Will Munny – Unforgiven
When we first meet Will Munny (Clint Eastwood), he’s just a humble pig farmer (and not a very good one, either), but there are faint glimmers of a past, more exciting life everywhere around him. Munny used to be a deadly gunslinger, but as we learn from the opening scroll, his wife civilized him, and even though she’s dead now, Will has embraced her teachings and has left that life behind.
But as fate would have it, that violent nature comes back for him when a young cowboy rides up and tells him of a prostitute who was cut up by two savage men; there’s a bountiful profit for avenging the woman. Looking at his two kids and all of the pigs that keep getting sick, Will decides to go for the money, and with his old partner, Ned (Morgan Freeman), he sets off for the town of Big Whisky, carefully guarded by the passionate and ferocious Sheriff Little Bill (Gene Hackman).
If the three men’s motivation was to wreak justice upon the two wrongdoers, their case for morality would be solid. But they’re doing it for the money. With that said, Will is here because he needs the payment to take care of his children, and it’s revealed in a later scene with the scarred woman that he has principle when he refuses to bed her.
But, when it comes down to it, Little Bill is doing his job: when it’s discovered that these women are hiring vigilante gunmen to come to Big Whiskey to murder two people, Little Bill orders a no-gun policy within town limits to try and ward off any more danger to the townspeople. Though the man is corrupt, he doesn’t want more people to die or get hurt; and that makes sense.
What makes Will’s actions worthy of this list is the simple truth that he’s a murderer; a man who comes into and inflicts decimation onto this town. Not to say that his reasoning was unjust (Ned’s corpse up on display as warning to all future gunfighters), but Will understood the risks of his decisions, and as he shoots up the brothel at the end of the film, this seemingly good character reverts back to the hellhound he used to be.