Optimus Prime: After eons of conflict, I finally see the truth of your words, Megatron.
Megatron: And what might that be, Optimus?
Optimus Prime: This universe, no matter how vast, will never be big enough for you and I to coexist.

An Arch Enemy, archfoe, archnemesis, or simply nemesis is some character's designated and most important enemy.

The Arch Enemy can be the Big Bad, The Dragon, The Rival, an Evil Counterpart, or even a Harmless Villain. The essential element is that, with them, It's Personal. Most typically, the Arch Enemy is a foil of some sort. For example, the Arch Enemy of the physically strong could be very smart. If the villain is the Bigger Bad, his Arch Enemy commonly is the Big Good.

The Arch Enemy will stand out from the Super Hero's Rogues Gallery — there will be one opponent where the relationship to the hero and the motivations for battling them are more potent. These feelings may be one-sided, felt more by the villain than the hero.

A hero's Arch Enemy is not necessarily the biggest threat to them. Lex Luthor is considered Superman's Arch Enemy; Brainiac is smarter and Darkseid is vastly more powerful and dangerous, but for Lex - and, to a lesser extent, for Superman - it's personal between them.

Sometimes, the hero could have made the same choices as the Arch Enemy: the Arch Enemy is showing us what he could have become, as in the case of Batman and the Joker.

A hero may possess more than one Arch Enemy if more than one villain from his Rogues Gallery stand out, or if a former Arch Enemy dies and new one comes in to the picture. As an example, consider Spider-Man: the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Venom have all established themselves as recurring and iconic foes of Spider-Man, each of whom has been considered the wallcrawler's Arch Enemy at different points in time.

Lastly, remember that this generally refers to the enemy the hero considers to be his Arch Enemy, and ideally, it should be personal on both sides (though there are plenty of good "But for Me, It Was Tuesday"-type Arch Foes out there). Especially in the case of a Rogues Gallery, the hero is usually considered an Arch Enemy to all of his villains, but he doesn't treat all of them as such. Electro, Rhino, Scorpion, and others all consider Spider-Man their most hated foe, but compared to the Goblin, Venom, or Doc Ock, Spidey regards these guys more like superpowered nuisances. Also, remember that being the Big Bad does not automatically make a villain the hero's arch enemy.

Beware of letting an Arch Enemy fall victim to Villain Decay.

See also Breakout Villain, for those instances when a run-of-the-mill villain ascends to Arch Enemy status.

Not to be confused with various works known as Nemesis. Also not to be confused with the Swedish melodic death metal band. Technically, the word "nemesis" originally referred to an agent of divine justice or retribution for egotistical thinking; thus Batman could be described as Joker's nemesis, but not vice versa.

The Arch Enemy is more prone to certain tropes than the common villain:


