The Top 10 Disney Villains of All Time

January 21st, 2022The Top 10 Disney Villains of All Time

Some of the most memorable characters to be seen on the big screen, have been created in animation and live-action by Walt Disney Studios. They have created a variety of Disney Princesses and faithful side-kicks that symbolize joy, beauty and strength. However, with every hero there is always a sinister villain that symbolizes jealousy, greed and fear. Some are more physically threatening than others; some are more brains than brawn. But all are valuable, sinister presences in the land of animated fairy tales, and if you’re not careful, they’ll get you!

With so many of these iconic villains coming back to AMC Theatres with various upcoming Disney live-action remakes, we’d like to share our list of 10 of the most dastardly and unforgettable baddies to ever show up in a production by the “House of Mouse.”

Scar

Simba’s scheming uncle, THE LION KING’s Scar, had designs on the royal throne of Pride Rock. He not only used a stampede of wildebeests to achieve them, but he also guilted Simba into thinking he killed his own father through his careless actions. That is truly a high mark of Disney villainy, no question about it. The power-hungry and devious brother of the one-time king of Pride Lands will be further explored in the 2024 prequel film MUFASA: THE LION KING, where he’ll go by his birth-name, Taka.


Ursula

Framing your nephew for murder is horrific — leading a naive girl to a voiceless fate is pretty ruthless, too. On top of her evil deeds, THE LITTLE MERMAID’S Ursula has one of the best villain songs of all time, and she keeps eels – Flotsam and Jetsam – as pets! The treacherous witch will get the live-action treatment in Disney’s upcoming remake of THE LITTLE MERMAID, which will see Melissa McCarthy introduce the scheming and remorseless villain to a new generation of moviegoers.


Cruella de Vil

Fashion is Cruella de Vil’s passion, and throughout Disney history, she has tried to take 101 dalmatians to make the perfect coat, which lands her a spot on this list of baddies. Though it’s hard not to admire the fact that the woman knows how to dress, we'd prefer if her "materials" were a bit more humane. And while she doesn’t have a memorable song of her own to sing, Cruella’s obsession with dalmatian print, and blowing smoke in people’s faces, is reason enough for her inclusion.


Maleficent

Obviously, anyone who can shape-shift into various creatures is bound to use their skills for evil at some point. But Maleficent of SLEEPING BEAUTY – and MALEFICENT – fame probably uses her powers in the best, most evil way. Turning oneself into a gigantic dragon and getting the job done yourself is something that not all villains are qualified to do, but Maleficent is, and she’s a rock star for it. With qualities like that, it’s not hard to figure out why Maleficent has remained such an iconic and complex villain the past 64 years.


Jafar

Mystical powers are certainly a trump card that Disney’s villainous stable has cornered the market on. But ALADDIN’s Jafar has something even better to go along with his mind-control abilities: He’s one hell of a political operative. Smooth talk gets him most of the way, but his entrancing staff certainly seals the deal. It’s a bold strategy, and it pays off almost every time.


Gaston

Gaston is a complicated villain, in that he tends to act more out of sheer ego than pure malice. Remember, no one’s slick like Gaston or as quick as Gaston. That being said, he could only sing tavern songs for so long in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST before he eventually became more of a brute than usual and attempted to kill the Beast. His obsession with Belle, and his lack of smarts, was his ultimate downfall. If only he’d stuck to those tavern songs instead of trying to save Belle from the Beast before meeting his fate.


The Evil Queen

Only a villain could turn an apple into a weapon. So sure in her beauty and ready to kill in order to ensure its dominance, the Evil Queen of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS uses her disguise as an old crone bearing sweet poison, a clever trick Disney fans will never forget. And with the upcoming release of Disney’s live-action SNOW WHITE, the animation studio’s oldest antagonist will get a chance to show the lengths of her villainy all over again.


Professor Ratigan

Possibly the smartest, or at least one of the smartest, Disney villains of all time, Professor Ratigan almost had the crown of England’s royalty sitting on his head in THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE. With a bit of a temper and a habit for hiring the wrong sort of henchmen to get anything done, his smarts are somewhat held back. He still has a knack for a big sing-along though, and that definitely helps earn him a spot on this list, despite not being one of the most well-known Disney foils.


Hades

If you’re ever talking to Hades, HERCULES’ main villain, you’d better bring a notepad, because you’re going to need it. A fast-talking schmoozer who likes to win his enemies over with oily charm and occasional acts of violence, he was born to be in the pantheon of Disney evil. A trickster of the highest order, you need to keep both eyes on him at all times. We can only imagine how the character will be handled in Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake of the 1997 classic.


Claude Frollo

A man of conviction and order, Claude Frollo is thought to be a pillar of the community in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. But between shamefully sheltering his nephew, Quasimodo, and pursuing his unreturned romantic feelings toward the stunning Esmeralda, his fervor reaches such a fever pitch that it almost tears apart the community he's supposed to serve. His is one of the most satisfying Disney defeats of all time, in a vastly underrated film. He also gets bonus points for having one of the most unsettling and outright terrifying songs with “Hellfire.”


Honorable Mention: Prince Hans

When it comes to modern Disney villains, few, if any, compare to the wickedness and conniving nature of Prince Hans of the Southern Isles in FROZEN. Initially introduced as Princess Anna’s charming love interest, the facade begins to crumble after Queen Elsa turns the kingdom of Arrendale into a frozen hellscape, opening the door for the youngest of 13 brothers to take advantage of the situation. Nothing is beneath the opportunistic conman, not even letting the women he “loves” die of a frozen heart.

So, there you have it. These Disney villains know a thing or two about sticking it to the good guys, yet they all have some qualities that make us enjoy their moments on screen (against our better judgment).