Friendships are like secret codes, full of trust and joy. But when those codes are broken, it feels like a punch in the gut. In the world of movies, there are endless ways our favorite characters get stabbed in the back by their closest pals. Sometimes, we can understand why they do it, but most of the time, it’s all about that green monster called envy.
These sneaky characters never fail to surprise us with their confessions, whether they had evil intentions or not. And luckily for us, they usually get their comeuppance in the end, giving us a delicious taste of justice.
It’s a classic trick, but boy, does it still work like magic – the ones we least suspect are often the ones we trust the most. So, let’s dive into these films that brilliantly exploit our trust by revealing the hero’s best buddies secretly plotting against them.
In the movie Predator, Dutch, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, could have prevented a lot of bloodshed if he had trusted his instincts. The story begins with Dutch and his military rescue team venturing deep into the jungle to save a kidnapped politician. Along the way, they stumble upon the bodies of dead Green Berets, which raises Dutch’s suspicions.
To complicate matters, Dutch’s old friend from the Vietnam War, Al Dillon (Carl Weathers), who is now a CIA Agent, accompanies them on the mission. Dillon disregards the significance of the dead soldiers, which further adds to Dutch’s unease. When they finally reach their destination, they find themselves engaged in a fierce shootout with the enemy.
However, Dutch soon discovers that Dillon had been keeping a dangerous secret from him. He had deceived Dutch’s team, leading them on a covert mission to stop a Russian invasion. Understandably, Dutch is furious with Dillon for lying and potentially endangering their lives. Little did they know that their troubles were just beginning.
As they navigate the treacherous jungle, they realize they are being hunted by a highly advanced extraterrestrial known as the Predator. Dillon’s deception not only put Dutch and the team at risk, but it also brought about his own demise. The Predator ultimately seeks justice by killing Dillon.
2. The Godfather Part II
In mob movies, it’s often said that family bonds are unbreakable, but The Godfather Part II challenges this notion. When the Corleone family faces danger, their new boss Michael suspects a traitor within their ranks. Among the shady characters surrounding them, Michael is initially puzzled. However, a slip-up while drunk reveals that the informant is none other than his own brother, Fredo.
Fredo has always been seen as the family screw-up, barely involved in the family business. So while it’s not entirely shocking that Fredo would betray Michael for a taste of power, Michael finds it difficult to accept that his own brother is responsible for the attempts on their lives. Fredo’s betrayal leads to a symbolic and dramatic end for him, culminating in one of the film’s most iconic scenes. In this scene, Pacino’s character forcefully kisses his brother and delivers the famous line, “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.”
In the 1990 romantic fantasy Ghost, the main character Sam, played by Patrick Swayze, makes a crucial mistake by trusting his friend and co-worker, Carl, portrayed by Tony Goldwyn. Sam’s trust in Carl prevents him from realizing that he could have actually made pottery with his girlfriend instead of pretending to as a phantom.
Sam’s decision to trust Carl is understandable, as he never suspects him capable of murder. However, when Sam returns as a ghost to investigate his own death, he uncovers the shocking truth that Carl was the one behind it all. It turns out that Carl was involved in money laundering for drug dealers through their business.
As Sam grows suspicious of Carl’s actions, he realizes that Carl had hired someone to kill him and steal his book of bank passwords. Not only are Carl’s actions inexcusable, but his motivation of pure greed only adds to the satisfaction when Sam takes revenge and ends Carl’s life, sending his soul to Hell.
4. The Fugitive
In the 1993 action flick The Fugitive, Dr. Nichols (Jeroen Krabbé) never even crosses Richard Kimble’s (Harrison Ford) mind as a suspect in his wife’s murder. Kimble assumes Nichols, his colleague and fellow doctor, is a good-natured person. These assumptions of safety and trust play a crucial role in the plot as Kimble is wrongly arrested and convicted, forcing him to go on the run in search of his wife’s true killer.
Surprisingly, Dr. Nichols aids Kimble in his investigation even as he’s being pursued by law enforcement officers. This adds to the shock factor when Kimble uncovers a series of clues that ultimately reveal Nichols as the mastermind behind a cover-up. Nichols orchestrated the whole thing to facilitate the release of a dangerous drug, from which he stands to profit. The betrayal hits hard, but it’s immensely satisfying when Kimble is finally able to bring Nichols to justice and clear his own name.
5. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
In one of the most iconic and jaw-dropping betrayals in movie history, the moment Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) betrays Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is truly shocking. It’s hard to find a more surprising moment than this. Han is not exactly known for making the best choices when it comes to his friends, but to witness such a catastrophic lapse in judgment on his part that leads to their capture is truly unexpected. Especially considering that Cloud City appeared to be a safe haven for Han and his allies, who were fleeing from the Empire’s forces.
When a door opens and reveals Darth Vader, it’s a gut-wrenching moment. Lando tries to explain that he was forced to give up Han and the others in order to protect his own people from the Empire. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to watch as Lando witnesses Han being frozen in carbonite. However, Lando does get a chance to redeem himself in the next movie, Return of the Jedi. He assists the Rebel Alliance in leading their final attack on the Death Star.