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    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Transformers Meta
    • Hound and Barricade are this.
    • So are Jazz and Starscream, but that's more one-sided.
  • The Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni:
    • Jade feels that Tohru is hers, based on her jealousy that HE became Uncle's apprentice and not her.
    • Drago and Karasu have shades of this as well.
    • Right, one of Jade's Co-Dragons, becomes one to Viper.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    • Dr. Brainstorm sees Calvin as his - not so much the other way around, though.
    • Also discussed in "Camping Trip Part 1":
      Calvin: Hobbes, we have lots of mortal enemies! If this club only had one mortal enemy, then where would we be? Where would Superman be if he only had one super villain trying to take over the world every other day? Where would Spider-Man be if there was only one weirdo out there who managed to find enough time in his day to moonlight as an evil lunatic? Where would Batman be if all he had to do is defeat one highly unrealistic villain in order to save... whatever it is he aims on saving? I mean, come on!
  • The Immortal Game has Sir Unimpressive and the Cadet. There's also an inverted case of Unknown Rival in play as well, as the Cadet states that they were fierce rivals even before the war, something Unimpressive was unaware of.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Shining Armor gains one in the form of General-Admiral Makarov (aka the Shadow of Chernobull), the Big Bad of his side story.
  • While Rose is certainly the main character of Eyes Without a Face, she finds herself embroiled in a personal war between Twilight Sparkle and the Pie sisters.
  • Equestrylvania gives us Aeon and the Chronomage.
    • By the end of the first book, this status is also bestowed upon Twilight Sparkle and Actrise.
  • Renamon Who gives us Valmont as one to Rika Nonaka.
  • In The Lion King Adventures, the evil wizard Hago serves as one to Simba.
  • In Boys Und Sensha-do, Shiho Nishizumi and the Sakai family despise each other due to ideological conflicts, including the Sakais trying to get more people, including boys, involved in sensha-do. The dislike the Sakais have for Shiho only intensifies after she disowns Miho, who is getting closer to Akio.
  • A large number of these can be found in Diaries of a Madman, but particularly mention has to go to the relationship between Discord and the protagonist, Nav.
  • Code Geass Megiddo has Lelouch and Suzaku. Suzaku still hates Lelouch for killing Euphemia and tarnishing her good name, but suppressed it for eight years after the Black Rebellion when Lelouch had his memories suppressed. Lelouch in turn resents Suzaku for betraying him and their friendship by giving him up to the Emperor, the father that abandoned him and Nunnally in a war zone, and suppressing pivotal memories to make him a loyal general for the empire, including making him believe Nunnally was killed alongside their mother. Needless to say, after Lelouch regains his memories, their next meeting has a gigantic blowout that devolves into a Duel to the Death.
    • Several characters commenting on the relationship acknowledge that regardless of their former friendship, Suzaku truly is Lelouch's greatest enemy, even more so than his father. In fact, the narrative and the wiki suggest that they were destined to be enemies. It's to the point that many believe that if Lelouch does care about Suzaku, he may have to kill him in order to save him from himself.
  • The Neomorphs series has a few examples:
  • In Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, Yagura views Naruto as this, since Naruto's actions during the Nine Terrors' 365-day slaughter led to Yagura getting his facial scar. Naruto and Gaara also see each other as their greatest enemies since it was Naruto's attempt to prevent Gaara's so-far-undisclosed schemes (and Yagura's intervention to stop Naruto) that caused the 365 days in the first place, and they gave each other a set of scars during that encounter—Naruto's whisker-marks are actually scars, while Gaara keeps his scar covered by his familiar tattoo.
  • Transformers Animated: Cybertronian Genesis has, of course, Optimus Prime and Megatron, who have developed their relationship into this following the events of the last season, mirroring the rest of the Transformers mythos. One of the main focal points of the narrative is their enmity, and how it forces Optimus to grow into the leader he's meant be, and how his constant defiance drives Megatron closer to the depths of insanity.
  • A Shadow Of The Titans plays this for laughs, as Jade declares Beast Boy her archenemy after he manages to hurt her with an onion; Beast Boy is thrilled at this, as he feels that having an archenemy makes him cooler.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, the Stardroids are this to Duo, who defeated them long ago.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dr Evil is the Arch Enemy of Austin Powers and his Evil Twin.
