The 10 greatest Disney movies of all time (my opinion!).

With Tangled scheduled for U.K. release on January 28th, I couldn’t help but stage comparisons with not just the studio’s impressive canon of princesses, but it’s animated filmography as a whole. Opting to include subsidiary Pixar’s releases (in honour of Tangled’s determination to unite traditional animation and CG under one princess), I have put together a list of the Disney movies I have been most entertained by since my non-formative baby years – aren’t you lucky!

Me and Disney go way back: while the other pre-schoolers greeted the play school bell with talk of football and Action Men, I successfully alienated myself by singing “Heigh Ho!” to my somewhat embarrassed parents (sadly, I am not even joking).  Ever practising my award-winning performance of red-faced dwarf Grumpy, it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that introduced me to the Disney brand – a media behemoth that was destined to churn out a number of my favourite movies.

An avid fan of Hocus Pocus and High School Musical 3: Senior Year, I have had to omit many of my personal entertainment highlights in order to deliver a strictly animated list. Although Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes ultimately played a larger role in my childhood, I have since realised the excellence of Disney’s considerable backlog. Having only seen Cinderella and The Emperor’s New Groove relatively recently, and without having yet seen The Aristocats, Lilo and Stitch or the second half of Fantasia, this list will likely forever be a work in process.  Similarly, with my warped taste in movies firmly in mind, it is also a list few will agree on. For now, however, these are the Disney movies I would more than happily watch again and again well into my own happily ever after.

10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Why you loved it: Those gremlins sure have a good taste in Disney films: hypnotised by the soundtrack (I know the feeling), their enthusiasm for Disney’s first full length animated bought Billy Peltzer and love interest enough time to torch their resident cinema and save the day. An indisputable classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves introduced such franchise staples as the feature princess, the evil witch and the show-stealing supporting cast.

Why I loved it: Ever patronising my inability to whistle while I work – or do anything else for that matter – I was instantly won over by the archetype-happy dwarves who would do anything to save their resident princess from a magic-mirror and poisoned apple wielding witch.

9. Beauty and the Beast

Why you loved it: Another pimped out fairy-tale, Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a young Belle who becomes trapped in a beasts enchanted castle. Having fallen in love against all odds, the castle’s prince stands a chance of reversing a powerful curse that had caused him to Chewbacca-out. Thoroughly beautiful with moments of child-friendly darkness, Beauty and the Beast is a fulfilling amalgam of the finest direction, animation and song choice that 1991 had to offer.

Why I loved it: The fun relationship between a cursed candle-holder and clock kept the tone light and the jokes coming. Lumière and Cogsworth led a winning transfigured ensemble that – for a childhood me – balanced the sweet ending with a dose of bitter as such imaginative characters were rendered boringly human.

8. Robin Hood

Why you loved it: Recasting Robin Hood as a cocky fox and the rest of the legend’s characters as assorted beasts and beastettes, Robin Hood poked fun at an otherwise uninteresting morality tale which had something to do with Kevin Costner stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Adventurous, funny and beautifully animated, Robin Hood‘s protagonist was – rather refreshingly – as female as he was human.

Why I loved it: Ditto, I suppose. Joint first place with Robin Hood: Men In Tights for the prize of best Robin Hood adaptation ever, Disney’s Robin Hood puts the fun back into Sherwood Forrest.

7. Finding Nemo

Why you loved it: When clownfish Marlin rather predictably (the clue is in the title) loses his only son Nemo, he must team up with the lovably useless Dory in order to track him down. Although up against some tough competition, Dory is arguably the best marriage of character and voice actor in animation history. Struck down with chronic amnesia, Dory carries not only the comparatively dull Marlin – but the movie as well – to its heart-warming conclusion.

Why I loved it: You know what, I’m actually with you on this one. Finding Nemo is a hilarious, moving and gorgeous movie which transcends its animated façade.  Largely thanks to Ellen DeGeneres’ Dory, Finding Nemo is one of the finest masterpieces that Pixar has yet to offer.

6. The Jungle Book

Why you loved it: Adapting Rudyard Kipling’s stories of a feral child called Mowgli, Disney’s The Jungle Book has Mowgli ignore the warnings of the overprotective panther Bagheera and hook up with care-free bear Baloo for some feral-kidnapping fun. Featuring many of the studio’s most memorable songs (who doesn’t know “The Bare Necessities” by rote?), the film really stands up to repeated viewings.

Why I loved it: Had I not given it another chance while skiving an essay in 2nd year, The Jungle Book wouldn’t likely have made this list. Enjoying it exponentially more as an adult as I had as a child, The Jungle Book might not be the most gag-happy Disney film in their filmography but it is one of the most earnest and genuinely affecting.

