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25 Best Disney Villains Of All Time, Ranked | ScreenRant

They make us laugh. They make us cry. They make us cower in our seats. They give cinema’s heroes and heroines something to fight for. Hollywood villains are often some of the most unforgettable characters on screen. So, they’ve understandably come to be some of the most beloved of all time. That’s especially true of the villains that have come out of Disney’s animated studios. From their very first foray into full-length filmmaking to the most popular Pixar franchises of all time, they’ve given us some truly despicable bad guys and girls — and more than a few that we truly love to hate.

Everyone has their favorite Disney villain, and their reason for holding their favorite baddie in such high esteem. We have ours, too. Curious to see if your number one pick made our list?

October 27th, 2020 by Zach Gass: Disney’s cavalcade of villains are just as popular, and in some cases more, as their legions of heroes and heroines. And can you blame them? They have some of the best designs, best lines in the script, and almost always the best song on the soundtrack. In fact, Disney is responsible for creating some of the most famous and iconic villains in all of fiction, so it’s no wonder that they’ve practically become their own franchise. From Snow White’s Evil Queen to Prince Hans of Frozen fame, the studio has no shortage of malicious monarchs, wicked witches, and sinister scoundrels that have a special place in the hearts of every Disney fan.

25 Prince John – Robin Hood

Prince John isn’t exactly what one would call much of a threat. He has no magic powers to cast evil spells, no intimidating physique, no destructive weapon or source of power, and he doesn’t even cross swords with Robin Hood at all in the film. But to say that he isn’t memorable would be an outright lie. Prince John is essentially a spoiled, bratty toddler who grew up to gain a lot of power, making him one of the funniest characters Disney ever created.

The guy is a spineless cry baby who literally throws a tantrum and sucks his thumb when he doesn’t get his way, his pompous dialogue and fits of rage are downright hysterical, and when paired with his serpentine servant, Sir Hiss, the two bicker like an old married couple. It would be a royal crime against the crown not to include him on this list.

24 Ratigan – The Great Mouse Detective

When it comes to villains, the best are the ones that completely, utterly, and shamelessly enjoy their work. And Disney fans can find no better example than the World’s Greatest Criminal Mind himself, Professor Ratigan. Imagine a villain so deliciously wicked that his portrait smiles whenever his name is mentioned, that takes a special amount of Disney magic to accomplish.

Truth be told, a great deal of Ratigan’s persona, presence, and power comes from his voice actor, horror legend Vincent Price. There are certain performances where it’s clearly evident that an actor is just doing a voice. Mandy Moore as Rapunzel or The Rock as Maui are blatantly voice actors, but Vincent Price becomes Ratigan in this role, and he loves every single moment of it.

23 Dr. Facilier – The Princess and the Frog

If there’s anyone that could ever possibly rival Ratigan in terms of showmanship, it’s the Shadowman of New Orleans, Dr. Facilier. Like Ratigan, the not-so-good doctor drives his power from presence and personality. Of course, a little help from his Friends on the Other Side goes a long way too. From the tip of his top hat to the soles of his wing-tipped shoes, Dr. Facilier absolutely oozes charm, charisma, and evil intent.

Anyone who associates with the spirits of the underworld can’t possibly be good news, but Facilier makes it look like a jazzy good time. Of course, when you’ve got the velvety pipes of Keith David backing you up, anything sounds like a good idea. Even making a treacherous deal with the Shadowman.

22 Syndrome – The Incredibles

«And with everyone super, no one will be…» These are the lines that establish Syndrome as the most dangerous villain in all of Pixar. Syndrome might be an overgrown jilted fanboy, but he’s an overgrown jilted fanboy with a genius-level intellect, access to a veritable armory of superpowered weaponry, an army of goons with a lot of guns, and a deadly robot that only he can defeat. That’s certainly worth some points in the supervillain department. Even the likes of Dr. Doom would be impressed.

But what makes Syndrome worthy of a spot on the list is his sympathetic motives and strangely vulnerable side that he shows in his monologue. Buddy Pine died the night Mr. Incredible told him to fly home. From his flashback, viewers can see he wasn’t just a fan, he Idolized him. Getting crushed by someone you admire, whether that be a romantic interest or even a superhero, never fails to drive anyone to become a villain.

21 Chernabog – Fantasia

Chernabog in Fantasia.