  • Rene Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Evil Counterpart to Indiana Jones, is probably the closest thing he has to this.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's Arch Enemy; meanwhile, Vader probably counted Obi-Wan as his.
    • Palpatine to Yoda. By The Empire Strikes Back he also considers Luke Skywalker to be his biggest threat. As the Chosen One, Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker is destined to defeat Palpatine and bring balance to the force, and he eventually succeeds.
    • Han Solo has Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt.
    • Darth Maul to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn during The Phantom Menace.
    • Count Dooku to Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his former Master Yoda in Attack of the Clones and the beginning of Revenge of the Sith.
    • General Grievous considered himself to be the nemesis of General Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Jack Sparrow and Barbossa. Once both men have died at least once, the conflict between them becomes more of a friendly rivalry.
    • Commodore Norrington might also want to put himself in for consideration as Jack's Arch Enemy, though Jack seems to regard him as more of an obstacle and sometimes pawn.
    • Cutler Beckett may qualify, as he has been the source of much/most of Jack's problems in his life. When using Jack's compass, it points him towards Jack, and Jack guesses that what Beckett wants most in the world is to see Jack dead.
    • Davy Jones definitely qualifies, being hellbent on claiming Jack's soul. He could also count as one for Will Turner, since his father is one of the many cursed souls forced to work on Davy Jones' ship for hundreds of years.
  • David Allen Griffin to Joel Campbell in The Watcher.
  • In The Prestige, Borden and Angier start as friendly rivals, but the two become arch-enemies when one loses a wife. By the end, one has lost his wife and his life, the other reaches a Pyrrhic Victory in besting his enemy but losing his brother and wife as well.
  • In The Matrix, Neo to Smith.
  • Castor Troy for Sean Archer in Face/Off.
  • Harmonica and Frank in Once Upon a Time in the West. The former has been hunting the latter for decades to put an end to his horrible crimes and to avenge the death of his brother.
  • Since Bruce Willis turns out to be a comic book superhero in Unbreakable, it only stands to reason that he'd have an arch-enemy. One who is right under his nose.
  • Mystery Team: Old Man McGinty
  • In the Film of the Book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Humma Kavula is this to Zaphod.
  • Godzilla is the Arch Enemy of the Japanese Self-Defence Force as a whole during the films where he's the villain (or not). He also has his own recurring nemesis in King Ghidorah, who has battled him across eight films and four continuities, and whose gleeful malevolence provides a stark contrast with the Big G's more mindless rage. One could also make a case for Mechagodzilla, Godzilla's only enemy to rival Ghidorah for number of appearances (save for Mothra) and ability to hurt Godzilla (the Heisei version of Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II is even stated to have been based on the recovered remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, essentially making it a combination of Godzilla's two arch-enemies).
    • As far as Mothra goes, her arch-enemy is Ghidorah as well; she tolerates Godzilla's existence as long as he's not misbehaving too much, but when Ghidorah gets involved, she knows fully well that the whole planet she has sworn to protect is in danger. Epitomized by the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, the first and third of which featured either Ghidorah or a close relative as the antagonist.
      • Godzilla Final Wars made Gigan her arch-enemy instead so that the single coolest redesigned monster in the film could fight her during the climax while Godzilla dealt with the more plot-relevant antagonist—who was again, eventually revealed to be Ghidorah (this time in Kaiser form).
  • In Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees gains an enemy in Tommy Jarvis.
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Nancy Thompson is the archenemy of Freddy Krueger.
  • In Halloween no matter where Michael Myers goes, his psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis will always be there to stop him.
  • Ghostface to Sidney Prescott in Scream.
  • In Hellraiser, Pinhead makes repeated attempts to claim the soul of Kirsty Cotton.
  • Chucky to Andy Barclay in Child's Play.
  • X-Men:
  • The Hobbit Azog is the main enemy of Thorin. He killed their Grandfather Thror and Thorin cut of his hand. pursuing him throughout the trilogy and leading the Orcs to take Erebor at the Battle of the Five Armies. It is revealed he is working for Sauron, but he is pursuing Thorin on his own incentive. They end up performing a Mutual Kill.
  • Mister Henry F. Potter to George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life.
