As the Netflix original series “House of Cards” continues, and we’re exposed to fresh ways its central protagonist crushes his opponents, we thought it might be fun to look at a few memorable characters from film that share the traits of that fictional politician we all love to hate, President Frank Underwood.
The megalomaniac is a mainstay of film, offering screenwriters deeply juicy character flaws to play with. These characters always think big, and most often, they over-reach. This is catnip to audiences leading (thankfully) more mundane lives. We all love to see comeuppances, and for the most part, with movie megalomaniacs, it’s just a matter of time.
Here, we round up a few suspects whose ruthless, scheming, conniving, lying, murderous, remorseless ways show that there’s a little bit of Frank in many screen villains.

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Megalomaniac: Tyrannical English ship commander, Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton).
Frank Underwood Moves: Rules with unfair iron fist, metes out harsh punishments, brutalizes subordinates, does not know when to stop, and foments mutiny. Do not get on a boat with this man.

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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Megalomaniac: The Wicked Witch Of The West (Margaret Hamilton).

Frank Underwood Moves: Wants “wicked” to prevail over “good” in the merry old land of Oz. Terrorizes dogs and young girls to amass power. Is as ugly inside as out.

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All the King's Men (1949)

Megalomaniac: Corrupt Southern politician Willie Stark (Broderick Crawford).
Frank Underwood Moves: Buys off supporters, blackens names, fosters criminal zealotry in underlings. Starts out idealistic and noble, is quickly corrupted- absolutely.

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A Face in the Crowd (1957)

Megalomaniac: Drifter-turned-national media sensation, Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith).
Frank Underwood Moves: Berates staff, betrays love interest, builds career on amorality, fosters hypocrisy, manipulates the public, becomes hooked on adulation, self-destructs. And not a tear gets shed.

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Compulsion (1959)

Megalomaniacs: Infamous child killers Leopold and Loeb, fictionalized here as Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) and Artie Strauss (Bradford Dillman).
Frank Underwood Moves: Commit murder solely to pull off the perfect crime and boost their delusional sense of superiority. Exhibit textbook traits of empathy-free sociopaths. In short, two real stinkers.

Stream it tonight.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Megalomaniac: Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Angela Lansbury).

Frank Underwood Moves: Uses men like chess pieces for the advancement of her own power. Tries to sacrifice her own son to get herself into the Oval office. Cold as the Arctic.

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Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Megalomaniac: General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden).
Frank Underwood Moves: Fancies himself the last true Patriot. Appoints himself God, with the power to destroy the planet. Tries to exercise that power. Obsesses over precious bodily fluids.

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Network (1976)

Megalomaniac: TV Programming Veep (Faye Dunaway).
Frank Underwood Moves: Desperate to break through glass ceiling. To advance her cause, lives only for ratings. Quality and integrity be damned. Has sex in under 15 seconds.

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Scarface (1983)

Megalomaniac: Psychotic Cuban immigrant and drug kingpin Tony Montana (Al Pacino).
Frank Underwood Moves: Cocaine-fueled paranoia (usually justified), naked aggression, power-hungry, treats women like chattel, leaves a high body count.

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A Few Good Men (1992)

Megalomaniac: Autocratic Guantanamo base commander, Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson).
Frank Underwood Moves: Rules through fear, gives and conceals orders with grave legal consequences, explosive grandstanding, unintended exposure of self-incriminating truth.

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The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Megalomaniac: Savage Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker).
Frank Underwood Move: Leads a coup, murders challengers, excels at remorselessness, grabs absolute power and exerts imperial authority. Awash in delusions of grandeur.

Stream it tonight.

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