Top Ten Tuesday: Best Disney Films of All-Time

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Disney Films of All-Time

A look at all the best of Walt Disney's arsenal since 1937...

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lionkingWelcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday where we bring you one of the internet’s favorite things to make…lists!

With the news that Sofia Coppola is in talks to direct a live-action version of Disney’s classic The Little Mermaid, I’d thought it would be a good time to look at Disney’s arsenal and their ten best animated films.  I have to caution all of you that I haven’t seen every Disney film but I’ve seen enough to warrant a strong opinion on the matter.  From 1937’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Disney has created more than 50 features not including films from Pixar, Studio Ghibli, and Disney Toon Studios.  I’ll be focusing on the films from Walt Disney Studios specifically.

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Clayton Davis

Editor-in-Chief & Owner at The Awards Circuit
Clayton Davis started to write professionally in his sophomore year of college when Johnny Alba, the editor and owner of the old Oscar prediction site, The Oscar Igloo, had an opening for staff writers. Clayton wrote for The Igloo for nearly four years before being appointed editor and revamping and renaming The Oscar Igloo into the now popular mega-site, The Awards Circuit. Since then, Clayton has become a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to awards season show, The Critics Choice Awards. Most recently, Clayton is a now an active member of the International Press Academy, which hosts the popular Satellite Awards as well as the newly integrated Broadcast Television Journalists Association, which hosts the Critics Choice Television Awards. In June 2014 he became the year's first accepted member to New York Film Critics Online. He has been quoted in various outlets (CNN.com, Bloomberg.com, TheWrap.com, AceShowbiz.com, SlashFilm.com, ScottFeinberg.com) and continues to raise the bar for film-talking enthusiasts around the globe.

  • Troy F

    1. Pinocchio
    2. The Rescuers
    3. Beauty and the Beast
    4. Dumbo
    5. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad
    6. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    7. Bambi
    8. Robin Hood
    9. Aladdin
    10. Fantasia

  • Phillip Milner

    1. Lion King
    2. The Little Mermiad
    3. Frozen
    4. Tangled (was that Disney?)
    5. Pocohantas

    That’s all I got. Don’t do much Disney. I’ll come back when Pixar is here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000467555057 Robert Hamer

    No room on this list for Pinocchio? I’m…speechless. Especially since I’d happily rank The Fox and the Hound among Disney’s worst.

    • Kristen Lopez

      The worst of the bunch, for me, remains Oliver and Company with Robin Hood and The Fox and the Hound running 2 and 3.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000467555057 Robert Hamer

        That was a weird period in their history, huh?

      • Sam Schaffer

        The worst 5 are Chicken Little, Home on the Range, Atlantis, Oliver and Company and The Black Cauldron.

    • Clayton Davis

      Love The Fox and the Hound and I don’t much care for Pinocchio in the slightest.

  • Terence Johnson

    This was so hard to do

    1. The Lion King
    2. Beauty and the Beast
    3. Fantasia
    4. Sleeping Beauty
    5. Aladdin
    6. One Hundred and One Dalmations
    7. Mulan
    8. The Little Mermaid
    9. The Emperor’s New Groove
    10. Cinderella

  • JBAwardsCircuit

    I totally agree with the Top 3, just not in that order haha.

    Mine:

    1. Beauty and the Beast
    2. The Lion King
    3. The Little Mermaid
    4. Sleeping Beauty
    5. Aladdin
    6. Frozen
    7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    8. Mulan
    9. Bambi
    10. Pinocchio

  • Kristen Lopez

    Actually, Coppola is adapting Hans Christian Anderson’s original fairy tale which is far darker than what Disney came up with. The best adaptation of Anderson’s story, I recall, was in Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theater. As for my own Top 10:

    1. The Little Mermaid
    2. The Rescuers
    3. The Great Mouse Detective
    4. Frozen
    5. The Lion King
    6. Beauty and the Beast
    7. Meet the Robinsons
    8. Lilo & Stitch
    9. Peter Pan
    10. Pinocchio

  • Manning Franks

    Gah, this is hard. I love how everyone has their own favorites from Disney :) I grew up with Disney so I’m biased towards almost all of the classic ones (save Black Cauldron, which gave a 5 year-old boy nightmares). The new ones I’m hit or miss on, some I love, some I hate, and only a couple are meh. But, you got to love Disney!

    10. Peter Pan (even with the horrible Native American stereotypes)
    9. Wreck-It Ralph
    8. Fantasia
    7. Alice in Wonderland
    6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    5. Aladdin
    4. The Lion King
    3. Tangled
    2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    1. Beauty and the Beast

    Honorable Mentions: Mulan, The Jungle Book and Lilo and Stitch (as well as to almost any other Disney film I could not mention).

  • Robert MacFarlane

    Having not seen many of the older ones since I was little (i.e. Cinderella, Snow White, Pinocchio, etc.) I’ll stick to the ones I remember and love.