  • Alex Forrest to Dan and Beth Gallagher in Fatal Attraction
  • Phyllis Dietrichson and Walter Neff to Hero Antagonist Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity.
  • Pazazu to Father Merrin in The Exorcist.
  • HAL 9000 to David Bowman in 2001:A Space Odyssey.
  • The Original Terminator to Kyle Reese and Sarah Conner in The Terminator.
  • The T-1000 to the second Terminator, and the T-X to the third Terminator in the sequels.
  • Skynet to John Connor
  • Gordon Gekko to Bud Fox in Wall Street.
  • Max Cady to Sam Bowden in both versions of Cape Fear.
  • Reverend Harry Powell to John and Pearl Harper in Night of the Hunter.
  • Doctor Szell to Thomas Levy in Marathon Man.
  • Colonel Hans Landa to Lieutenant Aldo Raine, Shosanna Dreyfus, and the Basterds in Inglorious Basterds.
  • Marsellus Wallace to Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction.
  • Bill Cutting to Amsterdam in Gangs of New York.
  • Simon Phoenix to John Spartan in Demolition Man.
  • Bennet and Arius to John Matrix in Commando.
  • Amon Goeth to Oskar Schindler in Schindlers List
  • Khan Noonien Singh to James T. Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek Into Darkness.
  • Emperor Commodus to Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator.
  • Dark Helmet to Lone Starr in Spaceballs in Spaceballs.
  • Colonel Walter E. Kurtz to Captain Benjamin L. Willard in Apocalypse Now.
  • Travis Bickle spends much of the film preparing to assassinate Senator Charles Palantine in Taxi Driver.
  • Officer Jake Hoyt and Detective Alonzo Harris gradually become enemies throughout the progression of Training Day.
  • Beatrix Kiddo has Bill, Elle Driver, O-Ren-Ishii, Vernita Green, and Budd in Kill Bill.
  • Rocky Balboa has Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago thoghuot the progression of the Rocky franchise.
  • Sheriff Will Teasle, Lieutenant Colonel Podovsky, Colonel Alexei Zaysen, and Major Pa Tee Tint to John Rambo in Rambo.
  • Frank Miller to Will Kane in High Noon.
  • The Aliens and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation to Ellen Ripley in Alien.
  • The Predator to Dutch in Predator.
  • Jack Wilson and Rufus Ryker to Shane and Joe Starrett in Shane.
  • Angel Eyes, Ramon Rojo, and El Indio to the Man With No Name.
    • Colonel Mortimer is a better candidate for El Indio's nemesis, since Mortimer is on a revenge quest against El Indio, and the Man With No Name is only after him for money.
  • Scorpio to Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry.
  • Hans Gruber, Simon Peter-Gruber, and Colonel Stewart to John McClane in Die Hard.
  • Alexander Conklin, Ward Abbott, and Noah Vosen to Jason Bourne in the Bourne Series.
  • The Shark to Sheriff Brody in Jaws.
  • Carl Showalter, Gaear Grimsrud, and Jerry Lundegaard to Marge Gunderson in Fargo.
  • Biff Tannen to Marty McFly and his father George in Back to the Future.
  • Colonel Miles Quaritch to Jake Sully and Neytiri in Avatar.
  • Virgil Sollozzo and Emilio Barzini to Michael and Vito Corleone in The Godfather.
  • Warden Samuel Norton to Andy Dusfrene in The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Captain Louis Renault and Major Heinrich Strasser to Rick Blaine, Ilsa Lund, and Victor Laszlo in Casablanca.
  • General Allenby, Mr. Dryden, and the Turkish Bey to T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia.
  • Richa
  • Crassus to Spartacus in Spartacus.
  • Harry Lime and Marv Merchants to Kevin McCallister in Home Alone.
  • Jim Taylor and Senator Joseph Paine to Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
  • In In the Heat of the Night, Ralph Henshaw turns out to be the killer Virgil Tibbs spends the entire film looking for.
  • Although they do not appear in the film, E.H. Harriman and Joe Lefors are the archenemies of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
  • Juror #3 and Juror #10 to Juror #8 in 12 Angry Men.
  • The Captain to Luke Jackson in Cool Hand Luke.
  • Alain Charnier to Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in The French Connection.
  • Evil Ash and Henrietta Knowby to Ash Williams in Evil Dead.
  • Lucky Ned Pepper to Rooster Cogburn, and Tom Chaney to Mattie Ross in True Grit.
  • Chief Cicatriz to Ethan Edwards in The Searchers.
  • Nathan Burdette to Sheriff John T. Chance in Rio Bravo.
  • ED-209, Clarence Boddicker, Dick Jones, Cain, and Otomo to RoboCop in RoboCop.
  • Mister Joshua, Pieter Vorstedt, Jack Travis, and Wah Sing Ku to Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon.
  • Colonel Willaim Tavington to Benjamin Martin in The Patriot.
  • Lord Humungous, Toecutter, and Auntie Entity to Max Rockatansky in Mad Max.
  • Rameses II to Moses in The Ten Commandments.
  • Boris the Animal to Agent K in Men In Black.
  • Fredrick Sykes to Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive.
  • Norman Stansfield to Léon and Mathilda in The Professional.
  • Mr. Han to Lee in Enter the Dragon.
  • Tyler Durden is this and the Enemy Within to the narrator in Fight Club.
