Best Disney Villains
Although the wit and charm of Disney heroes are enough to win over any audience, don’t let their friendly faces take home all of the credit. Villains in Disney films prove themselves to be just as dynamic, creative, and insightful as their protagonist counterparts. And with more than 500 movies (including all your favorite animated classics) available on Disney+, you can revisit these villains again and again.
From casual dialogue exchanges to famous Disney villain last words, the swindlers and crooksters and downright no-good-doers of Disney’s animated sagas have a lot to say. While their words might not be as wholesome as some of our heroes’ (villains have their own ways of saying what’s on their mind, after all), they’re just as memorable. These unforgettable phrases have probably been echoing in your head for ages.
Scar Makes A Wicked Confession
“I killed Mufasa.”
In The Lion King, Scar takes out his brother, Mufasa, and tries to dispatch his own nephew, Simba. Years later, Simba returns to his former home to kick Scar out and take his proper place as king of the Pride Lands. However, Scar has manipulated the situation to make Simba believe he took his own father’s life, and that Scar is totally innocent.
When Simba works up the courage to intervene with the messy, food-barren situation that Scar has created at home, Scar guilt-trips him about Mufasa, pushing Simba back into a corner and sending him stumbling off the edge of a cliff. Simba is left clinging to the edge, mirroring how Scar eliminated Mufasa.
Scar takes the opportunity to finally confess that it was he who dispatched Mufasa, and not Simba at all.
The Evil Queen Asks Her Favorite Question
“Magic Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
After summoning the talking mask inside of the Magic Mirror, the Evil Queen of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs likes to give herself a confidence boost. Asking it her famous question, she gets upset at the Magic Mirror’s response. According to him, there’s someone out there who rivals the Evil Queen’s beauty, and that person is Snow White.
Ursula Could Entice Anyone In The Sea
“Don’t understimate the importance of body language.”
Ursula is a powerful sea witch in more ways than one. When Ariel from The Little Mermaid dreams of venturing outside of her oceanic realm, she goes to Ursula for help. Agreeing to an exchange proposed by Ursula, Ariel barters her voice for a shiny new pair of human legs.
Ursula convinces Ariel that it’s not all that bad. After all, Ariel will still have all of her other redeeming features and, of course, other ways of communication.
Never Quarrel With The Queen of Hearts
“If I lose my temper, you lose your head.”
Among all of the kooky characters in Alice in Wonderland, the very temperamental Queen of Hearts ends up being the main nemesis of Alice. She gives a very clear warning to Alice, telling her exactly how things run in her kingdom. The queen is a tyrant who seeks to remove the head of anyone who upsets her in any way.
Maleficent Proclaims Her Malevolence
Photo: Sleeping Beauty / Buena Vista Distribution
“You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. Me, the mistress of all evil!”
From the very beginning of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent makes it clear that she’s evil. Upset that she wasn’t invited to the royal birth of Aurora, she curses the child and fates her to expire on her 16th birthday. The good fairies are able to diminish the curse to a deep sleep, but it’s not enough to save her entirely.
As the good fairies continue trying to lift the spell, Maleficent finds their attempts to be both annoying and amusing. She unleashes an evil cackle as Aurora’s 16th birthday strikes and the girl succumbs to her curse.
The Chauvinism Of Gaston Abounds
Photo: Beauty and the Beast / Buena Vista Pictures
“It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas and thinking…”
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is tormented by the buff and boisterous Gaston. He barrels after Belle, insisting that she stop spending her time educating herself and start spending it fawning over him.
Not only does he obsessively grab and guffaw at Belle, he ridicules her over the things she enjoys, including her hobbies and her family. Gaston is not shy about his disrespect for women, and the extent of his chauvinism exposes itself in the things he says, especially to his bros.
Jafar Yearns For Absolute Power
“You’ve heard of the golden rule, haven’t you? Whoever has the gold makes the rules.”
For both power and job security, Jafar schemes up a plan to marry the Sultan’s daughter, Jasmine. Everything seems to be going his way until Aladdin steps in to court her instead. Throughout Aladdin, the street-dweller wins Jasmine’s heart with his wit and charm.
