For many people with kids, Disney movies have become a staple, but which are considered the best Disney movies? Of course, one doesn’t need children or an expert’s opinion to have an excuse to watch a Disney movie! There’s something about watching your favorite animated film and seeing that Magic Kingdom logo that brings back some of the best childhood feelings and memories. They are truly nostalgic! With so many legendary hits over the years, how do your favorite Disney movies compare to the list of the best Disney movies of all-time, according to experts?
Coming up with a best Disney movie list, of course, can be deeply personal. For some, it might come down to animation and storytelling. For others, it might be about how the movie sparks emotions. In a recent article, researchers studied which factors bring out the “good feelings” in movies. “In addition to an element of humor and the classic happy ending, feel-good films can be identified by certain recurring plot patterns and characters,” explains study leader and co-author Keyvan Sarkhosh. “Often these involve outsiders in search of true love, who have to prove themselves and fight against adverse circumstances, and who eventually find their role in the community.”
With so many great choices, StudyFinds set out to find the consensus best Disney movies ever, according to expert reviews. To do so, we reviewed 10 “expert” websites to see which titles were recommended the most. We used the top ten recommendations from each site to determine the overall top seven picks.
If you have your own suggestions, we encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments below!
The List: Best Disney Movies Of All-Time, According To Experts
7. Moana (2016)
Created in 2016, this Disney film features a fantastic soundtrack, complete with Dwayne Johnson singing a few “demigod” tunes.
“Set thousands of years ago on the fictional, Polynesia-inspired island of Motunui, Moana’s hero’s journey is fairly classic, but the sumptuous animation and Lin-Manuel Miranda tunes are top-tier Disney,” explains Wired.
Adds Esquire: “This modern animated classic (that’s surprisingly not Pixar!) is one that both parents and kids can watch repeatedly—and never get “How Far I’ll Go” out of their head.”
6. Hercules (1997)
“This 1997 cult classic is among Disney’s finest animated films. Arriving at the tail end of the Disney Renaissance, Hercules is the funny and fast-paced tale of the renowned Greek hero,” says Esquire.
In this classic Disney film, “the son of Zeus and Hera is stripped of his immortality as an infant and must become a true hero in order to reclaim it,” says IMDB.
With his horse Pegasus and his friend Phil, voiced by Danny Devito, Hercules fights Hades, Titans, and other monsters to save his love, Meg.
Cosmopolitan adds, ”this movie has heart, but more important, it has vocals. The Muses might be one of the many great girl groups to come out of the late ’90s.”
5. Mulan (1998)
Coming in fifth on our list is the story of a fearless young Chinese girl who impersonates a man to fight the Han Dynasty in the place of her father. “We all loved the live-action version, but the 1998 animated version is still one of Disney’s best films,” exclaims Good Housekeeping.
Mulan’s dragon friend Mushu, voiced by Eddie Murphy, helps to lighten the story with his funny and witty dialogue. However, the best part about this movie is Mulan’s fearless character.
Cosmopolitan sums her up perfectly: “Who is that girl I see? Why, a brave soul with a big heart, the voice of an angel, and a strength greater than any army that fought during the Han Dynasty.”
4. Toy Story (1995)
Not many Disney movies have gone so far and been so revolutionized as Toy Story. The epic story of a boy named Andy and his toys that come to life will always be some of the top Disney films of all time.
“Improving on the original in almost every way, Toy Story 2 took the characters we grew to love in the first film and separated them—usually a recipe for disaster. But in this case, with Woody discovering the rest of the round-up gang, the new characters are integrated impeccably, and the larger scale of the story allows the sequel to have more gravity,” says Paste Magazine.
Timeout has named this film #2 of the best Disney movies “as the film that stole the hearts of millennials everywhere.”
With three equally awesome sequels to the first, this is truly one of the best Disney movies!
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
This classic pic won Walt Disney an honorary Oscar following its release in 1938.
This film made Seventeen’s list of the best Disney movies of all time. Coming in #1, Seventeen adds: “this classic fairytale stands the test of time reminding us that inner beauty is what matters the most.”
Timeout describes this film as a “timeless piece of entertainment”, adding, “Disney’s first animated feature completely changed the face of cinema, but even in the age of eye-popping computer animation, it remains a stunning achievement. It’s also equal parts thrilling, scary, funny and whimsical. Few films hold up as well as Snow White, and decades’s worth of ho-hum remakes, reimaginations and adaptations only prove how impressive Disney’s achievement really is.”
2. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
This “tale as old as time” is one of the greats. From the music to the animation and the thrilling storyline, this film will keep you enthralled the entire time!
“A formative chapter in the history of Disney, this 1991 blockbuster became known as the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars,” explains Vulture.
As one of Disney’s best animated films, the story of Belle, who falls in love with a beast, is brought to life by the numerous bright characters, including a clock, a teapot, a candlestick, and an ottoman.
Adds Good Housekeeping: “The gorgeous animation and delightful music in this adaptation of an 18th-century French fairytale makes it Walt Disney Studios’s best animated film of all time.”
1. The Lion King (1994)
The best Disney movie of all-time is The Lion King. There has never been such a winning combination as Simba, Timon, and Pumba.
According to Buzzfeed, “No Disney scene has scarred (heh heh) children and adults as much as Mufasa’s death. No villain has ever been as deliciously complicated as Scar. Few songs are as catchy as “Hakuna Matata.” It’s the winner, baby.”
“Animated films often overreach for gravitas and fail miserably. The Lion King takes a mishmash of the stories of Hamlet, Henry IV, and some African folktales—and pulls it off,” adds Paste Magazine.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.