A staple of all 90’s kids, Disney movies marked the lives of several generations. And thanks to the immense success these movies had decades ago, many of them are getting remade – like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Lion King. It’s hard to rank so many wonderful movies, but here are the 25 best Disney movies of all time.
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#25. Lilo & Sitch
Certainly, one of the best Disney movies of the 2000s, Llio and Stitch was released in 2002. It tells the story of an alien experiment who runs away and crash lands onto Earth, where he’s adopted by a headstrong little girl named Lilo thinking he’s a puppy. She names her puppy Stitch, and the two of them get in all sorts of trouble.
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Stitch causes sheer mayhem as he tries to escape from the aliens that are looking for him, but along the way, he and Lilo learn the importance of friendship, loyalty and ohana – which means family. Not only is the story amazing, but the movie shows breathtaking backgrounds of the Hawaiian landscape painted with watercolors, a technique that Disney hadn’t used sin Dumbo in the 1960s.
#24. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs changed the world of cinema forever, as it was the first American feature-length animated movie, and also the first Disney animated full-length movie. Released in 1937, the movie made $1.7 billion (adjusted for inflation) and revolutionized the filmmaking industry.
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The movie tells the story of the beautiful Snow White, a princess who is forced to run away from her evil stepmother, the Queen, who wants to kill her for being more beautiful than her. Along the way, she meets seven dwarfs, and she becomes part of her family. The incredible drawings and the memorable songs that fill the movie are truly unforgettable.
#23. Sleeping Beauty
The third Disney princess to grace the big screen was Sleeping Beauty in 1959. This timeless classic follows Aurora, a princess who was cursed by Maleficent, an evil witch. Because of the curse, before the sun sets on the princess’ 16th birthday, she would prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.
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Lucky for her, three fairies who are assigned to look after her change the curse so that instead of dying, she’d fall asleep, and would only wake up with the kiss of her true love. Before she falls asleep, she meets Phillip, the prince of her dreams, who eventually defeats Maleficent and saves Aurora from the curse. Who doesn’t love happy endings?
Just four years after Snow White was released came Dumbo, the lovely story of everyone’s favorite elephant. The movie begins with the stork delivering a baby to Mrs. Jumbo, who lives in a circus. But her baby has unusually large ears, which causes him to be mocked by everyone in the circus.
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Not only is little Dumbo bullied, but when his mother tries to defend him, she gets locked up, and Dumbo is left all alone to play the circus clown. But everything changes once he discovers that, thanks to his huge ears, he can actually fly, making him the star of the circus. This movie gets extra points for having a flying elephant as its main character.
#21. 101 Dalmatians
What’s better than one Dalmatian puppy? 101 of them, of course! In the movie, Pongo and Perdita, two Dalmatians in love, have a litter of 15 puppies, which gets the attention of the evil Cruella De Vil, a rich woman who wants to get a hold of the puppies to turn them into a coat.
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As the owners of the dogs tell Cruella she can’t have the puppies, she devises an evil plan to kidnap them and take them to her mansion, where 84 other Dalmatian puppies are also held captive. The dog parents then go on a quest to save their babies and end up with 101 puppies to save. A movie with dogs and 101 puppies is, basically, a masterpiece.
You know when Disney makes a movie set in Hawaii, it’s going to be good. Moana is a colorful movie based on Polynesian mythology, and tells the story of Moana, the daughter of a chief in an ancient Polynesian tribe known for being navigators and being connected with the ocean. But sadly, the fishermen of the tribe can’t seem to find any food.
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Moana finds out that the reason why there’s no fish and the crops are failing is because a demigod named Maui stole the heart of a goddess named Te Fiti. Then, the young girl decides to go on a journey through the sea to find Maui and restore Te Fiti’s heart to save her people. The epic storyline, plus the amazing music make this movie incredible.
The 1990s were huge for Disney, as the company recovered from a few rough decades and started making bit blockbusters, one after the other. In 1995, Pocahontas came out, as part of what is known as the Disney renaissance. It told the story of the daughter of a chief, who meets John Smith, an English soldier invading her lands.
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The movie shows the contrast between the two worlds each of them lives in and their own perspectives, which captivated audiences all over the world. Pocahontas’ people think the English are savages, while the English think the same of her tribe. It is thanks to Pocahontas that peace is achieved between the two groups of people.
