Top 5 Disney Movies

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

That’s right folks, it’s another Top 5.

With the release of Tangled, critics are going wild telling us that Disney is finally “back on form,” but what exactly is Disney’s “form?”  When you think about it, and discard the Pixar movies, it’s been a long time since anything worth getting excited about came from the world’s most famous animation studio.  A lot of fuss was made over The Princess and the Frog but it didn’t seem to come to much, and before that we had such shockers as Atlantis to contend with.  It seems in recent years, Disney has been left behind while other studios, namely Pixar and Dreamworks, tapped into the new world of animation, where there is just as much for the adults as there is for the kids.  It’s not something Disney haven’t managed before, but they seem to have lost their way somewhere.   From what I’ve heard about Tangled (and hopefully I’ll be able to back it up soon) they’ve finally got themselves back on track.

If Disney has finally recaptured the magic, what are the movies we’re holding this latest offering up against?  Here are my Top 5 Disney animations, the best of the cartoons that captured mine and many thousands of other people’s childhoods.  Coming up with this list has actually been incredibly hard.  It’s animations only, so no Pirates, but it’s been harder than I thought picking just five films from the vast back catalogue.  The number one spot was easy, but narrowing down all my other childhood (and adulthood) favourites to just four spaces was tough.  Knowing me, I’ll probably want to change it tomorrow.

5. Lilo and Stitch

This is an incredibly underappreciated film, but it’s one of the best ones they’ve brought out in recent years.  The characters are surprisingly realistic (I’m not talking about the aliens, obviously!) and it takes on some pretty tough issues with the kind of honesty that kids have grown to love in Disney.  It also helps that it has a fun script and some great music, mixing Hawaiian tradition with Elvis classics.

4. Mulan

One of the school of Disney films that used a big name in comedy to inject some energy into the script.  Eddie Murphy’s Mushu is perhaps now overshadowed by his Donkey (which sounds weird…) but the former character provides some great laugh out loud moments that I still find myself quoting on a regular basis.  Music is another big factor in this movie, as it is in all of the Disney films since they are essentially animated musicals, with Donny Osmond lending his vocal chords to Shang (bet you didn’t know that did you?) Moments of intense drama are interspersed with show stopping musical numbers and comedy that the whole family can enjoy.

3.  Robin Hood

When I was little, my three Disney loves were Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp and Robin Hood. Trying to pick which one to include was torturous, but in the end I had to pick Robin Hood as it’s one of the first films I can remember watching over and over again and never getting bored.  Casting the famous legend amongst a group of woodland animals is brilliant in a way that you don’t even notice until you get older.  Robin as a fox is a natural, but I also love Little John as a bear (voiced by the equally legendary Phil Harris) and Prince John as an immature Lion, shown up by his full maned older brother.

More great music. More big laughs. Pure Disney magic.

2. Aladdin

This was in my top spot film for two years until the film below came along.  Robin Williams makes this movie.  The genie is an iconic character and the improvised script (also found at the beginning: “it will not break! It will not break……it broke) is full of comedy that both the kids and their parents can enjoy.  Aladdin has also given us one of the classic songs in the Disney songbook: A Whole New World and, along with Beauty and the Beast, was one of the first animations to use computer graphics in some scenes.

1. The Lion King

There really is no better Disney animation than The Lion King. They really hit on a masterpiece here.  The story is compelling and full of heart, the animation is beautiful (the opening sequence is one of the best bits of animation I’ve seen) and the music is just stunning.  Everything about The Lion King works.  Seeing it for the first time in the cinema is one of my clearest early memories, and I love it just as much today.  It’s not just my favourite DIsney film, but it’s one of my favourite films of all time, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

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23 Responses to “Top 5 Disney Movies”

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A quite fancy a bit of Snow White myself, there’s nothing like those seven dwarves.

For some reason I’ve never liked Snow White. It just never did anything for me.

I’d have to choose Lion King as well. Robin Hood is also up there. But if the Pixar films are included, WallE has top spot for sure.

