Walt Disney Animation Studios started making innovative animated movies in 1937. In the past eight decades, the storied animation company has produced 58 feature-length films, ranging from its fairy tale beginnings before World War II to the critically acclaimed “Disney Renaissance” flicks of the ’90s to the cultural juggernauts of the 2010s. Here are the top 10 animated Disney films of all time, listed in order, to help you narrow down your viewing options.
10. Frozen (2013)
The story of Princess Anna trying to free her country from the icy hold of her sister, Queen Elsa, is told in the animated film Frozen, which is partially based on the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Snow Queen. When Frozen 2 dethroned it in 2019 with $1.32 billion in global sales, it had earned $1.28 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing animated film of all time. No one can dispute that the film that gave us the song “Let It Go” deserves a slot among Disney’s best, even if you think the sequel is equally as brilliant.
9. Hercules (1997)
Pocahontas, The Lion King, and Aladdin songs are usually the first that come to mind when you think about Disney music from the 1990s. But Hercules is vastly underappreciated, particularly for its score. Greek mythology serves as the basis for the narrative, but a gospel choir performs the muses on the contemporary soundtrack.
8. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The Lewis Carroll novel from the 19th century was adapted by Disney into one of its most magical and unconventional films ever. Young Alice encounters some of Disney’s most vivid characters, such as the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and the malevolent Queen of Hearts, after following the White Rabbit down a hole into Wonderland.
7. Aladdin (1992)
Aladdin, a street urchin, flees with the aid of the Genie (Robin Williams) he releases from a magic lamp after being tricked by the sultan’s wicked advisor Jafar into entering the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin wins Princess Jasmine’s heart and defeats Jafar after granting one of his three wishes to change into Prince Ali.
6. Moana (2016)
The adventurous adolescent daughter of a Polynesian village chief is the subject of Moana, the most recent Walt Disney Animation Studios movie that isn’t a prequel. She must sail across the ocean to locate the god Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and deliver a priceless stone to the goddess Te Fiti in order to aid in saving her tribe. One of the most entertaining and unique stories Disney has told in a while, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, can be found in this film.
5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
It all began with this version of the well-known Grimms’ fairytale. It was not just the first animated feature made in Technicolor but also the first animated feature from the Walt Disney Studios. Despite widespread skepticism that an audience would be interested in a nearly 90-minute animated film, it made $8 million globally, making it the highest-grossing film of all time at the time.
4. Pinocchio (1940)
Film historians regard Pinocchio as one of the most technically flawless Disney animated films, despite being the studio’s second full-length animated production. Gepetto, a woodworker, makes a wish on a star to have a son, and Pinocchio, a puppet, comes to life. Pinocchio is repeatedly misled, even when Jiminy Cricket serves as his conscience, until he saves Gepetto from Monstro the whale and is changed into a real boy.
3. The Little Mermaid (1989)
With this adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale about a mermaid who transforms into a human with the aid of the sea witch Ursula, Disney made a comeback to traditional fairy tales after a three-decade absence. The Little Mermaid had two songs nominated for Best Original Song and won the Academy Award for “Under the Sea” by Alan Menken. It contains some of the greatest Disney music ever.
2. The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, tells the tale of what happens to the young cub Simba after he flees with his family when his evil uncle Scar accuses him of being the cause of the murder of his father Mufasa. Simba reclaims Pride Rock from Scar and his band of hyenas with the aid of Nala, a friend from his youth, and his new friends Timon and Pumba. Three songs by Elton John and Tim Rice were nominated for an Academy Award for best original song, with “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” taking home the prize.
1. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
This retelling of a legend from the 18th century is the best animated movie ever produced by Walt Disney Studios thanks to its exquisite animation and lovely soundtrack. Additionally, it was the first animated film to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award.