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The 5 Most Memorable Disney Villians Of All Time!

Updated on April 6, 2015

The Villains.....

In order of appearance

the evil list:

No 5: Ursula

No 4: Scar

No 3: maleficent

No 2: Cruella de Vil

No 1: Sid Philips

We all Know Disney!

I, as has every person on Hubpages im sure, have grown up with Disney, since they have been making movies, animated and real, for over 70 years. In my college days (studying film and Literature) I even incorporated Disney into many of my essays regarding gender, race and ethnicity, and film theory, which has altered how I see the Gigantic production team, formerly owned and run by Walt Disney. My college years have influenced most of my film watching experiences actually, and while there are certain aspects of Disney that I abhor, I can't seem to detach myself from the experiences and laughter that I get from watching my favorite Disney films. My absolute favorite Disney film of all time is unquestionably 'The Little Mermaid', the same age as myself, this film has it all, from colorful animation to amazing songs and lyrics, along with poignant emotional scenes and humor. Growing up, I watched this over and over again.

It wasn't until fairly recently (I am ashamed to admit) that I realized the story was taken from a much more sinister version written by Hans Christian Anderson, and when I read the original, it blew my mind. I can, however, understand why Disney chose to play down the sinister aspects, and although I know they are both the same story, I love them both as separate stories, not connected at all.

We all know our favourite Disney character, be it a princess/prince, A toy come to life, a mouse trying to find his way home, or a small lion cub coming to terms with the death of his father, we know them, we've grown with them and we feel connected to them. But what about the Villains? the antagonists that push the story forward, without them there would be no plot, no driving force that helps our heroes be the best they can be. Villains are hugely important in Disney, they give the film an emotion trigger whilst forcing the protagonists something to fight against. So which are the most memorable Disney Villains of all time??

In order for this to work, ie scariest villains, I will be adapting the on screen actions of some Disney's most notorious bad guys and translating them into ones that would happen in real life. For example: Sleeping beauty, the wicked witch, Maleficent, who curses her to sleep for until a prince can wake her with a kiss. In real life this would translate as a cranky old woman putting a young girl in a coma until a cure can be found. By bringing these Disney actions (or child friendly ones) into reality we can see which of Disney's Villains is indeed the one we would hide from in real life.

The Witch of the Sea

The Scariest Octopus I've seen ...
The Scariest Octopus I've seen ...

Most Disturbing Scene:

The scariest scene of this film is one where Ursula is explaining the contract to Ariel. She has three days to get Eric to kiss her, she must do it without any voice at all, and on new legs. If she succeeds, she gets to stay human and live happily with Eric, if she does not she will be turned into a prisoner of Ursulas and kept in her dark room with the hundreds of other people she has made contracts with. These mermaids were turned into small, shrimp like beings stuck to the floor, they can't move around or even speak to each other, they are trapped eternally with no way of communicating or passing time. A sick way of controlling your enemies, and in real life this would be some hell of a media story if found...."dungeon found where people have been turned into mindless beings"! Certainly disturbing!

No 5: Ursula

Ursula is one of those characters that scare not because of how they look (unlike Cruella), but rather because of the power she holds. She is the witch of the sea, and not a good one either. She plans to take control of the whole ocean and over power King Triton in the process. In order to achieve her goals she sets her two eels (I know, nasty!) to watch Triton Youngest daughter Ariel in the hopes that she will reveal a way for Ursula gain said control. In real life Ursula would be a traitor and tried for crimes of treason against the king/government for simply spying on the daughter of a someone in power. It shows the ruthlessness to which she works, not afraid of breaking moral codes of practice. This is why she is number 5 on my list of most memorable villains and that's before she's even met Ariel face to face.

When she does finally meet her, her powers of manipulation and sweet talk are incredible, she shows Ariel that true love is worth everything, even your own life. She insists that Ariel be turned into a human being in order to find a man she thinks she loves, and of course, with all shady deals, there's a catch, one she is only told after she signs the agreement. If Ariel doesn't get a kiss from the prince within 3 days, she will be turned back into a mermaid and what's worse, she has no voice (part of the contract says that she must swap her voice for her new legs) so she can't even communicate with Eric when she finally does find him. She has lost her identity completely for a man she does not know, giving way to Ursula's plans of domination.