5. The Emperor’s New Groove

Why you loved it: Well, you didn’t actually. Probably earning more off of McDonald’s Happy Meals than it did cinema-goers, The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the most underrated and overlooked Disney movies of all time. The product of a troubled engagement and a positively non-existent advertising campaign, the movie is one of the studio’s features that you might not have even heard of.

Why I loved it: All of the reasons, really. Essentially a buddy comedy without a princess in sight, The Emperor’s New Groove is the closest thing to a Warner Bros. cartoon that Disney has ever come – whether by design or complete accident. Perhaps the most quotable movie ever made, The Emperor’s New Groove is packed with unforgettable characters, hilariously irreverent humour and upbeat direction.

4. Toy Story 2

Why you loved it: Arguably the best of three extraordinary films, Toy Story 2 introduces a number of note-perfect new characters to an already exceptional returning ensemble. When Woody is toy-napped by a collector, the rest of the gang must track him down before he becomes to settled with his fellow Round-Up Gang.

Why I loved it: Although I’m tempted to begin and end my argument with “Make way for Mr. Angry-Eyes”, I also loved Toy Story 2 for its  rug-pull video-game opening, father-son Star Wars homage and across town adventure. Somehow improving on the original’s perfection, this particular sequel is the Empire Strikes Back of Andy’s toy box.

3. Aladdin

Why you loved it: With Robin Williams introducing – and subsequently selling – celebrity voice acting (so we have him to thank for DreamWorks’ pre-How to Train Your Dragon anthology of confused priorities), Aladdin is a hugely enjoyable take on Arabian folktale “One Thousand and One Nights”.

Why I loved it: Adding 1 x flying carpet to a Christmas list that already included a mogwai and an astromech droid, Aladdin was an atypically swashbuckling film which expertly balanced the studio’s traditional romance with enough humour to offset the shmaltz. Beautifully scored and featuring one of the greatest celebrity voice-overs of all time, Aladdin is Disney for boys (…and girls…and adults…and Sky+).

2. Wall-E

Why you loved it: Reductively described as R2D2: The Movie, Wall-E is nothing short of magisterial. Forfeiting dialogue for its entire opening act, Wall-E – take note Up – expertly balances indie sensibilities with mainstream child-appeal. Wringing more character out of its two central robots than Disney has managed with all of its direct-to-DVD sequels combined, Wall-E is heart-meltingly romantic, endlessly charming and endearingly slap-stick  – the very best Pixar has to offer.

Why I loved it: I have been waiting for an R2D2 movie since I first encountered George Lucas’ Star Wars and was therefore happy to accept Pixar’s (then) latest as an admittedly masterful consolation – heck, it even had Ben Burtt providing the beeps and whirls. Unlike the majority of critics, I didn’t have a problem with the admittedly juvenile final act – it is a children’s movie after all and the last-act chase sequence is faultlessly executed and oozes real joy.

1. The Lion King

Why you loved it: Heralding in the studio’s renaissance, The Lion King‘s grandeur and tragedy conspire to create one of the most layered and timeless Disney movies ever. Heartfelt, poignant and genuinely uplifting, The Lion King is proof that kids can take a side of darkness with their cheese. Allegedly inspired by both the Bible and Hamlet, the movie can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages – no exception.

Why I loved it: A slave to Timon and Pumbaa’s “Hakuna Matata”, I spend as much time laughing as I do welling up every time I watch it. Not afraid to put children through the emotional ringer, The Lion King has the most resonance, the greatest (Elton John penned) soundtrack and most fulfilling character arc of any Disney story.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

7 Responses to The 10 greatest Disney movies of all time (my opinion!).

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The 10 greatest Disney movies of all time (my opinion!). « popcornaddict -- Topsy.com

  2. Nostra says:

    Since Pixar is now Disney, is this the reason you included them? Which movies would you add if you were not allowed to include the Pixar releases?

    • If I wasn’t allowed to include Pixar movies…I don’t know. I suppose I would include Tangled, it was definitely on the best side of average. I was never that big a fan of Alice in Wonderland or Hercules, however The Fox and the Hound was a very good movie, as was Bambi, so I suppose they would fill out the remaining places. I really need to get around to watching Lilo and Stitch, I have a feeling it would make my Top 10…maybe replacing Robin Hood.

      What are your favourite Disney movies?

      • Nostra says:

        From the top of my head those would be: Emperor’s New Groove, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Lion King, Fantasia, Snow White and Dumbo.

  3. Tash says:

    The Emperor’s New Groove is just utterly, mind-crashingly brilliant.

  4. Pingback: How to Continue Your Dragon « popcornaddict

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