You’ve probably seen this (or, at least, I’ve seen it quite some time ago):


Ian: If we include Pixar it gets a lot harder. Toy Story would be very near the top in that case.

Anna: I have seen that. You can’t really blame them 😛

I’m a bit disappointed Beauty and the Beast didn’t make your list! I remember watching that at the big screen and laughing like a mad child (well, it’s wasn’t too far from the truth).

Oh but Robin Hood! Much much love. I also loved Clucky, the dear Mother Hen character and Maid Marian’s chaperone. Perfect.

When I was little, I wouldn’t watch Beuty and the Beast because it scared me! I did learn to love it later, but not as much as some of the others.

Clucky was brilliant. I loved the little kids as well, who have to go and retrieve their arrow.

Lion King was and is my favourite movie. I used to watch it over and over again when I was a kid.
Makes me emotional too, those quiet moments when the music stirs and the grass waves…..gets me so much.
Nostalgia… ‘it’s delicate, but potent’.

Great to see Mulan mentioned, I think it’s underated.

If you have time, please check out my film blog, would really appreciate a lady’s thoughts on my style!

There is a beautiful score to Lion King, some of Hans Zimmer’s best work.
Mulan is often forgotten but I think it’s one of the films that marks the turning point in the new modern disney films.

I’ll take a look. Thanks for stopping by.

man, its like you read my Disney mind. five great pics. would have Robin Hood top.
lilo and stitch is so underrated… JUMBA!!???

“…he is very persuasive..” 😛 love Jumba

You’d put Robin above Lion King? I love it, but not more than Simba

i have a real soft spot for Robin Hood. its just so much fun. Lion King is good too (‘follow old Rafiki.. he know da way’) but when you think about it not a lot happens.
Lion leaves home. Turns into Matthew Broderick. Comes back.

yea, aladdin and lion king are always the top 2 picks, i cant really argue. It’s Aladdin for me. I must say though, and even though im a guy, the little mermaid was a pretty bad ass movie towards the end. Where’s that?

While I didn’t care for Stitch or Mulan as much as other Disney films, your top 3 is pretty solid.

Seconded, lion king and Aladdin one and two. Robin hood certainly top five, but would cut Mulan and lilo for the little mermaid, beauty and the beast and alice in wonderland. Ah nuts, that’s six! Well, you can’t make me choose!
Atlantis defo 50th, man that was awful, awful stuff

Thanks for the comments all!

McG: is you saying not much happens in Lion King just your way of getting me back for saying Bambi is dull?

Dan: I agonised over teh little mermaid, but all the ones in the list I’ll still watch now, and I’ve kind of grown out of the Little Mermaid. I did love it s much when I was little though.

Joseph: More people need to love Lilo and Stitch, it’s brilliant. A lot of people aren’t that into Mulan though, I don’t really get why.

McD: It’s hard to only pick 5 isn’t it? Alice in wonderland is one of about 5 disney films I’ve never actually seen. I’ve heard it’s good, but I just never had the urge to watch it.
Atlantis was seriously poor. I’m glad Disney have found their way again.

Agree on Lion King. I’ve watched some of the older ones like Bambi and Alice in Wonderland and Snow White. All dull. However, my second fave would have to be FANTASIA. I’m ok if you don’t wanna count it cuz it’s not narrative.

Fantasia is an amazing movie. I don’t think it’s strictly a kids film really (bits of it are kinda scary!) i thought about adding it but in the end there are others i love more. I think it was an amazing idea though.

Solid list, some interesting picks there, but Lilo & Stitch really is underrated. No love for Beauty and the Beast though?

I don’t not love Beauty and the Beast, but when it came to picking just 5, it didn’t make the cut.
I had to get Lilo and Stitch in there if only to remind people it exists!

Love your list! and the fact that you included Lion King and Mulan two of my favorites! the only one i would add is the Little Mermaid!

Little mermaid just got bumped at the last minute but it was one of my favourites when I was little.

…The little mermaid? Beauty and the beast?

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