Thanks to this Disney demon, movie-goers around the world can’t associate Modest Mussorgsky’s famous piece without thinking of opening a pair of giant black wings. For a film released in 1940, Fantasia’s «Night on Bald Mountain» sequence was one of the most beautifully terrifying things ever made from ink and paper. This guy is literally Disney’s version of Satan. Chernabog, the Slavic god of darkness, calls forth ghosts, skeletons, and demons from the depths of the underworld on Walpurgis night for a black magic bacchanal on Bald Mountain.

With his massive horns, batwings, iconic theme song, and kaiju-sized stature, Chernabog is a pretty tough customer. That being said, he doesn’t work alone. His minions of demons, evil spirits, and horrific monsters look more at home in a copy of the Necronomicon than a Walt Disney production. Nightmare fuel barely scratches the surface of these guys.

20 Randall Boggs – Monsters Inc.

Randall Boggs in Monsters Inc.

There’s sneaky, and then there’s Randall Boggs. One of the main antagonists in Monsters Inc., he’s a chameleon-like creature with a serious case of jealousy when it comes to those who outperform him. Sure, it had to be hard to live in Sully’s shadow and watch him dominate the rankings on the Scare Floor. That was no reason to create a device that could actually harm children, though. That’s really low.

Some villains are driven to evil after a single, life-changing event, but Randall Boggs’ turn toward maniacal was years in the making. We learned in Monsters University that Randall always had a villainous streak — and that his jealousy of Sully and his friends had been in the works since their fraternity days. That doesn’t excuse his lack of scruples, but it does make him one of the more fascinating villains that Disney and Pixar have ever concocted.

19 Hans – Frozen

Hans from the Disney movie Frozen

He schmoozed his way into Arrendalle and swept Anna off her feet with minimal effort. He swore to protect his fiance’s beloved home while she went off in search of her sister Elsa. Sure, once Kristian entered the picture, Hans didn’t seem like that great of a match for her — but many of us spent the vast majority of Frozen assuming that he was a decent guy, all things considered. That’s what made his late-in-the-game treachery feel especially villainous.

Hans craved the power and dignity that came with ruling a kingdom of his very own, and he was ultimately willing to do anything to achieve his goals. That includes trying to murder Elsa with his sword and leaving a nearly-dead Anna to freeze to death — and mocking her for daring to believe he really loved her. Not cool. On a scale of one to extremely douchey, Hans’ power trip scores pretty high, and proved that if you fall instantly in love with someone who seems too good to be true, he probably is.

18 The Headless Horseman – Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Headless Horseman in Disney's animated adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Some Disney villains get extended screentime — even their own separate films — to showcase their evil ways. The Headless Horseman, who appeared in a segment of Disney’s 1949 animated special, Ichabod and Mr. Toad, was only on screen for a few moments, and he still managed to scare the crap out of us. The demonic rider and his red-eyed stallion only appear in the closing moments of the segment, when Ichabod is running for his life. After being told by countless characters that the horseman was to be feared, his frightening stature and the fiery pumpkin he uses as both a replacement for his head and a murder weapon definitely lived up to the hype.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow‘s antagonist was a decidedly dark villain, even for a Halloween special. The fact that he still holds up as one of the scariest characters Disney’s ever brought to life is a testament to the fact that sometimes, when it comes to creating a memorable villains, less can definitely be more.

17 Yzma – Emperor’s New Groove


The Emperor’s New Groove never quite got the attention it deserved, because in retrospect, it’s one of the most light-hearted and purely entertaining animated flicks that Disney’s ever given us. That was, in large part, thanks to its main villain, Yzma. In fact, her fabulous sense of style and eccentric personality far overshadow her actual villainy.

Her main goal — to overthrow Kuzco and become Empress — is pretty standard as far as evil plans are concerned. Since she really only wanted to turn her former advisee into an animal instead of, say, killing him the way many other Disney villains do, she definitely didn’t pose the same serious threat to our protagonist. Her inability to take care of the details surrounding her plot made her nearly impossible to take seriously. That’s what’s so fun about her, though. From her impossibly long lashes to her flair for the dramatic, Yzma may not have always had her ducks in a row, but she was still brilliant, brilliant, briiiiiiiilliant nonetheless.

16 Mother Gothel – Tangled

Look, most of us would love to have the beauty and energy of our youthful prime return — but in general, we just invest in a solid night cream and never consider kidnapping innocent, magical-haired princesses to fulfill those wishes. In Disney’s 2010 movie, Tangled, Mother Gothel did just that, though. Then she had the audacity to pretend she was Rapunzel’s mother, and she gaslighted the heck out of the young girl whenever she questioned the fact that she was being held in a tall, inescapable tower in the middle of nowhere.

