Well, how would you blokes like to make some REAL money?
~ The Coachman to Honest John and Gideon.
No, no. There is no risk. They never come back... as BOYS!
~ The Coachman to Honest John Worthington Foulfellow and his partner Gideon.
The Coachman is one of the main antagonists in Disney's 2nd full-length animated feature film Pinocchio.
He was voiced by the late Charles Judels, who also voiced Stromboli.
He is the owner of Pleasure Island, an amusement park located on an island. A seemingly kind and charitable gentleman, he takes naughty boys to said island where they would be allowed to do many bad things such as smoking, drinking, and fighting without having to worry about adult supervision.
As the boys continued to engage in this misbehavior, the boys would fall victim to the curse of this seemingly innocent amusement park, gradually beginning to transform into donkeys. The Coachman and his henchmen would then gather the boys to ship them away to salt mines and circuses in exchange for profit.
To that end, the Coachman hires Honest John and Gideon (who were both deeply frightened of him) to lure such boys (such as Pinocchio and Lampwick) into his sinister trap, telling them that they will not need to worry about the authorities as the boys will not return as themselves and will therefore not leave behind any evidence that they had ever been to Pleasure Island. He is shown to be served by silent ape-like creatures who lurk in the shadows.
Fortunately, Pinocchio was able to escape Pleasure Island after Jiminy Cricket alerted him what he was planning to the boys and alerted him of the situation, though not before developing donkey ears and a tail. Lampwick was transformed into a donkey and was presumably captured by the Coachman to sell into slavery. The Coachman was never seen again after this.
The Coachman is amongst the most sinister and antagonistic Disney villains, part by his actions and his pleasure in torturing children for wealth. However, he could also be considered to be extremely decent, ethical, moralistic, praiseworthy, straightforward, conscientious, and incorruptible in his own dark and twisted way, as he teaches the boys a pricey lesson for prolonged misbehavior.
Like most Disney villains, the Coachman is greedy, cunning, eccentric, manipulative, diabolical, and sadistic, enjoying other people's pain, and is also very cruel, heartless, and unsympathetic, whipping his minions and also selling young boys that come to his island into slavery so that he can make money off of them. He enjoys their pain and justifies his action by claiming their slavery as, according to him, payment for their ill and inadequate behavior displayed on Pleasure Island.
The Coachman does get his punishment in the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game version of Pinocchio by getting kicked off a cliff by Pinocchio (the player).
His character may have been created as a contrast to the Blue Fairy, given rather than teach the boys to behave better as she does, he simply punishes them for their misdeeds. Some fans have speculated that he is a magical creature like her (given he is such in the original book), but this is only speculation.
The Coachman's fate is very similar to Stromboli's fate as both of their fates are never revealed.
The Coachman was Disney's first villain to be considered as Pure Evil.
He, unlike the Coachman (or Little Man) from the original book, did not mutilate any of the boys (though he was abusive towards them, and was willing to put many of them through deadly situations by selling them to the salt mines). Another difference is that this version was large and more intimidating, even if at the beginning he looked just as a kindly old man. Otherwise, he is the character with less changes from the book.
It's possible that he keeps the donkeys who can still talk as his own personal slaves-given that the animals driving his carriage as he is taking the boys to the ferry are donkeys. This makes even more sense given he did keep them as his slaves in the original book.