Disney movies are treasures of the cinematic universe. They always have a solid gold moral message, they have relatable and charismatic characters, and they’re thrilling to watch whether you’re an adult or a child. And, because they’re geared toward children, the villains in Disney movies are often more comical than purely evil.
However, if you really think back on some of the most iconic Disney movies of all time, you may remember that some of the villains did some pretty despicable stuff. And while some of these Disney villains may even border on lovable, it’s important to remember some of the atrocious transgressions they made against our favorite Disney heroes.
Some of the villains in the Disney universe are far eviler than others. Some of these villains act out of a lust for power, some are just purely evil, and others could be decent people if someone had just hugged them when they were younger. For instance, Gaston from Beauty and the Beast was more of a narcissistic pretty boy than a diabolical villain. And, for that reason, he will not be on this list of the most despicable Disney villains.
In this article, I’m going to go through the Disney villains (only from the classic animated movies, not Frozen, not Moana, nothing like that) that I believe to be the evilest. We’ll go through which of their deeds made them so evil and how they were ultimately overcome by their heroic counterparts.
The Douche Who Shot Bambi’s Mom
The evilest villain in any Disney movie, in my opinion, doesn’t even have a name. It’s that douchebag at the very beginning of Bambi who shoots Bambi’s mother, leaving Bambi motherless and forcing him to wander the Earth all by himself.
Maybe the fact that I’m an avid lover of animals and am staunchly opposed to hunting has something to do with the fact that I find this deed so despicable, and maybe I should consider that millions of people all over the world are hunters, but the death of Bambi’s mother was one of the most traumatic and scarring moments in any Disney.
Seriously, if you didn’t cry when Bambi’s mom died, do you even have a heart? I’m now 25 years old and I still cried when I watched it a few weeks ago. Who knew one could feel such strong emotion for the death of an animated deer?
The Lion King is perhaps the best and most iconic Disney movie of all time, so it’s only fitting that it should have one of the most evil villains in Disney history. Scar was one seriously bad kitty. Motivated by his desire to become king and revenge for being, as he perceived it, snubbed on his claim to the throne, he kills his very own brother and tries to kill his nephew.
Killing your own family is pretty bad, and Scar’s voice, appearance, and general demeanor make him all the more terrifying. Pretty much all lions are scary because of their massive claws,razor-sharp teeth, and killing power; however, I don’t think any other lions are quite as terrifying as Scar.
Cruella de Vil
Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians is another character that’s particularly scary because of her appearance. She looked like a malnourished, strung-out maniac that hasn’t gotten enough sun in years.
Similar to the discussion about Bambi, though, many people make fur coats and not all of them are pure evil. However, the fact that Cruella de Vil is so vain that she’d be willing to kill loads of dogs to get a fancy fur coat is pretty damn despicable.
Seriously, how could anyone possibly consider harming man’s best friend? We’re not talking about killing only adult dogs, either. Cruella was ready to murder a bunch of puppies! Sure, Jasper and Horace were the ones who were actually going to carry out the deed, but Cruella de Vil was the mastermind behind it, and I think that makes her pretty evil.
Now, Prince John from the 1973 film Robin Hood is probably the villain most similar to real-world villains all around the world. He’s an oppressive dictator that collects extravagant amounts of wealth while leaving all of his subjects in poverty. No, he doesn’t actually kill anyone in the film. But how many of his subjects must have died of hunger or because of poor public health infrastructure?
So, Prince John is pretty much the complete opposite of the movie’s protagonist Robin Hood. He steals from those who don’t have anything at all, not very different from real-world dictators like Kim Jong-un. Yeah, I just compared a Disney villain to a mass murderer.
First of all, we do have to sympathize with Captain Hook a little. He’s got a legitimate reason to hate Peter Pan: he was the reason that he lost his hand. However, he spends the entirety of Peter Pan trying to hunt down children. That’s just not cool. On top of that, he leads an entire gang of pirates who are all hellbent on killing kids. What’s wrong with these guys?
Captain Hook doesn’t kill anyone in the 1953 animated film, but he does kill Rufio in the 1991 live-action film Hook (which stars Robin Williams and is one of my favorite movies of all time). And it’s just the fact that Hook is so willing and ready to murder children that makes him so evil.
How are we supposed to take this villain seriously when he’s named after an Italian food item? But, don’t be fooled by the fact that Stromboli comes across as a bumbling idiot with a stupid name, he’s got a whole lot of evil in him. He’s not only a thief but a kidnapper and a man willing to do inhumane things for his own profit.
In the 1940 film Pinocchio, Stromboli steals Pinocchio from Geppetto and tosses him in a birdcage, declaring that Pinocchio belongs to him now. While you might argue that Pinocchio is just a puppet and it’s impossible to commit inhumane acts on a puppet, he’s got a human-like soul and imprisoning him is nothing short of malicious and cruel. He’s no better than the villains in Oldboy (which is also one of my favorite movies ever) who imprison Dae-su for years.
Everything about Ursula from The Little Mermaid is just horrifying. First off, she lives in the skeleton of some massive dead sea creature. Something about the way that she does her makeup is just extremely menacing. She’s able to grow in size when she gets angry. I’ve literally had nightmares about Ursula where all those tentacles are strangling. Scary stuff, man.
On top of her fear-inspiring appearance, Ursula is also a powerful witch and an expert at manipulating people. SRhe tricks people into thinking that she can help them and then ends up destroying their lives (or maybe even killing them) in order to make herself more powerful.
Throughout The Little Mermaid, it’s very much implied that Ursula kills unsuspecting sea creatures and uses their bodies to make potions. That’s pretty evil if you ask me. Then there’s the fact that Ursula literally steals Ariel’s voice, which is scary in itself. However, she then proceeds to convince Ariel that she’s done so for her own good. What a master manipulator!