Many Disney villains try to get their way through manipulation, but Mother Gothel’s methods were especially abusive. She was willing to murder both Rapunzel and the mighty Flynn, and for what? A wrinkle free complexion. Despite all this, Gothel was actually pretty charming, so in an incredibly dark and twisted way, it’s easy to see why Rapunzel would have fallen for her ruse for so long.

15 Lady Tremaine – Cinderella  

Lady Tremaine in Cinderella by Disney

Child slavery is never okay, but don’t tell that to Lady Tremaine. The wannabe royal at the center of the 1950 version of Cinderella set the standard for all future awful parents in Disney movies. From forcing the titular heroine to perform grueling, thankless housework to mocking her desire for a night out at the ball, Tremaine wasn’t just unfair — she was downright cruel. When you add in the fact that she basically kidnapped Cinderella in an attempt to hide her away from Prince Charming, just so that she could have a chance to trick him into marrying one of her daughters, there’s no denying that she’s one of the most horrible characters to grace our movie screens.

No, she never threatened Cinderella’s life, but trying to take away her every chance at happiness is in many ways just as bad. Luckily, Cinderella escaped her stepmother’s grasp — but it still seems unjust that the witchy woman never really had to live with the consequences of her actions.

14 Governor Ratcliffe – Pochahontas

Governor Ratcliffe in the Disney movie Pochahontas

Many of the best Disney villains are memorable because of their magical prowess or otherworldly evil. Pochahontas‘ Governor Ratcliffe is unforgettable for a completely different reason — but that doesn’t make him any less potent a bad guy.

His diabolical tendencies aren’t just scarily realistic, aside from the fact that he’s a cartoon. They’re a sad but important reflection of what people like Governor Ratcliffe are still capable of doing today. He’s racist. He’s violent. He thinks anything he sees and wants is his for the taking. What’s worse, especially in the eyes of the film’s Native American princess, he has zero respect for nature and doesn’t see the effect that his greed has on the world around him. In sum, Governor Ratcliffe epitomizes a lot of what many of us dislike about colonialism — namely an incredibly unearned sense of entitlement over the people and land he tried to conquer.

13 Lots’-o-Huggin’ Bear – Toy Story 3

Lotso in Pixar's Toy Story 3

On the one hand, it’s hard to imagine that a pink, cuddly teddy bear could be all that menacing. That’s really what makes Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear all the more awesome of a villain. When Woody and his pals first arrived at Sunnyside Day Care in Toy Story 3, Lotso appeared to be a friend and ally. That was, of course, until they learned that he was actually a manipulative, evil overlord who treated his fellow toys like prisoners. He also had no qualms about putting others in danger just to get them out of his way.

In the end, Lotso got what was coming to him, but not before he managed to almost kill Woody, Buzz, and Jessie. In typical Pixar fashion, there was a reason for Lotso’s sinister side — after being cast off by his former owner, he became bitter and decided that if he couldn’t be happy, then no one could. That’s still not an excuse for being that big of a jerk.

12 Queen of Hearts – Alice in Wonderland

The Queen of Hearts in the Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland

There’s irrational, and then there’s the Queen of Hearts. This Alice in Wonderland villain definitely wasn’t a model of royal grace under pressure. She was, more or less, a completely unhinged adult in the midst of a perpetual temper tantrum. From threatening anyone and everyone she encountered with decapitation to forcing her subjects to play a nearly impossible game of croquet, she made pretty much everyone in Wonderland completely miserable — most especially her servant, the incredibly stressed out White Rabbit.

Though she’s more of a supporting player in Alice in Wonderland, and she never poses a significant threat to the adventurous protagonist, the Queen of Hearts is still completely unforgettable. From her red-faced battle cry of «Off with their heads!» to her insistence that her rose garden be painted red, she constantly rode a thin line between being highly entertaining and downright terrifying — mostly because her behavior is so wildly unpredictable.

11 Jafar – Aladdin

Jafar in Disney's Aladdin

Like so many other villains on this list, Jafar’s main goal in life is to become as powerful as humanly possible. He’s willing to use anyone and everyone he can to achieve these lofty heights, too — from poor street urchins to naive sultans. Aladdin‘s evil antagonist certainly looked the part, with his arched eyebrows and snake-headed staff. It was his actions, and  mastery of both manipulation and magic that truly makes him stand out amongst his fellow baddies, though.

