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10 Greatest Disney Films Ever

Updated on September 22, 2014
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Disney's domination may have ended, with the proliferation of animation studios, but they still remain the leader in animated movies. While today's animation landscape is more competitive, Walt Disney Movies solidified its place atop the mountain with the acquisition of Pixar Studios.

However, Disney is much more than the animated films studio from which it began. Now Disney is a major player in family-oriented live action movies. In recent years, they have dominated live action family movies with such classics as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Princess Diaries, Cheaper by the Dozen and High School Musical series (TV and Films).

Disney and its filmmakers understand that good family movies are not just about laughs, they understand how to tug at our heartstrings and generate tears of both sadness and laughter. The create suspenseful movies that keep us wondering what will happen next and leave us always wanting more.

You may not realize it but Walt Disney actually invented the animated movies genre back in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Prior to that time, cartoons had been used as brief shorts shown as entertainment prior to the start of the movie while movie trailers were shown at the end of the movie (thus the name). That first film created a huge stir and it remains as one of the Top 10 highest grossing films of all time when adjusted for inflation.

This list of the best Disney films is based on the blended average of all rankings of Disney movies at Rankography top ten movies.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2011 Rankography

10. Lady and the Tramp (1955)

A Classic Rich Girl, Poor Boy Love Story

Lady and the Tramp is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. Even though it came out in 1955, the story still feels as relevant today as it must have been then. The idyllic setting in a lovely valley nestled in the New York hills always make me think fondly of simpler times.

The two concurrent stories revolve around Lady, a pampered cocker spaniel living in an upper class home, and Tramp, a wily junkyard dog with a big heart and a passion for life. Their stories become intertwined when Lady's family has a baby and she is relegated to a "second class citizen" in the household.

This Disney film has a charming story with rich characters, an intriguing storyline and a wonderful happy ending. It should be in every family's library of classic Disney movies, especially if your family has young children.

If you enjoyed The Lady and the Tramp... - You could also enjoy The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book (Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Platinum Edition)
The Jungle Book (Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Platinum Edition)

This charming Disney movie was first released in 1967. Based on the Rudyard Kipling book of the same name it is a romp through the jungle with a young boy named, Mogli

 

The Original Disney Movies Preview for Lady and the Tramp - I love Vintage Movie Trailers, what do you think?

9. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Pixar Does it Again in their Second Animated Film

This was the second big hit for the Pixar Studio and it is one of my personal favorites. Pixar uses computer-generated imagery ("CGI") to design their films and their technology provides excellent realism. However, what really set this studio's films apart are the stories that John Lassiter and his team develop. It is only natural that Disney would acquire Pixar because Pixar had become better at weaving animated tales than Disney was.

This Pixar film is a buddy movie starring Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. "Sully" Sullivan (John Goodman). It centers on the electric company in Monstropolis, which is powered off of the screams of human children whose bedrooms Monsters enter each night. The whole concept of portals to another world was so interesting and unique that sci fi nuts like me really loved this Pixar movie.

What really made this movie though is the excellent script and the great give and take between Mike and Sully. It is a very funny movie with a lot of high speed and action and suspense. It was a great sophomore effort for Pixar.

8. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

This Disney Film is based on a Classic Princess Fairy Tale

Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney's classic princess movies, in the vein of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and based on a classic French fairy tale. This Disney film was so well done that it was actually nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, the first time ever for an animated movie.

It is the tale of Belle (Paige O'Hara), a merchant's daughter who feels trapped in her small provincial French town. She is also trying to avoid unwanted advances from the boorish, but powerful Gaston (Richard White). When her father is imprisoned by Beast (Robby Benson), a prince living under a spell that made him hideous, Belle meets Beast and offers herself in exchange.

It is a wonderful Disney princess film with several life lessons including not judging a book by its cover and finding satisfaction in life no matter where you are. Certainly, this is one of the classic disney movies which are perfect for young girls, but young boys can also find it fun and entertaining.

7. Mary Poppins (1964)

One of the Best Live Action Disney Movies of All Time

Mary Poppins remains one of the best family movies of all time even though it is close to 50 years old. There are so many priceless scenes and musical numbers in the classic Disney film. When one of my daughters was two years old, we had to play "Steppin' Time" over and over as she delighted in watching the chimney sweeps dancing with their brooms.

In this Disney movie, Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) is hired through a bit of magic as a nanny for a pair of impossible children in 19th century London. Mary becomes an instant hit with the children as she takes them on magical outings that provide valuable life lessons. One of her partners in training the children, is Bert (Dick Van Dyke), a loveable street artist and entertainer.

Ultimately, this wonderful Disney movie becomes more of a moral tale for the children's father, Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson), as he learns what is really important in life. This is a great Disney film for the entire family, young and old.

