Nazis vs. Soviets: Who's the better villain?

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Obi-Ewan, May 8, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    Indy's most constant foe has been the Germans, as he faced off against them in both Raiders and Last Crusade. Crystal Skull, of course, broke ranks by using Russians, but their role was similar to that of the Germans, really. Less of a departure than the cult in Temple of Doom.

    There is one way in which the Russians are treated differently from the Germans. In Raiders, while the Germans were the bad guys, the man in charge of them, with the greatest amount of screen time, was Belloq. Not only was he French, he had his own interest in the Ark. Hitler wanted its power for conquest, but Belloq, like Indy, was interested in its historical importance. In Last Crusade, Donovan and Schneider were both had their own interest in the Grail, apart from Hitler's. In Crystal Skull, Spalko has no ulterior motive. Her interest is the Soviets' interest. Now one could argue that this makes her less complex, but I thought it was a nice change of pace to have a lead villain who was actually in lock-step with her superiors.

    Thoughts?
  2. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    I think it would be more accurate to say "Nazis vs. Soviets". It wasn't their nationality which helped define their "evil" status, but rather their association with a particular regime of that time in history; that of Nazi Germany and Nazi Austria, and that of the old USSR, the "evil empire" as Reagan called it.

  3. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    Okay then, Nazis vs. Soviets.
  4. halibut Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 8
    I'd have to say Nazi's just because I think most people can associate them with bad guys. It's endlessly drilled into people that Hitler was bad, m'kay. Not so with the Soviets. I can't speak for other countries, but in the UK the impression we get about the Soviets is that they have a history of internal problems as opposed to the Nazis who basically went about invading everyone
  5. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    Look, if all the Nazis had done was just go around invading countries, they'd be remembered as imperialistic, not as one of the most evil forces in the history of humanity. The Nazis did more than just invade countries: they were responsible for the mass murder of more than 6 million innocent people, to say nothing of all the war casualties, both Allied soldiers and civilians.
  6. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2000
    star 4
    Most of the bad guys, Nazis or Soviets, were in the background, though. So let's look at who we had to pay attention to.

    RAIDERS
    Rene Belloq: Frenchman working for the Nazis.

    Toht & Deitrich: Actually Nazi/SS officers.

    LAST CRUSADE
    Walter Donovan: American millionaire working for Nazis.
    Elsa Schneider: Austrian Nazi party member.

    CRYSTAL SKULL
    Irina Spalko: Member of Stalin's inner circle
    Dovchenko: Military muscle.

    I guess my question comes down to this: is it more interesting to have an outsider working for the bad guys; like Bellow and Donovan; or to have a loyal member of those opponents, like Spalko?
  7. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    I don't know how to answer that, because in my mind, anyone working for the Nazis is just about as bad as the Nazis themselves.
  8. Dark--Helmet Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 2
    LOL,here's a responce for you man.


    I think it really depends on the person and movie what fits better but grayish non true believers are just about always more interesting.

    In the Indy movies the charcters who are working for the nazi's are more intersting then the true believers.Because they aren't as bad as the Nazi's are but for there dreams they'll work with such terriable people.

  9. Grand_Moff_Jawa Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2001
    star 5
    Villains with ulterior motives are worse, if you ask me. True, Belloq was working for the Nazis, but if he could get away with it, I have no doubt he'd have smuggled the Ark somewhere else. Now we have two different outcomes: what the Nazis would do and what Belloq would do. Spalko was just muscle behind a plan of world domination. It wasn't her idea at all. I'm sorry to say, but this is where her character falls flat for me. No depth. So I vote Nazis.
  10. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    Another point for the Nazis, though, is that Indy saying "Soviets... I hate these guys!" wouldn't have had quite the same ring as "Nazis... I hate these guys!". :p

    But as for individual villains, it's hard to be a bigger scumbag than Donovan. He's an American working for the Nazis. That's almost treason (even if it is in 1938). :mad:
  11. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Whereas the Soviets were all nice and cuddly people living under their rule? Think there is a fair case to make that the Soviets were just as bad as the Nazis. But they didn't loose the way, and they had lots of sympathizers that gained legitimacy in the west, so for some reason, most people still don't know about the atrocities committed on their side of the Iron Curtain. Which is really just denial, cuz the informaion is all there...
  12. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    Danaan, I don't want to help get this thread going off-topic. I don't think the point of the thread is which atrocities were worse, but rather who makes for a more compelling villain in the Indiana Jones movies. And from a purely cinematic point of view, I think the Nazi Swastika conjures up a lot more evil than does the Soviet sickle and hammer - but that's just my own personal opinion, and I'm sure not everyone would agree even to that.
  13. jedibri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 4
    I'm going to go with Nazis. For the shear fact they carried out death threats. The Soviets were more all talk and a verbal threat.
  14. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    My apologies, derailing was certainly not my intention. Permit me to explain.