The days are going by and Ariel is close to getting Eric to kiss her, which enrages Ursula, who thought that without a voice and with new legs Ariel would never be able to do it. As every bad guy ever has done, Ursula decides to take things into her own hands, she turns herself into a human woman, using Ariels voice to attract Eric and convinces him to marry her instead.

For these reasons, Ursula is indeed a scary villain. In reality, when you sign a contract you assume that the other side will honor the deal, Ursula does not, gets very close to destroying Triton and taking control over the whole ocean, and all the while without being in any way concerned for the people she has hurt. She seeks power and domination-reminding me of some very real people throughout history which have caused mass damage and hurt.

The Big Brother Nobody Wants

the uncle side of Scar

Most Disturbing Scene

The scariest Scene in this film has to be Stampede. Simba plays with Mufasa and practices his kingly roar, when suddenly they see a massive herd of wildebeests charging their way. Both Simba and Mufasa attempt to escape and while Simba finds a branch to climb and cling to, mufasa searches the side of the gorge for somewhere to climb. Simba's little tree does save him from the hundreds of wildebeests, while mufasa asks scar to help him up the side. Scar uses this opportunity to push Mufasa off the cliff while saying 'Long Live the King' in quite an insincere and ironic tone. Poor little Simba watches his father falling to his death, and poor Mufasa realizes he's just been killed by his brother. Tears all around I think!! Gets me every time.


The Lion is probably the one movie that everyone remembers as the saddest Disney film (other than Bambi, obviously). It starts with a beautiful opening scene, welcoming a new baby cub, and heir to the pride lands of Africa. All the animals, big and small, gather together to witness this introduction and along with the music is one of the most well known Disney scenes. It portrays unity among difference, and most important, understanding. The different animals that gather are usually in the prey/predator dynamic, but when the cub is born, everyone unites to makes the journey to see him welcomed to the world.

Now to introduce the bad guy...I think we all know scar, the brother to the king (Mufasa), and of course, Simba's uncle. At first Scar seems the typical uncle figure to Simba, offering advice and trying to help the young cub, but if the name doesn't give it way then his colors definitely should. As with all Disney characters, their personality can be seen in either the clothes they wear, the way they speak, the way they are sketched etc, and this is no different for scar. Firstly he is a lion, obviously. But there are a dozen lions (at least) portrayed in this film, and they are all the same off white, yellowish color, adapted from the color of real lions. Scar on the other hand is red and back, quite obviously different from the other lions, therefor he must be the bad guy.

As with most Disney Villains, Scar is seeking power and domination over the pride. He is second to the throne until Simba is born, then he loses his place and knows he will never be king. He plan to kill both Mufasa and Simba to gain the throne, but as his plans to get rid of Simba are foiled by Mufasa, he gathers an army of hyena's together and plots the deaths of both his brother and Nephew. It is with the help of these Hyena's that he eventually kills Mufasa with a stampede of wildebeest and tells Simba he is guilty of causing the death of his own father.

For this reason alone, Scar has been given the number 4 spot in my list of most memorable Disney Villains. Not only did he kill his own plot to kill both his brother and Nephew (succeeding in only one of those) but he then tells his nephew he is to blame for everything, and considering that Simba is only a cub, by human standards that would be like telling a child they killed their parents. If that's not bad enough, the pride basically goes to hell while Scar is the king. He doesn't look after the pride, he lets it dry out and the lions and wild animals are very much in the worse hands possible. While some seek power because they know they can make a difference, Scar sought only power to have that power. He didn't want the responsibility that came with being a king, all he wanted was the title.

In reality, this person would be jailed for life, no doubt about it, for a number of crimes such as Treason, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, etc. He is most definitely a villain I hid from in my childhood, and now in adulthood, I'm aware that people like this are being arrested every day the world over. It is purely because of his double personality, loving uncle/killer, that he has been given the no. 4 spot. In reality he would certainly be a psychopath.

