As we prepare for the theatrical release of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, it’s important to remember that Disney villains, nefarious though they are, get some really stellar songs. From beloved classics to video releases (shoutout to you, Aladdin and the King of Thieves), we ranked the top ten antagonistic anthems in the Disney archive.
10. “Cruella De Vil” – Roger, 101 Dalmatians
Okay, she doesn’t get to sing it, but she doesn’t need to. Cruella’s misanthropy is so ubiquitous that Roger can’t help breaking into song to describe it (or perhaps to deflect his fear).
9. “Hellfire” – Judge Claude Frollo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Warning if you haven’t watched this song a single time since childhood: It’s a lot. It starts with Frollo singing about his illicit attraction to Esmeralda and escalates disturbingly quickly into him wishing her dead unless they can be together. V UNCOOL.
8. “Are You In Or Out?” – Sa’luk, Aladdin and the King of Thieves
Aladdin‘s straight-to-video 1996 threequel (none of which are promising descriptors!) introduced the brutish Sa’luk (Jerry Orbach), one of the bitter 40 thieves who turned to Aladdin’s father for leadership. With the old king gone, Sa’luk comes back to rally his remaining cohorts and attack the innocent once more.
7. “Friends on the Other Side” – Dr. Facilier, The Princess and the Frog
Facilier channels his magically gifted villain predecessors in this dastardly ditty inspired by New Orleans and the mystery of voodoo. It’s hard to resist Keith David’s musical charisma as the shadows and skulls grow increasingly sinister until it’s too late for Prince Naveen to escape.
6. “Prince Ali” (reprise) – Jafar, Aladdin
The only thing that keeps this song from a higher spot on the list is how tragically short it is. Still, Jafar makes the most of the creepy reprise, at which point he has mastered the genie, plans to enslave Jasmine and her father and banishes Aladdin to “the ends of the earth” without even a shirt to protect himself from its chill.
5. “Mother knows best” – Mother Gothel, Tangled
Rapunzel’s mother is so many kinds of evil, but watching her justify her daughter’s indefinite imprisonment in a tower is a special kind of cruel. Donna Murphy performs the deceptively upbeat number like a true Broadway diva going in for the kill, and she nails it.
4. “Savages” – Pocahontas
This West Side Story-esque pre-rumble mashup is an overt way to illustrate to children that xenophobia is the wrong side of history. The colonists prepare for attack while the tribe prepares to defend and at the center of it all, Pocahontas must figure out how to save John Smith from his death.
3. “Gaston” – Gaston, Beauty and the Beast
The first fuckboy you ever knew was a fictitious French bodybuilder who only cared about looks his, primarily, and those of the woman he would marry. Beauty and the Beast introduces Gaston as a thick-necked jerk, but we quickly see his dark side as he plots to manipulate Belle and her father.
2. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” – Ursula, The Little Mermaid
The Sea Witch shimmies, shakes and tricks a naive and attractive girl into potentially selling her soul for a boy. The whole number is thick with sarcasm, dripping with disdain and bursting with vanity for the powers she possesses and longs to use. BODY LANGUAGE, HAA.
1. “Be Prepared” – Scar, The Lion King
This number has everything: Toxic green smoke, choreographed dancing hyenas and a string of SAT words you’ll never forget. It is immensely satisfying. Jeremy Irons gives a fabulous performance as Scar through this twisted tale of an impending coup and fratricide just how Shakespeare pictured it.