    You are probably right in that the Swastika is more associated with evil than the hammer and sickle in the public mind. Indeed, as far as movie villains go, the Ebil Soviets became somewhat cliche-to-be-point-of-ridicule in the Bond movies. But that's sort of where my point comes in: for some reason, Soviet symbols are much more accepted than Nazi ones, as if the Soviets were somehow "nicer", or simply "misunderstood". In that sense, the way the audience reacts to the symbols is inexorably linked to how we have internalized what those symbols historically represent.

    Indeed, in this movie, the evil plans of the Soviets - to use the skulls as mind control devices - are an excellent plot device, even brilliant, that is given a mere 30 seconds worth of movie time in that scene when she does the "the villain explains the plans for world domination moment". It is brilliant because it taps into something the Soviets would be perfectly willing to do, and did do towards their own population, and which is touched upon in many classic novels that criticize the Soviet system; 1984, Animal Farm, Callocaine, Brave New World, etc...
  15. WookieeWarrior9 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 2007
    star 3
    Well, the Nazis killed around 10 million (6 million Jews, around 4 million other people found to be inferior) and Stalin is estimated to be responsible for the death of as many as 20 million people. Granted, Stalin was dead by the time the events took place in KOTCS, but I think you get the idea.

    I personally think the Nazis were the better villians, even if they are goons sometimes.
  16. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Actually, according to Rummel's estimates, the total body count of the Soviet Union is about 62 million, and only about 7 million of that occured in the post-Staling period, with another 5.5 million dead during the Civil war and the NEP period. This leaves just under 50 million dead under Stalin's reign. And that's the mid-range estimate...unless I'm reading Rummel wrong...

    But I agree, the Nazis worked better as villains in the movies, the Soviets were much more goon-like in how they acted. Cate Blanchett was a good choice, but could have become much more iconic with better directing, if you ask me. Or maybe a better script...;)
  17. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    I think another reason that Nazis make better villains in movies is the fact that they simply had to be stopped, period. There was no negotiating with them, there was no trying to reason with them, it was do-or-die, we had to stop them completely and vanquish them without contemplation, because they were just so evil.

    The Soviets, we simply had to contain during a long, drawn-out Cold War, during which there was co-existence. We could never had co-existence with the Nazis, they were out to conquer all civilized countries. (And probably would have, too, without the good ol' USA armed forces entering the war).
  18. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    How do you define evil?
  19. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    The opposite of good and virtue?
  20. Oissan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2001
    star 6
    I don't see how there was any difference between Nazis and Soviets in that regard. Nor is there a significant difference in "evilness", when it comes to Stalin's Soviet Union. Both persecuted people, the only difference being that Germany lost the war and it got out, while Stalin pretty much had a free hand.
    Besides, Stalin had zero trouble with supplying the Nazis and dividing eastern Europe between the two countries. It's not like Stalin didn't know about Hitler's planned attack on Poland. In fact, the deal was that the Soviets would attack soon after the Nazis did. The Soviets went as far as declaring Britain and France the aggressors in this war, not Germany. While it was always likely that they would have attacked each other after the others were beaten, they were very much together in this until 1941. The western allies didn't care about that later on, because they needed everyone they could get. Having an eastern front which kept the large majority of German troops away from the west was extremely important.

    There was no negotiating with them?
    The Allies didn't want to negotiate anymore. Hitler even had preferred if Britain didn't get involved. Heck, even when the war was going on and the Nazis had the upper hand, Hitler still wanted to get peace with Great Britain, because he didn't see them as enemies. If there were any people he respected, it were the Britains.

    No one knows what the Nazis had planned beyond the termination of certain minorities and a stretched out country in the East. Even if Germany had won the war in the east, I don't think that they could have done much more afterwards. With Britains reluctance to accept a peace treaty, I guess they would have tried to take them out, but then again, there is only so much war you can handle as a country, even while you are winning.

    The co-existance between America and Russia only existed because they were simply too mighty to engage in a war. Neither side was in a position to win a war. Add in nuclear weapons and no one could have won without getting annihilated as well. You can be quite certain that the Nazis wouldn't have acted any different, if both sides were armed beyond believe and capable of using atomic bombs. Not to mention that there is a huge difference between an ongoing war and a sizing up between two superpowers.

    Times had changed, you can't compare the conventional warfare of WW2 with the time of nuclear aggression. Take a look back to all the big Empires, you can be quite certain that none of them would have spread out as far as they did, if they had been in danger of being completely wiped out in a blink of an eye as well.


