26. Frozen. (2013) There's no denying how popular 'Frozen' is. Perhaps its popularity is half the reason why it's dead last on this list. The film not only boasts a rogue's gallery of annoying characters, but also an endless barrage of ear-shattering songs. It's somewhat perplexing how popular this film became, maybe it was at this point that Disney realised they could do no wrong, and anything they produce would be successful.
IMDB: 7.5/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
25. Pocahontas. (1995) The weakness of 'Pocahontas' comes primarily from its sketchy politics. The white saviour parable leaves a bad taste and it becomes very hard to watch it in any other light.
IMDB: 6.7/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 56%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
24. Hunchback of Notre Dame. (1996) Perhaps one of the most important things the 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' Disney film did was introduce the majesty and beauty of the legendary cathedral to people from all around the globe. Even as a young child in Abu Dhabi, I marveled at the scale and design of the Paris monument. The film itself isn't special beyond that.
IMDB: 6.9/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 71%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
23. Peter Pan. (1953) The issue with Peter Pan adaptations is that ultimately you realize that Hook is a much more interesting character. The mustachioed pirate and his band of buccaneers always steal the show, and this film is no exception. Peter Pan and the lost boys are fun at times, but it's definitely the pirates that most kids wanted to hang out with.
IMDB: 7.3/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
22. Emperor’s New Groove. (2000) A film appreciated beyond its time. Kuzco has become something of a cult favorite among fervent fans of this films. Extremely underappreciated and under-watched, more people should make an effort and discover this future classic.
IMDB: 7.4/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
21. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. (1937) The Oldest film on the list, and perhaps the most iconic. "Mirror Mirror on the wall," is a line known by every generation that watches this film. Every live action remake doesn't due the beauty of it justice. The poisoned apple will always be a scary sight.
IMDB: 7.6/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
20. Bambi. (1942) The scene where (spoilers for a film from 1942) Bambi's mother dies, is usually cited by many people as the scene that traumatised them the most as children. Disney is usually accused of playing on people's emotions by involving mother characters in some sort of heart wrenching situation, and Bambi is the best example. a beautiful and and heartbreaking film.
IMDB: 7.3/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 90%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
19. Atlantis: The Lost Empire. (2001) One of the lower rated films by critics and fans alike, 'Atlantis' definitely deserves a revisit and re-evaluation. While the story is simple and straightforward, the design of the film carries it all the way through. Worth watching on Blu-ray with a big television.
IMDB: 6.9/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 49%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
18. Cinderella. (1950) One of the titles that established Disney as a household name around the world. Every household had a copy of Cinderella, the imagery defined by this film lives on to today.
IMDB 7.3/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 97%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
17. The Princess and the Frog. (2009) Disney finally got a black princess in 2009. While very late, it was still appreciated. The film set in the bayou swamps of New Orleans have a specific classical Disney movie aura that is unmistakable. The characters are charming and lovable and the music is certainly groovy. It's a film that can be enjoyed more on repeat viewings.
IMDB: 7.1/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
16. Lilo and Stitch. (2002) Hawaiian tunes and surfing with cute aliens is the briefest description of 'Lilo and Stitch'. While not being in Disney's upper echelon of cartoon films, it's a lot of fun, and worth having at home.
IMDB: 7.2/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
15. The Little Mermaid. (1989) 'The Little Mermaid' is one of Disney most memorable films. The film follows the same formula of creating a more colorful and accessible versions of Hans Christian Anderson’s grim tales and borrowing story elements from previous Disney films. However, the colorful side characters, mesmerizing animation and the daring personality of its curious princess make it a timeless experience.
The film continues to be a favorite of Disney fans due to the lovable character of Ariel who broke the mold of previous timid and passive princesses (Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora). To me the strength of the film lies in its refreshing and relatable purple villain, Ursula, who makes the film absolutely rewatchable.
IMDB: 7.6/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
14. One Hundred and One Dalmatians. (1961) The style of this film is unmistakably rooted in the 60s. The character of Cruella De Ville is loathsome and scary. The black and white colour motif she always wore became the official colors of evil in the eyes of many kids who saw this. A story of love and resilience.
IMDB: 7.2/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
13. Tarzan. (1999) Thinking back on Tarzan 20 years after it came out, the thing that stands out the most was the movie's soundtrack by Phil Collins. Disney's output have great music more often than not, but the soundtrack to Tarzan is one that not many people know of, but should spend some time enjoying and appreciating.
IMDB: 7.3/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
12. Big Hero 6. (2014) After having acquired Marvel, Disney found themselves with a treasure trove for material. Their first venture outside of the MCU with Marvel content was 'Big Hero 6'. The film has a beautiful mixture of eastern and western design. The name of the city where the story takes place is San Fransokyo, which mixes elements from San Francisco and Tokyo as the name alludes. The balance doesn't stop there, as the characters and story pay homage to Japanese Anime as well as early 90s cartoons from Cartoon Network.
IMDB: 7.8/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 89%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
11. The Jungle Book. (1967) A fun fact about the 'Jungle Book' is that The Beatles were supposed to voice the four singing crows in the film. The people who ultimately voiced them did a great job at emulating the Liverpudlian rock giants, but it would have been great to have them in the movie. The music lifts this movie into legendary status, and you will find yourself humming the bear necessities even while reading this.
