It is nearly impossible to narrow down the best Disney movies to a list. First of all, let’s point out that Disney owns Pixar now, so most Pixar movies are also technically Disney movies. In order to make this list possible, we had to cut any Pixar films and films that were entirely live-action. Still, we were left with many great options. The following is the final list, including a bunch from the heyday of Disney animation and a few older classics.
Here are the 17 best Disney movies of all time.
A few years ago, this movie became a pop culture sensation. Both kids and adults ADORED the story of Elsa and Anna. People were singing the songs from the movie all the time.
And the best part? There will be a Frozen 2 released in November 2019.
This Disney movie hit the scene in the 1990s, and it quickly became one of Disney’s best animated movies.
Why? The music was beautiful, and the storyline had everyone at the edge of their seats.
This Disney movie is a classic story where a poor girl meets a boy. He falls in love with her, and then they get married.
The story of Cinderella has become intertwined in our culture. Many little kids want a Prince Charming to save them.
14.) 101 Dalmatians
One of the most infamous villains of all time came from this movie! Cruella De Vil makes this film so much better.
The dogs and puppies help too. It makes you wish that your dogs could talk!
This Disney movie has one of the best soundtracks! Aladdin is filled with magic carpets, blue genies and parrots with a weird sense of humor.
To say the least, it’s a classic.
The story of Mulan became a huge hit with young girls and women around the world. They loved that the main character saved an entire city from an invasion by doing the right thing.
She defied all odds by being an empowered lady! You go, girl.
Sometimes Disney releases movies that are so-so. Moana was not one of these. It took off and was considered a major hit.
You will find yourself crying in your living room while watching this Disney movie.
10.) Peter Pan
Peter Pan is one of the best Disney films because it’s about kids staying kids forever!
It’s a wonderful story with a great message at the end.
Even though Bambi is filled with animals, it will have you hysterically crying in no time.
The movie has cute animals that will fill your heart with love.
8.) The Princess and the Frog
Starring Disney’s first black princess, The Princess and the Frog was a major hit. The movie was filled with a ton of life lessons and to remind the audience to follow their dreams.
Again, the soundtrack makes the movie even better.
7.) Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton is known for creating creepy films, but Nightmare Before Christmas is beloved by many. It has a Halloween storyline, but it also can be considered a Christmas movie.
It has a love story that makes all the viewers feel good.
6.) Lilo and Stitch
This Disney film eventually became a successful TV show that many people enjoyed.
This movie is considered a classic, but sometimes people forget about it!
5.) Mary Poppins
With Julie Andrews in the lead and Dick Van Dyke and David Tomlinson supporting her, this could not be a bad movie. Despite the input from the author of the original books, who took a lot of convincing, the movie is still much more light-hearted and less mysterious than the children’s novel. For adults, the messages are just as clear. The story is that of a strict yet wonderful nanny who comes to throw a repressed English family into chaos in order to teach the father that he needs to loosen up and start spending some time with his kids.
If you’re a child of the 90s, you’ll know that that was the common message of kid’s movies in that decade, but Mary Poppins was released in 1964. It was also ahead of its time in its smooth integration of animation, live action and special effects. If you’re just too cynical to laugh at the wholesome humor of the script, there will always be Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent. It’s been called the worst film accent in history.
4.) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
This gets credit for being the movie that started it all. Before this movie’s release, animation was only used for cartoon shorts that were shown before full-length features. This was Disney’s first full-length feature, but it was also the first full-length animated movie, the first animated movie in the U.S. with a soundtrack album, the first animated movie ever in full color and the first in a long line of Disney movies based on fairy tales.
Today, this Disney movie may not seem particularly clever or well filled out. But if you can remember that this was the first, you’re more likely to be impressed with the balance between action and romance. Maybe you’ll be more likely to appreciate Snow White’s story and the gags of the dwarfs.
3.) Beauty and the Beast
Before 2009, this was the only animated movie ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. It was also one of the first to use computer animation and is still known for its beautiful integration of the best of both traditional and modern animation techniques. This movie has all of the sweeping beauty and classic romance of earlier Disney Princess movies.
After all, the movie’s message is to look deeper and not to judge people on their outward appearance, so the prince and princess had better be more than just some pretty faces. Also, every supporting character is taken seriously, making for an impressive balance of the romantic, thrilling and just plain cute.
2.) The Little Mermaid
When we got to thinking about Sebastian the crab and his musical numbers Under the Sea and Kiss the Girl, we couldn’t leave this movie off the list. The voice actor who sings Sebastian’s songs is Samuel E. Wright. Although this is probably the film he’s best known for, he has been nominated for two Tony awards. But he’s not the only reason that The Little Mermaid made the list.
It was the first of what has come to be known as The Disney Renaissance. It is a time stretching from The Little Mermaid‘s release in 1989 until the end of the ’90s when Disney returned to be the undisputed rulers of animated cinema. The moms out there may want to note that this is the first time a Disney Princess speaks up for herself.
1.) The Lion King
This is what happens when Shakespeare and Elton John meet up with talking animals in the Serengeti. This movie is based very loosely on Hamlet, but instead of the Prince of Denmark, you’ve got the Prince of the Animal Kingdom. Then they threw in some Macbeth and some biblical Joseph and Moses.
It’s voiced by an all-star cast, including Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Nathan Lane, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg and Jeremy Irons. This is the movie that has everything: beautiful scenery, stirring emotion, complicated power plays, dangerous fight scenes, brilliant comedic timing and musical numbers worthy of Broadway’s best.
Did your favorite Disney movie make the list? It was hard to choose the best movies since there are so many of them. Click the next button to see Disney inspired weddings that will make you say “aww!”