In M. Night Shyamalan’s 2000 film Unbreakable, David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a regular security guard, becomes the only survivor of a train crash and unexpectedly gains superhuman powers. David forms an unlikely friendship with Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), a disabled comic book enthusiast, who helps him discover his potential as a real-life superhero due to his extraordinary resistance to pain. Elijah becomes David’s trusted confidant, guiding him towards unlocking his superpowers.
Through a series of challenging trials, David is astonished to uncover that Elijah was actually responsible for orchestrating the train accident and other similar incidents, all in a quest to find someone like David who is indestructible. Now that they have found each other, Elijah sees himself as a formidable adversary, adopting the moniker “Mr. Glass” and envisioning himself as a highly intelligent supervillain to counter David’s superhero persona. This revelation of Elijah’s manipulation of David from the very beginning adds a painful twist to Shyamalan’s typically unpredictable storytelling.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Peter Parker and Harry Osborne have always had a complicated friendship in the Spider-Man series. In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, their relationship takes a turn for the worse when Peter refuses to give Harry his superhuman blood as a cure for his genetic illness. Harry is desperate, facing the same fate as his father, and feels betrayed by Peter’s denial. Their years of friendship mean nothing to Harry when he believes his own life is at stake.
After being denied by Spider-Man, Harry takes matters into his own hands. He finds an alternative source for the “medicine” he desires and transforms into the Green Goblin, a notorious Spider-Man villain. To inflict pain on the hero, Harry kidnaps and kills Peter’s girlfriend Gwen, revealing that he knows Peter’s secret identity. Despite his unfortunate circumstances, Harry’s actions against Peter and Gwen cross a line that is hard to justify.
8. The Descent
The Descent starts off by taking us back to a happier time in Sarah’s life. She and her adventurous friends are wrapping up their latest extreme activity when tragedy strikes – Sarah’s husband and child are killed in a car accident. Devastated by the loss, Sarah decides to go on a spelunking trip with her friends in hopes of reconnecting and finding solace. Little did they know, things were about to take a horrifying turn.
As they explore the caves, a passage collapses, trapping the group inside. To make matters worse, they soon discover that they are not alone in the dark depths. Humanoid monsters start hunting them down, turning their already dangerous situation into a nightmare. In this intense and life-threatening predicament, the true nature of each person begins to surface, especially that of Juno.
Juno, who had led the group into an unexplored cave instead of a well-mapped one, reveals her selfishness early on. She accidentally stabs their friend Beth and, shockingly, decides to leave her behind in order to increase her own chances of survival. But Juno’s betrayal doesn’t end there. It is later revealed that she had been having an affair with Sarah’s husband before his tragic death. This revelation is the last thing anyone wants to hear, but it does provide Sarah with the motivation she needs to confront Juno and use her as a distraction for the monsters, giving herself a chance to escape alive.
Losing a loved one is an indescribable pain. But when you’re blamed for their death, it’s enough to drive anyone insane. That’s exactly what happens to Ig, played by Daniel Radcliffe, when he starts sprouting horns after being accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend. It’s no wonder he starts questioning his sanity. But soon, he realizes that these horns are more than just a delusion – they’re a powerful tool that can help him uncover the truth about who really killed his love.
With these newfound powers, Ig discovers that everyone around him is hiding secrets. Yet, none of them confess to the murder. Throughout the film, it becomes apparent that Ig’s best friend Lee, played by Max Minghella, is the only one immune to the truth-serum effects of the horns. This might lead you to believe that Lee has nothing to hide, especially since he’s actively helping Ig as his lawyer.
However, things take a surprising turn when Ig uncovers Lee’s deep-seated resentment towards him. It turns out that while Ig got the girl, Lee was left nursing a lifelong crush. And to make matters worse, Lee has been wearing Ig’s dead girlfriend’s cross necklace, which grants him devil-like powers similar to the horns. As the truth about Lee is laid bare, it’s both heart-wrenching and liberating.
10. Do Revenge
In the 2022 throwback teen flick Do Revenge, Drea (Camila Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) become friends united by their desire for revenge. Their plan to take down Drea’s ex-boyfriend Max and Eleanor’s childhood bully is intricate, but Eleanor’s true intentions remain a mystery to both Drea and the audience.
Initially, their scheme to infiltrate the popular group and get closer to Max goes according to plan. However, things take a turn when Eleanor becomes enamored with her newfound social status and leaves Drea feeling abandoned. While Drea tries to uncover information about Eleanor, she discovers that they were once friends at summer camp when they were younger. Shockingly, Drea realizes that she was the bully who outed Eleanor as gay, a memory she had long forgotten.
When confronted, Eleanor confesses that her entire friendship with Drea was a facade designed to seek revenge. Despite their anger towards each other, Drea and Eleanor eventually apologize and come to the realization that Max is the true enemy. They join forces to expose his misogynistic behavior. Do Revenge not only showcases the lengths that teenage girls are willing to go for vengeance, but also emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and making amends.
11. The Descent