#18. Lady and the Tramp
Lady and the Tramp, released in 1955, is responsible for one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. The film brings us Lady, a cocker spaniel that lives in a very fancy house. Everything is perfect in her life until her humans have a baby and two evil Siamese cats come in the picture as well. So when she’s put outside one day, she meets a dog who lives in the street.
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This dog calls himself the Tramp, ironically, and the two begin a journey through the city and get in all sorts of trouble. The best part of the movie is when they share a plate of spaghetti and end up kissing by eating the same noodle, which is a scene that has been recreated a million times because of how legendary it is.
#17. The Princess and the Frog
Although we had people of color in Disney movies before (not nearly enough, by the way) The Princess and the Frog brought us the first black Disney princess in history. The film is actually a retelling of a classic fairytale but in a modern-day setting. Prince Naveen is turned into a frog for being selfish and arrogant, and believes that a kiss could break the spell.
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That leads him to meet Tiana, a young hard-working girl, who agrees to kiss him. But when she does, she turns into a frog. Then the duo goes on an incredible journey through the south of the United States to find a way to become human again and make several unique friends along the way.
Pinocchio brought us the story of an inventor named Geppetto, whose biggest dream is to have a son. He creates a wooden marionette called Pinocchio, and wishes upon a star that he becomes a real boy. And to his surprise, the puppet comes to life.
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This colorful adventure is beloved by many not only for its story but for its lessons. As we follow Pinocchio‘s journey, we learn that his conscience takes a physical form: a cricket named Jiminy Cricket, who teaches him right from wrong. Those who grew up with this movie will agree that this one is definitely one of the best of Disney.
#15. Peter Pan
In 1953, Disney released Peter Pan, one of its most successful movies ever. And how could it not be? After all, it’s got everything: magic, fairies, pirates, and mermaids. The movie tells the story of three children, Wendy, John and Michael, who meet Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up.
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He and his fairy friend, Tinkerbell, take them on a journey to Neverland, a wonderful and magical place where kids never grow up. If you’ve never wished you could go to Neverland at least for one day, you’ve never lived a day of your life.
#14. Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland was the first Disney movie with a female lead who wasn’t a princess. Instead, we followed Alice, a young girl who loves to daydream. One day, she sees a talking rabbit carrying a clock, and she decides to follow him. Then, her world is turned upside down – literally.
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As she follows him into a rabbit hole, she enters the magical world of Wonderland, where she gets in all sorts of strange adventures with several colorful characters like The Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat, and The Red Queen. This movie is truly iconic.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love Bambi, and those who were completely traumatized by it. Still, we can all agree this movie is legendary. Released in 1942, the movie tells the story of Bambi, a young deer that loves playing with other woodland creatures.
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Sadly, Bambi loses his mom to a hunter, and that’s when it all goes south. However, with the help of his friends, Bambi finds his way and grows up to be the Prince of the Forest, and saves his friends from other evil hunters.
#12. The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is many people’s favorite for a variety of reasons: the colors, the story, the amazingly catchy songs, and more. But this movie is also special because it was the last movie Walt Disney worked on before passing away in 1966.
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This wonderful film shows us Mowgli, a young boy who was raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, and we follow him on a journey to go back to the human world. Although the animal world seems pretty awesome, in the end, we understand that the best for him is to leave it behind.
One of the many hits Disney had during the 1990s was Hercules, which was based on Greek mythology. Hercules, the son of the god Zeus, is taken away by his evil uncle, Hades, the god of the Underworld, and turned into a half-god.
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He grows up among humans until he discovers his true origins, as he sings one of the best Disney songs ever. Then, we see him go into an incredible adventure to become a hero and gain back is right to live among the gods. Many believe this movie is underrated, and we couldn’t agree more.
During the 1990s, Disney followed a pretty successful formula: colorful musicals that advance their storyline through music. But with 1998’s Tarzan, Disney tried something new, as none of the characters actually sings any songs, and all of the music is performed by British musician Phil Collins.