Jafar won’t just sit back and let Aladdin foil his plans. Still bent on obtaining absolute power over everything in the kingdom, Jafar uses tactics ranging from psychological manipulation to magical enchantments to charge his way to the top. In the guise of a begger, Jafar approaches Aladdin to give him a bit of insight on how his world works.
Although Hans Is Handsome, He’s No Romeo
“If only there was someone out there who loved you.”
Hans presents himself to everyone in Frozen as a humble and dashing prince. Although born into royalty, his large family size prevents him from ever being able to ascend to king. His only purpose for involving himself with Princess Anna is to dispatch the two royal sisters and take over their kingdom.
His plot to dethrone the two sisters is set in motion when Anna, being the awesome and caring sister she is, journeys out to bring her sister, Elsa, home. Instead of coming back with her sister, Anna comes back with a cursed heart. An act of true love can break the curse, but Hans tells her the cruel truth.
Syndrome Spews His Evil Plot
“And with everyone super, no one will be.”
A rejected super-fan gone rogue, Syndrome is the crazed, tech-savvy villain of The Incredibles. Scorned because Mr. Incredible refused to let him be his sidekick, Syndrome devises a plan to defame all superheroes.
His scheme is to build an enemy that can be defeated only by himself and his inventions. He then plans to sell his creations to the public, making it so that there’s no difference between real superheroes and the ones using his technology.
Yzma Is As Sassy As She Is Codependent
“It’s called a ‘cruel irony,’ like my dependence on you.”
After the young and selfish Emperor Kuzco decides to bounce Yzma out of his palace and into the streets, she retaliates with a plan to conquer the throne. To make the process easy, Yzma attempts to take Kuzco out by spiking his meal with a life-ending potion. In the process, the potion bottles are mixed and, instead of giving up the ghost, Kuzco transforms into a talking llama.
Yzma’s henchman Kronk isn’t bad, just unswervingly loyal. His ideas and opinions often collide with Yzma’s, but she needs his brawn to carry out her nefarious plans. Apparently, she also finds him handsome enough to put up with his innocent streak.
Captain Hook’s Quips Cut Deeper Than His Sword
“Death is the only adventure you have left.”
In Neverland, Peter Pan and Captain Hook often butt heads, forever dueling over one thing or another. In the live-action Hook, their relationship is no different. Soaring out of the sky to thwart the captain’s dastardly plot, an older Peter meets his nemesis one last time. Blades drawn, the two engage in their almost ritualistic clash.
Captain Hook, ever the fatalist, tells Peter this is the end of the line for him, but their exchange gives the audience a glimpse of how these men see the world around them: It’s nothing but a grand adventure that they welcome with open arms.
Hades Finds Fatal Character Flaws
Photo: Hercules / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
“He’s gotta have a weakness, because everybody’s got a weakness.”
In Hercules, the god of the underworld sets out to slay Hercules and claim the throne of the Olympus. Hades has plenty of henchmen to help him carry out his scheme, yet he decides the best recruit for the job is his henchwoman, Megara.
The two of them plot out a way to take out the Greek demigod, figuring that his weakness is his heart. To do this, they put together an elaborate honey pot. Unfortunately for Hades, Meg ends up actually falling for the son of Zeus.
Cruella de Vil Oozes Evil
Photo: 101 Dalmatians / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
“We lose more women to marriage than war, famine, and disease.”
The cruel and conniving fur collector of 101 Dalmatians, Cruella de Vil, ceaselessly hounds her subordinate employee, Anita, for her collection of Dalmatian puppies. When Cruella discovers that Anita is expecting a child, she meets Anita’s partner, Roger, and is absolutely disgusted. However, Cruella’s attitude flips a complete 180 degrees when she finds out that the couple’s Dalmatians are also pregnant. Cruella makes it clear that if she can’t make a living creature into an ornament, then she has nothing but contempt for it.
Mother Gothel’s Twisted Maternal Advice
Photo: Tangled / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
“The world is dark, and selfish, and cruel. If it finds even the slightest ray of sunshine, it destroys it.”
