Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Baddest Disney Villain of Them All?
If we're honest, the heroes of Disney movies are only half the fun. A likable protagonist helps, but what elevates a movie and makes it truly great is its villain. Over the years, Disney has created some of the most memorable film baddies of all time — but there have been some duds along the way, too. Maybe your faves are the contemporary, wise-cracking villains who you laugh at as much as you fear, or perhaps you prefer the classic antagonists who are unmistakably evil and deadly serious.
So, who's your favorite Disney villain? We're counting down some of the most memorable classic baddies (sticking just with the classics though: no movies after 2000 here!) — find out where your favorite falls on the list!
Prince John (Robin Hood)
Prince John is the rare villain who doesn't resort to violence much — he just steals your money (and is pretty bad at it too).
Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
She's quirky in her wicked ways but ultimately doesn't have a huge impact on the plot. Points for the delightfully alliterative moniker "Mad Madam Mim" though!
Shere Khan and Kaa (The Jungle Book)
The animal duo are sly and wicked, for sure, but they don't really do anything to set them apart from other villains on this list.
Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
The Queen of Hearts is stylish and talks a big talk, but she's not a particularly effective villain in the end. But she does get one of the great villain catchphrases: "Off with their heads!"
Governor Ratcliffe (Pocahontas)
Ratcliffe isn't all that memorable on his own, but he's a representative of careless colonial forces that hit just a little too close to real history.
Shan Yu (Mulan)
Sure, he's a brutal, murdering warlord, but we know nothing about his motivations and he's a complete cipher without much for personality, making him totally unmemorable.
There are a couple of things you probably remember about Fantasia: the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment, your first introduction to classical music, and Chernobog: the nightmarish demon who probably haunted your dreams for a while.
The Man (Bambi)
"Man" is ruthless, cruel, and a real threat to the way of life in Bambi, and he's responsible for one of the most childhood-destroying scenes on film: the death of Bambi's mother.
Jafar is pretty much a standard-issue villain (ambitious and manipulative), but his sleek elegance helps him stand out. A huge reason he's so memorable is the unforgettable voice of Jonathan Freeman, who later went on to reprise his role as Jafar in the Broadway adaptation.
Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)
He's just a misogynistic bully, but Gaston's real villainy lies in his talent for riling up a crowd. He skillfully manipulates a decent (if small-minded) group of people into angry raiders by pushing all the right buttons, and that's what makes him a great villain.
Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians)
She wants to murder puppies — enough said!
The Evil Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
The original Disney villain is pretty one-dimensional, but that just makes her unadulterated cruelty all the more terrible. After all, she wanted to gruesomely murder her stepdaughter just because a magic mirror thinks Snow White is prettier.
We can overlook the warping of the actual myth of Hades for this snark-tastic adaptation. With a hair-trigger temper and boiling-over frustration that manifests in plenty of witty one-liners, Hades is like the boss from hell (literally).
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
A twist on the "wicked witch" stereotype, Maleficent is the queen of pettiness: she's basically just really mad about getting left out of all the parties (I joke, but really). She carries off all her villainy with style and flair, which puts her a cut above the rest.
Ursula (The Little Mermaid)
There's something so gleefully fabulous about Ursula, even with her manipulative villainy. Her sass and ambition — not to mention "Poor Unfortunate Souls" — make her one of the most memorable villains.
Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Perpetually underrated but utterly terrifying, Frollo isn't superpowered, but he's a powerful zealot who firmly believes that the heavens themselves are on his side. Find me a more frightening villain song than "Hellfire," I dare you.
Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)
The Wicked Stepmother is the quintessential Disney villain, and she's a lot more terrifying than you probably remember: a perfectly "normal" seeming woman who's not magical in any way, just ice-cold and cruel.
Scar (The Lion King)
Scar isn't the kind of toothless or fairytale villain we're used to: he's angry, shrewd, manipulative, sarcastic, and downright ruthless. And if that weren't enough, his villain song "Be Prepared" is one of the all-time greats.