Villain Overview

And somewhere down there is the ignorant stooge who'll make all my schemes come true.
~ Cliff explaining his plot to Miss Sharon Stone vowing to find the perfect fool to take the blame for his embezzlement scheme.

Clifford "Cliff" Vandercave is the main antagonist of the 1994 Universal Pictures film The Flintstones, a live-action film version of the animated sitcom of the same name. He was the executive vice president of industrial procurement for Slate & Co. until the events of the film.

He was portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, who also portrayed Calvin L. Johnson in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., King Claudius in the 2000 film adaptation of Hamlet, Donald Love in Grand Theft Auto III, Isaac Izzard in The House with the Clock in its Walls, Earl Raymond Diggs in Tales From the Crypt, and Dale Cooper's doppleganger in Twin Peaks.

Personality

Cliff Vandercave is best described as arrogant, sly, greedy, and very manipulative. He is willing do anything to get what he wants — be that lying or trickery, or even murder. He constantly is one step ahead of Fred, going so far as blackmailing him into firing Barney and even tricks Fred into firing all the other workers and framing him for embezzlement, even mocking Fred for falling into his scheme. Cliff also has no genuine loyalty to anybody but himself, as he even plans on betraying his devoted secretary Sharon Stone by leaving her alongside Fred to take the blame while he makes off with the money.

When his scheme is exposed, Cliff snaps and resorts to abducting Pebbles and Bamm Bamm and tying them to a giant mining machine. He even tricks Fred and Barney into surrendering the Dictabird to pay for the kids' execution at his hands by turning on the machine and later attempts to kill the Dictabird in cold blood when the latter escapes from his clutch. But when Cliff gets in a jam he can't weasel out of, he resorts to cowardly running, only for Fred to easily subdue him with one hit. All in all, Cliff's overconfidence in his lies and treachery eventually leads directly to his downfall.

Biography

Cliff was presumably hired by Mr. Slate several years after Fred and Barney were hired. However, it is revealed that Cliff cheated on his resume (as pointed out by Sharon) and became Fred and Barney's supervisor through dishonest means. As it turns out, Cliff plans to embezzle a fortune from the company through phony constructing machinery so that he and Sharon can fly to a beach resort called Rockopoko. All they needed was a "stooge" to put their plan into effect.

Cliff starts off the plan by proposing that he will make one worker his vice-president, if the worker passes the incoming aptitude test. As the workers take the exam, Barney does exceptionally well, but learns that Fred is failing pretty bad. Indebted towards Fred for loaning him money to let him and his wife Betty adopt a boy named Bamm-Bamm, Barney switched the tests by putting the answer slabs in the opposite envelopes. When Sharon comes in and announced that Fred passed the test, Cliff is shocked by this because he perceived Fred as dense and witless. Nevertheless, Cliff happily promotes Fred as the new vice-president, and Sharon becomes Fred's personal secretary to help seduce Fred to do Cliff's bidding, including signing forged company documents.

To ensure Fred's loyalty, Cliff gives him his first task of firing Barney for getting the lowest score on the test. Fred is reluctant to do this as he considers Barney as his best friend, but Cliff threatens to have both him and Barney fired if he refuses. As such, Fred reluctantly fires Barney, putting the Rubbles' finances at risk and forcing them to move into the Flintstones' residence. Later on, Cliff announces during a meeting that he will be making new modular housing units for the town using new age machinery that would also increase their profit margin fourfold. But Fred mistakes the tiny houses on Cliff's model of the machine for the real thing and says if he built houses this small, no one would live in them.

After learning from Sharon about Fred's suspicions about the new service Cliff was planning for the company, he decides to distract him with a huge bonus and tells him that if he wanted to be a top executive that he had to start living like one, which Fred does.

He then tricks Fred to sign several documents that would result a massive layoff of the workers in the quarry under the false pretense of giving them a long vacation, despite the objections of the Dictabird in Fred's office to read the documents first before signing them. When the media reports about the massive layoff, this caused a fallout between Fred and Barney, who then furiously moved away with his family out of disgust, but not before admitting that he switched the test papers because he felt sorry for Fred. Even Fred's wife Wilma moved over to her mother's house with their daughter Pebbles due to her disgust towards Fred for the way he treated the Rubbles, leaving Fred extremely guilty.

The next morning, Fred heads straight to the file room where he finds the real documents, realizing that Barney was telling the truth about the layoff and Cliff was using him for his scam. Enraged by this, Fred threatens to report Cliff's scam to Mr. Slate, but anticipating that he would do that, Cliff revealed that he's given him all the credit since it was his name on the forms and marks Fred as an embezzler. Realizing now that he's in big trouble with the law, Fred runs away and swore that he won't let Cliff away with this, but Cliff replied that he already have.

A news broadcast is shown of Fred (actually an actor hired by Cliff to do a terrible impression of Fred) embezzling. Viewing this, Wilma remembers the Dictabird in Fred's office, knowing that he overheard the conversations between Fred and Cliff that would clear Fred's name. In the meantime, a disguised Fred finds refuge in a cave and chats with one of the employees who was fired, but he accidentally gives himself away and a huge mob chases him down the road.

Meanwhile, Wilma and Betty sneak into the office building and convinced the Dictabird to clear Fred's name. Around the same time, Sharon is discomforted to see that Cliff has only paid one ticket to Rockopoko instead of two, and that Cliff is planning to leave her behind while he goes on a 'business trip', implying that he intends to take the money for himself instead of sharing it with Sharon. However, Cliff sees Wilma and Betty leave with the Dictabird from his office window, and realizes that now that they have the bird, it would would spoil everything.

The angry mob soon corners Fred and attempts to hang him and Barney after the latter admits that it was because of him that Fred was promoted to the job. But before the two can be hanged, Wilma, Betty and the Dictabird arrive to the rescue, and the Dictabird got Fred to apologize to his previous behavior towards him. The Dictabird then dispersed the mob's anger by explaining Cliff's scheme and that Fred and Barney were just pawns of his scheme, thus sparing Fred and Barney from being hanged and allowing them to reconcile their friendship. However, anticipating that this would happen, Cliff takes revenge by breaking into the house of Wilma's mother Pearl, where he kidnapped Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and left a note for Fred and Barney to bring the Dictabird back to the quarry at dawn with no poilce, if they wanted to see them again.

The next day, Fred and Barney confront Cliff at the quarry, where he has tied Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm to a huge housing construction machine. They reluctantly surrender the Dictabird as agreed, only for Cliff to reveal his deal was all a trick by activating the machine to grind the kids alive, presumably out of spite against Fred and Barney for exposing his scheme. However, Barney manages to rescue the children while Fred destroys the machine, resulting molten cement to be spilled. In the meantime, the Dictabird frees himself by biting Cliff's hand and flies back to Fred, and Cliff tries to kill the Dictabird with a gun, only to be knocked out by Sharon due to his betrayal against her. Cliff then tries to run away, but Fred rolls a round boulder at him and Cliff is knocked down like a bowling pin.

Upon witnessing the arrival of the police who had come to arrest Cliff for his crimes, Cliff tries to make a getaway, but notices too late that a black substance is coming down over the ledge towards him. Cliff screams in defeat as the substance pours down on him, burying him alive and turning him into a solid statue. When Mr. Slate sees the substance all over Cliff, he exclaims that he loves it, deciding to name it "concrete" after his daughter Concretia. With Cliff's scheme exposed, Slate reversed all of Cliff's decisions by rehiring all of the workers (including Barney); even allowing a few other improvements to the workplace that Fred originally desired as an executive.

It is unknown if Cliff is still alive while being encased in concrete or if he suffocated since it covered his entire body with no visible holes.

Quotes

Mr. Flintstone, you are about to embezzle a great deal of money. Unfortunately for you, we get to keep it.
~ Cliff plotting to frame Fred for embezzlement.
Okay, Fred, are you ready for your first executive action? (Fred Flintstone: Ready and willing! Whatever you need, consider it done!) Good. I want you to fire Bernard Rubble. (Fred Flintstone: Done! What? Fire Barney? Why?) Well, for starters, he scored the lowest on the management aptitude test. He's an imbecile! The company can't afford to have dead weight like him on the payroll! (Fred Flintstone: But, Mr. Vandercave, he's got a new kid, a mortgage. I'm his best friend. I can't.) Look, Fred, if you don't fire him, I will... and then I'll fire you.'
~ Cliff threatening Fred to fire Barney, stating that if he doesn't, Cliff will fire both of them.

Trivia

  • Despite being an intelligent con man, Cliff suffers from two idiot moments during his defeat. He could have ran out of the way from Fred's bowling ball and also could have run away from the oncoming cement.
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