William "Bill" Sykes is the main antagonist from Disney's 1988 movie Oliver & Company, despite having little screen time. He is based on the Bill Sikes of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, of which the film is actually a modern reimagining. This Sykes is a loan shark who operates out of a warehouse by the docks and the owner of two Dobermans, Roscoe and DeSoto. He was voiced by the late Robert Loggia.
Sykes is a big muscular man who is thought to be in his late 40s or early 50s. He is half bald, has grey hair, and as well as this, he wears spectacles. He smokes large cigars and is always seen in a sharp suit to further emphasize his role as an intelligent businessman in command of the situation, and not merely some common thug taking orders from someone else (a rather stark contrast to the character he's based on). Because of his smoking, Sykes speaks with a hoarse voice which makes his character more menacing.
Sykes is one of Disney's most heavy-set villains, shown usually in shadows like most steorotypical villains. He is brutal, shadowy, sarcastic, psychotic, impatient, charming, cruel and ruthless.
Unusually for Disney, the lifestyle and behavior of a mob boss is not glamorized or made more child-friendly. Beneath his businessman-like exterior, Sykes is clearly a ruthless, brutal murderer - during a scene with Fagin, he is heard clearly on the phone discussing with a supposed underling about their manner of torturing and murdering some unknown victim.
His minions in the movie are his 2 Dobermans: Roscoe and DeSoto which he takes care of a lot; however, in the final chase, he was so determined to get Jenny back, he didn't see that his dogs died and when they did, he didn't seem to care.
Oliver & Company
Sykes has lent a large amount of money to the petty criminal Fagin for some unknown reason, sending his two evil Dobermans, Roscoe and DeSoto, to tell Fagin to go up and meet with him. Fagin, unfortunately, finds himself unable to pay the money back and begs for more time. Sykes tells him that he has three days to find the money or else who knows what will happen to Fagin, his home, or his dogs. Then, he honks his horn to call his dogs back, which frightens Fagin; causing him to fall off the dock and into the river.
When Fagin learns that Oliver's new owner is exceedingly wealthy, he orders "Mr. very rich cat-owner-person" to bring him lots and lots of money in return for the cat. He tells Sykes about the plan; at first awkwardly which causes Sykes to lose his patience and snap his fingers to order his dogs to attack him when they are actually confronting one of Fagin's dogs, Dodger, but during the attack, Fagin is able to tell him the plan in a loud and proper way this time and shows him Oliver as proof which convinces Sykes and causes him to snap his fingers to cease the attack, and Sykes assumes this is a ruse to in fact to kidnap and ransom the cat owner, rather than the cat, and gives Fagin one more chance with only 12 hours left when feeding dog biscuits to his dogs while Fagin and Oliver come to Dodger's aid after Dodger lays injured and unconscious with severe (but invisible) injuries from the attack.
When Jenny comes to get Oliver, she shows Fagin that all she has brought with her is her piggy bank, with Sykes and his evil dogs unknowingly watching from afar in his cadillac. When Sykes sees Fagin giving up the plan, he drives up, pulls Jenny into his car, and takes her to his warehouse after throwing Oliver out the window. Sykes tells Fagin to keep his mouth shut and to consider their account closed. Later, Sykes ties up Jenny to a chair in the center of his office, taunting her about his dogs.
He hears a strange sound and sends Roscoe and DeSoto to |check it out. While watching Jenny, Sykes calls the Foxworth family's butler, Winston and tells him to call Jenny's father. Oliver, Dodger, and the gang follow them to the warehouse, where they find out that Jenny is being held for ransom.
When Tito, Einstein, and Francis manage to distract Sykes by dressing up as a Pizza delivery guy, Sykes is shown loading a handgun, acknowledging that he did not order any pizza. When Sykes walks away to look for his dogs, Oliver, Dodger, and the gang manage to enter his office. Finally, Sykes finds his dogs trapped under a net and frees them. When Sykes with his dogs returns and finds the door locked, he believes it was Jenny's doing and warns her to open the door. Oliver and the gang manage to pull Jenny up into a higher part of the room, with the help of a crane and Tito's electric specialities, before Sykes, Roscoe, and DeSoto burst through the door.
