When it comes to Disney movies, there are a lot of opinions. Some people love them, and some people hate them. But you can’t deny that they have significantly impacted society in the past few decades with their animated films. They’ve been around since 1923 when Walt Disney created “Steamboat Willie” which is recognized as the first cartoon with synchronized sound. Over the years, they have had many different types of hits, but I thought I would narrow it down to what I believe are 30 of their best-animated movies!
Here are 30 Of the Best Disney Movies of All Time
Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Writer: Ted Sears, Otto Englander, and Webb Smith. Based on the book by Carlo Collodi.
Cast James MacDonald as Pinocchio (voice) with Patsy Kelly, Cliff Edwards, Don Brodie Jr., Jane Randolph, Francis Paulding
Pinocchio is an animated puppet that has been dreaming of becoming a real boy. He talks to cricket that gives him strings and says he can become real if he proves good enough. Walt DThe movie also showcases Walt Disney’s genius in producing his first-ever audio-animatronics figure. Disney’s second animated feature film made it into theaters after 1937s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” It is also one of his most critically acclaimed films in their entire lineup.
MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH (1977)
Writer: Ken Anderson, Larry Clemmons
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Piglet is having a birthday party and invites his friends over to celebrate. However, when Tigger arrives, everyone realizes that the presents were eaten by Heffalumps & Woozles, searching for their next meal. The gang ventures into Owl’s house for advice about what should be done, and Owl says they must find something extraordinary which will stop them from hunting Piglets again. They set off on an adventure through the Hundred Acre Wood, where they discover some friends along the way like Grandfather Rabbit, Roo, Kanga & her son Kangaroo as well as Eeyore with his tail stuck down a hole.
Writer: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman
“Zootopia” is a world inhabited by animals where various species live together peacefully. In this utopia, a rookie bunny cop named Judy Hopps from the metropolis of Bunnyburrow and her con-artist fox partner Nick Wilde find themselves trying to uncover the mystery behind some missing predators who have relocated outside of Zootopia’s borders. Zootopia “is also known for its diversity in background characters that are not just human-like.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
Writer: Ted Sears, Richard Creedon, Otto Englander
Director: David Hand
Cast: Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Marjorie Ralston
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is a 1937 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It tells the story of Snow White, from her being born to living with the dwarfs until she meets her future husband, Prince Charming. The main voice actors are the bird’s voice that tells Snow White of her stepmother’s plot. The wicked Queen asks her Magic Mirror who is the “fairest one of all.” He tells her that in a land far away lives a princess called Snow White, as beautiful and fair as she was. So begins this story which features some of Disney’s most iconic characters! Undoubtedly, this movie is one of the best Disney animated movies of all time.
101 DALMATIANS (1961)
Directors: Walt Disney, Hamilton Luske
Writers: Don DaGradi (story), Ken Anderson, Bill Peet (screenplay)
Voice actors: Patty Duke Astin, Mel Blanc, Pinto Colvig
101 Dalmatians is also another one of the best Disney movies of all time. This animated movie is about a litter of Dalmatian puppies abducted by the villainous Cruella De Vil, who wants to make a fur coat. Luckily, they’re saved by their owner Pongo after she tracks them down, and he comes up with the idea that requires some help! The story also follows Bambi in his first year living in the forest. His friends Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk try to teach him how to be brave so he can follow in his father’s footsteps and grow up to be king of the forest. The movie also has a lesson about not judging others by appearance, as they meet new friends in each other!
Director: Ben Sharpsteen, Clyde Geronimi, James Algar
Writers: Harve Foster (story), Florence Ryerson (story), Tedd Pierce(screenplay)
Cast: Peter Lawford; Hermione Badd
Disney’s take on the classic tale of a flying elephant was released in 1941. Dumbo is born with oversized ears and ridiculed by his fellow elephants, but he finds fame as a circus star after being rescued from an unkind carny. His downfall follows when one person discovers that he can fly! The moral to this story is that it may not be easy or fun all the time, but if you stick through life’s difficulties, then success will follow.
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (2021)
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Writer: Sylvain Chomet, Bob Persichetti (story)
Cast: Borrow Pouliot; Michael Palin; Magali Segura-Cabanier; Jean Rochefort
This Oscar Award-winning animated feature from Canada is a touching work of art. Raya lives in a village taken over by an evil dragon long ago, and she’s always dreamed of being the one to defeat him with her bow and arrow. But when he kidnaps her mother, things change for Raya as she embarks on a journey to rescue her mom & find true love along the way! The story includes themes of love, family, bravery, and loss that everyone can connect to. The film has won Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards, among other prizes.
