Bill Sykes is the main antagonist from Disney's 1988 film Oliver & Company. He is based on the Bill Sykes of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, which Oliver and Company is a modern re-imagining of. This Sykes is a loan shark and shipyard agent who owns warehouses by the docks. He is voiced by Robert Loggia.
Sykes is one of Disney's most heavy-set villains, shown usually in shadows. He is clean-shaven and eerily charming. He smokes large cigars and is seen always 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.
Unusually for Disney, the lifestyle and behavior of a loan shark 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 some unknown person a manner of torturing and murdering some other unknown.
His minions in the movie are his Doberman Pinschers Roscoe and DeSoto.
Role in the film
Sykes has lent a large amount of money to the petty criminal Fagin for some unknown reason. 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.
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, and Sykes assumes this is a ruse to in fact kidnap and ransom the cat owner, rather than the cat, and gives Fagin one more chance.
When Jenny comes to get Oliver, she shows Fagin that all she has brought with her is her piggy bank, with Sykes unknowingly watching from afar. When Sykes drives up, he pulls Jenny into his car and takes her to his warehouse after throwing Oliver out the window. 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 man, 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. When Sykes 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 before Sykes, Roscoe and DeSoto burst through the door.
But just when it looks like they're home free, Sykes and his dogs confront them. Luckily, Fagin bursts in on his scooter, and the gang hop on and drive away as fast as they can. Sykes and his dogs follow in his car. Fagin goes onto the subway railroad tracks hoping that Sykes can't follow them, but he does. He 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 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 and DeSoto, causing the two dobermans to fall onto the railroad track. Sykes pays no attention and continues to chase the gang. He goes up through his car roof, grabs Jenny's leg, and pulls her back. Just as he is pulling her back, Dodger and Oliver jump onto Sykes, causing him to lose his grip on Jenny. Even as he manages to throw them off, he turns around to see a train heading straight for him just before his car collides with it, destroying it completely.
- Sykes is clearly seen loading a handgun. So far this is the only time in Disney history where a modern gun has been loaded.