But just when it looks like they're home free, Sykes takes out an emergency fire axe and destroys the crane's controls, thus, causing Oliver and the company to fall and land on a long slide. At the end of the slide, Sykes and his dogs confront them, as the evil mafia boss prepares to signal his dogs to attack. Before he can however, Fagin bursts through the window on his scooter and the gang along with Jenny hop on and drive away as fast as they can. Sykes and his dogs follow them in his car. Fagin goes onto the subway railroad tracks hoping that Sykes can't follow them, but he does. Sykes, driving like a maniac, steps hard on the gas, then pulls the gear stick so hard it breaks off, and he goes at full speed, causing his car's tires to wear away and run on the tracks. He bumps into them, causing Jenny to fall onto the hood of his car. He grabs Jenny by the arm. Oliver jumps on and bites Sykes' hand, but Sykes throws him into the backseat with Roscoe and DeSoto.
Dodger manages to jump on and fights off Roscoe while Oliver fights off DeSoto, causing the two Dobermans to fall onto the electrified tracks and killing them. Sykes pays no attention as to what happened to his dogs and continues to chase the gang. He goes up through his car roof, grabs Jenny's leg, and tries to pull her back in. Just as he is pulling her back in, Dodger and Oliver jump onto Sykes and fight him off, causing him to lose his grip on Jenny. Even as he manages to throw them off, Sykes turns around to see a train heading straight for him just before his car collides with it, killing him in a fiery blaze and sending the remains into the Hudson River.
- "The money, Fagin."
- "No, Fagin. Three."
- "So, Fagin. Did we bring something green and wriggly to make me happy?"
- "Fagin. You don't got the money."
- "Keep your mouth shut. Consider our account closed."
- "FAGIN!!!" (his last words)
- Sykes is clearly seen loading a handgun. So far, this is the first time in Disney history where a modern gun has been loaded.
- Robert (Salvatore) Loggia is famous for playing the role of gangsters and mob bosses, including a gangster named Salvatore (his actual name) "The Shark" Macelli in Innocent Blood.
- Sykes is the last villain until Hades to not sing a song. Percival C. McLeach technically didn't have an original number either, but he was heard singing a parody of "Home on the Range" in one scene and one of "The Crawdad Song" in another.
- Along with his Dobermans, (both electrocuted by some railroad tracks) Sykes' death is one of the more graphic deaths in Disney history.
- Sykes is similar to Percival C. McLeach. Both kidnap children (Sykes, Jenny, and McLeach, Cody), both like money and both possess firearms however Sykes possesses more modern weaponry his weapon being a handgun and McLeach's being a Winchester Model 1912.
- Sykes is also similar to Madame Medusa. Both kidnap young girls for greedy reasons, both have pets that look alike (Roscoe and DeSoto for Sykes and Brutus and Nero for Madame Medusa), and both would do anything to get their way.
- Sykes shares similarities to Horned King. Both kidnap heroines, both have pets that is canine (Roscoe and DeSoto for Sykes and Dog for Horned King).
- Sykes' appearance may have been an inspiration for Lyle T. Rourke as both are pot-bellied, tall, and some of their facial expressions are similar. Also, both were animated by Glen Keane, which could also explain the same physical appearances.
- Sykes may have inspired Carface from the animated film All Dogs Go To Heaven as they both have much in common. Both smoke cigars, both kidnap young girls (Sykes, Jenny and Carface, Anne-Marie) and both run a business. However unlike Carface, Sykes didn't fall in love with Jenny and took care of his henchmen, unlike Carface who often abused Killer and tried to kill him at times and unlike Sykes who had two dog henchmen Carface had several. They also speak in hoarse voices although Carface only spoke with a hoarse voice in the first All Dogs Go to Heaven film his first voice actor Vic Tayback died in 1990 so he was replaced by Ernest Borgnine and from then Carface spook with a more softer voice.
- Although he is the film's main villain, his role is small.