- “There's no escape this time Basil!”
- ―Ratigan during the final battle
Professor Padraic Ratigan is the archenemy of Basil of Baker Street and the main antagonist in Walt Disney's 1986 feature film The Great Mouse Detective, voiced by the late Vincent Price. He is the story's version of Professor James Moriarty from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and serves as the adversary to the Sherlock Holmes counterpart Basil of Baker Street. He has cited the "Big Ben Caper" and the "Tower Bridge Job" as 2 of his most notorious criminal operations.
Ratigan is a towering rat with gray fur dressed in a dark gray suit complete with a long black cape with a red underside. His face is shaven and has yellow eyes with lavender circles around them, above them are thick eyebrows. Although he lavishes himself as a mouse, he has rat-like characteristics, such as sharp fangs and fingers, a large nose, and a long, pink tail. On his head, he wears a black top hat with a gray band, which covers his black combed hair. His suit includes a high white collar and a gray vest with buttons on it with a pink-and-purple striped cravat. On his hands are white gloves and cuffs with golden cufflinks. He is always seen carrying a gold cane.
However, when he becomes completely enraged, he becomes incredibly feral, where he stops being bipedal and runs on all fours in a hunched position. His hair becomes messy and his clothes become torn as Ratigan becomes vicious as he obtains a more rat-like appearance. His nails and teeth also grow longer and gnarly.
Ratigan has a variety of henchmen that follow him, including his overweight pet cat Felicia, Bill the Lizard, a small mouse named Bartholomew, and his right-hand man a peg-legged bat named Fidget. Personality-wise, Ratigan is very charismatic, calm, and calculating, but can easily be sent into a violent rage at the mention of Basil or by the incompetence of his minions. He has a very dark, malicious sense of humor and an inflated ego. Unlike most Disney villains, Ratigan is an ebullient, lip-smacking jester who has a tendency towards big movements and long rants or speeches.
Even though he is one, Ratigan detests, above all else, being referred to as a rat, preferring the description of a "big mouse," and fed Bartholomew to Felicia when Bartholomew calls him the "world's greatest rat" while intoxicated. He can easily be identified as a rat since he has 4 fingers and a thumb on each hand while all the other mice have 3 fingers. Also, the mice in the movie have much smaller, thinner tails than Ratigan, who has a long, fleshy tail. In the Basil of Baker Street book series, Ratigan's first name is revealed to be Padriac, and he is in fact, portrayed as a mouse (in contrast to his depiction in the movie).
Ratigan makes plans to take over Mousedom by replacing the Queen with a robotic fake built by a toymaker named Hiram Flaversham, whom he has Fidget kidnap. He will then have the real Queen fed to Felicia, ensuring his reign as permanent King of Mousedom. However, Basil and Dr. Dawson foil these plans with help from the toymaker's daughter, Olivia. Unfortunately, Ratigan, with help from Fidget, kidnaps Olivia and threatens to kill her if they attempt to stop his escape. Basil, Dawson, and Flaversham pursue Ratigan above the Thames River on hot air balloons. Fidget, who is pedaling Ratigan's blimp to speed it up, cannot take the extra weight and tells Ratigan they have to lighten the load, meaning to throw Olivia off the balloon. Ratigan out of sheer bad temper throws Fidget (who can't fly) off the blimp and into the Thames River instead. Then Ratigan ties to pedal the blimp himself, Basil jumps onto the blimp and it crashes into Big Ben.
Inside the clock tower, Basil and Ratigan fight atop the gears of the clock tower, and with help from Olivia, Basil traps Ratigan by throwing his cape in the gears. The two mice then escape, finally sending Ratigan over the edge. Breaking free from the gears, he pursues Basil, tearing his clothes in the process and transforming from a very formal, composed rat to a highly savage one. Ratigan leaps into Basil and they both tumble onto the clock's hour hand, Ratigan stops Basil from reaching the others. Finally, he extends his long, strong fingernails and begins scratching Basil continuously, ripping his clothes and clawing his flesh. Suddenly the clock bell tolls causing Ratigan to lose his balance, and plunge off the hand, taking Basil with him. Basil manages to save himself while Ratigan falls off Big Ben to his death.
Ratigan's most notable cameo on House of Mouse was in the episode "Donald's Lamp Trade", in which he tries to lure Dr. Dawson with cheese on a mousetrap, but Basil stops Dawson and tells him it's a trap, at which point the nearby Ratigan groans "Curses!" He is also seen with several other mice in "House of Scrooge".
Ratigan was once a walkaround character at the Disney parks during the film's initial release. But he has been retired, rumoredly because he frightened children. His last appearance was at a special event at the Magic Kingdom in 2004.
- Ratigan shares a few similarities with Cruella De Vil. They both are the main antagonist, live in England, smoke cigarette poles, intimidate their henchmen who are the secondary antagonist (Ratigan, Fidget: Cruella, Jasper and Horace Badun) who they have responsible for kidnapping main character(s) (Ratigan, Olivia Flaversham: Cruella, Dalmatian Puppies) triggering the stories of their films, develop red eyes in the climaxes while revealing their insantiy and chasing the protagonists (Ratigan's case, Basil in Cruella's case, Pongo), stood up by a character who stand up straight with fist clenched (Ratigan by Basil: Cruella by Roger Radcliffe), and smash the doors real hard.
- Ratigan also shares a few traits with Gaston. They both are the main antagonist, muscular, live in European countries (Ratigan, Engliand; Gaston, France), have smaller incompetent sidekicks who are the secondary antagonist (LeFou for Gaston, Fidget for Ratigan), drink alcoholic beverages (Gaston drinks beer while Ratigan drinks wine), sing songs (Ratigan: World's Greatest Criminal Mind, Gaston: song of his name) that praise themselves with their minions (Ratigan Bill the Lizard and the thugs; Gaston, villagers and tavern men)into joining along, have songs interupted at one point (Ratigan's is interrupted when Bartholomew accidentally called him a rat while Gaston's is interupted as Maurice came into his tavern), threaten to hurt someone if they don't get what they want (Ratigan threatened Hiram Flaversham that he will hurt his daughter if he doesn't do his job and Gaston threatened Belle that he will throw her father into the asylum if she doesn't marry him), have trapped the main characters (Ratigan: Basil, Dr. David Q. Dawson, and Olivia Flaversham, Gaston: Belle) at one point before heading out to carry out their evil plan (Ratigan: overthrowing Queen Mousetoria, Gaston: killing the Beast), both sing a second song (Ratigan, Goodbye, So Soon; Gaston, The Mob Song), fight the protagonists (Ratigan: Basil Gaston: Beast) on a high area (in Ratigan's case, Big Ben; in Gaston's case, Beast's Castle) during a storm, both in their final moments believe they successfully killed the hero, but their celebrations are cut short, and fall to their deaths and are not seen again. A major difference between them, however, is that Ratigan's minions obviously fear him (only continuing with their praising song for Ratigan when he gave the implied threat of feeding them to his cat Felicia if they didn't), while Gaston's minions do not fear him at all.
- According to a deleted lyric in "World's Greatest Criminal Mind"; the Tower Bridge Job involved hurling several innocent mice within the Thames River and then shooting whoever attempts to come up to the surface.
- Vincent Price, the voice of Ratigan, said that doing Ratigan was his favorite role because he had two songs written for him.
- The Nostalgia Critic listed Ratigan as Number 7 on his "Top 11 Disney Villains" list and the best 'funny villain'. His female counterpart the Nostalgia Chick, also listed him as Number 6 on her "Top 10 Evil Nostalgia Characters" list.
- Ratigan is similar to Shere Khan. They are the primary antagonist, both have the same goal of killing the protagonist (Ratigan: Basil, Shere Kahn: Mowgli), and during the final fight of their film, they fight a hero (Ratigan: Basil, Shere Kahn: Baloo) and start to kill them by clawing them to death.
- Ratigan is the first Disney villain to just fall to his death since the disguised Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first feature length film since 1937. Maleficent's death included falling, but she already suffered a fatal wound from the Sword of Truth piercing her heart before falling to her death.
- Despite being only a vaguely-remembered Disney villain, Ratigan is still remembered by many people today, as recently, he has gained popularity from an entire fanclub dedicated to him on DeviantArt. Thus, Ratigan can be considered a favorite of many who grew up with the film.
- In the novel that the film was based off of, Ratigan is actually a mouse, despite the name. This was changed for the film.
- Ratigan is the only Disney villain to record a song in advance for their foe, another example of Ratigan's arrogance.
|The Great Mouse Detective|
| The Great Mouse Detective
Characters: Basil of Baker Street | David Q. Dawson | Padriac Ratigan | Fidget | Toby | Olivia Flaversham | Hiram Flaversham | Mrs. Judson | Miss Kitty Mouse | Miss Kitty Mouse's twin sisters | Ratigan's thugs | Felicia | Bill the Lizard | Bartholomew | Sherlock Holmes | John Watson | Queen Mousetoria | Unidentified woman mouse
Locations: Ratigan's lair
See also: Darkwing Duck