    1. Beauty and the Beast
    2. Frozen
    3. The Lion King
    4. Mulan
    5. Aladdin
    6. The Nightmare Before Christmas (fun fact; this is part of the Disney canon in almost every other country outside of the English-speaking ones)
    7. The Little Mermaid
    8. Hunchback of Notre Damme
    9. Robin Hood (for Peter Ustinov alone)
    10. Emperor’s New Groove

    I’m not happy how this turned out. At all. Time to watch the classics!

  • Roberto Hevia

    I haven´t seen Frozen yet, but I can see that a lot of you guys are putting the film in the best top five of Disney of all time. I want to see it now!.

    I’m not a big DISNEY fan (I’m more Pixar fan) but my personal vote is for The Lion King

  • jmlatinsir

    Here’s my two cents:

    1. Beauty and the Beast

    2. Fantasia

    3. 101 Dalmatians (just for Cruella DeVille)

    4. Pinocchio

    5. Lady and The Tramp

    6. The Aristocats

    7. The Little Mermaid

    8. Frozen

    9. Sleeping Beauty

    10. Dumbo.

  • http://www.cinema-alert.net/ kailor

    1. The Lion King
    2. The Beauty & The Beast
    3. Mulan
    4. Frozen
    5. The Little Mermaid
    6. Aladdin
    7. Tangled
    8. Snow White & The Seven Dwarves
    9. Fantasia (Don’t Judge)
    10. Pocahontas (Only B/c of the music/songs)

  • Joey Magidson

    1. The Lion King
    2. Robin Hood
    3. Toy Story 2
    4. The Little Mermaid
    5. Aladdin
    6. Toy Story
    7. The Great Mouse Detective
    8. WALL-E
    9. The Rescuers Down Under
    10. Up

    • Phillip Milner

      We could use Pixar?

      • Joey Magidson

        I did.

      • Clayton Davis

        my list is exclusively for Disney, no Pixar.

  • UBourgeois

    I dunno if I can do a top 10 (it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a lot of the classics) but my top 5 is like…

    1. Beauty and the Beast
    2. Aladdin
    3. Mulan
    4. The Lion King
    5. The Little Mermaid

  • Kevin

    So many to choose from.

    10. Mulan: LOVE the songs, great voice work all around, and Eddie Murphy is terrific.

    9. The Little Mermaid: Not quite as high on this as some, but overall it’s really good.

    8. The Jungle Book: Always loved it as a kid.

    7. Beauty and the Beast: A BIT overrated, but still a great movie. I just don’t think it’s their best like a lot of people do.

    6. Sleeping Beauty: Just a classic in every way.

    5. Aladdin: Outstanding voice work led by Robin Williams, though the guy that voices Iago is great too. Also has one of my favorite villains.

    4. Hercules: James. Freaking. Woods. My favorite voice performance EVER.

    3. The Lion King: Just terrific. Jeremy Irons is a perfect villain, Matthew Broderick is a great hero, and Nathan Lane was hilarious.

    2. The Hunchback of Notre Dame: I think it’s probably Disney’s darkest animated movie. The scene with Quasimodo at the festival is heartbreaking, and it has a terrifying villain that’s actually somewhat realistic.

    1. Tarzan: UNDERRATED!!! That’s what this movie is. I love everything about it. The soundtrack is amazing. The voice work is incredible. There’s two scenes that make me tear up every time I watch it. A vastly underrated villain. I could go on and on. This movie is just perfection in my eyes.

  • Sam Schaffer

    1. Lion King
    2. Beauty and the Beast
    3. Little Mermaide
    4. Aladdin
    5. Pinocchio
    6. Lady and the Tramp
    7. Jungle Book
    8. Cinderella
    9. Sleeping Beauty
    10. Peter Pan

  • Steve Glansberg

    Pleased to see all the Beauty and the Beast Mentions. Devastated by the near absence of Sword in the Stone mentions. Not really, but still, apparently it’s underrated…and snow white too, wow, very little love.

    1. Beauty and the Beast
    2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    3. The Sword and the Stone
    4. The Emperor’s New Groove
    5. Robin Hood
    6. The Rescuers
    7. Cinderella
    8. Meet the Robinsons (Bowler Hat Guy is hilarious)
    9. The Rescuers Down Under
    10. The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad

  • Kyle

    10. Fantasia
    9. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
    8. The Jungle Book
    7. The Emperor’s New Groove
    6. The Lion King
    5. Aladdin
    4. Beauty and the Beast
    3. Alice in Wonderland
    2. The Princess and the Frog
    1. Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • Holdie Martinson

    I am so damn sick of Frozen. Such an overrated film.

