Top Five Disney Villains
April 6, 2021
Hello movie lovers! Welcome to or (back to) our column. Today we will not be ranking movies, but characters within movies, specifically Disney movies. Disney certainly knows how to make a good villain and character to root against. Here is a list of our top six favorite Disney villains.
At the bottom of our list, we have Hades, the god of the Underworld in the movie Hercules (1997). Hades is not on this list for his master evil scheme or his evilness in general, but instead for his fun personality. This god of the Underworld undoubtedly has anger issues and some unresolved trauma, but we can’t hold that against him. Like many of the Disney villains, he is completely justified in his anger. His brother, Zeus, made Hades look after all the souls of the deceased in the musty, dark caverns of the Underworld, while Zeus and the other gods got to reside in the utopia of mount Olympus. Although Hades did attempt to murder a baby, he’s still a fun guy. It’s hard to even call Hades evil, as he is way more dramatic than he is villainous. Honestly, the poor guy has mounds of stress, which is worsened by Pain and Panic’s inability to get a job done. Hades is just a very fun villain to watch, and the only reason he’s so low is that he just isn’t as evil as some of the others on our list.
Next up on our list is Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (1959). Unlike Hades, Maleficent screams evil. According to Oxford Languages, her name literally means “causing harm or destruction, especially by supernatural means.” For this ranking, we are disregarding the two live-action Maleficent films, as those films make a hero out of her. The animation in Sleeping Beauty is top-notch for its time, and Maleficent’s appearance is no exception. From her wicked pointy horns to her billowy, death-like robes, Maleficent’s character design is flawless for a villain. The fear Maleficent exudes is only built up by the magical powers she possesses. For goodness sake, she even turned herself into a dragon! In addition, Maleficent has dozens of goblin-esque sidekicks, including a raven named Diablo, which literally translates to “death.” She’s so evil that cursing a baby isn’t above her. From a truly devious character design to her extreme ambition, Maleficent deserves a spot on our rankings.
Sharing third place on our list is Mother Gothel from Tangled (2010) and Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). These two are both eerily similar, as they both locked a baby up in a tower, lied to them about the outside world, attempted to kill the love interest, all while gaslighting their captives into feeling guilty and tricking them into depending on them. Both of them have malicious motivations – Gothel by vanity and Frollo by perverted lust – that basically drive the whole story. After kidnapping them, Gothel and Frodo were was able to keep Quasimodo and Rapunzel in a tower for about eighteen years of their lives while narcissistically abusing them, and all while completely destroying their self-esteem. In addition, both of these villains have a bone-chilling villain song that stays in your head for hours. Despite coming from two different movies years apart, Gothel and Frollo are the same kind of evil. These two villains certainly use their evil charm to land third place on our list.
Number two on our list is Ursula from The Little Mermaid (1989). Known to most merfolk as simply “The Sea Witch,” Ursula most certainly lives up to her reputation. She has access to a vast knowledge of powers and dangerous magic. In addition, she is incredibly clever, as she was able to entice Ariel into her cave and trick her into agreeing to her deal, even though Ariel fully knows that Ursula is evil. Complete with a cauldron and hundreds of past victims, Ursula’s villain lair is uber creepy. This scene also contains arguably one of the best villain ballads of all time, “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” Ursula contains the perfect combination of dramatic flair and subtle planning. She almost marries Prince Eric, clearly she knows how to play a part and play it well. Undeniably power hungry and vengeful, Ursula most certainly makes our second spot.
Now onto number one on our list, we have Scar, the indisputably heinous villain of The Lion King (1994). Like all the previous villains on this list, Scar’s depiction is unspeakably evil. Full of smooth charisma and in possession of a dominating personality, a superior intellect, and a terrifyingly obedient army, Scar quite literally comes with the whole villain package. Scar even has a callous plan that actually succeeds for all the years Simba is growing up with Simone and Pumba. Had his henchmen not been so foolish, Scar would have likely ruled over Pride Rock for the rest of his life. Following the trend of the rest of The Lion King soundtrack, “Be Prepared” is without question the best villain song. With the eerie green fire and hyena battalion accompanying it, Jim Cumming’s voice literally drips evil with every single note. With sarcasm that is literally “to die for,” Scar crawled his way to the top.
Disney has amassed a plethora of villains, and with each of them being so unique and individually compelling, it is hard not to choose favorites. We love every villain for different reasons, but we believe these are the top of the batch. Hades’s dramatic nature, Maleficent’s wickedness, Mother Gothel’s narcissism, Claude Frollo’s obsession, Ursula’s sardonic grin, and Scar’s manipulation all draw us in and keep us hooked.