Director: Wilfred Jackson; Clyde Geronimi (co-director)
Writer: Hampton Clisby, Otto Englander
Cast: Ilene Woods; Eleanor Audley as Lady Tremaine and Lucille La Verne as Grandmother Clock. Walt Disney Productions’ first feature-length animated film tells the story of a young girl whose love for her kind prince is tested when her wicked stepmother prevents him from remembering who she is with the help of an enchanted pumpkin! But don’t worry because Cinderella has some animal friends that will do anything to make sure those two end up together in this classic fairytale that you can enjoy again & again! Songs by Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston.
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker (co-director)
Writer: Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall; Jared Bush
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Auli’I Cravalho
This is the story of an adventurous teenager who sets sail on a daring mission to prove herself a master Wayfinder like her ancestors – the greatest navigators in history! Along the way, she meets all sorts of new friends and enemies who try to stop her from achieving her destiny, but with help from demigod Maui (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Moana is undaunted.
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker (co-director)
Writer: Ron Clements, Terry Rossio; Bob Hilgenberg, Ron W. Miller (story), Tom Schumacher; Joe Hale
Cast: Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman
In this highly entertaining Disney movie, an adventurous teenager sets off on a quest to find the Genie of the Lamp and, with it, the secret to having his wishes granted! The genie turns out to be in more trouble than he knows, and Aladdin has some big decisions that will not only affect his life but others as well! Along for part of the adventure is a street rat who advises him at crucial moments. This is a heartwarming and beautifully drawn film.
Director: James Algar (co-director), Samuel Armstrong
Writers: Leopold Stokowski, Arthur Heinemann; Ted Sears (story)
Cast: Deems Taylor; Leopold Stokowski; James C. King
This is a groundbreaking animated piece that tells ten different stories using music and animation! One of the most famous pieces in this film includes “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” which was later used by Disney for their popular series Fantasia 2000. This movie has no dialogue, but it features some very well-known composers, including Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mussorgsky, Beethoven, and Borodin, and an orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski and narrated by Deems Taylor.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)
Director: Gary Trousdale; Kirk Wise
Writers: Linda Woolverton (screenplay), James Langley, Joe Ranft (story)
Cast: Paige O’Hara; Robby Benson; Richard White
This is a Disney classic about Belle, who falls in love with the Beast. The movie has been adapted into different formats for Broadway and live-action, but this original animated version still reigns supreme! It won’t be long until your child recognizes all of the songs from “Be Our Guest” to “Something There.” You also might find yourself belting them out, too—don’t fight it because we know you want to sing along!
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Original Score for Alan Menken and Best Original Song for “Beauty and the Beast.”
THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949)
Director: Charles Jones; Writer: David Hand, Erdman Penner (based on the story “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame)
Cast: Billy Bletcher, Donna Mae Smith, Pinto Colvig
The Disney version is about Mr. Toad, who goes on an adventure that will either make him or break him! With his friends and foes like Ratty and Moley along for the ride, you can’t help but root for them to succeed, even if it means they have to outwit Weasels and Cats all at once! There are so many iconic moments in this film adapted from a classic children’s book written more than 100 years ago.
THE LION KING (1994)
Director: Ron Clements; Writers: John Musker and Ron Clements (story); Pete Young (based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen)
Cast: Jodi Benson, Pat Carroll, Rhea Perlman
The Lion King is a movie that can appeal to both adults and children, which is rare! The story follows a lion cub named Simba who rules over the African Pride Lands with his father, Mufasa. But when Mufasa’s brother Scar tricks him into thinking that he killed his dad in a hunting accident, Simba runs away from home only to be rescued by Timon and Pumbaa, who teach him about friendship.
THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)
Director: Ron Clements and John Musker; Writers: Hans Christian Anderson (story), Howard Ashman, and Alan Menken (music)
Cast: Jodi Benson, Pat Carroll, Rhea Perlman
Ariel is a mermaid princess who longs to be human. When she falls in love with Prince Eric on land, her father forbids the relationship until Ariel can prove that she will never need to return to the sea again. Ariel gets her wish of becoming human but must give up all contact with undersea life forever! With help from Sebastian, the crab prince Eric saves from drowning.
LADY AND THE TRAMP (1955)
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske; Writers: Joe Rinaldi (story), Bill Peet (story)
Cast: Peggy Lee as Lady and Tramp, Larry Roberts as Tony the Tramp
A tale of two dogs from different social backgrounds who fall in love. The poor dog falls for a girl at first sight while she is out with her family one night, but he gets into trouble when his street smarts are mistaken for thievery by their bulldog guardian. Shy at first, they gradually warm to each other until eventually getting engaged on Christmas Eve, much to the annoyance of their owners.