  • The Big Lebowski and Jesus Quintana to the Dude in The Big Lebowski.
  • Principal Edward Rooney to Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
  • Alejandro Sosa to Tony Montana in Scarface (1983).
  • Alex DeLarge to Frank Alexander in A Clockwork Orange.
  • Gozer and Vigo to the Ghostbusters.
  • Abigail Williams to John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible.
  • Jean Vilain, James Munroe, General Garza, and Conrad Stonebanks to Barney Ross in The Expendables.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Loki and Heimdall in Norse Mythology. Fittingly enough, they kill each other in Ragnarok. There's also Thor and Jormungandr who do the same.
  • Older Than Dirt Egyptian Mythology examples:
    • Re/Ra and Apophis/Apep.
    • Osiris and Set. Also Horus and Set.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Urza and Yawgmoth is the best known Arch Enemy pairing, although there are dozens of individual hatreds. They've even released a variant named Arch Enemy, although that's dedicated more to a dynamic of Big Bad vs. Enemy Mine.
  • While everyone in Warhammer 40,000 will gladly fight everyone else, there are some special rivalries and hatreds. The Imperium of Man is the staunchest enemies of the Forces of Chaos, the Eldar fought the Necrons once before and have taken it upon themselves to take them down now they have re-awoken, the Tau view the Tyranids as the single greatest threat to their survival (and they may not be far off from the truth), the Space Wolves and the Thousand Suns and the Ultramarines and the Word Bearers Space Marine chapters have intense rivalries stretching back millennia, the Chaos Gods Khorne and Slaanesh battle constantly to one-up each other, and the Orks are constantly this to everyone including themselves.
    • As an illustration of how deeply the Ultramarines vs Word Bearers hatred runs: in the Horus Heresy novels, it is revealed that the Ultramarines keep a precise count of time since the beginning of a battle - known as the Mark. The Mark of Calth, for the battle in which the Word Bearers first attacked the Ultramarines, will be left running until every Word Bearer is dead. Meaning that an Ultramarine can give you a precise count of how long it is they have wanted the Word Bearers to die, even ten thousand years after the original battle. Now that is enmity.
    • On a smaller, more individual basis, there's Commissar Yarrick and Warboss Mag Uruk Thraka; Thraka thinks Yarrick is the greatest enemy he has ever fought and takes great enjoyment out of battling him, and Yarrick thinks Thraka is a hideous abomination and has vowed to kill him personally. They're still fighting to the death.
  • Eric and the Dread Gazebo.
  • Dungeons & Dragons fourth edition setting, the Nentir Vale, has a sourcebook detailing the realms of the gods, called The Plane Above. In it it mentions certain gods who have a special, personal hatred for one another, giving the examples as Bahamut vs Tiamat, Avandra vs Zehir, and Moradin vs Asmodeus. With the exception of Bahamut and Tiamat, these examples are kind of out of the blue. Other examples include Gruumsh vs Corellon (which is taken from their Forgotten Realms counterparts), as well as The Raven Queen and Orcus, though Orcus is generally traditionally seen as the arch enemy of Demogorgon.
    • Speaking of Dungeons & Dragons, Bane and Cyric. They hate each other worse than they hate any of the good gods.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, this seems to be the case between D.D. Warrior Lady and Warrior Dai Grepher. They are seen fighting on several Spell and Trap Cards in a feud that started when she was Warrior Lady of the Wasteland and continued when he became Dark Lucious. The first one was Simultaneous Loss, but there were several others.
  • As it is heavily influenced by comic books, Sentinels Of The Multiverse uses Arch Enemies quite a bit. Every playable hero character has a Villain nemesis (though there are some cards in villain and environment decks that has nemeses ). Damage one deals to their nemesis is increased by one. For some pairs, this is one sided, such as the Argent Adept, a support hero who has few attacking powers, and his nemesis Akash'Bhuta, who has several ways to deal damage though her Limbs.
    • The expansion Vengeance takes this a bit further. The five main villains have several targets in their decks that gain special effects that specifically weaken their nemesis if their nemesis is active. Calypso (a nemesis of Ra) reduces fire damage if Ra is active, which is the only damage type Ra deals.
  • This is actually a game mechanic in Adventure. The "Nemesis" background allows the player to create an arch-foe for their hero, and the hero gets certain advantages when facing their hated enemy. How many ranks you take in the background determines the level of their enmity.
  • Antagonist, an available bad trait in Rocket Age can either give you a minor enemy or a full blown antagonist, depending on the level of the trait.

