Movies & TV / Columns

Top 10 Disney Animated Villains

June 15, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Aladdin Jafar

Last week The Hollywood Reporter learned the studio behind Cruella is in early development on a sequel. Cruella director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Tony McNamara are expected to return for a sequel to the movie that stars Emma Stone as 101 Dalmatians villainess Cruella de Vil.

This isn’t shocking as the movie debuted to acclaim simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ under the streaming service’s Premier Access tier, making it available to purchase for $30. Cruella has earned $129.3 million globally and has received positive reviews…for the most part. 

“We are very pleased with Cruella’s box office success, in conjunction with its strong Disney+ Premier Access performance to date,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. “The film has been incredibly well received by audiences around the world, with a 97% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes in addition to A’s in every demographic from CinemaScore on opening weekend, ranking it among the most popular of our live-action reimaginings. We look forward to a long run as audiences continue to enjoy this fantastic film.”

With that, why not have a fun little debate over Disney’s animated baddies? I’m sure it’s a matter of time when we’ll see origin stories for some of these list members so let’s remember them as they were. 

Before we get into things let me say this only covers the animated offerings from Disney. Don’t start dropping Darth Vader in the comments.

10. Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)

Definitely a memorable villain who was so bad that she gave stepmothers a bad name till this day. Lady Tremaine makes the Top 10 with her manipulative streak that worked to benefit her daughters and being quite subdued with her true villainous nature compared to many Disney villains having more bombastic personalities. 

9. Jafar (Aladdin)

“In the palace, right here, lived a wicked wazir; the advisor to Sultan Hamed. And this part-time magician, this amateur seer, wished his boss, the good sultan, dead. He was charming and slick, but unspeakably sick, this despicable parasite. What a villain, boo hiss! Further proof, dears, that this is another Arabian night…” ―Lyrics describing Jafar from a demo of “Arabian Nights”Besides all that Jafar had a great look for a villain and was pretty direct in what he wanted. Definitely top villain material. 

8. Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians)

Hey! Here she is! If you asked PETA, they’ll tell you that she’s without doubt the worst of the worst. While the new movie attempts to make her…relatable(?)…her debut in 101 shows her to be pretty bad. You have to be if your goal is to skin a bunch of puppies in order to have a fur coat. Add on that she was willing to steal/kidnap them and also involved in a wild road rage scene, Cruella lived up to her name.

7. Captain Hook (Peter Pan)

When it comes to a bad guy with revenge on the mind, the iconic Captain Hook stands tall. The pairing of Captain Hook and Peter Pan is a classic on and while he’s portrayed as the bad guy, I’ve seen some theories that he’s really the good guy, just looking to even the score with Peter since he lost his hand because of him. I’m not going to delve into that but you can mention the name of Hook and people know right away who you’re talking about.

6. The Evil Queen (Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs)

This lady is a natural because…she has “Evil” in her name. Plus, she’s petty. Like really petty. Her problems stem from not being the fairest of them all. And yes, I know her real name is Queen Grimhilde but ask most people and they wouldn’t know that.

5. Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)

Look, at first glance I know Gaston can come off somewhat charming but he really sticks out with his ability to form a mob and commit murder to take out the Beast. Incredibly selfish and self-centered, Gaston doesn’t care about anyone but himself. If he had a computer and access to the internet, he’d be in heaven. This is a perfect case of Disney taking what appears to be the stereotypical Disney prince and pushing him to the dark side. 

4. Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

If I had to pick the most underrated villain that Disney has, it would be Claude Frollo. I’m not sure why he’s not mentioned more but this guy is scary. Frollo is a religious man and used his faith to commit some horrible acts. He’s never shown in a good light and we see what happens when some gets power and allows it to corrupt their soul. Not only that, his desires for Esmeralda are pretty intense for a Disney movie. If you haven’t seen Hunchback in a while, check it out.

3. Ursula 9The Little Mermaid)

From the looks of Ursula, she had no choice but to be evil. She has a larger-than-life persona and powers to back it up. She pretty much won against Ariel, Eric, and King Triton, but let up right before she crossed the finish line in the movie. Like any good baddie, she had some impressive help with her minions, Flotsam and Jetsam. Ursula was cerebral and preyed on people’s weaknesses, which would make her an ideal televangelist.

2. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

Over the years Maleficent has really taken on a new life with kids and audiences, thanks to Angelina Jolie’s theatrical offerings. But take a look at her presence in animated form…whoa! From look to deeds, Maleficent is no joke in the villainous department. When you look at her, she’s a miserable person who holds a grudge. I mean, really hold a grudge. She wasn’t invited to a party and decides to curse a kid. Still, you can’t overlook that she has a classic look and some impressive power that means trouble for anyone foolish enough to cross her.

1. Scar (Lion King)

Let’s finish with the Scar. I just revisited the CGI-action Lion King and Scar definitely stands out here.  There was something about seeing Scar as a “real” lion that gave him a dark edge but given his acts in animated form, he pulls no punches. Putting a Disney movie into the Hamlet storyline has made for a great product and it gives Scar’s presence added weight. As far as villainy, the dude killed his own brother and targeted his own nephew for death. That’s cold blooded and puts this lion in the top bad guy spot in my book. Jeremy Irons’ voice in the animated version is icing on the cake!

Who makes your list?