As an advisor to Agrabah’s leader, he managed to weasel his way into the upper echelons of power and used magic to convince his boss that he was a willing suitor for his daughter, Jasmine. He put lives on the line and his own soul in jeopardy without a second thought, and all for the chance at ultimate power. In the end, his political opportunism and supersized ego were his downfall, but he still proved a wholly worthy menace in the meantime.

10 Shere Khan – The Jungle Book

Shere Khan in Disney's animated adaptation of The Jungle Book

Calm, calculating and cool — there’s a reason that Shere Khan amassed such a powerful position amongst his peers. The tiger possessed an inimitable blend of charm and chilling anger. The mere mention of his name struck fear in other animals. His bloodlust for doing away with Mowgli drove most of the plot of the 1967 version of The Jungle Book. As a result, even though he’s not as dominant a villain in terms of screen time, he remains one of the creepiest and most disturbing antagonists in the Disney canon. He’s willing to stalk his prey across the entire jungle, and all because of a long-held grudge against man. Did we mention that Mowgli is just a child?

This year’s live-action remake definitely upped the ante on Shere Khan’s creep factor, thanks to a stellar performance from Idris Elba — but his animated incarnation was undeniably creepy in its own right.


9 Hades – Hercules

Hades in Disney's Hercules

Let’s be real — Hercules is not the best Disney animated movie, not by a long shot. It still has some perks, the best of which is its main villain, Hades. At face value, he’s pretty terrifying, with his ugly mug, fiery facade and love of skull accessories. Despite his less-than-friendly appearance, Disney managed to transform the God of the Underworld into one of its most sass-tastic, sarcastic and endlessly entertaining antagonists. Unlike some of the other more comical villains on this list, Hades is actually pretty good at being bad, thanks to his high intelligence, powerful magical abilities and brilliant schemes. Plus, the god knew how to pick his henchmen — namely the raucous imp dup Pain and Panic.

Hades was so memorable and enjoyable that you almost feel bad when he doesn’t get what he wants by the end of Hercules, even if that would have meant total upheaval on Mount Olympus.

8 Captain Hook – Peter Pan

Captain Hook in Disney's Peter Pan

Over the years, Captain Hook has seen many incarnations on film, from the enjoyably over-the-top Hook to the magnificently awful Pan. None have been quite as iconic, though, than the one brought to life Disney’s 1957 classic, Peter Pan. The one-armed pirate basically existed solely to seek revenge on Pan for feeding his arm to a crocodile back in the day — which, you know, is kind of valid.

Unfortunately, he was so hell-bent on getting rid of the eternal child that he sort-of sucked at doing just about anything else. Hook was as dangerous as he was eccentric, and came close to killing our hero and his friends, the Darling children, when he had them walk the plank. His interactions with Smee, childish antics and skittishness around anything that sounded like a timepiece made him one of Disney’s first and best comical villains to boot and added levity to a character that could have otherwise been positively terrifying.

7 Cruella De Vil – 101 Dalmations

Cruella De Ville in 101 Dalmations

With a name like Cruella De Vil, you know she has to be bad. The villain from 101 Dalmations is so extreme in her despicable behavior that it’s almost impossible to believe her story was ever brought to screen. Elitist, glamorous and sociopathic, she puts vanity first — even if it means she has to murder to get the look she’s after. Cruella was so unscrupulous, so greedy and so awful, she actually skinned puppies just so she can have a nice fur coat. When she kidnapped the litter at the center of Disney’s 1956 animated film, she didn’t know that she would have a fight on her hands. Instead of cutting her losses, she went into full-villain mode and unleashed one of the most terrifying examples of road rage in cinematic history.

She’s so bad that these days, the very idea of creating a character like Cruella probably wouldn’t even fly — at least not without serious condemnation from PETA and the ASPCA.

6 Gaston – Beauty and the Beast

Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast

He’s misogyny personified — a brutish, brawny man with an overinflated sense of self and little regard for anyone he deems weaker than him. Though his dim-witted attempts to woo Belle were undeniably entertaining, Gaston ultimately ended up being one of Disney’s more sinister villains thanks to his childish and stubborn belief that he was entitled to anything and anyone he wanted.

Maybe it’s because his reaction to being told «no» is to stalk Beauty and the Beast‘s heroine and try to kill the animal she fell in love with. Maybe it was because he used his charm and good looks to convince an entire town to go after the Beast as an angry mob. Gaston never showed an ounce of regard for anyone other than himself, but made those around him believe he was a benevolent gentleman. No matter the reason, there’s something extra-gross about his manipulative and villainous ways.