Maliciously Maleficent

Most Disturbing Scene

There are quite a few in this story, when aurora pricks her finger and the three fairies find her unconscious, when he prince is captured, when Maleficent morphs into a dragon there plenty! There was one particular scene though that really stuck with me though and that was the staircase scene to the spinning wheel. It has a surreal aspect to it which in turn causes feelings of unease and anxiety, when really all she is doing is following a light up the staircase. This scene has many powerful implications. The light is always used as a sign of godly power, or unknown force of good, but when Maleficent uses a light to attract Aurora she takes her to a very bad place, where she ultimately gets hurt. The light itself is green, giving implications of jealousy, Could maleficent be jealous of Auroras privileged upbringing? Aurora wakes up almost like a zombie, in a trance and this is what really scared me as a child. If she had properly woken up, she would not have followed the light, but as she was in a trance, and unaware, she followed blindly. The music too has an uneasy feel, making the whole scene terrifyingly nightmarish.


For a princess story, this wicked witch certainly has more of a bad side than most. She is immensely powerful calling herself 'The mistress of Evil'. Sleeping beauty is the story of A new princess born into the world, her parents call the entire kingdom practically together for the baptism of the new child. Maleficent appears to be the only one not invited and purely due to this one fact she curses the child forever.

Now most reasonable people would walk away with their head high, pretending not to be hurt by this, quite minor, insult. Not maleficent though. Oh no, she puts a curse on the baby, the one who had nothing to do with the guest list at all. The curse is that she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep forever, until true loves kiss wakes her...blah blah blah.

other than herself, the only creature she shows any compassion for is her minion/familiar 'Diablo'. She is emotionally unstable, but in a way that is quite frightening. She uses this in ironic ways, for example, when Merriweather tells her she wasn't wanted at aurora's first birthday, she responds by pretending to be hurt and saddened by the thought "In that event I'd best be on my way" then turns and curses the child, laughing (or cackling if you prefer) at her evilness. She has many powers, lightening, teleportation and causing Ice storms, but her most evil spell is turning into a fire breathing dragon.

When her curse does indeed come true (with some of her own magic to make sure it happens) she mocks the three fairies for trying to protect Aurora, showing her sadistic side. Its not enough that she won, she has to shove it in everyone's likes a sore loser, but a bad winner is definitely worse. Although Maleficent made the curse herself (that Aurora will only wake with true loves kiss) she captures the prince that could wake Aurora, in order to keep her asleep. This is extremely important in the analysis if her character. We know that the curse was her design, and by wording it the way she did, gives the family hope that there is a chance for Aurora to wake. Maleficent then takes that hope away by capturing the prince, so that Aurora can't be woken up.

This proves her sadism, it is not enough to win, she has to keep the suffering going for everybody for her to truly win. While she has the prince captured she constantly taunts and teases him. In reality, maleficent would be pure evil, sadistic, psychopathic and determined to gain everything she sets out to do, which kind of makes her even more scary.

Cruella to Animals

Most Disturbing Scene

The Driving Scene! It is possibly the scariest thing if it were to happen in real life. Crazy driver on the side of a mountain, purposefully hitting other cars and knocking them out of the way, certainly grounds for incarceration! She knowingly tries to kill the driver of the van in order to get at the puppies. Something you may not see in real life. Not many people are willing to kill for a fur coat! The whole scene makes her look like a maniac, a crazy driver with no regard for safety or anything other than her precious fur coat. Her persistence is even more disturbing, after she crashes, she gets back on the road and speeds down the narrow snowy road towards the truck holing the dogs. Her determination makes her even more of a threat.