    Real Life - Individuals 
  • Keith Baker is the Arch Enemy of Rich Burlew, creator of The Order of the Stick, due to his Eberron setting being chosen over Rich's creation as the new campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. When Keith wrote an article for Rich's site, it was lampshaded twice, and there have been numerous jokes at Eberron's expense within the comic.
    Durkon: "Meh. It could be worse, ye know."
    Vaarsuvius: "Oh?"
    Durkon: "They could have magic trains."
    Vaarsuvius: "Point taken."
    • And Baker also turns up in Start of Darkness (the trope namer, that is) as one of Xykon's rivals for the position of second-in-command to the Unholy Master early on in the book.
  • Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson hated, hated each other with a passion. Bobby felt Johnson was a devious coward, Johnson thought Bobby was a foul tempered "little shit." Intensified tenfold after JFK's assassination.
    • Also, Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense and a close personal friend of Bobby's who only got closer to him after Jack's assassination, got caught in the crossfire. This may have influenced some of Johnson's decisions in The Vietnam War.
  • Mark Gottlieb, the rules manager of Magic: The Gathering, is the Arch Enemy of Mark Rosewater, the game's head designer. That's according to MaRo, at least, but he's nuttier than a bag of squirrels.
  • Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope were two of the major pioneers in the field of paleontology and between them identified over 142 new species of dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they hated each other with a passion and each became obsessed with defeating the other and proving himself the better scientist. Their frenzied race, known as the Bone Wars, extended over fifteen years and ended in a virtual stalemate, and both men were nearly bankrupted by the effort. In the end, they both made enormous contributions to the study of dinosaurs, committed any number of shady deeds to undermine each other, and ended up in the poorhouse. Not So Different, indeed.
  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents respectively, were this; after George Washington left the office, these two formed bitterly divided parties against each other. Ironically, due to how voting worked at the time, Jefferson wound up as vice president to Adams when he entered office, making things even worse than they were before. After both of their terms as president were over, however, they went on to become good friends.
    • Actually, they were good friends before Adams became president, having collaborated on the Declaration of Independence and worked together overseas. But when their political ideologies started to diverge, their relationship fell apart. Luckily they patched it up when they retired.
    • Then there was Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, a political and personal rivalry that actually ended with Burr (then Vice-President of the United States) killing Hamilton in a duel.
    • More on 19th Century American politics - Andrew Jackson vs. Henry Clay; a rivalry that started for political reasons when Clay allegedly cheated Jackson out of the presidency in 1824 by making a "corrupt bargain" with John Quincy Adams and which later turned personal in 1828 when Clay organized and carried out the slander campaign which led to the death of Jackson's wife, Rachel. The blood feud lasted for over twenty years!
    • Another example from US politics: Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.
    • In the current Congress, John Boehner vs. Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell vs. Harry Reid.
  • In the related area of American campaign strategizing and punditry, James "the Ragin' Cajun" Carville and Mary Matalin, respectively Democratic and Republican campaign strategists and pundits extraordinaire, have called themselves arch-enemies on several occasions. They're quite right: they repeatedly found themselves fighting campaigns for opposing candidates in The Eighties all the way up to 1992, when they were high-ranking members of the Clinton and Bush campaign staffs, respectively. Then they got married in 1993. Opposites Attract, one supposes... (They still appear opposite each other from time to time on CNN and other networks to bash each other's political heads in. One wonders what their daughters—around whom they do not talk about politics—think of all this.)
  • Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz fought for years over who invented calculus.
    • Newton also hated Robert Hooke with a passion. It's widely believed that his famous statement "If I have seen far, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" was a swipe at Hooke, who was notably short.
  • Sheryl Leach and Caroll Spinney have each gone on record criticizing the other's show.
  • Liberal William Lyon Mackenzie King and Conservative Arthur Meighen were bitter rivals in university, and the bad blood between them carried over when they both went into politics. Both men would serve as prime minister of Canada and led their parties against each other, but this trope was arguably subverted because King repeatedly wiped the floor with Meighen in their political Curb Stomp Battles.