If you loved Mary Poppins... - You might also check out The Princess Diaries

The Princess Diaries (Full Screen Edition)
The Princess Diaries (Full Screen Edition)

Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway team up in this cute modern day princess tale. The film launched Hathaway's career and is a must see for any household with young girls.

 

6. Up (2009)

This Disney Pixar Film is Destined to be a Classic

Disney Pixar's Up was a very different find of animated movie. Released in 2009, this Disney film dealt with some weightier issues than most Disney movies, including aging, unfulfilled dreams and lost love. Despite these heavier themes, Up was a cinematic triumph and one of the best Disney films.

Facing an eviction to senior housing, 78 year old Carl Fredickson (Ed Asner), ties thousands of balloons to his house and sails away to fulfill his promise to his dead wife, Ellie; travel to a Lost Land in South America. An 8-year-old Boy Scout, Russell, accidentally becomes a stowaway while seeking his "helping the elderly" badge.

From there the pair begrudgingly become friends and embark on an exciting adventure to fulfill Carl and Ellie's dream. It is a magical Disney Pixar movie that should stand the test of time for years to come.

If you loved the Disney film, Up... - You should also check out the WALL-E

Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition)
Wall-E (Single-Disc Edition)

This funny Disney Pixar romantic comedy features a lovable trash monitoring robot and the futuristic robot.

 

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Johnny Depp was Born to Play Captain Jack Sparrow

Certain acting roles just fit an actor like a glove and such is the Captain Jack Sparrow role for Johnny Depp. Depp is an incredible actor with an ability to take a wide range of roles, but Captain Jack fits better than any other role. We have all come to love Sparrow, the adventurous, fun-loving scoundrel of a pirate in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Dead Man's Chest is the second film in the series and was a very good sequel to the original. Disney brought back most of the original cast and added a couple of new faces such as Billy Nighy, as the crusty Davy Jones.

This Pirate movie is as action packed as the first and will keep you entertained throughout. If you loved the first one then should enjoy the sequel, and if you have not yet seen a Pirates film, what are you waiting for? This is a great Disney movie series and fun for the whole family.

4. Ratatouille (2007)

A Delicious Tale About Chasing Your Dreams

Disney and Pixar went outside the typical animated film mold when they released Ratatouille in 2007. In this Pixar movie, our hero is a rat named Remy (Patten Oswalt) and what is a natural setting for a rat? In the kitchen of one of the finest restaurants in Paris, of course. Remy is a self-taught chef with the "absurd" dream of becoming a chef in a wonderful restaurant.

However, Remy is able to make his dream come true by partnering with a struggling young sous chef and controlling his actions to develop wonderful soups. This is a highly entertaining Disney movie in which we can all learn a bit about food while enjoying the antics of a superb cast of animated characters.

This Disney Pixar movie is probably loved as much by adults as it is by children because of its wonderful and interesting storyline

If you loved Ratatouille... - Then you might also like The AristoCats

The Aristocats (Special Edition)
The Aristocats (Special Edition)

An oldie but a goodie and still one of my all time favorite animated movies. Originally released in 1970s, it is the story of Duchess and her three kittens that get kicked out of their Parisian home when their master dies. But streetwise O'Malley helps them get back, claim their inheritance and foil the mean butler.

 

3. Toy Story (1995)

A Wonderful Story of Friendship and Teamwork

Toy Story is Pixar's first feature length film and a magical story about toys. This Pixar film is a fantastically original story about what happens to toys when humans aren't looking. But it is also a life lesson both for children and parents about growing up and living in the moment. The concept of Andy's (their owner) changing tastes in toys is a metaphor for a child's independence from their parents.

This Disney movie will tug at your heartstrings while you and your children laugh wildly at the antics of the toy crew. It really is an animated film masterpiece. Surprisingly the sequel, Toy Story 2, was nearly as good as the original. Pixar established themselves as masters of storytelling with this film and its sequels. It is another must own Disney film for your DVD library.

If you are a big fan of Toy Story... - Then you might also like The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant (Special Edition)
The Iron Giant (Special Edition)

One of the best animated films that few people have heard of, The Iron Giant is set in the 1950s. When a giant robot lands on Earth and befriends a young boy, the boy and his friend must protect it from evil military forces.

 

2. The Lion King (1994)

The Best Disney Animated Film Made in 2G Format

This enduring Disney classic is an all time favorite for most Disney fans. It is a classic tale of responsibility and taking charge of your life told through the eyes of Simba (Matthew Broderick), an adventurous but irresponsible lion cub. Simba is deceived by his evil uncle Scar (brilliantly voiced by Jeremy Irons) and Simba's own irresponsible mistake results in the accidental death of his father Mufasa (James Earl Jones).

