Walt Disney Animation Studios is best known for their animated films. Their first release was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs back in 1937, and they have been releasing high-quality films since then. I am an avid Disney fan that constantly seeks out their next release at the cinema. However, I must say that nothing quite beats the classics.
Looking back at the amazing movies produced by Disney, it is difficult to decide just which of their movies are the best. However, I have managed to compile a list of the top 10. This is based on my personal experience seeing the films as well as by digging up some research online as to which films were well-received from viewers.
The list will exclude Pixar movies even though they are currently owned by Walt Disney Studios. I feel they deserve sole recognition for their work.
Without further delay, I present to you the countdown of the best Disney movies of all time! Warning for some spoilers ahead.
Top Ten Disney Films of All Time
- The Lion King
- Beauty and the Beast
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- The Jungle Book
- Alice in Wonderland
- Release Date: May 19, 2000
- Global Box Office Gross: $349,822,765
- Production Budget: $127,500,000
- Rating: 7/10
Storyline-After an egg is separated from its nest and flows down a river stream, it winds up in the possession of a group of lemurs. The lemurs, realising that the creature inside the egg is of no threat to them, care for it and name him Aladar. After a meteor hits earth, Aladar and the family of lemurs must flee the island where they live. They move to a world of full dangers that they had never seen or experienced before. They meet and join a herd of dinosaurs led by a couple of brutes named Bruton and Kron. The herd, comprised of a variety of species, is on a journey to the nesting grounds. It is there they can lay eggs and feel the earth's soil and soft grass beneath their feet again. Most importantly, they can have access to a water supply so they can drink and feed.
Short Review-Dinosaur was an astounding achievement for Disney with spectacular visuals on screen and an intriguing look at life more than 65 million years ago. Even though the film was criticised with an overall score of 6.2/10 on Rotten Tomatoes (a review aggregator) and an overall rating of 65% from critics, it was still a great movie. Critics were all in agreement that the animation was phenomenal. The biggest complaint was about the dinosaurs having voices, due to it bringing an unrealistic feel to the world they had created. On a positive note, even by today's standards of animation, Dinosaur is an iconic work for creating a world of dinosaurs with stunning visuals.
The film isn't just an animated feature worth watching for those into dinosaurs. It's for everyone who appreciates a good animated family movie. It also has one of the best movie scores of all time (in the animation genre). It was done by James Newton Howard. His best known scores are for films like The Village, I Am Legend, and The Dark Knight.
#9-'Alice in Wonderland'
- Release Date: July 26, 1951
- Global Box Office Gross: N/A
- Production Budget: $3,000,000
- Rating: 7.5/10
Storyline-During a summer afternoon, Alice follows a rabbit through a rabbit hole. She falls into a magical dream world named Wonderland. On her journey, she meets some colourful characters such as the Mad Hatter, a talking caterpillar, a disappearing Cheshire Cat, and the evil Queen of Hearts. Once she meets the Queen of Hearts and has a crazy encounter, she flees from the monarch and her army of playing cards.
Short Review-Alice in Wonderland is one of Disney's timeless classics. It captures the imagination of the magical Wonderland. The film received an average score of 6.4/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 77% from critics. This is the perfect animated film for those with a big imagination looking to see a movie which isn't afraid to explore strange and downright childish fantasies.
#8-'The Jungle Book'
- Release Date: October 18, 1967
- Global Box Office Gross: $205,843,612
- Production Budget: $4,000,000
- Rating: 7.5/10
Storyline-Set in the Indian jungle, Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves, is taken to a nearby village to keep him safe from the clutches of a ruthless tiger named Shere Kahn. In this musical tale, Mowgli meets a lot of different animal characters on his way to the village. When Shere Kahn hears of his presence in the jungle, he hunts him down.
Short Review-The Jungle Book is the perfect animated musical. It has adventure, good characters, and a fearsome villain. It received an above-average score of 7.3/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 85% from critics. For animal lovers and the whole family, The Jungle Book will not disappoint in entertaining audiences, no matter their age.