  • Half a century earlier, a much more balanced version of this played out in Britain between William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. Gladstone was a vaguely anti-imperialist Liberal (until he took office, whereupon the empire actually nearly grew twice as much as it had under Disraeli), a devout Christian very involved in social causes, and very much a man of ideas. Disraeli was a raw politician (though not without principles), ethnically Jewish, not a particularly serious Anglican, something of a hedonist, and a Conservative imperialist extraordinaire (he was responsible for making Queen Victoria Empress of India). For her part, the Queen loved Disraeli (and not just for making her an Empress) and hated Gladstone ("He always speaks to me as though I were a public meeting."); she made Disraeli an Earl but didn't even give Gladstone the courtesy of recommending a successor when he retired (and picked his least favourite candidate out of spite). Gladstone was frugal and very good with money (becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer four times, including twice as his own Chancellor); Disraeli was a bit of a spendthrift and kept having to write Romance Novels and other penny-dreadfuls to stay solvent. They led their parties against each other in several elections in the late 19th century, more or less taking turns governing the country and trading insults: Disraeli mocked Gladstone's nickname, GOM (the "Grand Old Man"), as really meaning "God's Only Mistake." For his part, Gladstone called Disraeli shallow even in death. These two men hated each others' guts with a passion not seen since in British politics.
    • While not to the same level as the two mentioned above, the rivalry between Labour leader Harold Wilson and Conservative leader Edward Heath dominated British politics for a decade.
  • Marius and Sulla, Caesar and Cato, Crassus and Pompey, Antony and Cicero, Antony and Octavian.
  • Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, hated Richard Nixon almost more than words can adequately describe. When he told Nixon this, Nixon said "Don't worry. I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you." To give you an idea of just how much Thompson hated him, observe this article, written just a few days after Nixon's death.
    If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
  • Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison
  • Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who saw themselves as the protectors of their respective faiths and battled one another for control of the Mediterranean for their entire lives. Their chief admirals, Andrea Doria and Khizr Barbarossa became archenemies by association.
    • Francis I of France has also been seen as Charles' arch-enemy, and to a lesser extent, Francis and Charles also both had considerable personal rivalries with Henry VIII of England.
  • Czar Peter the Great of Russia and King Charles XII (Carolus Rex to Sabaton fans) of Sweden, who spent all of Charles' adult life at war with each other. It was noted that as long as Charles ran Sweden and Peter ran Russia there would be no chance of peace, so much did they hate each other.
  • Reinhard Heydrich, Deputy Leader of the SS and founder and head of its insidious intelligence branch, the SD, was The Rival and archenemy of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of German Military Intelligence (the Abwehr). Heydrich was a Deceptive Disciple to Canaris; Heydrich had a lifelong hatred of naval officers (due to being fired by the navy for dishonourable conduct- namely, falsely promising a woman he'd marry her to get her in bed; said woman was the daughter of an admiral) but he made an exception for Canaris, who became his friend, mentor and his neighbour. Canaris in turn liked and respected the intelligent, ambitious, and multi-talent Heydrich- until the mid-to-late 30's, when he gradually realized that Heydrich was also a murderous psychopath indifferent to terror and mass murder of innocent people, which went hand-in-hand with his growing contempt for Nazi Germany as a whole and led to Canaris becoming a leader of La Résistance (though, like most conservative enemies of the regime, he hoped to make Germany a large nation at the expense of some neighbours before getting rid of it). Heydrich seemed to regard Canaris as a Friendly Enemy- he liked him, but as a ruthless careerist he had zero qualms about plotting his downfall and death; he knew full well of his anti-Nazi activities and was building a case against him at the time of his assassination. Canaris may have had a hand in Heydrich's death, and the eventual arrest and execution of Canaris was built in large part on evidence collected by Heydrich.
  • Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Three fights, with Frazier winning the first, and Ali the second, before the bitterly contested Thrilla in Manila which Frazier would always insist he could have won had the referees allowed the bout to continue. During their rivalry, and for years afterwards, the well-spoken flashy Ali would belittle and mock the completely uneducated Frazier, who was largely unable to defend himself, who in turn became ever more bitter, openly gloating over Ali's development of Parkinson's. The two did eventually reconcile before Frazier's death, with Ali attending his funeral and displaying an appropriate respect.
  • Ken Livingstone and Margaret Thatcher truly hated one another. Even after her death he has nothingngood to say about her.
  • James Randi and Sylvia Browne. The two almost seemed destined to become enemies, with Browne being a notoriously inaccurate and yet somehow successful professional psychic who also was (or rather claimed to be) a devout Christian; whereas Randi is a famous paranormal debunker with a 100% success rate, and an unapologetic atheist. They had a feud since Randi offered her the chance to prove her powers under laboratory conditions in The Eighties and she refused, on the basis that as an atheist he was not qualified to judge her. Since Randi has outlived her, he seems to have won. Especially since she died more than ten years earlier than she had predicted.
  • Stephen King and Dean Koontz do not think much of each other. The fact they are on the opposite sides of the political spectrum probably plays a part in this.