After initially running away, Simba decides to assume responsibility for his actions and take back the kingdom from his evil uncle. While story is a simple one, the execution of the script and voices is excellent. Irons and Jones are both fantastic and the irrepressible Nation Lane is hilarious as the Meer Kat, Timon. This Disney animated movie has been so beloved it has been made into a Broadway play and a long-running live action show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It is a classic tale deserving of the title as one of the best Disney films of all time.


1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

The Pirates Saga Begins in this High Powered Action Film

Curse of the Black Pearl was the first of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series. With Pirates, Disney has proved that it is truly the master of all forms of family cinema. With Pixar, Disney dominates animated and CGI movies, but now with the Pirates series they also dominate live action family movies.

This first Pirates movie is a triumph both for Johnny Depp's outstanding performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, but also for the many other pirate characters. Geoffrey Rush is a truly brilliant actor and it is refreshing to see him assume a role in a family movie. He is so fantastic as Barbosa that they had to reprise his roles in the third and fourth installments of the series.

This a fun action movies with lots of twists and turns, incredibly rich characters and amazing set and costume design. Everyone in the family can enjoy the Pirates movies time and time again.

If you love the Pirates of the Caribbean series... - You might also enjoy The Lord of the Rings series

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Special Extended Edition)
The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Special Extended Edition)

Possibly the greatest epic fantasy tale ever told, this JRR Tolkien classic is a must see young boys, and most young girls too. With the fantasy backdrop, it is really the tale of friendship, determination and an epic struggle between good and evil.

 

Vote for your Favorite Disney Movie

Which do you think is the Best Disney Movie?

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    • profile image

      Niktravelfit 3 years ago

      Great lens - you're never to old for a good Disney movie.

    • Paul Hill84 profile image

      Paul Hill84 4 years ago

      Cool Lens but Disney has got to be Animated for me...Pirates of the Caribbean is a great film though! Meet the Robinsons is probably my favourite Disney Film

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      I love these movies.

    • audrey07 profile image

      audrey07 4 years ago

      It's really hard to choose... all of them are great movies. But I think Beauty and the Beast is really good, especially for a cartoon.

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 4 years ago from USA

      Beauty and the beast is my favorite but I also like Lady and the tramp.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      The Lady and the Tramp was my favourite when I was a kid. My first dog was named Tramp-Blessed

    • profile image

      AdriatiX 4 years ago

      I don't understand people who are angry because Disney bought Star Wars rights. They are one of the best movie ''houses'' as they provides us all variety of films not just cartoons. Avengers, Pirates Caribean are all amazing films.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      We love Disney at our house. Can't wait until my baby son is a little older so we can all watch the Lion King together! My husband and I know every single word of the songs but he sings in French and I sing it in english.

    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 4 years ago

      We are a big Disney family. While my older daughter favored The Lion King, my twins love Wall-e and Ratatouille.

    • profile image

      mumsgather 4 years ago

      I love Disney movies and have seen all of those that you mentioned above with my kids.

    • profile image

      Pazzaria_Productions 4 years ago

      Well done, Rankography!

      Your comments about Ratatouille, with it going outside of the mold, and such are spot on. This film is especially inspirational for me, because I am a foodie, and a fan of haute cuisine. I have also been lucky enough to experience Chef Keller's food at Bouchon.

      In addition, the themes of not judging a book by it's cover, the trials and tribulations of Remy, as well as the character arc of Anton Ego all hit home for me, as I am an artist and often go through (while perhaps not quite as dramatic) similar emotional struggles.

    • Tagarack profile image

      Tagarack 4 years ago

      You definitely hit all the highlights indeed and I agree that the first Pirates of the Caribbean is definitely one of their best. The other ones, not as much, but still a good time. Great list.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Back again to bless this.

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 4 years ago

      You are missing some of of my favorites, but lots of good choices nonetheless.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I am not always satisfied with Disney's adaptations of classics, but they sure do the work as one hundred percent professionals. They are masters and everybody who is creative can learn a lot from them.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Totally awesome choices; I love Disney!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Really thorough, beautiful lens. Mary Poppins is my favorite. Blessed.

    • thehandmadesecret profile image

      thehandmadesecret 5 years ago

      I like it a lot, but I don't believe that "Dead Man's Chest" was that fantastic of a film. I would have put Cinderella or Snow White, seeing how iconic they are.

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Great lens! Pirates is my favorite :)

    • cinefile profile image

      cinefile 5 years ago

      Tangled, that's Disney, right? Last year we did a movies in the park night for the whole neighborhood and the kids LOVED it! I'd also like to recommend The Black Hole (1979) and my all time favorite Disney flick (2010).

