What does Pottsylvania have more than any other country? Mean! We have more mean than any other country in Europe! We must export mean.
~ The Fearless Leader
The Fearless Leader is the main antagonist of the animated TV series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and the 2000 film The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
He is the titular duo's archenemy, the leader of the nation Pottsylvania, and is also the boss of Boris and Natasha. The Fearless Leader wears a monocle and bears a large scar on his left cheek (although it sometimes changes cheek throughout the series).
He is voiced by the late Bill Scott in the TV series, Piotr Michael in the 2018 reboot, and portrayed by Robert De Niro in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
The Fearless Leader is the dictator of the fictional European nation of Pottsylvania, and the employer of the inept spies Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. He could always be found in his underground hideout, "Central Control."
However, it seems evident that he did answer to one man himself: the diminutive Mr. Big. Mr. Big appears in two storylines of the series, "Upsidaisium" and "Metal Munching Moon Mice".
Not much is known about him or how he came to power, as he mostly works behind the scenes giving out orders. According to the Rialto Theater's "Moosebill" or "Downhill: The Musical" (a special table of contents insert created for the DVD box set Rocky and Bullwinkle & Friends, The Third Season) Fearless Leader is one of only three survivors of the ruling clique of Pottsylvania, the other two being Boris Badenov and Mr. Big.
As expected from his given position and name, the Fearless Leader is a strict, ruthless character, and often harshly criticizes the incompetence of his main minion Boris. He is distrustful of his own government employees, and is known to carry the Pottsylvania treasury with him wherever he goes. His distrust is not unfounded, as Boris and Natasha have betrayed him before, and one of Pottsylvania's slogans is "double-cross everyone."
Although Pottsylvania's chief spies are given ersatz Russian accents, the Fearless Leader's accent, monocle, uniform, and schlager scar seem more in keeping with the German stereotype. In fact, his sharply-angled features were taken directly from an anti-Nazi propaganda poster that had circulated during World War II. He even speaks some German words such as "Achtung" and "Schweinhund".
In other media
The Fearless Leader appears in two live action films: he is portrayed by Christopher Neame in Boris and Natasha: The Movie (1992) and by Robert De Niro in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000).
The Fearless Leader was also the background picture seen hanging on the wall in the old newspaper cartoon, "Grin and Bear It" by Lichty, whenever the Kremlin or politburo was being lampooned.
The Fearless Leader wears a uniform that is vaguely similar to the field uniforms that were worn by the Waffen SS. However, their double-breasted cut with piping is closer to the style of uniforms worn by officers of Prussian dragoon regiments in World War I.
In Jamie Gilson's book 4B Goes Wild, the strict, no-nonsense headmistress of the elementary school is called that behind her back. When the protagonist, Hobie Hanson, wins a lunch date with the headmistress in a raffle, his friends tease him as to "When are you going to eat with Fearless Leader?"
The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Dreamworks film came with a Rocky and Bullwinkle short in which the Fearless Leader makes an appearance.
His sharply-angled features closely resemble those from an anti-Nazi propaganda poster circulated during World War II.
His design was also partially inspired by Otto Skorzeny, a Nazi SS Chief who had a scar that ran down his left cheek.
He apparently has a weakness for autographed celebrity photos, as he let Boris Badenov live in exchange for an autographed photograph of Sonny Tufts.
According to the 2014 short, he wanted to kill Rocky and Bullwinkle to mount their heads and add them to his collection, as a Moose and a Squirrel are the only two animals missing.
When the Fearless Leader gets sent flying out of the studio in the climax of the film, the color streak he makes is blue (his suit), Boris' was white (his skin), and Natasha's was red (her dress), the colors of the American flag.
In early episodes, the Fearless Leader had a very different design. First, he was slim, wearing a trenchcoat, and disguised himself with sunglasses and a hat. Then, he was large and fat. Eventually, the design we now are familiar with is revealed when Boris returns to Central Control.
Some fans have suggested that, alternatively, several previous Fearless Leaders were overthrown during the first few episodes. However, many find this unlikely as they all have the same voice.
Which cheek his scar is on tends to be rather inconsistent, but is usually located on the left cheek.
If he is particularly pleased with someone, he allows them to call him F.L.
Although the Fearless Leader, Boris and Natasha are antagonists, their movie actors have top billing above those of Rocky and Bullwinkle themselves.