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The risk the company took actually paid off because Tarzan was a huge success worldwide. And how could it not be? A man growing up in the jungle among gorillas who falls in love with a smart, elegant woman who is exploring the jungle sounds like the perfect movie if you ask me.
Aladdin was a megahit when it came out in 1992 for many reasons, the biggest one being Robin Williams starring as Genie. He brought his amazing talents to this movie while accepting a huge pay cut because Disney couldn’t afford to pay him his usual fee, and he did it out of his love for the movie.
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This film also brought us what is often regarded as the best Disney song ever, A Whole New World, which you probably know by heart as most of us do. Add the beautiful character designs and backgrounds, plus a great story to it, and you’ve got yourself a timeless classic.
Most of us can agree that Mulan is super iconic. The movie tells the story of Mulan, a young Chinese girl, who takes her sick father’s place in war disguised as a man. During her time in the military, she also goes on a journey to discover who she really is.
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What you might not remember is that the song Reflection, actually skyrocketed Christina Aguilera‘s career, on top of being a major hit. Also, Eddie Murphy played Mushu, one of the most beloved Disney characters of all time, so it’s fair to say that this movie is hands down one of the best.
Frozen was released in 2013, and broke so many records we can’t keep up with them anymore, such as making $1.2 billion at the box office. It also proved once more that nobody does princess movies better than Disney. Oh, and Let It Go became one of Disney’s most famous songs and even won an Oscar.
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Millions of kids around the world watched as Elsa, who has the power of creating ice and snow with her hands, and Anna, her little sister, learn the importance of family and sisterhood and sing a bunch of amazing songs. Plus, they have a talking snowman, so that’s a plus.
Cinderella was Walt Disney‘s second princess movie, and of course, a super hit. Released in 1950, the film tells the story of Cinderella, a young girl who lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters, who make her life a living hell.
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One night, Cinderella gets ready to go to the Prince’s ball, but her evil relatives destroy her dress. And as she is about to lose all hope, her fairy godmother gives her a magic dress and glass slippers. This movie is not only legendary, but timeless, isn’t it?
#5. Finding Nemo
Ever since Toy Story was released, Disney along with Pixar released blockbuster after blockbuster, one of them being Finding Nemo. The film is about Marlin, a single father who lives in the ocean with his son, Nemo. But after his first day of school, Nemo disappears.
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Then, Marlin embarks on a journey to find him and meets many friends along the way, such as Dory, a blue fish who suffers from memory loss. Dory is such a beloved character that she actually got her own movie, Finding Dory, in 2016.
Fantasia is a 1940 masterpiece for many reasons. It is a beautifully drawn animated film where no words are spoken, and we see the characters move in mesmerizing ways as we hear the Philadelphia Orchestra play classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
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And of course, it’s starred by the one and only Mickey Mouse, who plays the Sorcerer’s apprentice, an aspiring magician who takes his magic a little too far. There are also other short stories, such as The Rite of Spring and Dance of the Hours.
#3. Beauty and the Beast
For decades, animated movies were beloved by audiences but somehow weren’t taken so seriously in award shows. But this nonsensical prejudice came to an end when Beauty and the Beast became the first animated movie to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1991.
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This gorgeous movie brought us Belle, a smart, beautiful girl who ends up captive in an enchanted castle where Beast lives. As time goes by, the two develop an unlikely friendship, and Belle discovers that he is actually a prince who was transformed into a beast by a witch.
#2. The Little Mermaid
You might not know that The Little Mermaid actually saved Disney from going bankrupt. After a few decades of failures, the company got back on its feet when this movie was released in 1989 and was a huge success all over the world.
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Ariel is a mermaid who longs to leave the ocean and join the human world as she falls in love with Prince Eric. So she makes a deal with an evil witch to be turned into a human, in exchange for her voice. And you probably know how the story ends because who doesn’t love this movie?
#1. The Lion King
Nobody can deny that The Lion King is one of – if not the– best Disney movies of all time. After all, it was the second-highest-grossing films of its time, it won several awards, and was endlessly praised by critics. Also, any 90’s kid will tell you that they absolutely love this movie.
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This colorful masterpiece tells us the story of Simba, a young lion who will become king one day. But when his father, Mufasa, passes away – one of the most traumatic events in all our childhoods- he goes into exile and eventually finds his way back home.