My Ten Favorite Animated Disney Movies
10. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1996)
"We find you totally innocent - which is the worst crime of all!"
"Once again it's Topsy Turvy Day!"
Disney's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is an animated retelling of Victor Hugo's classic novel. The hunchbacked Quasimodo dreams of coming down from his confines of the bell tower located inside the Notre Dame cathedral and walking amongst the people. He lives with three stone gargoyles named Hugo, Victor and Laverne who talk him into attending the city of Paris' Festival of Fools. There he comes into contact with the beautiful Esmeralda, voiced by Demi Moore.
The film is colorful and fun-filled as you follow Quasimodo on his quest for acceptance while his supposed caretaker Count Frollo uses him to track down the cities gypsy population.
Favorite Scene: Quasimodo and a soldier named Phoebus (voiced by Kevin Kline) follow clues to find the gypsy's secret lair. When they arrive in the catacombs the playful Clopin (my favorite character) and his bandits take them prisoner while performing the dark yet silly "The Court of Miracles". Clopin plays both the judge and lawyers for the intruders until the heroes are recognized by Esmeralda's pet goat, Djali.
Greatest Songs: "Out There", "God Help the Outcasts", "Topsy Turvy", "The Bells of Notre Dame", "A Guy Like You", "The Court of Miracles"
9. "The Lion King" (1994)
"It's our problem-free philosophy..."
"Asante sana, Squash banana!"
Altogether now - "Naaaaaaaaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi Baba!" You may not know the exact words from the opening of Disney's "The Lion King", but everyone tries. We've all held something high into the air like Rafiki held Simba (check out the pilot of ABC's "Modern Family"). We all cry each time Mufasa falls into the stampede of wildebeests. More than anything, we all sing along with the wonderful Academy Award winning music written by Sir Elton John and Tim Rice along with a musical score (also Oscar winning) composed by Hans Zimmer.
The cast of the movie is one of it's greatest features including Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Nathan Lane, James Earl Jones, Whoopi Geldberg, Cheech Marin, Rowan Atkinson and the incredible Jeremy Irons as the evil Scar.
Favorite Scene: "Creepy little monkey..." Adult Simba is wandering in the night confused about who he is and the baboon Rafiki finds him. He taunts and teases Simba while helping him remember his true identity.
Greatest Songs: "The Circle of Life", "I Just Can't Wait To Be King", "Hakuna Matata", "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", "Be Prepared"
8. "Lilo & Stitch" (2002)
"This is my family."
"Oh good, my dog found a chainsaw!"
I want a Stitch. There, I said it. In Disney's "Lilo & Stitch", the small blue alien disguises himself as a dog in hopes of wreaking havoc on planet Earth. Instead, he is adopted by a little girl named Lilo and her older sister and caretaker Nani. Eventually Stitch (a.k.a. experiment 626) grows to love the family and teaches the audience just how important family is. ("This is my family. I found it all on my own. It's little and broken, but still good. Yeah - still good.") Stitch learns to speak English throughout the movie in his squeaky and raspy voice, starting with a creepy yet adorable "Hi," to Lilo at the adoption kennel.
There have been many spin-offs including an animated television series and multiple films including "Lilo & Stitch 2", "Stitch the Movie", and "Leroy & Stitch". Also, there is a ride/show in Disney World titled "Stitch's Great Escape!"
Favorite Scene: I crack up during the first spat between Lilo and Nani. Maybe it's because I have 5 siblings and we have had our share of similar battles. To get out of her sister's grasp, Lilo sloppily licks her sister's arm (who hasn't done that?!) and then hides inside the dryer.
Favorite Quote(s): (Nani screaming up the stairs) "Go to your room!"
(Lilo from inside of her room) "I'm already in my room!"
7. "Aladdin" (1992)
"Just a little snack guys..."
"Ten thousand years will give you such a crick in the neck!"
"Aladdin" has one of the most common Disney traits: every single song is incredible and WILL get stuck in your head after you watch the movie. Music is a huge factor in having this film as one of my favorites. From the opening of the film to the very end, the characters sing you along through their story as the street-rat Aladdin falls in love with Princess Jasmine and uses three wishes from Genie (amazingly voiced by Robin Williams) to gain access to her.
The villain Jafar eventually gets a hold on the magical lamp containing Genie and uses it to try to take over the city. His henchman is a parrot named Iago (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) is more comedic than he is evil.
Favorite Scene: During the song "Prince Ali", Genie has transformed Aladdin's look and has made him appear to be royalty as they travel down the city streets with an impressive group of dancers, parade floats and an adoring crowd. They make their way towards the palace in order to meet the Sultan and be introduced (officially) to Princess Jasmine.
