The three finest films in which the bad guy wins (i.e., totally outwits the good guys and demonstrates his absolute supreme dominance at the finale) are, of course, David Fincher‘s Se7en (’95), Gregory Hoblit‘s Primal Fear (’96) and Roman Polanski‘s Rosemary’s Baby (’68).

These three are top of the pops in this regard (okay, it’s not so much Satan but Team Satan that wins at the end of Polanski’s film), but perhaps I’m forgetting something?

Okay, Jonathan Demme‘s Silence of the Lambs counts to a large extent because of Hannibal Lecter‘s brilliant prison escape, but Lecter doesn’t “win” at the end — he’s just escapes to the Caribbean for a little rest and recreation.

The extremely clever Keyzer Soze gets away at the end of The Usual Suspects but he doesn’t “win” — he just eludes the grasp of the law.

Same with Anton Chigurh at the end of No Country for Old Men — he slips away with a fractured arm but hasn’t demonstrated that he’s better than Tommy Lee Jones‘ sheriff or that he’s the absolute king of wicked hill. He’s obviously fallible.

Alex De Large doesn’t “win” at the end of A Clockwork Orange — he’s simply restored to his original venal nature by the authorities.