- Kenneth Cotterill
Top 25 Disney Movies Of All-Time
Updated: May 29, 2020
Disney movies were a childhood past time for this writer growing up. Even last night I found myself pondering over an article discussing the best Disney movies all time. It was a tough read for this guy, as movies I absolutely adored was ranked so low. So it made me think “What are my favorite Disney movies of all-time.” Now before you go any further, let me preface that I have not seen every single Disney movie ever made. More current movies such as Tangled or Big Hero Six I have not seen. Even some classic's like the Nightmare Before Christmas I have not seen either. No sequels will be included in this list, so while Toy Story Three is a great Disney movie, it won’t be featured on my list. So let us take a look at my top twenty-five and this goes without saying: **SPOILER ALERTS COMING**
For a movie that was made during World War Two, this is is a phenomenal flick. With eight animated segments and phenomenal music, this Disney movie is very underrated. Most people don't enjoy it because there is no spoken dialogue. The scenes themselves however are told so well without it that it is not required. Fantasia just cracks my list and I do not care who likes it.
24. Sleeping Beauty
This 1959 Disney classic is an adaptation of a fairy tale and was very well done. The dynamic of Princess Aurora and Maleficent is phenomenal in this movie, as Aurora is betrothed to Prince Phillip (not the real-life Prince Phillip). The closing moments of Phillip awakening Aurora with a kiss, in turn breaking Maleficent's spell, is an iconic Disney film moment. The middle dragged on a bit, which is why it is lower on my list, but overall it is a solid movie.
Another mid-1900's Disney movie makes my list, but how can Cinderella not be on this list? Cinderella loses both her parents when she is young and has to live with her wicked stepmother and stepsisters. She overcomes those hardships, and thanks to her fairy godmother, she finds love in Prince Charming. Her fairy godmother turning the pumpkin into a carriage and the mice into horses is still an awesome scene to this day. Overall solid watch even seventy years later.
22. Alice In Wonderland
When it comes to Alice In Wonderland I am talking about the original here, not the average remake directed by Tim Burton. While I love Johnny Depp, the original movie made in 1951 by Clyde Geronimi was just better. Alice takes you on a fun journey, that ultimately turns out to be a dream, and introduces you to many memorable characters. This was a tough one for me to rank, as I have not seen it in so long, so I settled with spot number twenty-two.
21. The Jungle Book
This movie has been made three times, but the original from 1967 is my personal favorite. You cannot think about this movie without humming "The Bare Necessities" in your head, one of my personal favorite Disney songs. The friendship of Mowgli and Baloo is awesome to watch and had there been more memorable characters this movie would be higher.
20. Lilo & Stitch
One of the more current movies that I have seen, this 2002 movie is a true Disney movie about friendship. Lilo and Stitch are a great duo together and the inclusion of Nani, Lilo's older sister, makes this a great movie. I was not a big fan of Dr. Jumba Jookiba, which is what keeps Lilo and Stitch from being higher on the list.
Yes, Bambi is on my list, even if it makes me misty-eyed thinking about the ending. But this 1942 movie showed us that not every movie has a happy ending. Bambi the mule deer, along with his parents and his pal Thumper, brought in three Academy Award nominations. I could not put a movie with a sad ending higher, however, so Bambi slots in just inside the top twenty.
18. A Bug's Life
One of the first Disney movies I watched as a child comes in at number eighteen. Kevin Spacey playing Hopper, the ruthless grasshopper leader, is very fitting given his recent issues with the law. Julia Louis-Dreyfus also kills it as Princess Atta and is why I have this movie on my list. Flik is great, but the cast of Slim, Heimlich, Francis, Rosie, Gypsy, and Manny really carry this movie. Had the main character been better it could have been higher.
Tarzan was a movie I really wanted to put higher on my list, but I just could not do it. This 1999 film is good but lacks star power in the voice department. The biggest name is Rosie O'Donnell, who plays Terk, but otherwise not many well-known actors/actresses. The storyline of a young man being raised by gorillas is great, but other movies are just better. Also, Tarzan and Jane loving one another kinda creeps me out and I don't know why.
16. The Emperor’s New Groove
"Pull the lever Kronk!" is one of my favorite Disney quotes. And while I love the trio of David Spade, John Goodman, and Eartha Kitt, I just was left wanting more from this movie. I love the characters, but the plot was a tad stale for me at times which keeps this movie at sixteen. Characters can only make me love a movie so much.
15. Lady And The Tramp
Nothing like a love story involving....dogs?!?! No in all seriousness this movie deserves the number fifteen spot, even if it is just for the spaghetti kiss scene alone. This 1955 classic shows us a real love story and is one of my personal favorites. If there were a few more memorable characters it would be higher that is for sure.
"Do you want to build a snowman" may be an incredibly annoying song now, due to it being overplayed on the radio, but Frozen is still solid. I rarely enjoy more current Disney movies as I did this one, but Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, was so good. Kristen Bell holds her own as Anna, but Olaf is truly one of my all-time favorite Disney movie characters. Another movie that just needed another fun character or two to be higher.
