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This article is about the version of Red Skull that appears in the 1990 Captain America film. For the mainstream version, click here.

Let's see if your kind heart is stronger than my deep hatred!
~ Red Skull fighting Captain America.
You remain a poor choice, little brother.
~ Red Skull to Captain America.
We are both tragedies... And now I send our tortured souls to rest!
~ Red Skull's last words before his defeat.

The Red Skull (real name: Tadzio de Santis) is the main antagonist of the 1990 superhero film Captain America. He is an Italian Fascist.

He was portrayed by Scott Paulin.


Tadzio de Santis was an Italian boy genius, born in the town of Porto Venere. Because of his intellect, he was kidnapped from his family by the Italian army stormtroopers in 1936, in a raid lead by Mussolini in person. The boy was forced to watch as his parents were killed before him, then he was taken in Fortezza Lorenzo (Lawrence's Fortress), a secret base of nazi-fascist experiments. In here, he was used as a Guinea pig for an experiment aimed to create the first and only "übermensch", following the researches of the unwilling scientist Maria Vaselli, who escaped immediately after the beginning of the experiment.

7 years later, De Santis, brainwashed, with his memory erased, completely loyal to the Axis and with his face disfigured, was put in charge of a plan to destroy the White House with a missile. During his mission, the man now known as the Red Skull faced for the first time Captain America, his American counterpart. During the fight, the Skull utterly overpowered Rogers, and tied him up to the missile. Just a moment before the missile took flight, anyway, Captain America grabbed Red Skull's right hand, trying to bring him to die with him, but the Skull cut his hand off, surviving the encounter.

Red Skull as Tadzio de Santis, wearing human mask on his face to hide the true face of his Red Skull.

Due to Vaselli's formula, De Santis survived during the decades: he transformed the Fortezza Lorenzo in his own base and went through plastic surgery to reconstruct his ruined face. After building a secret criminal organization, the Skull gained a lot of power, and he was the mastermind behind the deaths of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his brother Robert, and of Martin Luther King. When in 1989 the new American President, Thomas Kimball, began a new politics for global peace and echology, the Skull decided to stop him, but in order to avoid creating another martyr, he resolved to perform a revolurionary brain transplant, in order to become he himself the new US President.

Meanwhile, the believed dead Captain America awakens from his ice tomb in Alaska, and De Santis sends his daughter, Valentina, to kill him before he comes looking for him. While Valentina is searching for Rogers, Red Skull manages to kidnap the President when he's in Rome for a world summit, thanks to a general who betrayed US Government and is working for him. Disappointed for his daughter's failure, De Santis prepares to take possess of the Kimball's body, but the process is longer than forseen.

Kimball manages to break free from his prison, but he's immediately recaptured by the Skull. In his effort to ruin De Santis' plans, Kimball tries to jump from the top of the Fortress, only to be rescued by Captain America, arrived on the place. The Red Skull has the possibility to face his nemesis once again, and even this time he seemes to prevail on the American. Thanks to the help of both the President and Sharon Cooperman, anyway, Cap manages to have the Red Skull flee. De Santis has got one last resource, a hidden nuclear bomb powerful enough to destroy the southern part of Europe, and starts a detonator. In a final effort to make him regain his personality, Rogers forces him to listen to the registration of Tadzio's last night with his family, but the only result is to have the Skull become depressed, and more than ready to commit suicide. Taking advantage of a moment of distraction, Captain America throws his shield to the Skull, making him fly over the parapet, meeting his end on the cliff downward.


Good, an American. Just when I am needing help of my English lessons.
~ Red Skull
You care? Then come to me, my brother. Let us see if this heart of yours is stronger than my hate.
~ Red Skull
Fifty years ago, you were Dr. Vaselli's ridiculous idea. You remain a clownish symbol that no one cares about.
~ Red Skull
Assassination isn't worth the trouble. It took me two years to find Sirhan. Three to find Oswald. The King job alone cost me over twenty million dollars. What do we get for our pains? Saints. Martyrs to the cause.
~ Red Skull
Oh no... a hidden transmitter.
~ Red Skull
Does it look something like eh, this?
~ Red Skull
Hm. Painlessly removed from a lower right molar. This one. While you were unconscious.
~ Red Skull
And so easily deactivated. But don't worry, next time we'll have it made in Japan.
~ Red Skull



  • This incarnation of Red Skull is the first ever to be a tragic and sympathetic in his character.


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Captain America (1990): Red Skull | Valentina de Santis
Captain America: The First Avenger: HYDRA (Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Heinz Kruger, HYDRA Lieutenant, & Velt) | Adolf Hitler | Roeder | Hutter | Schneider
Heroes United: Iron Man and Captain America: HYDRA (Red Skull & Taskmaster)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: HYDRA/STRIKE (Alexander Pierce, Winter Soldier, Crossbones, Jack Rollins, Jasper Sitwell, Russo, Senator Stern, Arnim Zola, Wolfgang von Strucker, List, Scarlet Witch, & Quicksilver) | Georges Batroc | Ferdinand Lopez | Gerald Durand
Captain America: Civil War: Helmut Zemo | Thunderbolt Ross | Winter Soldier | Scarlet Witch | HYDRA (Vasily Karpov, Josef, & Winter Soldiers) | Hero Mercs (Crossbones)

TV Series
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Winter Soldier | Flag Smashers (Flag-Smasher, Dovich, Gigi, DeeDee, Lennox, Nico, Matias, & Diego) | Sharon Carter | Baron Zemo | LAF (Georges Batroc & Louie) | Senator Atwood | Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
What If...?: Red Skull | Arnim Zola | Heinz Kruger | HYDRA's Champion

Video Games
The Amazing Spider-Man & Captain America in Doctor Doom's Revenge: Doctor Doom | Electro | Hobgoblin | Rhino | Boomerang | Grey Gargoyle | Oddball | Batroc the Leaper | Mysterio
Captain America and the Avengers: Red Skull | Crossbones | Klaw | Living Laser | Whirlwind | Sentinel | Grim Reaper | Wizard | Mandarin | Juggernaut | Ultron
Captain America Super Soldier: HYDRA (Red Skull, Arnim Zola, Madam Hydra & Baron Strucker) | Baron Zemo
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Winter Soldier | Sin | Taskmaster | Shockwave | Serpent Society (King Cobra, Puff Adder & Diamondbak)

See Also
Agent Carter Villains