serve no other aim to than to create chaos. A caged animal with no true purpose in life, Bronson is an example of the habitation of nihilistic principle.
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    Lester Burnham

    Once a man committed to work and family, Lester ultimately discovers that the pattern of his life has left him in a jaded, demeaned state of utter uselessness inspiring him to act as if he every day is his last, which it is.
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    Gaear Grimsrud

    The often silent psychopathic murderer Gaear treats everything as meaningless whether it be money, camaraderie or human life as he operates as an emotionless unstoppable evil often found in Coen Brothers folklore.
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    'Karl Hungus'

    He and "nihilist" friends plague the Big Lebowski through the film in which very little changes, enshrining their nihilistic beliefs in the film's overall outcome.
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    Kevin

    Kevin, a teen killer, so far leads a life of progressive violent actions. However, his actions lack any meaningful basis from the murder of his parent/sibling to his murders at school. He is a creature of violent habit, and societal disenchantment who cannot understand/remember his own reasons for doing what he did, or the pretension of the society he was born into.
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    Ottway

    A man with nothing to live for, Ottway becomes stuck in a situation of leading a band of ill-prepared plane accident victims to safety in the stark cold with an unforgiving band of wolves after them. Ottway despite his beliefs of the pointless nature of his life and the weak prognosis for survival, leads the survivors futilely toward their end.
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    Victor 'Renard' Zokas

    A man who feels nothing due to a bullet sinking further into his brain, killing his senses, Renard seeks to destroy Istanbul for his corrupted captive lover as he waits to die.
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    Justine

    A dejected manic depressive, Justine sees no point in life after all her experiences and welcomes the destruction of earth with calmness while everyone around her despairs.
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    Grace Margaret Mulligan

    Despite the exploitation and physical violation of her humanity, Grace greets the depravity of the so-called civilized man with such dispassionate passivity, which is an extension of her belief that a dog will only succumb to it's pointless nature. When she realizes somewhat otherwise, she again dispassionately exacts justice as if justice is a self-gratifying act of futility, which still is not gratifying to her.
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    Howard Howe

    In a life perpetual torment, the only act of humanity this misanthropic torture-murder serial killer received was from a walrus who saved his life and who he in return killed for his own survival. Finding human candidates to surgical turn into his beloved Mr. Tusk, Howe secretly wishes to recreate the circumstances of meeting Mr. Tusk to give him the opportunity to survive Howe's human nature, which he hates and finds meaningless.
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    Frank

    Dejected in his middle-class bean-counter life, Frank rages against the meaningless arrogance of the 21st Century self-esteem generation with their useless values, entertainment, jargon, activities and drained human sensibilities. This rage takes the form of murderous violence, bring death to the brain-dead.
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    Azrael

    A fallen angel, Azrael loathes his existence in hell and desires freedom from it. In order to do so, he exploits Catholic dogma to prove God wrong, and thereby destroy humanity, existence and the universe... freeing him from the prison of his tormented life.
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    Alan Cowan

    Believes that the cruelty of man and the "God of Carnage" are the natural order. His belief in the rule of basic savagery makes all such cruelty in human existence meaningless and barely worth a mustered argument.
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    Peter Weyland

    Played by Guy Pearce [
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    Sheriff Cooley

    Played by Daniel von Bargen [