Greatest Songs: "A Whole New World", "One Jump Ahead", "A Friend Like Me," "Prince Ali"
6. "The Brave Little Toaster" (1987)
"Ah, don't be a wet blanket!"
"Holy Mother of Edison!"
"The Brave Little Toaster" isn't usually considered a classic Disney film, but given it's by Disney - it counts! The story follows Toaster and other household appliances (a lamp, radio, heating blanket and vacuum) on their journey to find their previous owner who has moved on and gone to college. Afraid of being replaced by newer appliances, the group struggles all along the way those new gadgets.
The radio (voiced by Jon Lovitz) is hilarious and consistently harasses the rest of the group by cracking inappropriate jokes and broadcasting random news bulletins - ("Just long enough to lose our minds! We'll be cannibals within a few days, I've seen it happen!")
Favorite Scene: There is a musical sequence when Toaster and his friends arrive at their Master's new apartment in which the already installed newer gadgets hold their ground and frighten the group about being tossed away for scrap metal. The song "Cutting Edge" is a creepy, electronic number that ends in the newer appliances tossing Toaster and the others into a dumpster to be taken away to the junkyard.
Favorite Quote: (The air conditioner to Kirby) "Oh, I'm really scared there, Kirby. What are you going to do, suck me to death?"
5. "The Little Mermaid" (1989)
"They sad 'cause they in the bowl..."
"You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!"
How many ladies out there used to go swimming in a pool when they were younger and hold your legs together to swim like Ariel? ...or was that just me? Super dangerous, but a ton of fun. Ariel "The Little Mermaid" is still my favorite Disney girl. Her best friend Flounder and sort-of babysitter Sebastian the crab are along for the ride as Ariel dreams to one day become human despite her father's disapproval.
Octo-woman Ursula gives me the creeps to this day, especially during her song "Poor Unfortunate Souls". She convinces Ariel to give up her enchanting voice in exchange for becoming human to be reunited with her crush, Prince Eric. Another minimalistic evil-doer is the French chef who Sebastian desperately tries to avoid while working to rescue Ariel. (His French laugh cracks me up every time!)
Favorite Scene: Even though I'm not much of a "mush face" when it comes to romantic scenes in movies and television, I have a soft spot in my heart for the song "Kiss the Girl". A silent Ariel and Prince Eric are in a small boat together and riding along while the sea creatures sing a love ballad to try and get the two lovebirds to kiss. It's a beautiful scene, particularly when they are underneath a canopy tree.
Greatest Songs: "Part of Your World", "Kiss the Girl", "Poor Unfortunate Souls", "Under the Sea"
4. "Robin Hood" (1973)
"It appears that I now have an outlaw for an in-law!"
"He's so handsome! Just like his reward posters."
Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood, but only Disney could put such a playful spin on the tale. As always he steals from the rich and gives to the poor, but this time he's a fox along with the lovely Maid Marian. All of the characters are animals, including his sidekick Little John who is a big brown bear and is voiced by Disney regular Phil Harris. Although there is not much music in this particular Disney film, the song "Oo-De-Lally" is easily recognizable and always has the audience singing along.
The villains of the film, the Sheriff of Nottingham (a wolf) and the evil Prince John (a lion) also work as comedic relief. Along with Prince John's henchmen Hiss the snake, they don't seem as sharp as a villain should be. They continuously bicker and can't even tell when our heroes are wearing disguises right under their noses.
Favorite Scene: While most of the residents of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest are imprisoned, our heroes make a dramatic rescue to save them. Dragging along their balls and chains the furry creatures hop one-by-one onto the getaway wagon while Robin Hood sneaks into Prince John's chambers to steal his gold.
Favorite Quote(s): (Sheriff) "Is the safety on ole Betsy?"
(Trigger) "You bet it is, sheriff."
(Sheriff) "That's what I'm afraid of. You go first!"
3. "Sleeping Beauty" (1959)
"Good gracious! Who left the mop running?"
If you couldn't tell from the rest of this list, I'm not big on the ole princess stories from Disney, but "Sleeping Beauty" stands out from the rest. Princess Aurora is my favorite Disney princess and Maleficent is one of my favorite villains of all time. The story is a timeless classic - Maleficent places a curse on the baby princess stating that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on the point of a spinning wheel and die. *gasp* Aurora is then raised away from her kingdom by the three fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.
Prince Phillip is a huge reason "Sleeping Beauty" is so high on my list. Out of all of the Disney princes he talks the most, looks (a little) different than the others and definitely does the most work. He slays a dragon for crying out loud! A super awesome dragon, might I add.
