IMPORTANCE: Dichotomous dermatologic depictions of heroes and villains in movies have been used since the silent film age. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the hero-villain skin dichotomy in film by (1) identifying dermatologic findings of the all-time top 10 American film villains, (2) comparing these dermatologic findings to the all-time top 10 American film heroes quantitatively and qualitatively, and (3) analyzing dermatologic portrayals of film villains in depth. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: In this cross-sectional study, dermatologic findings for film heroes and villains in mainstream media were identified and compared quantitatively using a χ2 test with α < .05, as well as qualitatively. The all-time top 10 American film villains and heroes were obtained from the American Film Institute 100 Greatest Heroes and Villains List. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Primary outcomes include identification and frequencies of dermatologic findings of the top 10 film villains and of the top 10 film heroes. RESULTS: Six (60%) of the all-time top 10 American film villains have dermatologic findings, including cosmetically significant alopecia (30%), periorbital hyperpigmentation (30%), deep rhytides on the face (20%), multiple facial scars (20%), verruca vulgaris on the face (20%), and rhinophyma (10%). The top 10 villains have a higher incidence of significant dermatologic findings than the top 10 heroes (60% vs 0%; P = .03). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Dermatologic findings of the all-time top 10 American villains are used in film to highlight the dichotomy of good and evil, which may foster a tendency toward prejudice in our society directed at those with skin disease.
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