13. The Aristocats
People may think this movie is too high, but my girlfriend loves this movie and I think it is solid. Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a great Disney song. While there are not many noteworthy characters, there are also no bad ones either. When O'Malley gets adopted into the family, it makes me shed a tear on occasion (it is okay for men to cry). No glaring issues with this one, but nothing spectacular which is why it comes in at number thirteen.
The 1998 animated musical historical action tale is great, even when rewatching it over twenty years later. Ming-Na Wen voices Mulan really well, but Eddie Murphy as Mushu steals the crown. I also prefer it when actors or actresses sing themselves, but this movie has multiple songs sung by different people. Great plot and characters, but the music lacks like some of the truly great movies. Twelve seems fair for this one.
11. The Little Mermaid
You cannot think of Disney Princesses without thinking about Ariel. People still dress up as her on Halloween and that is because she is such an iconic character. While I did not love Flounder, Sebastian and Ursula salvage this movie for me, along with Ariel. Jodi Benson did a phenomenal job voicing the red-headed mermaid and helps earn this movie the number twelve spot.
This is the most recent made film on my list. Moana, even as an adult, was a great watch and just missed out on the top ten. Dwayne Johnson kills it in his voice role as Maui, as does Auli'i Cravalho as Moana. I also love how retired NFL safety Troy Polamalu makes a random appearance as Village No. 1. Over time this movie may hop into my top ten, but I want to see how it ages over the next decade like many of the movies ahead of it have.
9. The Incredibles
The second movie in my top ten is the super-power family flick called the Incredibles. The parents, Bob and Helen, could be better, but their kids Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack are fun to watch. Samuel L. Jackson also has a fun cameo as Frozone, but what holds this movie back is the fact that the main villain is kinda dull. Jason Lee's voicing Buddy Pine fine, but he is a very vanilla villain. A better villain would put this movie even into my top five.
I did not watch this movie the first time with high hopes, but my goodness was I wrong about Zootopia. High-profile actors and actresses like Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, and Idris Elba voice the main trio of characters in this recent animated masterpiece. This one falls at number eight for the same reason Moana is at ten: I simply want to see how it ages over time.
7. Beauty And The Beast
Beauty and the Beast was a movie I watched just last night, as I wanted to make sure it justified the number seven spot and it does. The 1991 animated version of this movie has everything you could ask for, from great characters to catchy musical numbers like "Be Our Guest." Even watching it last night I remembered how great of a villain Gaston is as well.
Geppetto carving out his wooden puppet named Pinocchio was just the second animated feature film produced by Disney and it was top notch. Obviously remembering musical numbers or actors is tough for this one, but it still holds up as a good Disney movie. It also taught me one of the most important lessons in my life, which is never to lie. Great movie all around and gets slept on because of how old it is.
Just cracking my top five is a movie I grew up watching countless times and that is Hercules. I loved it so much that it made me want to take a Greek Mythology class while I was in University. I had Hercules plates even, as this was just a fun movie to watch. Tate Donovan brings Hercules to life, while Danny DeVito spurs him on as Philoctetes. James Woods is a great villain as Hades as well. Michael Bolton also had the song "Go the Distance" in this one, which is why it checks all of my Disney boxes.
4. Snow White
This movie is incredibly slept on as an all-time great Disney movie. So what if it was made in 1937, this movie has everything you could ask for in a Disney film. Iconic musical numbers like "Heigh-Ho" and "Whistle While Your Work" are still great even today. The Witch is an elite villain and the seven Dwarves and Snow White are great characters. If the graphics were even a few years better I would actually put this movie top three, but four is where this movie falls.
1992 was not only the birth year of my sister but also the year that my third favorite Disney movie was made. Robin Williams voices my favorite Disney character, Genie, and absolutely kills it. Jafar, Abu, Jasmine, and Aladdin himself round out a great main cast of characters. "A Whole New World" is also the most popular Disney song in history, in this writer's opinion, so that is why Aladdin comes in at number three.
2. Toy Story
This 1995 animated tale just misses out on the top spot of my rankings. Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks, and Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen, are the most iconic duo in Disney movie history. And when you throw in characters like Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, and Rex, this movie has it all. A top-notch plot caps off an all-around great Disney movie. If I could have 1A and 1B I would, but I had to narrow it down and Toy Story just misses out on my number one ranking.
1. The Lion King
The number one selection was easy for me and it is The Lion King. When I first think of Disney I think of the first presentation of the future king of Pride Rock! It is when Rafiki appears to baptize young Simba with the insides of a broken fruit and some sand from the lions' den. So many great characters like Simba, Scar, Timon, Pumbaa, and even Sarabi. Voices by Matthew Broderick and James Earl Jones just make it all the more legendary. The Lion King is my best Disney movie of all time and I do not care if anyone disagrees.
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