    That being said… (not including Pixar)

    1. Pinocchio
    2. The Great Mouse Detective
    3. Beauty and the Beast
    4. Tarzan
    5. Lilo and Stitch
    6. Mulan
    7. The Sword and the Stone
    8. Alice in Wonderland (the original Disney films about sisters coming to the rescue.)
    9. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    10. Bolt

  • Brian

    Not counting PIXAR:
    10. Lion King/Aladdin TIE
    9. Frozen
    8. Emperor’s New Groove
    7. Sleeping Beauty
    6. Beauty and the Beast
    5 Pinnochio
    4. Fantasia & Fantasia 2000—cheating to count them as 1, b/c I like both equally
    3. Tangled
    2. Little Mermaid: Very close to being #1, but….
    1. Hercules: the most underrated DISNEY movie ever, with the greatest soundtrack and score of any from the 90s. Should be a BROADWAY musical.

    HONORABLE MENTION, meaning close #11, WRECK IT RALPH

  • Sam Coff

    Great list, Clayton!

    01. Beauty and the Beast
    02. Wreck-It-Ralph
    03. Aladdin
    04. The Lion King
    05. Frozen
    06. The Princess and the Frog
    07. The Jungle Book
    08. Alice in Wonderland
    09. Hercules
    10.The Little Mermaid

  • Roupen Alabashian

    No List. Just a couple comment I would like to hear your response to:

    A) Aren’t Pinocchio and Snow White the 2 undisputed greatest animated pictures according to the public consensus? I’m puzzled none of them made your list given that they are in AFI’s top 2 best cartoons of all time list. Also… 101 Dalmatians and Aladdin.

    B) I’m glad I’m not alone in my love for The Emperor’s New Groove: hands down, the FUNNIEST animated picture ever. As a 12 year old, I got few of only its jokes and still laughed my ass off. As a young adult, I found it hilarious. Kronk and Yzma have some of the best voice-over performances ever.

    C) I think A Nightmare Before Christmas is my favorite musical and here’s why. Most musicals have catchier songs, I know. However, In this movie, most musical numbers actually move the story forward, as apposed to being catchy fillers. If, for instance, “What’s This” or “The Town Hall Meeting” number were scratched from the film, dialogues or monologues should have been introduced to explain how the plot got there.

    D) On a side note, has anyone seen Burton’s animated short Vincent? It has similar visual style to A Nightmare Before Christmas. It was made a couple of years before that movie and Skellington makes an appearance in it. It’s on the movie’s DVD and also on youtube. Quite possibly my favorite animated short.

  • Peter Templeman

    My top are:

    1. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

    2. The Jungle Book

    3. Bambi

    4. The Lion King

    5. Beauty And The Beast

    6. Aladdin

    7. Dumbo

    8. Pinocchio

    9. Fantasia

    10. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

  • Joshua Black

    is it a live action version of Disney’s TLM or is it based on the book????????????????????????????

    • Clayton Davis

      looks like it will be the book.

      • Joshua Black

        right, that’s what I’ve always assumed, but the rest of the world keeps saying its the Disney cartoon and how dumb that they are remaking it, but they are the dumb dumbs

  • Joshua Black

    aladdin, Jungle book, sword and the stone missing. frozen not that good, ditto emperors groove and i guess I’d have a tough time leaving out pinnochio or Hercules. Dunno why Lion king always tops these lists, it should be Beauty.

  • Joshua Black

    the title of this article should prob have animated in it

  • Jed Bookout

    This isn’t a list of what I think are the best, but rather, what I end up watching again and again the most.

    1. The Lion King
    2. The Emperor’s New Groove
    3. Wreck-It Ralph
    4. Aladdin
    5. Beauty & The Beast

    Most other traditional Disney films I’ve only seen once or twice; these five are the ones I can put on whenever and always enjoy.

    • Jed Bookout

      I see Joey included Pixar films, so I’m just gonna go off topic and rank the Pixar films.
      1. Wall-E
      2. Up
      3. Toy Story 2
      4. Toy Story 2
      5. Toy Story (these three should really just qualify as one film haha)
      6. Ratatouille
      7. Finding Nemo
      8. Monsters, Inc.
      9. A Bug’s Life
      10. Monsters University
      11. The Incredibles
      12. Brave
      13. Cars
      ??. Cars 2 (never saw it; hated Cars)

      • Andrej Bosco

        Mine:

        1. Up
        2. Monsters, Inc.
        3. The Incredibles
        4. Ratatouille
        5. Finding Nemo
        6. Toy Story 2
        7. Wall-E
        8. Toy Story 3
        9. A Bug’s Life
        10. Cars
        11. Toy Story
        12. Brave
        13. Monsters University
        14. Cars 2

  • Andrej Bosco

    1. Pinocchio
    2. Peter Pan
    3. Dumbo
    4. Alice in Wonderland
    5. Tangled
    6. Fantasia
    7. Tarzan
    8. Aladdin
    9. One Hundred and One Dalmatians

    10. Hercules

  • Dan Hogan

    I might dump Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, and Fox and the Hound.

  • danny94

    Great list, here’s mine,

    1. Sleeping beauty
    2. The lion king
    3. Lady and the tramp
    4. Bambi
    5. Beauty and the beast
    6. Cinderella
    7. 101 dalmations
    8. The fox and the hound
    9. Lilo and stich
    10. Peter pan