IMDB: 7.6/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
10. Beauty and the Beast. (1991) In 1946, Jean Cocteau directed 'La Belle et la Bete'. The film captivated audiences, and the story of 'Beauty and the Beast' became popular again. Some credit the 1991 film with the catapulting success Disney enjoyed from this point on, and they wouldn't be entirely wrong. The film had incredible visuals, and beautiful music.
IMDB: 8.0/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
9. Hercules. (1997) Hercules is one is the most underrated Disney films of all time. This lighthearted and cheerful spin on an otherwise bloody Greek tragedy is filled with anachronistic jokes and one-liners that make the film all the more charming. Hercules jokes about Oedipus’ issues, Phil (Danny DeVito) boasts about being adored by nymphs and Pegasus is the funniest character in the film and he doesn’t even talk. Megara does not disappoint as one of the most interesting Disney princesses of all time, all with a back story, dry attitude, and constantly schooling “Herc”. The animation style breaks away from Disney films at the time and delivers beautiful visuals heavily inspired by Greek art, which you can notice in the illustrations of the eerie backgrounds and the elegant characters. But one of the best parts of the film has to be the gospel choir meets Greek muses’ soundtrack that left us with one of Disney’s masterpieces, 'The Gospel Truth.'
IMDB: 7.3/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 84%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
8. Dumbo. (1941) This year we saw Dumbo released as a live action film, directed by Tim Burton. The reactions to that film were lukewarm at best. The most frustrating thing about these Disney live action adaptions of their cartoon films is that they could have easily re-released the cartoons, with better quality restorations, and audiences would have probably enjoyed the film a lot more than the live-action movie. The psychedelic visuals in the pink elephants segment scared and fascinated me as a child.
IMDB: 7.3/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 98%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
7. Wreck-It Ralph. (2012) This film came out around the perfect time for people who grew up with their favorite video game characters in the late 80s and early 90s. The depth and warmth of Ralph was instantly relatable for kids who feel alienated for their differences in their environments. The film beautifully sends a message of hope and confidence to everyone watching, while also being very funny and enjoyable.
IMDB: 7.7/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
6. Moana. (2016) 'Moana' is part of Disney’s new direction towards creating more culturally appropriate films. Unlike other culturally specific Disney films before ('Pocahontas'), 'Moana' is much more historically and culturally authentic and provides a respectful representation of Polynesian culture. Its success was due to the great attention put in towards constructing an enjoyable story with lovable characters.
What makes 'Moana' special is that the Polynesian princess is not only on a mission to save the world but she’s on journey towards reconciling her great ambitions with the restrictive traditions of her tribe. It is a story of discovering one’s strength, reconnecting with a lost history, and earning the respect of an arrogant mentor. Dwayne Johnson (as Maui) delivers hilarious performance which can be credited for most of the film’s charm. That, alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda’s catchy and addictive tunes qualify 'Moana' to be number six on the list.
IMDB: 7.6/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 95%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
5. Mulan. (1998) What’s more satisfying than a girl who escapes the pressures of marriage and goes on an adventure with the help of a tiny dragon (Eddie Murphy) to restore her family honor and rescue all of China in the process? 'Mulan' without a doubt adheres to Disney’s formula of a princess on a quest with the help of adorable and funny animal companions, but surpasses expectations with a serious plot. The films captured viewers with a terrifying and merciless villain who is inspired by Attila the Hun. And it kept us on the edge of our seats hoping Mulan’s cover as a male soldier doesn’t get blown. By combing traditional Disney formula with a culturally respectful approach and a fearless heroin, 'Mulan' paved the way for a new age of princess movies.
IMDB: 7.6/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 86%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
4. Alice in Wonderland. (1951) Truly one of Disney's most underrated films. The story of 'Alice in Wonderland' lends itself to some very bizarre and outlandish interpretations. This version, while being grounded, still delivers on the weird. The songs alone will be seared in your memory, and you'll love it.
IMDB: 7.4/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 80%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
3. Fantasia. (1940) It's hard to accept that 'Fantasia' was made 79 years ago. Its beauty and majesty is still immense, even today. Not every segment is excellent, but enough are, and there will always be something to enjoy. The music is otherworldly, every piece becomes instantly memorable. A stone cold classic.
IMDB: 7.8/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 96%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
2. Aladdin. (1992) Capturing the magic generated by 'Beauty and the Beast', Disney produced an absolute masterstroke with 'Aladdin'. Casting Robin Williams as the genie is probably half the reason why this film became so beloved by kids. The comedian delivered a very influential turn as the blue giver of wishes.
IMDB: 8.0/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
1. The Lion King. (1994) it's hard to think of a better film on this list. the impact 'Lion King' had when it came out was immeasurable. It had everything from strong emotional moments to laugh out loud scenes. The music takes you on a journey from the first second till the credits roll. A lot of praise must be given to the art style of the film, which was then successfully translated into the stage production.
IMDB: 8.5/10. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures