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The 12 Best Disney Movies of All Time, Ranked

I am a grown man now, but I have never stopped loving Disney movies. Whether it’s an animated film or a live-action adventure, I can’t help but sit down and thoroughly enjoy basically everything that the House of Mouse has to offer. Now that I have a Disney+ subscription, I have found myself going back and enjoying some of my childhood favorites and even exploring some newer films. There’s never a wrong time to watch a Disney movie, and Disney+ has made accessing them easier than ever.

Everyone’s ranked list of Disney films is going to be different, and now that the media giant has acquired Star Wars and Marvel, there are an overwhelming number of good movies to choose from. For my list, however, I’m only focusing on films that made me feel that classic Disney magic. If you’re looking for a broader list of choices, we also have a list of the best Disney+ movies to stream right now.

12. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

12. The Greatest Game Ever Played
55 %
7.4/10
pg 120m
Genre Drama
Stars Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Josh Flitter
Directed by Bill Paxton
This is the only live-action film on this list, and it was a difficult decision to put it here. The Greatest Game Ever Played is more than just a golf movie, it’s a look into golf history. The story follows a young, working-class boy named Francis Ouimet (Shia Labeouf) as he tries to make his dreams of becoming a golf champion a reality. Though it’s primarily a drama, there are bits of humor and action sprinkled in throughout the film and it’s a live-action entry that showcases what Disney was always great at in this format.

11. Soul (2020)

11. Soul
83 %
8/10
pg 101m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Family
Stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton
Directed by Pete Docter
Soul is one of the most recent Pixar movies to be released directly to Disney+ and it hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as it deserves. It deals with death and the struggles of life, telling a beautiful story about a man who loses his life right before he gets his big musical break. When he meets a new soul on the other side who refuses to come to Earth, he finds himself rediscovering the true meaning of life through the eyes of someone who never had the chance to live.

10. Big Hero 6 (2014)

10. Big Hero 6
74 %
7.8/10
pg 102m
Genre Adventure, Family, Animation, Action, Comedy
Stars Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney
Directed by Chris Williams, Don Hall
There are plenty of worthy titles I could have put on this list over Big Hero 6, but there’s just something about this film that I keep coming back to. It has an excellent voice cast and the animation is great, but it’s the unique storyline and setting that draws me in the most. The main character is a young kid filled with hope for his future who is confronted head-on by tragedy. There is no fairy godmother or magical genie that can come save the day, only the lingering kindness of an inflatable robot and the undying spirit of a young boy who overcomes a great loss.

9. Up (2009)

9. Up
88 %
8.3/10
pg 96m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Adventure
Stars Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai
Directed by Pete Docter
Up is both one of the most heartbreaking and most heartwarming Disney movies of all time. Right off the bat, this Pixar film punches you in the gut with a wrenching look into the inevitable end of all good things. Fortunately, what starts as a depiction of loss and despair quickly turns into the heartwarming story of a man who feels he has lost any reason to live finding hope in a young child who needs him. Another Pixar movie that hits you in the feelings like this one is Inside Out, but for the sake of condensing this list to only 12 picks, I chose to feature Up instead. If I’m being honest, it’s mostly because of Doug the talking dog.

8. The Emperor's New Groove (2000)

8. The Emperor's New Groove
70 %
7.4/10
g 78m
Genre Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt
Directed by Mark Dindal
One of the most genuinely hilarious Disney movies of all time (guaranteeing it a place on our list), The Emperor’s New Groove tells the story of an adventure into the Peruvian jungle and features some great characters. Young, bratty, and spoiled new Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) is accidentally turned into a llama and lost in the jungle after a plot to kill him goes awry, sending him on an adventure back to his palace with the help of his new, reluctant friend Pacha (John Goodman). In addition to stylish animation and a joke-filled script, it’s worth highlighting the movie’s fantastic voice performances from David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt, Wendie Malick, and especially Patrick Warburton as Kronk.

7. Tangled (2010)

7. Tangled
71 %
7.7/10
pg 100m
Genre Animation, Family
Stars Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy
Directed by Byron Howard, Nathan Greno
You may be thinking to yourself, “Why is Tangled on this list if Frozen isn’t?” The answer to that is quite simple: Tangled is a better movie than Frozen. It may not have gained the same popularity or even have the same standout songs, but it’s a much more idiosyncratic movie. Much like Mulan, the movie features a princess who doesn’t have to rely on someone else to save her. What’s more, the prince that does come to save her is actually just a thief that she ends up saving instead. This is also the only Disney movie I know of where a character is aware of how weird it is for a group of strangers to burst into song together — which makes this movie worthy of my list in and of itself.