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      super GREAT Lens...Also thanking you for Squidliking several of my lenses

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've watched The Lion King with my nephew a dozen or so times, so I would have to count that one as number 1 in my book. It's great that nearly all the Disney movies can be watch by everyone in the family.

    • profile image

      Ajeet 5 years ago

      I now like Pixar more than Disney :)

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Oh My! I didn't know there were so many Disney movies I had seen. Almost all of them. Loved this lens as it brought back good memories. Blessings!

    • GeeeeOhhhh LM profile image

      GeeeeOhhhh LM 5 years ago

      I really enjoy all of disney pixar's animated movies. It inspired me to become a 3D animator. Check out the software I use to make 3D animations here: https://hubpages.com/art/illusionmage-easy-3d-anim...

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great lens about Disney Movies. I don't think you ever get to old to enjoy a Disney Movie. I sure enjoyed this visit.

    • GOT LM profile image

      GOT LM 5 years ago

      Pixar movies are disney too.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      These are such classic films. Mary Poppins, Lion King and Lady and the Tramp are just beautiful. Blessings.

    • suzy-t profile image

      suzy-t 5 years ago

      Great list... I love all Disney movies and I think I would have to throw Snow White in their for consideration...I'm a bit "old-school" when it comes to Disney, although I do love all the Pixar movies too !...Blessed and pinned to my SquidAngel board.

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      I loved your selection of the top Disney movies. I think Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Toy Story (even though its Disney/Pixar) are some of the best movies ever made by Disney Studios.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Lion is still the king!

      Password below ses 'fantastic' - And I agree!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i like Monsters, Inc.

    • profile image

      backupsoftwarereview 5 years ago

      Nice lens, my favorite is Pirates of the Caribbean

    • KatrinaJames profile image

      KatrinaJames 5 years ago

      This is a fab lens, brill work!!:-)

    • A RovingReporter profile image

      A RovingReporter 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      my favorite is ratatouille.

    • BryanLSC profile image

      BryanLSC 5 years ago

      Once again, where's my favorite Finding Nemo?!?!

    • profile image

      John_2011 5 years ago

      Great read, there are some classic films in the list. This is the sort of topic that could cause as bit of debate but you seem to have covered it very well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Disney films have captivated me all my life. I remember Walt saying once that he wanted to bring a tear and a smile in every film and the company certainly has moved on with the times with top notch entertainment with all the action, special effects, and technology while keeping the Disney magic.

    • profile image

      Lucy66 5 years ago

      I miss so much this kind of films, I love them all and they remind myself when I was a little girl, great lense, thanks

    • profile image

      tomaztt 5 years ago

      Pirates are great

    • profile image

      PowerDividends 5 years ago

      Pirates are the best!

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      Big fan of Disney films

    • HowToMan101 profile image

      HowToMan101 5 years ago

      Great movies! Check out my lens on Disneyland. www.squidoo.com/thedisneylandexperience

    • profile image

      Bert_Solis 5 years ago

      Great collection of movies!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just love all these Disney films.

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      @agent009: I was a bit surprised by that one too. The list is based on the movie rankings of over 15 different movie bloggers and fans at RG. So, I have no control over the results.

    • profile image

      agent009 5 years ago

      I have to disagree with Pirates of the Caribbean being #1. I figured this would be more of a classic since the beginning of Disney list.

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      @GeorgeneMBramlage: Yes that would be a good idea and I think putting one together for "Old Disney" would work well.

    • Rankography profile image
      Author

      Rankography 5 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: I know I was a bit surprised it did not make the list. Nor did Jungle Book, but there have been so many great ones lately and the non-animated probably crowded them out.

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I just love Disney movies. Another favorite of mine is Cinderella.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Yes, I agree with smithllights - how about a 'new Disney' and an 'old Disney list?' Or any variation thereof? I've seen most of the movies on this lens list, but really do prefer the "old Disney" one that were animated by hand and had great music. I enjoy your lenses. Cercis

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 5 years ago

      Another great ranking lens. (I love movies!) It would almost be worth doing a "new Disney" and "old Disney" lens. Pre-1995, and post-1995. Or computers vs. hand drawn. They are both good, but different leagues for me!

    • profile image

      healthandsick 5 years ago

      they created quality movies

    • sponias lm profile image

      sponias lm 5 years ago

      These movies are fantastic. I love Disneyâs creations.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Excellent choices! =D

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Nicely done lens! I see Fantasia isn't here...that movie always freaked me out a little, not sure what Disney was thinking but it was certainly strange for the era.

    • profile image

      jvernier33 6 years ago

      You pretty much hit the nail on the head. I was recently at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco and as soon as we got home we watched every Disney movie we could get a hold of!