I tried to whittle the list down to 10 but I ended up with 16 and I figured why not include them all?
So, here goes- the 16 best Disney Villains as determined by me.
16. Man with the Bowler Hat (Meet the Robinsons)- This was such a creative villain. Everything about him surprised me. I love his look and that he is a reminder even the most innocent of us can turn to a life of villainy if we aren’t careful (and get enough sleep!)
15. Yzma- Emperor’s New Groove– One of the funniest villains. She’s got style and is a spazz.
14. Prince John- (Robin Hood) It kind of pains me to have him so low but there are so many great villains. This is another funny villain who is constantly sucking his thumb and crying for Mommy. And yet he’s incredibly ruthless to all the people. He’s probably the villain who does the most harm for the greatest number of people (Gaston, for instance, pretty much only hurts Belle and The Beast). He’s also got that great English dry wit
13. Shere Khan and Kaa (Jungle Book)- Really the success of these villains has to do with the voice talent. Sterling Holloway plays against type as the hypnotizing Kaa who oils his way around the room and Shere Khan voiced by George Sanders is very creepy and deeply voiced villain.
12. Evil Queen (Snow White) Another one that pains me to see it so low because she is so great but there are 11 I like even better. Her transformation is amazing and she is so vain even being queen isn’t enough for her. She isn’t content until she is better than everyone else in every way.
11. Ratigan- (Great Mouse Detective)- the most James Bondlike villain of any of the Disney villain. Not satisfied with a simple solution he makes everything as complicated as he can. Amazing voice performance by Vincent Price, one of first great villain songs and hilarious to have a villain named Ratigan who becomes enraged when called a rat.
10. Devil (Fantasia)- I know the devil should be higher because he’s the Devil! But it is a short sequence so I thought 10 seemed a good spot. The artistry in Night on Bald Mountain is amazing. The demons and spirits that the Devil rules over are gorgeous especially compared with the light and peace of the Ave Maria section. It’s as stunning a depiction of good vs evil as in any Disney movie (or any movie for that matter).
9. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)- Another funny villain. The slapstick with the crocodile is the highlight of the movie but Hook steals every scene he is in. He is sniveling, snide and extremely manipulative. The way he interrogates Tinker Bell is intense.
8. Coachman, Stramboli, Monstro (Pinocchio)- For my money the Pinocchio villains are the scariest because there is no sense of justice or retribution. There is no humor or lighter side to them. Just despicable, greedy, awful, terrifying people. For the morality tale it is, they work perfectly. I certainly wouldn’t want to sin if I knew they were at the end of every bad choice. I mean the coachman turns little children into donkeys to work in salt mines for money? Does it get more evil than that?
7. Mother Gothel- (Tangled)- A woman willing to manipulate her ‘daughter’ and basically ruin her life for her own greed. Make her a prisoner and brainwash her into believing she is doing her a favor. That’s pretty bad. I love Mother Knows Best because it takes the nurturing maternal nature of mothers and turns it on its head, uses it for bad not good. It’s perfect. She’s the closest Disney has come to having a true sociopath as their villain
6. Gaston- (Beauty and the Beast)– It seems to low but again there were simply 5 I like even better, but I love Gaston. He is an interesting villain because in the minds of most people he’s the hero. But like the Evil Queen in Snow White his lack of control over one person causes him to descend into madness. He probably has the funniest villain song; although World’ Greatest Criminal Mind is a close second. It’s not even really a villain song. It’s just everyone telling him how great he is. No wonder he thinks he should have his way!
5. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)– Otherwise known as The Wicked Stepmother, Lady Tremaine, gets 5th spot from me because she is so duplicitous even to her own daughters. She plays the part of genteel and kind and then proceeds to make Cinderella’s life a living Hell. She locks her up when she worries Cinderella’s foot will fit and she encourages the girls to rip off her dress, despite pretending to keep her side of the bargain. She is like that women at work who makes your life a nightmare but then always tries to claim the high ground. I love how her eyes are yellow with disdain. She also has a cat named Lucifer!
4. Cruella De vil (101 Dalmatians)- I love how her name has both cruel and devil in it but I still love her. She is perhaps the most shallow villain. All she cares about is looking good with her dalmatian furs. That’s just hilarious and over-the-top but it feels believable in the story. Her driving, the way she throws her hands in the air and even yells through the phone are all totally chilling and funny. I’m no animal lover but anyone who wants to kill 101 puppies just for her wardrobe gets top honors on the villainy tribe in my book. Such a funny character and I love how she mocks Roger ‘Roger’s songs…’
3. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)- Aside from the Devil, Maleficent is the closest Disney got to a pure evil character. She has horns for goodness sakes! She is basically a She-Devil with all of his powers to create thorns, thistles, demons and pronounce curses on people who don’t invite her to parties. That’s got to be the best part of Maleficent is that she curses Aurora to death for getting snubbed at the christening.
There are arguments for subtle villains who have good and bad but there’s also a case for going all the way in a fairytale. Make your characters, the heroes, stand up against the ultimate evil. That’s what made Harry Potter so good is there was no chance of redemption for Voldermort. That bridge had already been crossed and he was evil. I haven’t seen the new Maleficent yet but am highly skeptical. By softening her it could take away what is the most special about her.
2. Scar (Lion King)- I remind you I gave Lion King #13 spot on my final rankings but Scar is a fantastic villain. He’s smart, disdainful and murders his own brother with glee. He may actually be Disney’s 2nd sociopath. He’s convinced what he is doing is right even though it clearly isn’t. He is completely selfish and has surrounded himself with people he can control. (How brilliant to make hyenas who laugh his cronies).
What puts Scar so high though is Jeremy Irons voicework. It is dripping with disdain as if he is condescending to talk to everyone at all times. His villain song, Be Prepared, is one of my favorites, both the actual song and the animation. It’s the best part of Lion King and completely gripping.
1. Ursula (Little Mermaid)- As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog Little Mermaid was my favorite movie growing up and Ursula is a big part of that . She is so unique. In a movie full of fish and mermaids, she’s an octopus with tentacles that cover the screen with their blackness. She’s overweight and speaks like a chain smoker and is perfect. I love how she looks like a combination of a drag queen and a truck driver.
And her villain song is brilliant. Poor Unfortunate Souls is funny, manipulative and the perfect song to trick a 16 year old lovestruck girl. She also equally villainous when she turns into Vanessa and for no good reason, she just is evil with those yellow eyes!
She also has a dishy motive of revenge on Triton. She’s been banished and when the two spare off it is classic.