6. Coco (2017)

6. Coco
81 %
8.4/10
pg 105m
Genre Family, Animation, Fantasy, Music, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Directed by Lee Unkrich
A more recent Disney/Pixar collaboration, Coco is a beautiful and touching affirmation of life and heritage that will completely bowl you over. Not only is it a culturally conscious movie that integrates Spanish into its dialogue, but it also weaves a pretty weighty story into its plot, one remniscent of great Disney tragedies like The Lion King. As usual, this movie features some awesome original songs that are way too catchy for their own good, as well as some fabulous motion capture technology, which was used to animate the hilarious side character: a Xoloitzcuintli — I know it’s a nightmare to read, but it’s a fairly common Mexican street dog — named Dante, who is a constant companion to the film’s main character.

5. Hercules (1997)

5. Hercules
74 %
7.3/10
g 93m
Genre Animation, Family, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy, Romance
Stars Tate Donovan, Josh Keaton, Roger Bart
Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker
Hercules was one of my first introductions into Greek mythology and is the only reason I know about as many Greek gods as I do. With a soundtrack featuring artists like Michael Bolton and Destiny’s Child, the music alone makes this film worth watching. It has the same zero-to-hero story structure as many of the other classic Disney movies on this list, but grafts that story onto one about Greek heroes, making it feel unique. Like most of the movies on this list, the voice cast really brings life to the film. Personally, I have never been able to look at Danny Devito as anything other than a goat-man since I first watched this film and that’s okay with me.

4. The Lion King (1994)

4. The Lion King
88 %
8.5/10
g 89m
Genre Family, Animation, Drama
Stars Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons
Directed by Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
The only reason The Lion King isn’t at the top of this list is that it’s basically just Hamlet, but with lions, and that’s also what makes it such a fantastic story. With likable animal characters, complicated themes, and a memorable soundtrack from the minds of Elton John and Tim Rice, it has everything you could ever want from a Disney movie. The original film has even become one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all time, so you know it’s good. If you want more proof of how special the original Lion King is, look no further than the lifeless “live-action” remake, which was largely CGI. The original film also spurred a couple of above-average sequels, The Lion King 2 and The Lion King 1 and 1/2, which are actually both worth watching if you haven’t seen them already.

3. Mulan (1998)

3. Mulan
71 %
7.6/10
g 88m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure
Stars Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, BD Wong
Directed by Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook
I first watched Mulan when I was a kid, and it instantly became one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. Looking back now, it was one of the first times a Disney “princess” was portrayed as a capable human that didn’t need saving. But when I watched it as a kid, I really just thought it was genuinely entertaining. The soundtrack is amazing and Eddie Murphy’s Mushu is better than anything he would eventually do in Shrek. Mulan is the kind of story of an unlikely hero overcoming insurmountable odds that Disney does so well. This is actually one of those rare cases where I have actually seen the live-action version of this film and didn’t hate it. While I would never put that iteration of this movie on this list, I would recommend watching it if you’re a fan of the original.

2. Tarzan (1999)

2. Tarzan
79 %
7.3/10
g 88m
Genre Family, Adventure, Animation, Drama
Stars Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close
Directed by Kevin Lima, Chris Buck
Tarzan is another classic story told through gorgeous animation and fueled by the heavenly score of Phil Collins. This film has all of the elements of a good Disney movie — action, talking animals, conflict, and an underlying heartfelt storyline. Plus the soundtrack was so good that I actually have the CD — I still listen to from time to time. The Tarzan franchise has gone downhill since the original film, but that doesn’t change its place on the list. There are so many great lines and memorable moments from the first movie that still bring me joy all these years later.

Read more: Best Movies

1. Aladdin (1992)

1. Aladdin
86 %
8/10
g 90m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Stars Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin
Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker

I was born in the 90s, so naturally, Aladdin is number 1 on my list of Disney movies. While it can be argued that the only reason this movie was only so good is that Robin Williams brought total originality to the Genie, no argument will ever get me to remove this animated film from the top of my list. With magic, fighting, and a rags-to-riches main character, Aladdin is more than just a diamond in the rough. With songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, Aladdin also features one of the great Disney soundtracks, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a song catchier than Friend Like Me, even if Williams improvs his way through most of it.

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