Top 10 Savage Moments in Disney Movies
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Isabelle Brown
Who knew Disney animated movies could be so savage? For this list, we'll be looking at the best comebacks, insults, and snide remarks from villains, sidekicks, and heroes alike. Our countdown includes "Mulan," "Sleeping Beauty," "Tangled," and more!
Top 10 Savage Moments in Disney Animated Movies
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Savage Moments in Disney Animated Movies.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the best comebacks, insults, and snide remarks from villains, sidekicks, and heroes alike.
Which burn do you think needs the most ice? Let us know in the comments below.
#10: The Hyenas Don't Pay Scar Any Mind
“The Lion King” (1994)
Like any of the best Disney villains, Scar is well-versed in dishing out snarky remarks. But, in this instance, he’s actually the one on the receiving end. As the king’s brother and heir’s uncle, power is just out of the lion’s reach. He is bitter about the situation and passive aggressive with his family. An outsider among the pride, he allies with a group of rambunctious hyenas. Scar’s henchmen don’t seem to take him too seriously at first. They tease him about his lack of authority and go on about how intimidating the current lion king is. The burn stings so close to home that we’re kind of surprised Scar reacts as calmly as he does.
#9: Aladdin Drags Jasmine’s Suitor
Before meeting the Genie, Aladdin is but a common thief. He lives on the streets of Agrabah and steals just enough to feed himself and loveable monkey friend Abu. Aladdin has no business speaking to aristocracy, but that doesn’t stop him from having a heated exchange with a visiting royal. When Prince Achmed threatens two children, the “street rat” gets involved. Aladdin saves the kids but gets pushed in the mud in the process, where – even from the ground – he fires one last dig at the high-ranking jerk. Aladdin leaves the encounter feeling pretty discouraged, but if we were judging the ability to come up with witty insults on the spot, we’d say our favorite scoundrel is definitely the winner.
#8: Mother Gothel Takes the Ultimate Jab at Rapunzel
While other Disney villains are driven by greed or revenge, Mother Gothel is motivated by the desire to look good. She kidnaps the princess with magical hair and raises her in what seems like a doorless tower, all in the pursuit of eternal youth. In one scene after Rapunzel pulls her guardian up into the tower, Gothel teases the princess quite a bit. Even when it appears as though Mother Gothel is giving her a genuine compliment… she is, of course, only admiring herself. If there’s one thing we love about this antagonist, it’s her confidence. That being said, Gothel did not have to stunt on Rapunzel like that.
#7: The Stepsisters Tear Up Cinderella's Dress
Unlike their mother, the ugly stepsisters aren’t strictly evil per se. That being said, they are ungrateful, petty, and envious. They demonstrate as much when Cinderella first appears dressed for the ball. Upon realizing some of their possessions were borrowed, Anastasia and Drizella become extremely jealous. While the two team up in destroying the bespoke gown, the wicked stepmother is mostly to blame for the incident. She coyly manages to rile up her daughters, pulling the exact reactions she’d hoped from them. In terms of savagery, this is the relatively literal kind. Like tigers in the wild, these ones!
#6: Marie Lets Her Brothers Know Who’s Boss
“The Aristocats” (1970)
Any girl who grew up with brothers can relate to this moment. As pets of the aristocracy, Toulouse, Marie, and Berlioz live in the lap of luxury. But, despite their cultured life and formal surroundings, the kittens retain their rambunctious nature. They scamper around their owner’s home, jumping on tables and breaking candlesticks. When scolded by their mother, each is quick to blame the others. The only girl in the group, Marie, eloquently explains why she is not responsible for the scuffle despite wrestling as well as her brothers. Her position is a little bit of a double standard but you won’t catch us telling her that.
#5: Flora Claps Back at Merryweather
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959)
While the Three Good Fairies are gifted in spell-casting, their homemaking skills leave something to be desired. Flora attempts to make a dress for Aurora by hand and uses Merryweather as her mannequin. As the garment comes together, it looks worse and worse. Eventually the struggling seamstress gives up and uses her magic to finish the frock, but not before a rather savage exchange with her model. When the blue fairy points out how poorly the dress is coming together, Flora comes back with a sassy dig. Despite being deemed the Good Fairies, these ladies can sure cast some shade.
#4: Charlotte Turns Down This Dude in the Most Brilliant Way
“The Princess and the Frog” (2009)
Sometimes, it takes being savage to get the point across. That’s certainly the case when Travis asks Charlotte to dance at the masquerade ball. As the daughter of New Orleans’ wealthiest man, the southern belle is used to fending off suitors. She does so politely at first, but this particular fellow doesn’t seem to get the message. He continues to pursue her hours after initially being turned down. That’s when Charlotte finally tells him what’s what. Rejection is always awkward but this encounter is kind of deserved. While it may be harsh, it’s about time Travis learned the hard cold truth.
#3: Yao Calls His Fellow Soldiers Maidenless
As they cross the country on foot, one of the things Mulan’s cohorts bond over is the dating scene. The men discuss their preferences in women, much to the protagonist’s discomfort. Always a downer, Yao mocks the others under his breath for only Mulan to hear. He disses his fellow soldier when Ling describes the qualities about himself that he thinks are appealing. Not even the emperor's counselor, Chi-Fu, is safe from Yao’s ridicule. The short and stocky warrior is undoubtedly the most savage in the group, and this scene demonstrates why.
#2: Kuzco Is Unimpressed by His Potential Brides
“The Emperor's New Groove” (2000)
Former advisor to the throne, Yzma, is cruel to those around her, especially Kronk. However, we find this comment from Kuzco especially harsh. As emperor, one of his duties is finding a wife. When a selection of potential fiancées is brought before him, none are up to his standards. He goes down the line, criticizing each woman for various reasons, with his comment to the last contender going for the jugular. Of course, Kuzco is entitled to his preferences and opinions, but does he have to be so mean? Yeesh!
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Belle Insults Gaston but He Takes It as a Compliment, “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)
The Brawny Villain Probably Doesn’t Even Know What “Primeval” Means
Elsa Shatters Hans’ Ice Statue, “Frozen 2” (2019)
The Ice Queen Has Yet to Forgive Her Sister’s Ex
Joshua Sweet Keeps Mole at Bay, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)
The Doctor Has No Tolerance for Poor Hygiene
Francis Isn't Impressed By Big Words, “Oliver & Company” (1988)
The Bulldog Shows No Fear in Front of Sykes’ Dobermans
Woody Keeps His Vocabulary G-Rated, “Toy Story” (1995)
The Toy Is Savage… but Also Mindful of the Children
#1: Esmeralda Turns the Tables on Phoebus
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)
This pick features a character who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Having found sanctuary in the famous cathedral, Esmeralda is confronted by the captain of police. The two engage in a scrimmage, sword versus candlestick. In addition to physically fighting, Phoebus and Esmeralda spar verbally. They are well matched and clearly have chemistry, even while exchanging blows. In fact, Phoebus actually seems more impressed than insulted when he gets hit with this vicious jab. With only a few words, the street performer puts the soldier in his place. She reminds him (and the audience) that sexism isn’t cool!