- Release Date: November 14, 2010
- Global Box Office Gross: $591,794,936
- Production Budget: $260,000,000
- Rating: 7.9/10
Storyline- As a baby, Rapunzel is kidnapped in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel, who knows of the powers which flow through Rapunzel's hair. The hair has healing powers and can make people young again if they touch it while Rapunzel sings a special song. These powers come from a magical flower. Rapunzel is raised in a hidden tower where she must spend her every moment, believing that Mother Gothel is her real mother. Now a teenager, her hair has grown to a lengthy 70 feet and she spends her days wondering about the outside world. Unaware of the power of her hair, she is oblivious to the fact that she keeps Mother Gothel young and alive. One day, a bandit named Flynn Ryder climbs the tower and is taken captive by Rapunzel, who uses a frying pan to knock him out. She strikes a deal with Flynn (who has stolen the crown of the princess) to take her to see the floating lights in the sky, which go up once a year on the birthday of the princess. The journey is the first time she has gone outside of the tower and she has a lot of fun along the way.
Short Review-Tangled is a princess story based on the fairy tale of Rapunzel. It's certainly one of Disney's best modern animations. It brought back prestige for the studio and showed that they can still pull off a great classic princess film. Tangled received a great average score of 7.5/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 89% from critics.
#6-'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
- Release Date: December 21, 1937
- Global Box Office Gross: $416,000,000
- Production Budget: $1,488,423
- Rating: 7.9/10
Storyline-The lovely princess Snow White is in danger as her evil stepmother (the queen) sends a hunter to kill her. She is shown mercy when the hunter is unable to kill the princess. She runs into the woods where she comes across the home of seven dwarfs. They allow the princess to live with them. When the evil queen finds Snow White, she disguises herself as an old woman and gives the princess a poisonous apple. Snow White takes a single bite and it seemingly kills her. The dwarfs go in pursuit of the evil queen when she falls of a cliff to her sudden demise. Finally, as Snow White lays on a bed, she is kissed by a handsome prince. This breaks the evil spell and she awakens to a happy ending.
Short Review-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature film created by Disney and it's most certainly one of their best. There was nothing like it before and even arguably now, more than 75 years since its release. The film received a whopping average score of 8.8/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 98% from critics. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has an engaging story, fun characters, and an evil villain which scares me now, well past my childhood years.
- Release Date: November 19, 2013
- Global Box Office Gross: $1,267,838,009
- Production Budget: $150,000,000
- Rating: 7.9/10
Storyline-A fearless Anna goes on a journey, aided by mountain man Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have caused the kingdom of Arendelle to remain in eternal winter. Along the way, Anna meets a hilarious snowman named Olaf and mystical trolls. Elsa was born with the power to create snow and ice but must keep it a secret as it is a dangerous power. As Elsa's powers grow stronger and she battles with the memory of nearly killing Anna, she isolates herself in an attempt to suppress her powers. It is due to the avalanche of emotions that have been building up within Elsa that causes the endless winter.
Short Review-Frozen is a modern Disney adventure with an emotional story and a brilliant set of characters. Visually, the movie is spectacular. It is a movie everyone can appreciate, young and old. The film received a great average score of 7.7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 89% from critics. This is the best animated film from Disney that mixes humour, story, and excitement. We haven't seen work like this from Disney for some time now, though Tangled is close behind.
- Release Date: February 15, 1950
- Global Box Office Gross: $85,000,000
- Production Budget: $2,900,000
- Rating: 7.9/10
Storyline-Set in a kingdom long ago, Cinderella is living a happy life until her mother dies and her father remarries an evil woman who has two equally evil children, Anastasia and Drizella. She essentially becomes a servant to her cruel stepmother after her father dies. Meanwhile, in the castle across town, the King is making preparations for a fancy dress ball with invitations to every eligable maiden in the kingdom. His goal is to find a wife for his son, the Prince, so that he may have grandchildren. Without a dress, Cinderella is unable to go to the ball. Her friends, the mice and the birds, help to make a dress. However, on the evening of the ball, the evil stepsisters rip the dress to pieces after noticing pieces of their materials were used to create the dress. While Cinderella is crying in the garden, her fairy godmother appears to give her a dress and a carriage. She warns that everything will go back to how it once was at the stroke of midnight. The rest is fairly predictable as Cinderella wins the Prince's heart and becomes the Princess.