    Real Life - Countries and Institutions 
  • England and France have historically been enemies that never got along and warred constantly. Nowadays they're kinda like Vitriolic Best Buds instead.
  • Ancient Athens and Sparta, even as there were some times that they helped one another.
  • The U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Became more like rivals during Detente in the late '60s and '70s, but escalated back into archenemies during the '80s until the Soviet Union's fall in 1991. These days they are on more or less good terms, though Russia has a habit of blowing a lot hot air every now and then, but it's treated more like an Unknown Rival now.
    • The US-Soviet rivalry is odd in that the recent rise of China as an economic superpower seems to have made some Americans nostalgic over the Soviet Union. The recent Russian spy scandal was rife with jokes about how the FBI and CIA were ecstatic about a return to the good old days.
    • Ironically, the United States had good relations with Tsarist Russia. Russia was officially neutral during the American Revolution, but nevertheless indirectly helped it by supplying arms to France and Spain, both of whom were allied with the colonists. Russia was also the only European country to declare support for the Union during the American Civil War (because they thought an intact America would stand a better chance of counterbalancing the power of The British Empire), although they didn't actually intervene. The Russians also sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, and boy are the Americans glad that the Russians didn't have that land during the Cold War.
  • Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.
  • The Roman and Persian Empires battled each other for centuries, but Rome's traditional Arch Enemy was Carthage, as per The Aeneid.
  • Poland and Germany have long detested one another. Luckily, this seems to be winding down what with the end of the two big wars.
  • Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Greece and Turkey. China and Japan. Japan and South Korea, Israel and Palestine. Really, it could go on and on...
    • Let's see, North Korea and South Korea. North Korea and Japan. North Korea and United States. North Korea and anyone in the EU who is not Switzerland or Sweden.
    • And now North Korea and China, considering North Korea's recent actions.
  • The United States Republican and Democratic parties in general and their presidential nominees every four years.
    • For that matter, the North and the South of America. Some don't really care, but attitudes for both range from Southerners viewing Northerners as obnoxious "left wing loonies," and Northerners viewing Southerners as ignorant rednecks. There are also some individuals in the South who still are bitter about losing The American Civil War, and will react quite angrily if questioned on this point. Likewise, some Northerners have never gotten over the incident.
  • The three political parties of the UK are an interesting example- they all (outside the occasional coalition) constantly oppose each other, hate each other and, unlike the American parties, don't even pretend to regard each other as Worthy Opponents. However, in the UK, the Queen, not the Prime Minister is the head of state. The Queen is not a member of any political party and is not even able to vote, but every MP up to the Prime Minister himself is officially her servant, the party in power is "Her Majesty's Government", those not in power are "Her Majesty's Opposition". So, they might be enemies, but they're all technically on the same side, because they all work for the same person.
  • India and Pakistan. Three major wars and one minor conflict and several close calls and both sides have nukes? Archenemies.
    • India and Japan are petitioning for permanent security council seats, while Pakistan and Korea are in committee to vote them down. This would strangely make Mexico a burgeoning rival for Brazil.
  • Australia and New Zealand - but only in the sporting arena, elsewhere we're Vitriolic Best Buds at worst, Best Friends when having to be part of The Squad at best...
  • In any duopoly, the two dominant companies could be considered this.
    • Pepsi and Coke
    • Marvel Comics and DC Comics are a subversion: while they compete with each other, they generally work together to bolster the comics market, share most of the same customer base, and often team up for crossovers.
    • Nintendo and Sega, during the fourth generation of video games.
    • Disney, being a multi-media conglomerate, has different arch-enemies in different fields
      • Disney and Warner Bros. were this in the field of animated shorts before that format mostly disappeared. Nowadays, there's a bit of this between Disney Toon Studios (which makes films, mostly direct-to-video ones) and Walt Disney Television Animation on one side vs. and Warner Bros. Animation (which also does TV shows and direct-to-video films) on the other side.
      • And since Disney owns Marvel now and DC has been owned by Warner Bros, the Marvel/DC rivalry takes on an extra layer.
      • Toon Disney vs. Nicktoons before Toon Disney ceased to exist.
      • In TV in general, Disney channel vs. Nickelodeon
      • Disney XD vs. Nicktoons, or Disney XD vs. Cartoon Network Well, until CN abandoned serious action cartoons.
      • In theme parks, Disney World vs. Universal Studios
    • Pixar and DreamWorks Animation
  • Nickelodeon vs Cartoon Network.
  • Fox News Channel (Conservative) vs Al Jazeera English (Liberal).
  • On a more regional level, Al Jazeera (Qatar) vs Press TV (Iran).
  • The African countries of Ethiopia and Somalia have had more than their share of spats over the centuries.
  • Adolf Hitler (and by extension Nazi Germany) saw the Jews as his archenemy. By the time he died, the feeling was definitely mutual.
  • Armenia and Azerbaijan, or Armenia and Turkey. The former is India and Pakistan on a small (and not world-ending) stage.
  • Egypt and Israel apparently have the lowest approval ratings of each other than any other pair of countries.
  • Denmark and Sweden have apparently fought more wars than any other two countries.
  • Given their long shared history, everybody in South-East Asia could be argued to be each other's archenemies. Malaysia and Indonesia fought a confrontation over the formation of the former, Singapore has at best Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with Malaysia, Malaysia butts heads with Thailand and the Philippines over Islamic insurgencies along their borders, Vietnam and Cambodia still aren't on good terms after the Vietnam-Cambodia war, Vietnam jockeys with Indonesia in ASEAN over who's the regional power, everyone fights over the Spratly Islands, and nobody cares about Myanmar or Laos.
  • The Black Panthers (and by extension the black community) and the Ku Klux Klan; much like Jews and Nazis (mentioned above).
  • Russia and Germany have pretty much always hated each other. This was most apparent during World War II, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union not only arguable fought harder against each other than any other two countries during the war, but also were bitter, bitter ideological enemies.

Alternative Title(s):

Arch Nemesis, Arch Enemies, Arch Nemeses