|"Come, come, come. I'm your Fearless Leader! Don't you trust me?...
SWINEHUND! TAKE HIM AWAY! And let this be a lesson, DON'T TRUST ANYBODY!
Dictator of Pottsylvania
Fearless Leader is a fictional character and the principal/recurring antagonist in the 1959–64 animated television series Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show, both shows often collectively referred to as Rocky and Bullwinkle. In the feature film The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fearless Leader is the main antagonist.
Fearless Leader is the dictator of the fictional country Pottsylvania, and the employer of the inept government agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale. He could always be found in his underground hideout, "Central Control." However, 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." Mr. Big is confirmed to be Fearless Leader's superior; however, Mr. Big works behind the scenes in the shadows, while Fearless Leader seems to act as Pottsylvania's public figure and military leader.
Fearless Leader is very thin and has a long, pointed nose, sharp cheekbones, and a long pointed chin that juts out. His most notable feature is a long scar on his cheek, where the marks of stitches can be seen. He is taller than Boris, and is only slightly shorter than Natasha.
He wears a monocle and a German-styled Military uniform, including black boots, a large hat with a skull and crossbones, and poofy pants. He is usually seen smoking from a cigarette holder.
In one storyline, he wore a yellow football coach's uniform as the coach for the team Boris put together to ruin thousands of illegal gamblers, the Mud City Manglers, a rowdy, dangerous group of thieves, killers, unspeakable turks and plug uglys who would don wigs and mini blouses and poorly masquerade as girls.
As expected from his given position and name, Fearless Leader is a strict, ruthless character, and often harshly rebukes the incompetence of his main minion Boris, and any others. He is distrustful of his own government employees and is known to carry the Pottsylvania treasury with him wherever he goes. He himself is untrustworthy, as he once convinced an employee to tell him bad news by convincing him to trust him and after the information was given proceeded to do exactly what the employee feared he would (liquidate him), while shouting to let it be a lesson to not trust others. He is shown to have a harsh temper, and will often resort to violence when insulted, and has no qualms about killing or attempting to kill his subordinates as punishment, even when coaching a football team.
He is extremely patriotic to the point of showing traits of Jinogism, at one point singing the national anthem of Pottsylvania when revealing his plan for world domination in the Missouri Mish Mash story arc, and in the Goof Gas story arc his motive is revealed to be that since Pottsylvania has no culture, arts, or resources to export, they will simply export their "mean" by declaring war on the world without telling anyone (because the Pottsylanian military is full of cowards, and thus would not fair well in a normal war). In a newspaper comic, he even assigned Boris onto a mission to improve Pottsylvania's recognition across the world. He also frequently refers to his plots as helping Pottsylvania rule the world rather than referring to himself ruling the world.
As his name implies, he is not easily scared, and rarely shows any signs of fear. The only thing he seems to fear is Pottsylvanian television programming, which was bad enough that Boris and he tried to weaponize it in the Rocket Fuel arc to blackmail the United States.
Although Pottsylvania's chief spies are given ersatz Russian accents, Fearless Leader's accent seems more in keeping with the German stereotype. He uses some German such as "Achtung"(can translate to danger, esteem, respect, attention, regard, or deference) and "Schweinhund," (an uncommon insult that translates to pighound) typical of German stereotypes in film and TV. He speaks loudly in a demanding tone, rarely ever speaking softly.
He apparently has a weakness for autographed celebrity photos, as he let Boris Badenov live in exchange for an autographed photograph of Sonny Tufts, while refusing everything else Boris offered. When Boris presented this in exchange for his life, Fearless Leader was briefly shocked, and told Boris "You've found the chink in my armor."
If he is particularly pleased with someone, he will act more friendly towards them, and give them permission to call him "F.L." instead of his full title, which is apparently considered a fairly high honor. He also may provide rewards for foul deeds that benefit his plans, even awarding medals on the spot.
In the 2018 reboot, Fearless Leader is portrayed in a much more comedic manner. He is frustrated that Pottsylvania is viewed as a laughingstock by other countries, and wishes to take over the world in retaliation.
Boris Badenov: Fearless Leader considers Boris one of their worst agents, and even once becomes enraged to find out Boris is the only agent available for a highly important mission. Fearless Leader does not trust him, and for good reason: Boris has attempted to betray Fearless Leader before, and sometimes insults Fearless Leader behind his back. However, Fearless Leader does seem to occasionally admire and reward Boris's foul deeds and overall nastiness and shows great appreciation when Boris does a job well done. Fearless Leader also once mentions that Boris is lucky that he likes bootlickers.
Natasha Fatale: Fearless Leader seems fairly indifferent to Natasha, and directs most of his anger towards Boris. However, as Boris's partner, she often ends up being rebuked, as well, and he would not think twice about giving Natasha the same harsh punishments as Boris.
Rocky and Bullwinkle: As the two often get mixed up in Fearless Leader's plans, their role changes based on the situation. In some situations, Fearless Leader may see them as pawns to try and manipulate. In others, they may need to be killed as they are interfering. In many situations, he keeps switching between needing them dead or alive, as the situation changes due to various blunders.
Mr. Big: Mr. Big is the only person Fearless Leader answers to, and he often has to report back to Mr. Big on various matters. Other than this, little is known of their relationship.
Other Politicians: When meeting with other Pottsylanian politicians, Fearless Leader threatens them at gunpoint, and shows little regard to their lives, even testing a faulty death Ray on them, before scolding the inventor because it didn't work.
Fearless Leader is an effective strategist, a convincing liar, and is presumed to have a strong military background. He is knowledgeable with firearms, and seems to consider physics something "any Pottsylvanian schoolchild could tell you."
In the 2014 short, he is evidenced to be a skilled hunter, as he has a variety of different animals mounted on his wall (missing only a Moose and a Squirrel).
In other media
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?"
- Fearless Leader appears in the short film Rocky and Bullwinkle, which was released with Mr. Peabody and Sherman on Blu-ray 3D on October 14, 2014, in which he was voiced by Thomas Lennon.
- His sharply-angled features closely resemble those from an anti-Nazi propaganda poster circulated during World War II (see Gallery for image).
- 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 Fearless Leader gets sent flying out of the studio in the climax of the 2000 film, the color streak he makes is blue (his suit), Boris's was white (his skin), and Natasha's was red (her dress), the colors of the American flag.
- In early episodes, 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 know was introduced and kept (see the image in Gallery).
- 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 on the left cheek.
- If he is particularly pleased with someone, he allows them to call him F.L.
- In the newspaper comics, Fearless Leader at one point (in response to a terrible idea) states that he prefers to be alone when he cries.
- In a 2017 comic that was spoofing the 2016 US Presidential election as well as shortages in places like Cuba, Venezeula, and the USSR, Fearless Leader was shown as being out of touch with the problems of the Pottslyvanians. An economic crisis has resulted in food shortages, where commoners struggle to find food. This even spills over to Boris and Natasha, who try to eat breakfast only to learn the stores have bare shelves. When they bring their complaints to Fearless Leader that the people have no meals, his response is "They should order out like I do", showing part of the reason for his ignorance is that his position is insulated from the shortage. Boris plans a conspiracy oust Fearless Leader by getting Bullwinkle to campaign to become a new Fearless Leader, making Fearless Leader aghast that anyone would have the temerity to challenge his office. Bullwinkle proposes to "Make Pottsylvania Great", but when the natives say their country was never great, he uses the campaign slogan "Make Pottsylvania Pretty Good Again", which becomes a runaway success.