Frightened of her own mortality, Mother Gothel is sent on a downward spiral of wicked plots. She keeps Rapunzel captive, harvesting the healing magic from Rapunzel’s magical strands of hair and using it to grant herself infinite youth.
Mother Gothel’s kindness towards Rapunzel is just a facade, and her true intent is to keep the girl under her control so that she can continue to reap the benefits of her magical hair. She poses as Rapunzel’s “caring” mother by expressing extreme concern for the cruelty that the outside world brings, insisting that Rapunzel stay locked away in her tower for her own protection.
Dr. Facilier Brings Negotiations Down To Earth
“Besides, you and I both know the real power in this world ain’t magic. It’s money! Buckets of it.”
A tradesman of games of chance and a practitioner of dark voodoo, Dr. Facilier graces The Princess and the Frog with an array of dark craftsmanship. Although he communicates thoroughly with the “other side,” he also knows exactly how the real world works and loves to lure its denizens into his traps. An expert trickster, Facilier is a clever and persuasive negotiator on both sides of reality.
Frollo Delivers A Flaming-Hot Curse
“And he shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!”
These are the audacious but all-too-fitting final words for The Hunchback of Notre Dame‘s Monseigneur Claude Frollo. Although the Catholic judge proclaims that he serves both the state and God, he is self-obsessed, believing that since he has holy duties, all of his actions reflect that.
After banishing Quasimodo to the bell tower for his entire life, lustfully capturing the young Esmeralda, and then attempting to burn her at the stake for rejecting him, Frollo still assumes that he is on the side of all-good. Tracking Esmeralda across the towers of the Notre Dame, he bellows these words, cursing the person he was about to burn for his own sins. Shortly thereafter, he plummets to his fiery doom.
Ernesto de la Cruz Is Viciously Opportunistic
“Seize your moment.”
In Coco, the prolific musician Ernesto de la Cruz is full of affluence and charm. Though he expired years ago, he is well remembered by the living, and his spirit lives lavishly in the afterlife. During his musical career on Earth, he adopted the catchphrase “seize your moment.”
While this might mean something deep and meaningful to the people who listen to his music, especially Miguel, it means something personally horrific for him. The way that Ernesto seized his moment was by offing his musical partner.
The Harsh Words Of Lady Tremaine Groom Rebellious Teens
“Above all: self-control.”
The shrill and sinister Lady Tremaine of Cinderella has a tight grasp over the sisters and how they spend their daily activities. After all, she’s grooming them to take home a prince. She rigorously trains all of the sisters in feminine activities, such as dining, dancing, and musicianship. That is, all of the sisters except Cinderella, who is banished to the house to do chores.
A stickler for rules and regulations, Tremaine finds that crafting the girls for courtship is a daunting task, and she must constantly give them behavioral reminders.
Shere Khan Boasts Of His Sheer Power
“You should know that everyone runs from Shere Khan.”
An apex hunter of the jungle, Shere Khan presents himself as a powerful and fearless presence in The Jungle Book. He makes it perfectly clear that he does not want a young human walking around the shrubs and trees, so he keenly devises a way to get rid of him. Upon meeting the human, Mowgli, face-to-face, Shere Khan is both surprised and amused that he shows no fear of him.
Regardless of his power or reputation, Shere Khan’s presence does nothing to faze the human, which is precisely why Shere Khan wants to dispose of him. Turning his lack of fear into an element of sport, Shere Khan makes it clear that he will hunt Mowgli until the bitter end.
Shan Yu Recognizes The Warrior Who Thwarted Him
“The soldier from the mountains!”
On a ruthless quest to overtake all of China, Shan Yu leads the huns across the mountains. Mulan, the title character of Mulan and an incognito soldier who had dedicated herself to saving China from his grasp, valiantly fumbles her way into thwarting his plans.
Shan Yu is a serious warrior who will stop at nothing. Even though Mulan isn’t wearing the same soldier clothing as she was in the mountains, he still recognizes her at the emperor’s palace and sets his sights on the mysterious person who continuously blocks his path of destruction.