Cruella de Ville

Cruella de Ville is notorious for her evil ways. This is possibly due to the fact that she wants to skin a heap of dalmatian puppies in order to make herself a new fur coat. Now, as adults, this is a complex and heated argument. Animal cruelty is something that is either taken seriously or it isn't, and with children, who are always more passionate and loving with animals, this argument has only one answer, cruelty to animals is wrong. So when Disney chose to make a movie based on a woman who wanted a fur coat and was willing to kill anything to get it, children everywhere saw this woman as pure and utter evil. How interesting it is that children can understand such a complex idea as animals cruelty and see it for what it actually is. Now obviously the fact that the animals in question are cute little puppies probably does have an effect, but having watched 101 Dalmations as a child, I, to this day, refuse to accept animal cruelty as anything other than neglect and narcissism.

One of the main arguments in animal cruelty is that animals are not sentient beings, they have no consciousness, therefor cannot fear death, making their deaths worth less than that of a human being. However, Disney gave these puppies thoughts, personalities and due to this they are sentient beings, so their deaths are equal to that of a person. For children (although they don't know this sentient aspect) Cruella de ville is a murderer. And the fact that she has no care for the puppies, portrays the type of person (albeit in a Disney, over exaggerated, dramatic way) that children can grow up to be if they don't respect the lives of everything on planet earth. No child wants to be Cruella, so no child will agree that what she is doing is in any way right. For the fact that she openly speaks of skinning the puppies, ( a visceral and damaging scene for anyone, child or adult) shows that she is a bad person, with no regard for anyone but herself.

Some of you might be questioning why she is number 2 on this list, yes Maleficent could arguably be more evil, Ursula showed no regard for anyone but herself too, but for some reason, I find Cruella de ville, the epitome of evil. Maybe its her coloring, which is used to show how there is no grey middle ground when it comes to animal cruelty, its wrong or its right, you decide. Maybe its her menacing way, she is just evil. The fact that she goes after house pets, makes her all the more dangerous, numerous studies have been done on people who hurt/injure house pets and what separates them from people who hurt wild animals, and wouldn't you know, the former were much more dangerous. For this reason, Cruella is my Number 2 most memorable Disney Villain. She is erratic, psychotic and what's worse, plans on skinning puppies for a frigging coat! Cruella, you can't get much more cruel than that!

If I met you in real life, I'd certainly be running in my pleather shoes and faux fur , calling PETA on my speed dial!

"I don't believe that mans every been to medical school"

Evil Scientist or a child in dire need of Attention?

The work of an evil Scientist?!
The work of an evil Scientist?!

Most Disturbing Scene:

There are a few, that's for sure. I've already spoken about the introduction to Sids Mutant toys, but another equally as traumatic scenes is the one where he has Buzz strapped to a rocket, he goes to find matches (worst parenting in the world by the way) Woody comes out to save Buzz with a few Mutant toys, but he gets caught. Sid places him on a barbeque, leaving a match beside him, to let him know what's coming (I know, now I'm assuming that Sid knows the toys are real, which he obviously doesn't, however, in his imagination they are real, they are responding to him and this is why he leaves the match. He wants to torture Woody by showing him what he is going to do) a sadistic technique in breaking someone down, kind of Torture 101 really.

The scene gets freakier as Woody starts talking out loud, Sid assumes the its broken but when Woody Says "Sid Phillips, we don't like being blown up" he realizes the toys are real. One by one, his own mutant toys appear, Headless soldiers drone towards him, nails through their heads, no arms, they crawl out from the mud, the hand in the box, the spider doll, the minotaur car that drags its body, Wood'ys 360 head spin as he says "We toys, can see everything, so play nice!", is absolutely terrifying. The whole sequence perfectly portrays the mutant toys need for revenge, but also to stop it from happening to future toys.

Which is possibly why Sid Phillips appears much more human when we see him in Toy Story 3, as a trash collector. The toys he spend his childhood mutilating set him on the right path, where he seems to change his sadistic ways and grows up a normal, still grungy (wearing the skull t shirt) man.

Scariest Character??

Which character would you run a mile from in real life?

See results

Sid Phillips

I know what your thinking, a teenage boy on the number one spot! Ridiculous!! harrumph! well considering that Toy story is fairly recent, compared to sleeping beauty and the other named films in this list, and the fact that the other villains scared me as a child, Sid Phillips freaked me out as an adult, which really says something about his character.