Favorite Scene: Aside from the classic scene where Maleficent transforms into a dragon I have always loved the part of the movie when the fairies are using magic to clean the house. They haven't used magic in years to keep Aurora from knowing about their powers, but given the time crunch they decide to dust their wands off a bake a cake, design an dress and clean the house 'magically'.
Favorite Quote: "Now father, you're living in the past. This is the 14th Century!"
2. "Alice in Wonderland" (1951)
"Can you stand on your head?"
"We're all mad here..."
In Disney's animated version of Lewis Carroll's classic children's story "Alice in Wonderland", Alice has a bizarre adventure after following a white rabbit down a hole. As an adult, watching this movie now causes me to repeatedly question pretty much every one of Alice's decisions. (Little cakes that say 'eat me' and a bottle labeled 'drink me' - girls, we all know this is a terrible idea!) I am thankful she followed the mystery treats instructions, or we would not have the pleasure of meeting the odd residents of Wonderland. Ruled by the evil Queen of Hearts, Wonderland is full of strange yet entertaining characters including the Mad Hatter, a pipe-smoking Caterpillar and of course the Cheshire Cat.
As a child I can remember watching the crazy tea party and wishing I could be a part of it and celebrate my own un-birthday! I still can't play croquet without picturing those poor little hedgehogs being batted around by upside down flamingos.
Favorite Scene: Alice's first meeting with the Cheshire Cat is anything but helpful. Instead of simply leading her in the right direction, the pink and purple feline gives the young girl a set of riddles and sings cryptic songs to make her journey that much stranger.
Favorite Quote: "Mustard?! Don't be silly..."
1. "The Sword in the Stone" (1963)
"Merlin! I swallowed a bug!"
Based on the story of King Arthur and his Knight's of the Round Table, "The Sword in the Stone" is a playful retelling done in classic Disney-fashion. It follows a young knight's squire named Arthur or "Wart" who discovers a cottage in the woods during a hunting trip and meets Merlin the wizard. Merlin packs up his house (literally, the entire thing in one small bag) and leaves the forest to teach and educate Wart. Along for the ride is Merlin's owl named Archimedes, my favorite character. He's grouchy, difficult and has no problem telling someone when they are full of "pinfeathers and gollyfluff!".
Another character that moves this film to number one on my list is the villain Mad Madame Mim. Using her own magic, she challenges Merlin to a Wizard's Duel and cheats her way through the entire thing including turning herself into a dragon after she had made the rule 'no dragons'. "Did I say no purple dragons?! Did I?!" Merlin prevails in the end, transforming himself into a germ and giving her a disease.
Most Memorable Scenes: (There are so many!)
- During one of Merlin's lessons, the wizard turns both he and Wart into squirrels. The two bump into another pair of lady squirrels in the forest and both instantly fall in love with the men. "Chic-coo!"
- To get Wart out of washing a kitchen full of thousands of dishes, Merlin casts a spell on the mess and makes them clean themselves.
- The wolf. While Wart and Merlin are on their way back to the castle where the young boy lives, a wolf follows them. He tries desperately to eat Wart and is unsuccessful each and every time. The poor guy ends up in a creek with a boulder dropping onto his head.
Favorite quote: "Blow me to Bermuda!"
"Mary Poppins" (1964)
This is one of my favorite Disney films, but I kept it off of this list because it's mostly live-action. "Mary Poppins" had some of the greatest music of any Disney movie, most of which is sung by the incredible Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins herself. Dick Van Dyke's quirky performance as Bert the chimney sweep is a joy to watch and sing along with. "Mary Poppins - practically perfect in every way."
Greatest Songs: "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Jolly Holiday", "Feed the Birds", "Let's Go Fly a Kite", "Chim Chim Cher-ee", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
"Finding Nemo" (2003)
It was a struggle, but I decided to keep "Finding Nemo" off of this list due to the fact it's a Disney/Pixar film. Just glancing at the poster makes me smile in the same cheesy fashion as Bruce the shark. "Fish are friends - not food!" It's a fun-filled roller coaster as we follow Marvin and Dory ("Just keep swimming!") on their journey to find Marvin's son, Nemo. There are dozens of great characters that make us laugh including the sea turtle Crush, a personal favorite.
Favorite Quote: "You made me ink!"
What about YOU?
What is your favorite Disney film from this list?
Ten Favorite Disney Movies
"The Sword in the Stone"
"Alice in Wonderland"
"The Little Mermaid"
"The Brave Little Toaster"
"Lilo & Stitch"
"The Lion King"
"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"