WINNIE THE POOH (2011)
Director: Stephen J. Anderson; Writers: Don Hall (screenplay), Clark Spencer (story)
Cast: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh, Tom Kenny as Tigger and Gopher, Bud Luckey as Eeyore and Owl
Winnie-the-Pooh must do something to stop destructive honey flooding! Piglet accidentally gives away their home, so they have to find another one before winter sets in. They try Christopher Robin’s house, but it is too small for them all. Luckily, an old friend comes to help them out with his massive mansion on the Hundred Acre Wood. All seems well until they meet up with an impostor who wants everything for himself!
It is a fantastic film that captures the magic of childhood.
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee; Writers: Jennifer Lee (screenplay), Amy Poehler, Josh Gad
Cast: Kristen Bell as Anna and Elsa, Idina Menzel as Elphaba/Elsa’s singing voice
Elsa was born with the power to freeze anything she touches. One night, her fear of revealing this power leads her sister Anna to be struck with a deadly frozen curse, and Elsa is imprisoned for many years to keep it from happening again. With both sisters free, they must find each other before their time runs out.
The movie follows Princess Anna and Elsa as they try to maintain good sibling relationships through thick and thin until one day when Elsa’s secret powers are revealed after being challenged by an antagonistic prince. He has designs on the throne that belonged to their late father. It also includes Olaf and his quest for love!
Director: David Hand
Writer: Joe Grant, Robert Huemer
Cast (voice): Charles Judels, Billy Bletcher, Oskar Andree. This is a 1943 Academy Award Winner for Best Score and the 1953 Golden Globe winner for the best-animated film of all time! The movie follows an orphaned deer through his journey as he tries to get back home after being separated from his mother. Along with friends Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk, they find out that while it’s essential to be vital if you’re going to make it in this world- taking things slowly has its benefits too, like sticking around long enough; to meet your family once again!
Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Cast. Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
Tangled is a 2010 American animated musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The movie follows the story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), who lives in an isolated tower with her mother Gothel and has spent all of her life hiding from the outside world. This is because she believes that there’s something out there waiting to snatch away her magical powers, including healing without medicine! One day when Flynn Ryder enters the tower, everything changes for both parties involved as they embark on a journey around their very own kingdom as well as into each other’s hearts. This is one of the best Disney animated movies for kids and adults.
BIG HERO 6 (2014)
Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Writer: Don Hall, Robert L. Baird (story), Daniel Gerson (screenplay)
Cast: Ryan Potter as Hiro Hamada, Scott Adsit as Baymax, TJ Miller as Fredzilla/Freddie Fonzarelli Jr., Jamie Chung as GoGo Tomago, and Maya Rudolph
In a fictional city called San Fransokyo, people can coexist with robots peacefully. The exception is an angry scientist named Yokai; he has created some dangerous weapons threatening the peace of this futuristic society. The scientist kidnaps Hiro’s little brother Tadashi during an event at the university, so he can steal his microbots — tiny machines that can link together in any form imaginable. When his friend Tadashi dies during one of those battles, Hiro takes it hard but manages to find solace in his newfound friendship with a robot called Baymax whoama, who feels robots are a waste of time and wants them to be destroyed.
Moved by the loss of his sibling, Hiro creates Baymax – a robot programmed with six basic healthcare protocols intended to help people feel better. But when situations get tough, Baymax will fight for those whom he has sworn to protect!
Directed by Chris Sanders and Byron Howard
Starring the voice talents of John Travolta, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Miley Cyrus
A mischievous mongrel named Bolt (Miley Cyrus) has spent his entire life on a Hollywood backlot with other neglected animals from TV shows. When he thinks he’s just about to become a superhero in an action-packed show called “BOLT,” he accidentally gets shipped out to New York City instead. He teams up with Penny (Susie Essman), the only human who can understand him, as they set off together across the country – making new friends along the way. Along with their journey home, our lovable canine hero learns that sometimes you have to let go of your past to move forward and that we sometimes have more in common with the animals than you might think.
Director: Kevin Lima
Writer: Bob Tzudiker, Noni White
Cast: Tony Goldwyn (Tarzan), Minnie Driver (Jane Porter), Ian McNeice (Clayton), Robert Guillaume (Kerchak), Glenn Close (Sabor), Rosie O’Donnell( Terk). Phil Collins.
Tarzan is a live-action adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan series, with his name being changed to John Clayton III.