He is a what I would call a sociopathic child experimentalist. He is Andy's next door neighbor for the first film and not a friendly one by any means. We are introduced to him when he explodes a Combat Carl with an M-80. Then later we meet him at a pizza place where he ends up taking woody, buzz and a new alien toy home with him. Here is where we see the real Sid Phillips, where he snatches a doll from his sister, runs up his stairs and slams his door shut. Yeah, I'm sure every sibling out there has done something similar, but what we find out shortly after is what he does with the toys.

In quite a disturbing scene, Sid plays doctor with a toy dinosaur and his sisters doll. He performs a 'Double-bypass brain transplant' where he essentially switches the heads on both toys. Even more disturbingly, he shows his sister her new doll, more than likely to scare her, but more importantly, to show her he has the power to do such things. While he is out of the room, Woody and Buzz are introduced to Sid's other toys, who sneak out from the shadows, like deformed experiments, a simulacrum of Frankensteins Monster, afraid of what the world will assume, and thinking they will be cast aside. A powerful scene it is indeed, and these horrendous creatures, once perfect toys that brought happiness to children, are coming out of the dark, where they've been hiding since Sid's experiments began.

Sid is a confused child, no doubt about it. But a sadistic child is all the more frightening. He uses simple everyday objects to perform interrogations with the toys (eg: a magnifying glass that uses the sun to Burn Woody, using a rocket to make Buzz fly) indicative of a psychopath, one who utilizes random situations for their own benefit. If Sid were a real child, he would absolutely be a risk to society, a danger that needs constant observation. Could it be jealous child syndrome? Possibly, we know from some of his deformed toys that some were obviously his sisters, so its plausible that he got bitten by the green eyed monster when his baby sister came into the equation. Now he acts out, as a way of getting attention from parents, but also taking the attention away from his sister, as seen when his sister runs to tell her parents what Sid had done to her doll, he runs after her to tell his parents she is lying, even though she obviously has the proof. Which also indicates psychopathy in the young troublemaker.

What makes this a little harder to analyze is that although we, the viewers, know that the toys are alive, Sid doesn't. So is he really sadistic by torturing toys that he believes can't feel pain or even think about it for that matter. My personal opinion suggests that while Sid doesn't know about the living toys, he still doesn't understand emotions, or is simply unconcerned about them. He seems to have no inner dial that shows him right from wrong, in the sense that everything he does, he does for his own amusement, a very perplexing and sometimes even dangerous mindset to have. What's really creepy about it is that to Woody, Buzz and the other toys, what they experience is very real, when Woody and Buzz see the Mutant toys for the first time, they are horrified, as any human would be seeing the same thing. Their torture is a reality and that's why it is so hard not to be afraid of Sid

The evil scientist vibe that Sid Phillips possesses links, in my opinion, to Nazi Scientists who tried to perform similarly outrageous experiments on people during and around World War 2. The most infamous experiments made by Nazi Scientists that are similar to what Sid's is that of the limb transplants. The Nazis wanted to know if a person’s limbs could be removed and transplanted onto someone else. These cruel experiments led to many concentration camp prisoners having limbs needlessly amputated. Every attempt to transplant a limb or joint was a failure. Many were killed, mutilated and exposed to excruciating pain. Although Sid was only trying these things out of toys, it is directly connected to these experiments performed by some of the worst scientists in history.

For these reasons Sid is my number one most memorable Disney Villain. His age, his personality and his lack of moral understanding, puts him at the top of the list, as the scariest person if I were to meet them all in reality. He would have me running a mile in the opposite direction without a second thought.

The Lesson that Shapes Sid's Future


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    • belleart profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for the comment. I agree about Cruella, she is quite the crazy lady, who would even want to do that to cute puppies?! She would have to have some serious mental problems..

    • Vitallani profile image

      Bryony Harrison 

      4 years ago from UK

      While Scar is my favourite of these characters, I think Cruella is the craziest because she is just so insane - as you see with the car scene. You can predict what the other characters might do, but with Cruella, she could just snap and do anything at any moment.


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