We can’t wait to see what Luke Evans will bring to the role next March.


5 The Evil Queen – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Evil Queen in Disney's adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

In the realm of really evil things that Disney characters have done, asking for the heart of a completely innocent child definitely ranks among the highest. Queen Grimhilde, known more commonly as the Evil Queen, was so threatened by the idea that someone could be prettier than her that she was willing to kill anyone that took her place. She was, in other words, completely insane.

She relied on a magic mirror to assuage her insecurity, and when she found out she had competition — and that it came from her harmless stepdaughter — she stalked Snow White, disguised herself as a hag and poisoned her. Just because she was prettier than her — like we said, crazy. It says a lot about her legacy that the Queen still stands up as a completely horrifying villain, even though it’s been almost 80 years since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs hit theaters.

The fact that Charlize Theron has put in two memorable turns (in otherwise completely forgettable films) is only helping the Queens’ legacy.

4 Ursula – The Little Mermaid

Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid

When it comes to combining comedy and evildoing, there may be no other villain as deliciously devious than The Little Mermaid‘s Ursula. Her larger-than-life personality and keen talents at bewitching her prey made her a nearly unstoppable foe for Ariel, Eric and King Triton. She employed two of the scariest minions in Disney history, the evil-eyed eels Flotsam and Jetsam. What made Ursula particularly evil was that she went after her victims when they were at their most vulnerable, and never hesitated to steal from them the very qualities that made them unique.

Her garden of broken souls spoke volumes about her evil ways. The fact that used her brother’s children to make him suffer just shows how completely depraved she really was. To make matters worse, she’s still one of the most entertaining characters from Disney’s ’90s animated renaissance — one we absolutely love to hate, even when she’s at her worst.

3 Claude Frollo – Hunchback of Notre Dame

Frollo in Disney's adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Despite a penchant for killing off our favorite characters’ parents, Disney’s animated movies usually don’t go that dark. There are exceptions of course — and one of the most notable was The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which has the honor of producing one of the scariest and most sinister Disney villains to date.

Claude Frollo was a religious man, and the fact that he explained away his dastardly deeds by claiming he had God’s permission makes them all the more evil. He’s a poster child for those who believe that power corrupts, because he never used his position of authority for good, but instead to get what he wanted. His twisted desire to decimate the gypsy population stemmed from his lust for Esmeralda and ultimately turned him into both a genocidal maniac and an attempted rapist. On top of that layer of utter inhumanity, his merciless cruelty toward Quasimodo further solidifies his place in Disney villain infamy.

Regardless of all the trappings of his wealth and prestige, Frollo was a cold and heartless man who would stop at nothing to make those around him feel his wrath.

2 Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty

Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty

Okay, your favorite villain has done some pretty evil stuff over the years — but are they also a dragon? Maleficent has all the makings of a truly classic villainess. She’s a brilliant sorceress, an unfeeling antagonist, and she holds a grudge like nobody’s business. Sure, the recent live-action Disney spinoff will tell you that she was just misunderstood, but that doesn’t change the fact that her portrayal in 1959’s Sleeping Beauty presents an evil by which all other evil-doers should be measured against.

From her horned head ware to her throaty, emotionless voice, her anger at being left off a party guest list was so long-lasting she devised a revenge plot that would take 16 years to come to fruition. In the end, she was so determined to hurt the King and Queen that wronged her that she went full monster and almost burned an entire kingdom to the ground. That’s dedication.

1 Scar – The Lion King

Scar in Disney's The Lion King

All of the other villains on this list were brilliantly bad, there’s no doubt. Some might be more likable or scarier than The Lion King‘s malevolent enemy. There’s no way around it, though: Scar is the best villain that Disney ever devised.

His evil ways took on a Shakespearean quality (appropriate, given the film’s source material), elevating him above those who came before him and after him — especially in terms of the utter destruction he wrought. His murder of Mufasa was an unquestionably traumatic moment in many a young kid’s life, and it was one of the most overtly violent actions a Disney villain ever took. Then he used his own brother’s death as a means to usurp Simba’s place as the new king and bring the inhabitants of Pride Rock to their knees. By the time Scar met his end, it felt like there was never an animated villain more deserving of death. Still, his villainous story arc is a large part of what makes The Lion King so impossible to forget.

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