Viewers are usually happy to see the bad guys get their just desserts at the end of a story. For years, the Hays Code literally put it into law that evil should eventually be punished. However, films have come and gone over the years that often allow a bad guy to get away with things that would lead to jail time or at least a stern talking to in real life.
It’s not unheard of for the filmmakers to have originally intended for a villain to get their comeuppance, but with the scene ending up on the cutting room floor. Of course, sometimes the villain is allowed to win because the story was supposed to have a sad ending.
10 Cinderella: Lady Tremaine And Her Daughters Are Never Punished For Abusing Cinderella
In Disney’s adaptation of the classic fairy tale, viewers see Lady Tremaine and her daughters abuse Cinderella in her own home throughout the story. In fact, Lady Tremaine is arguably more sadistic than the wicked stepmother in the original story, with the film adding episodes like her manipulating her daughters into destroying Cinderella’s mother’s dress, locking her in the tower room, and even destroying the glass slipper.
Despite all of this, viewers never see her receive any comeuppance by the end of the film. As Disney fans have noted, this is especially egregious since her manipulations also nearly got the Grand Duke beheaded.
9 Pinocchio: Pleasure Island’s Donkey Traffickers Are Still In Business
In Disney’s Pinocchio, many of the villains don’t endure any form of punishment for their actions, such as the fox and cat, Foulfellow and Gideon, and the unnamed Coachman, who are in cahoots to send naive young boys to Pleasure Island where they are transformed into donkeys and sold to work in the salt mines.
Allegedly, one rejected idea for the film would have Pinocchio encounter Foulfellow and Gideon one more time, only for them to finally be caught by the police, but as it stands now, these kidnappers never have to pay for the evils they have done.
8th It’s a Wonderful Life: Mr. Potter Gets Away With Hiding The Missing Money
In this classic Christmastime film, the villain Henry Potter, who nearly controls the entire town, ends up with a misplaced $8,000 and intends to allow the missing money to stay hidden so that the main character, George Bailey, will lose his business and be sent to jail This is never directly resolved, with George ultimately being saved by his friends and the people of Bedford Falls raising enough money to replace the missing cash at the last second.
Allegedly, Potter was meant to die of a heart attack in the original script, but the filmmakers decided it was too dark.
7 Dracula: The 1931 Film Kind Of Forgets About Lucy
In Dracula, Lucy is killed by the titular vampire and transformed into an undead monster who has been noted to be feeding on children after luring them from a park. While Lucy is eventually destroyed in the original book, the characters in the film seem to forget about this development.
It’s been theorized that censorship might have been an issue here, as her death sequence appears in the original shooting script and the Spanish-language version of the film, which was produced alongside the English-language film, contains these scenes.
6 The Mask: Peggy Brandt Betrayed Stanley To The Mob, Yet Still Made It Into The Cartoon
In The Mask, Peggy Brandt is a struggling journalist who betrays Stanley Ipkiss to the mob, all so she could pay her rent. By the end of the movie, she presumably ends up walking away with the money.
In a deleted scene, the mob would have betrayed and killed Peggy by forcing her into a printing press. Stories vary as to why the scene was cut, from audiences finding it too disturbing from the filmmakers wanting to keep the character for a possible sequel. Interestingly, she appears in the cartoon, where she apparently reconciled with Stanley.
5 Liar Liar: Samantha Cole Cheats On Her Husband, Commits Fraud, Gets Half His Assets, And Might Just Get The Kids
In Liar Liar, Fletcher is representing Samantha Cole, a woman who is trying to fight a prenup that stipulated she would lose everything in the divorce if she proved unfaithful, which was proven true. Fletcher is able to turn things to her benefit by discovering she lied about her age and was a minor when she signed the agreement. She then tries to extort more money by pursuing full custody of their kids so she can extort child support. Fletcher realizes to his horror that he’s about to take children from their loving father and put them into the hands of someone who sees them as collateral. And she is able to do this by being fraudulent about her age.
As mentioned, writers sometimes want the villain to get off scot-free to illustrate that life isn’t always fair, and this plot point has a similar meaning: Fletcher realizes the error of his ways since he was the one responsible for allowing this to happen.
4 Jawbreaker: Marcie Doesn’t Get Any Blame For Liz’s Murder
In Jawbreaker, three popular girls accidentally kill their friend, Liz in a prank gone wrong. This brings about an elaborate scheme to make the girl’s death look like a sex act gone wrong. Julie, the most sympathetic of the girls, eventually plans on revealing the truth to the police, but the ringleader Courtney threatens to pin the blame on her, as well as seducing a man all in the hopes of framing him for the murder.
Eventually, Julie uncovers a recording of Courtney confessing to what really happened and uses it to expose her at the school prom. The third girl involved in the original prank, Marcie, seems to get off scot-free as the school forms a mob against Courtney.
3 Harry Potter: The Dursley’s Mostly Get Away With Mistreating Harry
After the death of Harry Potter’s parents, he is sent to live with his mother’s sister, Petunia, and her family, who spend most of his early life abusing him until Hagrid comes along and reveals he’s a wizard. Since Harry still lives with them outside of school, they continue to make what little they can of his life into a Roald Dahl book until they go into hiding from Voldemort.
As the conflicts with Voldemort take up the bigger focus, the narrative probably spares the Dursleys any comeuppance because they’re not really treated as anything of consequence. In the books, Dudley, Harry’s cousin, eventually reconciles with Harry and develops a healthier relationship with him.
2 A Cinderella Story: Shelby & Her Friends Get Away With Humiliating Sam
Throughout A Cinderella Story, Sam is regularly bullied by the popular kids, led by campus queen Shelby Cummings. In the climax, upon learning Sam is the girl who had an online romance with her ex-boyfriend, Shelby stages a pep rally show where she publicly reads the emails and gets the whole school to chant “Diner Girl,” her insulting nickname for Sam.
Despite visibly doing this all in front of school staff, no one thinks to stop the performance or punish Shelby or her friends. The closest Shelby gets to a comeuppance was in the tie-in novel, where she gets knocked into mud at the big game.
1 The Wizard Of Oz: Miss Gulch Disappears From The Story…Unless She Really Is The Wicked Witch Of The West (Or East)
Early in The Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy has to contend with a local landowner, Miss Gulch, who plans to euthanize Toto, with the sheriff’s support. While Toto eventually escapes, by the time Dorothy wakes up safe and sound in her bed, the whole conflict is forgotten about.
Granted, if viewers do interpret Dorothy’s adventures in Oz as real and not a dream, then there is a simple explanation to what happened to Miss Gulch: either she melted or a house fell on her. It helps that audiences actually see her transform into a witch on a broom. On the other hand, the producers intended Dorothy’s adventures in Oz to be a dream, unlike the book, feeling audiences at the time wouldn’t like a straight fantasy.
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About The Author
(446 Articles Published)
Hello, my name is John Witiw, and you may remember me as a writer for Viral Pirate, Frontrunner Magazine, or Co-Ed, but now I’m here for CBR! Feel free to suggest stories you’d like to see at [email protected]!
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