My (and I can’t stress this enough) My Top 10 Animated Disney Movies of All Time
The name Walt Disney is a name that is recognized unequivocally throughout the world. Since the 1928 release of “Steamboat Willie,” which introduced us to Mickey Mouse, both man and mouse have become synonymous with each other.
Even before Pixar, Disney was already pumping out animated masterpieces for nearly eighty years. Two of the staples that makes Disney films timeless are their incredible stories (often adapted from a previous original work) and its timeless music. I considered both according to my personal preferences when making this list. Here are my top 10 favorite animated (non CGI) Disney films. As always, I make no apologies.
10. “The Sword in the Stone” (1963)
Source: The Sword In The Stone by T.H. White (1938)
A cutesy adaptation of the childhood of King Arthur who is bullied by his older brother and mentored by the mighty wizard, Merlin. Assisting Merlin on his noble mission is Archimedes, a pompous owl who can’t wait to point out other people’s faults. This movie is especially great for younger kids to show them that they are in charge of their own destiny and can accomplish anything regardless of the obstacles.
9. “Peter Pan” (1953)
Source: The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie (1902)
The timeless classic of a boy and his friends in a magical land where you never have to grow up. As adults, how many of us wish we could turn the clock back and be kids again? I wish I can be 21 all over again… some days I wish I was 10. Simpler times back then. J.M. Barrie’s classic teaches us that no one should ever be in a hurry to grow up.
8. “The Little Mermaid” (1989)
Source: The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (1837)
My first major crush on a cartoon character came from this movie. A story about how sometimes it’s okay to disobey your father’s orders. 😉 But more than that, it’s about not being forced to accept the life you were born into and carving your own path… with a fork… through your hair.
7. “Hercules” (1997)
Source: Roman Mythology
The story of the half man-half god who struggles to find a sense of belonging in either world. Very Superman-esque. Hilariously and beautifully told with wonderful voice acting from Danny DeVito, James Woods, and Rip Torn to name a few.
6. “A Goofy Movie”
Source: Original (Goofy made his first appearance in 1932)
When Goofy’s teenage son Max usurps control of the school auditorium on the last day of school to get a crush’s attention, Goofy decides that he needs to take him on a cross-country road trip out of fear of losing his son to gangs and other forms of delinquency that every parent worries too much about.
5. “The Jungle Book” (1967)
Source: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)
The story of Mowgli, a baby abandoned in the Indian jungle and raised by the animals. Once Mowgli reaches a certain age, his animal caretakers realize that what’s best for Mowgli is that he be returned to his own kind. Musically, this movie makes you feel like you’re in the French Quarter with all its smooth and unique jazz. Of course, who can forget the Oscar-nominated original song “The Bare Necessities” sung by the immortalized voice of Phil Harris?
“The Jungle Book” was reimagined by Jon Favreau and released Spring 2016.
4. “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)
Source: La Belle et La Bête by Jeanne-Marie Leprince deBeaumont (1756)
The classic French fairytale of which Disney clearly took many liberties and made many changes to. The story of a beautiful French girl who is imprisoned in a magical castle where all of its occupants are under a terrible curse. One of the greatest Disney soundtracks of my lifetime, but what makes this movie truly stand out above all others is that it’s the only animated film (as of the date I am writing this post) to be nominated for Best Picture. (It lost to “Silence Of The Lambs.”) It did, however win two Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Musical Score respectively.
3. “Tarzan” (1999)
Source: Tarzan and The Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914)
Hands down one of my favorite and most underrated soundtracks ever. The entire soundtrack was written and performed by musical legend Phil Collins. He won the Oscar for best original song, “You’ll Be In My Heart,” but “Son of Man” is on of my all-time favorite Disney original songs. Lead animators also had the brilliant idea of reimagining Tarzan’s movements through the trees after the one of the animator’s son who was a world champion snowboarder. The movie also contains one of the most violent and darkest villain deaths ever shown in a Disney movie ever.
2. “Aladdin” (1993)
Source: Aladdin and The Wonderful Lamp translated by Antoine Galland (1709)
This movie especially holds a special place in my heart due to the genius performance of Robin Williams as the Genie. For me, this movie is about loyalty to your friends and keeping your promises. Another musical masterpiece, the movie won two Oscars including best original song still performed by every annoyingly-happy couple at the karaoke bar, “A Whole New World.”
1A. “The Lion King” (1994)
Source: Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1603)
Like there was ever any doubt with me. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is what brought about my love for Shakespeare. The story of Simba, a young lion cub who runs away from his pride after he believes he’s responsible for his father’s death, but it was really Simba’s Uncle Scar who kills Simba’s father in order to become king of the pride. Okay, several creative liberties are taken here by Disney, but there are a lot more similarities than you may initially think. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? In this movie, they’re named Timon and Pumba. Nominated for best original song Oscar for two songs (though neither one did win), it did win the Oscar for best overall musical score by Elton John.
1B. “The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)
Source: Original Story (As far as I can tell)
To my few readers from the CCHS c/o 2002, let me just say, “Llama Pride!” This hilariously loving buddy comedy has an all-star cast made up of David Spade, Eartha Kitt, John Goodman, and Patrick Warburton. You could have taken all those actors, put them on a stage to perform this movie as a theater production and it would still be side-splitingly funny. The story of the excessively spoiled and self-entitled Emperor Kuzco who is subsequently turned into a llama after his advisor, Yzma, tries to poison him for control of the empire. Once turned into a llama, Kuzco barely escapes the hands of Yzma’s useless assistant, Kronk, and meets Pancha, a loving and honest man who reluctantly agrees to help Kuzco turn back to normal and regain control of his empire. This is a charming little movie about friendship, keeping your promises, and the ability to restore your faith in humanity (even if they’re llamas.) With music by Tom Jones, this rocking and soulful soundtrack will keep you grooving with every viewing.
Which Disney movies stayed with you after all these years? Let me know what you think.