Short Review-Cinderella is the most recognised princess tale alongside with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The story is enjoyable, the characters are lovable, and the movie is a timeless classic which has won the hearts of viewers everywhere. It received a good average score of 7.7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 97% from critics. This is the kind of film that can be enjoyed from start to finish with the family.
Release Date: November 25, 1992
Global Box Office Gross: $504,050,219
Production Budget: $28,000,000
Storyline-Aladdin, a street urchin, lives in a large and busy town with his monkey friend Abu, who helps him steal. Princess Jasmine sneaks out of her palace and she bumps into Aladdin in the marketplace. He gets thrown into jail under the orders from the evil Jafar (the Sultan's advisor) and becomes caught up in his evil plot to rule over the land with the help of the mysterious magic lamp. Jafar sends Aladdin to retrieve the lamp as legend has it that only a person who is a diamond in the rough can retrieve it. As Aladdin journeys to retrieve the lamp, he learns a thing or two about what is contained within it as he sets out to impress the princess.
Short Review-Aladdin is a charming movie that is worth watching. There are witty characters and a charming love story mixed between the evil Jafar and the Genie. The film received a great average score of 8.1/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 94% from critics. The Genie (voiced by Robin William) is certainly the main attraction for audiences. He is such a funny character and is the main source of humour within the movie.
#2 - Beauty and the Beast
Release Date: November 13, 1991
Global Box Office Gross: $424,967,620
Production Budget: $25,000,000
Storyline-Not happy with life in a small French town, Belle constantly fends off the affections of Gaston. The Beast was once a prince but was put under a spell because he could not love. When Maurice, Belle's father, makes a wrong turn in the woods, events are set in motion that lead to Belle and the Beast meeting one another. Maurice is imprisoned, so Belle offers herself instead. She soon discovers the ordeal of the Beast.
Short Review-Beauty and the Beast is an instant classic. It has a heartfelt story that can't be beaten. The story, characters, and entire film is magical. It's the perfect movie to get you into the festive mood at Christmas. The movie received a great score of 8.4/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 93% from critics.
#1-'The Lion King.'
Release Date: June 15, 1994
Global Box Office Gross: $987,483,777
Production Budget: $45,000,000
Storyline-Set in Africa, the lion cub Simba is born as the heir to the throne that rules over the pride lands. Simba's father, Mufasa, tells him that one day he will become king when he takes his place. Scar, Mufasa's brother, would have become king had Simba not been born. He creates a plot to kill Mufasa and Simba. Using hyenas in his scheme, he has them chase a herd of stampeding wildebeest into a canyon where Simba and Mufasa are located. Scar hopes to have them trampled to death by the herd. However, Simba manages to survive after Mufasa gets him up on a ledge. Mufasa dies after being thrown off the cliff and into the stampede by Scar. Scar tells Simba that his father's death was his fault and that he must flee, causing him to run away into the desert. Having fled the pride lands, Simba is found flat on ground by Timon (the meerkat) and Pumbaa (the warthog), who become friends with Simba. Simba grows into adulthood living with Timon and Pumbaa in the jungle. One day, his childhood friend, Nala, comes across Simba while out hunting. She explains what has happened to the pride lands under Scar's leadership. Nala desperately asks Simba to return, but he still feels responsible for the death of Mufasa. He finally gains reassurance from the wise monkey and decides to return to take his rightful place as king. Simba battles Scar, finally overcoming his deceit. He wins the battle and reclaims the land, now with peace restored.
Short Review-The Lion King is the ultimate animated Disney movie. It quickly became a classic and is typically the number one pick for most fans. The film received a high average score of 8.2/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall rating of 90% from critics. The Lion King is the one animated movie that everyone must see at least once in their lives.
Jimmy on April 16, 2018:
Why is Dinosaur on here in comparison to the various timeless Disney classics that make this movie appear subpar?