I’m half-way through my project where I’m watching every main Disney Studios Animated feature film ever, in order of release (28 movies out of 56). After reaching the half-way point, I decided to take a week off before I began the second half. Instead of leaving you hanging completely, here’s every movie I’ve talked about so far, sorted in order of my personal preference.
There’s also a chance that the order of these movies could change. They’ve already changed a bit as I’ve been going along. For example, if a movie later on touches on the same themes as an earlier movie, but better, it may bump the older movie down the list. The opposite could happen at the same time. I’ll post a more complete list after I’m done this full project and I’ll probably even put in all the movie posters, but I won’t be updating this list as I continue this project.
If a movie is in the bottom 5, it gets no more than 5 words of explanation as to why it’s there. The top 5 each get a full paragraph. The rest get a full sentence. So without further to do, here are the first 28 Disney Animated Features in order of my personal preference. Just to be clear, I don’t think any of these movies are bad mind you. The bottom 6 are bad by Disney standards, but they all have their fans and I won’t look down on anyone for enjoying them. I’m sure there’s an audience for even my 28th place movie. It’s just that the lower movies aren’t for me and I don’t plan on watching them again any time soon.
Lame wartime pro Mexican propaganda
27 Saludos Amigos (see 28 for link)
Same as above, but shorter
Good animation, but boring
25 Melody Time (see 28 for link)
Fantasia with outdated 50’s pop
Potential ruined by annoying characters
A forgettable movie that happens to contain a really catchy song and kind of an awesome villain death.
Although this movie has a very significant place in history, Disney’s original animated feature hasn’t aged well.
The Aristocats is just a big bag of cute with one entertaining song, a lame story idea and so little conflict that it’s hard to pay attention.
20 Fun and Fancy Free (see 28 for link)
This packages two stories together – a lame story about a domesticated bear entering the wild and a decent Jack and the Beanstalk retelling that’s harmed by a live action narrator and his annoying puppets.
19 Make Mine Music (see 28 for link)
The best of the WW2 era movies if only because of the fantastic “The whale who wanted to sing at the met”, which saved this movie from the bottom 5.
The final animated movie released before Walt Disney’s death will likely entertain kids, but it’s really lame for adults.
17 Robin Hood
A good adventure movie that I’m sure I would have enjoyed more if I saw it as a kid.
A relaxing, pleasant movie about likeable characters and their strange adventures that just isn’t for me, but there is an audience for movies like this for both kids and adults.
Two good stories packaged together, either of which could have been expanded into a full feature with the right creative team.
Cinderella is a really well-developed character who does everything she can to improve her circumstances, and that’s part of why this movie is good.
Kind of like The Aristocats in that it’s a big ball of cute, but Cruella De Vil is a great enough villain to make this mildly entertaining for adults, and kids will likely enjoy the cute factor and the comedy.
12 Jungle Book
This is a good adventure movie with fun music, but it’s kind of about nothing.
There is a lot to like about this movie, but the shallow romance holds it back a lot for me.
A surprisingly deep look at how tough it is to hold onto a friendship that goes against societal norms, weakened by some mediocre music and a lack of subtlety.
Although this movie feels dated, it’s a very emotionally driven story with great lead characters and it somehow makes its silly concept work.
From this point on, all of these movies are great, and it got increasingly hard to choose a favourite the closer I got to number 1.
A fantastic story of a wooden puppet who wants to be a real boy, and learns a lot about morality along the way.
Maleficent alone makes this movie kind of awesome, but the music, the brilliant art style and Disney’s greatest animated villain of all time make this an entertaining fairy tale all round.
This movie surprised me with its well told romance, a creative take on fictional dogs and well varied music that’s aged really well.
This movie released well before its time. It’s the psychedelic Disney movie that’s a pure joy to look at the visual creativity. The story moves at a fast pace yet never feels rushed. The voice work is fantastic. Too bad they never made a sequel to this, considering it’s based on an entire book series.
The ultimate classic Disney adventure movie. It’s often considered the best adaptation of the original with a great visual style, a general fun tone and a great soundtrack. The only thing holding this back from being higher on the list is the “What Makes the Red Man Red” song that, while fun, is kind of racist.
This isn’t really a movie. It’s more of an experience. It mixes famous classical music with the artists interpreting it through creative visuals. The visuals range from beautiful fantasy worlds to a comedic Mickey Mouse sketch. The finale with a demon enjoying his evil ways is the perfect closer to this masterpiece.
This is a very fun adventure movie. The characters are well varied in personalities and they play off each other well. The theme music captures the mood perfectly and it’s hard to get out of your head, for all the right reasons. And of course you’ve got Vincent Price clearly enjoying every minute of his role as the main villain.
I knew going in that I would enjoy watching this again, but I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy re-watching it. This is a very emotional tale about an elephant with unusually large ears, treated as an outcast. There are moments that are almost impossible not to tear up at. It also explores how harmful animal abuse can be without being blatant about it. Thankfully, it’s balanced out with creative visuals, some amusing scenes and a glorious finale once Dumbo learns how to fly.
I plan on watching the next movie, The Rescuers Down Under, either tomorrow night or Thursday, and my post will likely go up the day after I watch it. After that, I’m diving head first into the Disney Renaissance in full force. It’s the triple threat of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King all in a row. I wouldn’t be surprised if all three of those movies end up in my top 10 once this project is over.