    Besides, evil always needs a point of view. The Arabs at first sure were quite happy when the Nazis came and took over from the Britains. For them, Britain was evil, the Nazis were not. It was Churchill himself who declared that using gasbombs on civilians wouldn't be such a bad idea. So was bombing them for hardly any reason, quite funny when you think of how the Britains did what Saddam Hussein did, only that they thought it was perfectly fine back then. It always depends on how you are treated.

    The bigger the war, the worse it the outcome for the loser. Especially if they did some very evil things. It doesn't matter if others did something similar, they didn't lose, they can make sure which history will be remembered. When you are responsible for the deaths of 40-50 million pe
  21. Chancellor_Ewok Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I prefer the Nazis and their goons in Raiders and Last Crusade over Mola Ram and Irina Spalko, although like what happened to the Big Russian during the cliff fight. IMHO, the Nazis got much more creative and gory death scenes. I mean come on, its hard to beat melting Nazis. :D
  22. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    And how do you define "good"? [face_devil]

    Oissan actually said what I was thinking about. My point is this: even though World War 2 de facto was a war between good and evil. I motivate this because even if the colonialism had caused my suffering, it was generally less repressive than Nazism and Communism was, and after the war the democracies had been caught in their own good vs evil propaganda and thus had to end colonialism to not be exposed as complete hypocrites - so World War 2 was the turning point in global governance that introduced democracy as the base line for humane and good governance, and set up the Human Rights as a normative framework.

    However, nobody actually entered the war with that as a rationale. Humanitarian intervention didn't exist as a concept. The war started when Britain and France declared war on Germany to fulfill their treaty obligations towards Poland. This caught Hitler by surprise. The US didn't enter the war to save democracy. It entered because Japan attacked it outright, and because Germany and Italy declared war on it.

    The atrocities committed during the war, by the Germans, did not become accepted as true in the general public until the Nuremberg trials after the war, when the evidence simply was too great to ignore.

    So, that's why I'm saying that the "Hitler was simply too evil, he had to be stopped" might have been de facto true, but was not the reason why the allies actually started to fight him, but rather became the 20/20 hindsight rationale.

    I'd also argue that the reason the Soviets are today generally percieved as less evil than the Nazis is that they never lost a war and that there was never any real effort to deal with the totalitarian past in Russia after the fall of the wall. Indeed, Putin is going out of his way to redeem Stalin now (which should have everybody extremely concerned). No Nuremberg trials for senior KGB official or politburo members. Same thing in China. Only now are there trials in Cambodia after the Killing fields, when the senior Khmer Rogue are all dead, and only 5 people are to stand trial. And so on, and so forth. If the full extent of Communist atrocities were as commonly accepted as those of the Nazis (read "The Black Book of Commmunism", by Courtois, et al, very thorough accounts there), I guarantee you that people would see the Hammer and the Sickle and the Red star as as heavily loaded symbols as the Swastika.



    Oh, and I also agree that it is very hard to beat melting Nazis as a good and iconic movie death. The villain's death in Ep 4 really pales in comparison. Of course, it was difficult to do something visually appealing based on the notion of "accumulating too much knowledge to handle"...
  23. Boba Jr Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 1998
    star 4
    Look, I don't mean to mini-mod, but in my opinion a really detailed discussion about the evils of Nazis and Soviets would be more appropriate in the Senate forum. It's really very dark and disturbing stuff, if you think about it; and at least in the context of the Indy movies, they're just the bad guys in the movie. I mean, an Indy movie is not supposed to be Schindler's List, know what I mean? ;)
  24. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    I apologize - it's a sore spot for me, to be sure.

    It is a pertinent question to understand how audiences react to the symbols involved, but I agree that we got into too much detail. Lets just sum that up by saying that both Nazis and Communists committed great atrocities in real life, but for some reason, the Swastiska is generally more regarded as an inherently evil symbol than the hammer and the sickle/red star, which means that the Communist movie villains have more of an uphill battle to come across as convincing bad guys.

    In this case, the Communists are not helped by the lacking treatment they get on the big screen. The introduction of the Crystal skull and the villains' scheme is much less suspenseful than the introduction of the powers of the Arch and what the Nazis might want to do with it. Also, in Raiders, the arch-nazi is introduced as a 100 % Gestapo sleeze ball, and a mercilessly sadistic one, too - just look at the way hanging up his coat is turned to a scary moment, cuz everybody thinks he's bringing out a torture instrument. Blanchett never really gets an opportunity to display anything remotely close in terms of merciless cunning or ruthlessness that would fir a person in her position. And we've already covered the death scenes.

    So, I have to give the Most Villainous Villain award to the Nazis.
  25. black_saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    Nazis all the way make great Villains for movies. But I thinking that Terrorist from the middle East and the Muslim world are beating both the Soviets and Nazis alike, but not when it comes to movies. Islamist terrorist are in both Raiders of the lost Ark and The Last Crusade.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.