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Now, I lend you money and I don't see it. Do you know what happens when I don't see my money, Fagin? People get hurt. People like you get hurt. Do I make myself clear?
~ Bill Sykes threatening Fagin.
Now don't cry, little girl. They only eat when I tell them to. (chuckles evilly)
~ Bill Sykes holding Jenny for ransom.

William "Bill" Sykes is the main antagonist of Disney's 27th full-length animated feature film Oliver and Company, which is a modern take on Charles Dickens' classic story Oliver Twist. Sykes is therefore based upon the character of Bill Sikes and he is also Fagin's former boss.  

He was voiced by the late Robert Loggia, who was famous for portraying gangsters, such as Frank Lopez in Scarface.

Personality

Sykes is one of Disney's most heavyset villains, shown usually in shadows like most stereotypical villains. He is an extremely deceitful, cruel, sarcastic, opportunistic and ruthless individual.

Unusually for Disney, the lifestyle and behavior of a mob boss are not glamorized or made friendlier like a child. Beneath his businesslike exterior, Sykes is clearly a brutal, murderous, sociopathic, and aggressive person - during a scene with Fagin, he is heard clearly on the phone discussing with a supposed underling about their treacherous manner of torturing and murdering some unknown victim.

He also appears to know anyone who is important and wealthy in New York City, even their home addresses, and phone numbers, as seen when he calls the Foxworth estate to begin the ransom. He takes care of his sinister Dobermans a lot; however, in the final chase, when he was so determined to get Jenny back, he did not notice that his dogs died and even if he did, he did not seem to care.

However, despite his cruel and sadistic personality, he has shown sometimes a sense of honor and forgiveness in his deals; such as when he honored the three days deal with Fagin, and upon learning that Fagin has held a ransom for Jenny's pet kitten Oliver to pay him back, he happily gave Fagin an additional 12 hours to ensure of this. Sykes even let Fagin off the hook when Sykes kidnapped Jenny and took the ransom money that she brought, saying to Fagin that his debt is finally paid by declaring that "his account is closed!".

Overall though, despite the times he can show honor, Sykes is still a ruthless and sadistic individual and is one of Disney's most intimidating villains.

Biography

Sykes has lent a large amount of money to a petty yet kindhearted criminal named Fagin for some unknown reason, sending his two Dobermans named 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 Hudson River.

During the night of the third day, Fagin arrives to Sykes' office, where he reveals of his plan of ransoming a pet kitten named Oliver (the protagonist of the film) to have his rich family called the Foxworths to come by to the docks tonight to pay the money in return for their pet's safety. Realizing this and noticing Oliver's gold pet collar, Sykes is very impressed by this and allows Fagin an additional 12 hours, warning him that this will be his last chance.

However, Fagin notices when a young girl named Jenny (the youngest member of the Foxworth family) arrives to the docks, where she has brought the ransom money inside her piggy bank, with Sykes and his dogs unknowingly watching from afar in his Cadillac. When Sykes sees Fagin abandoning the plan by freely handing Oliver back to Jenny without asking for the ransom money, he seizes his chance by driving up, pulling Jenny into his car, and taking her to his warehouse after throwing Oliver out the window, much to Fagin's objection. Before driving off, Sykes orders Fagin to keep his mouth shut, telling him that his debt is now fully paid since he finally got the ransom money to himself. At his warehouse, Sykes ties Jenny to a chair in the center of his office, boasting her about his dogs by cruelly joking that he will have his dogs eat her, as he plans to use Jenny as a ransom against her rich parents (who are on a business conference meeting in Rome). Sykes then calls Jenny's butler Mr. Winston to inform about the situation, demanding that he get Jenny's parents on the phone to discuss business otherwise Jenny would be hurt. 

Fortunately, Oliver and his gang of friends pursue Sykes and rescue Jenny, but before they could reach the exit, Sykes manages has them cornered. Before Sykes can order his dogs to attack, 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. Hell-bent on killing them, Sykes chases Fagin and the others into a subway, steps hard on the gas and goes at full speed, causing his car's tires to wear away and run on the tracks. He bumps into Fagin's scooter, causing Jenny to fall onto his hood. He grabs her 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 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 his prey back in, Dodger and Oliver jump onto Sykes and fight him off; causing him to lose his grip on Jenny. Even as Sykes manages to throw both the cat and dog off his car, the crime boss then turns around to see a subway train heading straight for him. Realizing this too late, Sykes screams in horror as his car collides into the incoming train, killing him in a fiery blaze and sending the remains into the Hudson River.

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Trivia

  • Sykes is based loosely on Bill Sikes, the main antagonist of the classic Oliver Twist story, with whom he shares his name with as well as his criminal tendencies.
  • Although he is the main antagonist, Sykes has little screen-time, as a majority of the film focuses on Oliver's scenes with both Dodger or Jenny on separate occasions.
  • Sykes has a handgun in his arsenal. Therefore, modern pistols make their debut in Oliver & Company.
  • The late Marlon Brando and the late James Coburn were both considered for the role of Sykes.
  • In the 1988 theatrical trailer, theres seems to be a cut/deleted frame of Sykes that is not seen in the final release of the movie.
  • Sykes actually suffers a more violent death in Disney films: he explodes when he crashes his car into a train he was heading towards.

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