The story begins when an English lord’s shipwrecked son leads him through the African jungle back to civilization, but both are unaware that they’re heading into a trap set up by Belgian captain Leon Rom (Marius Costache). Jane Porter (Minnie Driver) stows away on their boat as she feels there may be more between her father and Lord Claydon than just friendship. She eventually finds herself stranded in Africa with them, where Captain Rom shows up looking for revenge against the man who saved his life the day before they depart and tries to warn them of Rom’s traps.
The lord forbids his son from continuing on with Porter so she can return home by herself, but the two continue their journey regardless; he agrees to give Jane a letter for her father if she helps lead them through the jungle.
SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)
Director: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson Writer(s): Joe Grant (story), Robert Huemer (screenplay) Cast: Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Barbara Luddy
The king and queen give birth to a baby girl cursed by an evil fairy while sleeping. For the next one hundred years, the princess will be in a deep sleep until she can break the spell with love’s first kiss from her prince. All of their subjects fall asleep as well at this time because they are under the same curse too. It has been foretold that “whoever wakes up the princess will also wake them all.”
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (2018)
Director: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston Writer(s): Phil Johnston (screenplay), Pamela Ribon and John Lasseter Cast: Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer
Eight years after “Wreck-It Ralph” saved the arcade from Turbo’s vengeance in Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade. Wreck-It Ralph leaves his game to break out of a prison made by King Candy’s bad guy and face off against a new villain named Vanellope von Schweetz, who has been stirring up trouble under her reign. He then learns about an unplugged internet–the Sugar Rush online world–and decides it would be fun for Vanellope to rule there. Some critics are calling it one of the best Disney Channel original movies of all time.
THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967)
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Writers: Larry Clemmons (original screenplay), Vance Gerry and Ralph Wright (story) Cast: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Bruce Reitherman
A boy named Mowgli is raised in the jungle by a family of wolves. When his peaceful existence is threatened by an evil tiger who steals some villagers’ cattle, he acts on instinct to defend it. Still, he realizes that humans can be just as dangerous as animals when not understood. He leaves home to live with man’s world – which brings its own set of surprises.
DUCKTALES: THE MOVIE – TREASURE OF THE LOST LAMP (1990)
Director: Bob Hathcock
Writer: David Michener
Cast: Alan Young, Jim Cummings, Tony Anselmo, and June Foray
Scrooge McDuck leads his granddaughters on a treasure hunt in the Valley of King Tut. The search is complicated by their old nemesis Flintheart Glomgold, who wants to find the treasure too. This adventure features some beloved old friends from Duckburg’s past, including Magica De Spell and her brother Murky Dismal. New enemies include Peter Pankey Feebbleson-Fitzhugh III, who, when he tried to rob Scrooge at gunpoint, was shot with a bazooka by Webby!
WRECK-IT RALPH (2012)
Director: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch
A video game villain wants to be a hero, so he sets out on an adventure across the arcade through every generation of gaming consoles, from old-school Pac-Man to high-tech interactive games. But when Ralph finally saves his game in Hero Mode, something goes wrong – now it’s up to him along with Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman), who is trying her best not to get thrown into the dreaded “Outlands” where all discarded things go! Together they travel between different worlds, racing against time before she gets tossed away forever.
LILO & STITCH (2002)
Director: Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
Writer: Heather Henson, Craig McCracken, Jill Murphy, and Kevin Lima
Cast: Daveigh Chase, David Ogden Stiers, Vicky Jenson, and Tia Carrere
In the Hawaiian town of Kauai, a little girl named Nani has to take care of her younger sister Lilo. But when a hurricane destroys their house, they are forced to live with an old scientist on his island laboratory. The two girls soon discover that he is actually conducting illegal experiments to create new life forms from different animals, which nobody knows about – but what will happen if these experiments get out? That’s why Lilo decides it would be best for everyone if they would just let the creatures escape. But then she meets a red dog-like creature that seems harmless and is called Stitch, but soon things will take an unexpected turn for both of them.
Director: Brenda Chapman
Writer: Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi, and Jonathan Roberts
Cast: Jeff Daniels as The Emperor of China; James Woods as Kai; David Ogden Stiers as Shan Yu (voice) This animated Disney movie is set in the legendary world of Ancient China – a time when majestic kung fu fighters roamed the land protecting the villages from evil warlords. Mulan believes she’s just an ordinary girl living out her days until her beloved country needs someone with unique talents for its defense. With so much more than even herself to fight for, this brave young woman takes on the disguise to lead to battle-tested skills and true love. One day she may become one of China’s most courageous heroes.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the 30 best Disney movies. Which is your favorite? And what would you add to our list? In the comments below, let us know, and be sure to sign up for a free trial on the Disney Channel so that kids can watch these romantic movies anytime, day or night!