Silver Age Disney Animated Villains Ranked
The Silver Age of Disney animation ran from 1950 to 1967. It is the timeframe when Disney returned to making feature-length animated films after the package films of Disney’s Wartime Era of Animation. Eight films make up Disney’s Silver Age and all of them have some type of villain who is integral to the story. But not all villains are created equally. Let’s compare the eight villains of Disney’s Golden Age.
8. MADAM MIM – THE SWORD IN THE STONE
Madam Mim barely counts as a villain. She shows up for one scene to give Merlin an adversary. There’s very little reason for her, at all, in the story. It’s a funny scene but still one that barely adds to the film. She’s just kinda there.
7. AUNT SARAH – LADY AND THE TRAMP
Aunt Sarah is only a villain because the story is told from Lady’s perspective. Because Lady is used to always being inside with Darling and Jim Dear, she sees Aunt Sarah as a villain for putting her outside. But, Sarah is really just putting Lady outside because from Sarah’s perspective Lady is acting up. It’s really a case of a misunderstanding, but without that misunderstanding, there is no film.
6. SHERE KHAN AND KAA – THE JUNGLE BOOK
These are two villains with two distinctly different motivations. Kaa, like Aunt Sarah, is only really a villain because the story is mostly told from Mowgli’s point of view. Kaa is a hungry constrictor looking for a snack. That’s not villainy but nature. Shere Khan, on the other hand, is afraid of what Mowgli, and man in general, will do the jungle. It’s a reasonable and justified fear. But his methods are what make him a villain. He wants to kill Mowgli rather than let Bagheera guide Mowgli out of the jungle. It’s interesting that Shere Khan and Bagheera have the same goal but took completely different methods to try to accomplish that goal.
5. QUEEN OF HEARTS – ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Off with her head! That refrain came many times from the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland.” The Queen of Hearts is only in the film for a limited time and doesn’t really do much. She’s there, but there’s not much to her appearance. She’s slightly better than others during this time period, but she’s not overly important to her film.
4. LADY TREMAINE – CINDERELLA
Finally, the good villains of Disney’s Silver Age of Animation. Lady Tremaine is the ultimate version of the evil stepmother. She, and her daughters, punishes Cinderella for existing. She is evil enough that she realizes Cinderella is the woman the Prince fell in love with and locks her in a tower to try to prevent the Prince from finding her. That’s a purely evil stepmother.
3. CAPTAIN HOOK – PETER PAN
The evil pirate who is looking to kill Peter Pan checks in at number three. Captain Hook and his crew kidnap Tiger Lily, take advantage of Tinkerbell and pull out every trick from their arsenal to defeat Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Captain Hook is a true villain, even though he would later be reduced to a bungling buffoon in other “Peter Pan” properties Disney would make.
2. CRUELLA DE VIL – 101 DALMATIANS
You know a villain is pure evil when she hires two men to dognap her friend’s pet’s puppies just because her friend and her husband wouldn’t sell the puppies to her. She purchased 84 puppies to go on top of the 15 puppies she had dognapped because she had to have a particular coat. That’s evil.
1. MALEFICENT – SLEEPING BEAUTY
While I view “Sleeping Beauty” as the weakest film of the Silver Age of Animation, I also think it has the best villain. Maleficent is pure evil. She tries to kill a baby because she isn’t invited to a party. That’s stone-cold evil. There’s a reason why the live action version focused on Maleficent rather than Aurora. There’s a reason she’s the big bad in the Kingdom Hearts video game. Maleficent is evil incarnate.
That’s my list. Maleficent is the best at being the worst. Madam Mim is the worst at being the worst. But how would you rank the villains of Disney’s Silver Age of Animation?