Last update: February 16, 2020.
Disney’s streaming video service Disney+ is finally available with its library of more than 600 TV shows and movies — including Star Wars series The Mandalorian — and subscribers now have plenty of options when it comes to their next movie marathon. To help you decide what to watch, we’ve assembled a more manageable list of the best movies currently available on Disney+ (and be sure to check out our list of the best TV shows on Disney+, too).
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10 Things I Hate About You
Time has been good to 1999’s teen rom-com 10 Things I Hate About You, which assembled an impressive cast of young actors for a story loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Julia Stiles headline the film, which follows a high-school student played by Gordon-Levitt who must find a boyfriend for the snarky, antisocial older sister (Stiles) of the girl he’s in love with before their father will allow the younger daughter to date. He schemes to have her fall in love with the school’s resident bad boy (Ledger), but real sparks fly when the two loners find a surprisingly sincere connection. Not only does the film pluck all the right heartstrings for anyone who grew up during the ’90s, but it features an impressive soundtrack that hits all the right nostalgic notes, too.
James Cameron’s Avatar didn’t quite turn into the genre-defining franchise many expected it would but it does still hold up as a visually fascinating, action-packed, solid sci-fi flick. On Pandora, a lush alien world far from Earth, the Na’vi live peacefully in tune with their planet, free from conflict or famine. They permit human scientists to explore and study their world through mind links to Avatars, human/Na’vi hybrids that allow humans to breathe and experience Pandora. However, when the corporate interest that funds the scientists’ mission become obsessed with mining a valuable element called Unobtainium, they discover the Na’vi capital lays on the mother lode. It’s up to marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to gain the trust of the Na’vi through his Avatar and help save the Na’vi from the human threat before it’s too late. Although its conservationist, anti-imperialist message is extremely blunt, Avatar serves as an entertaining, thoughtful warning against the threat of greed and conquest.
Iron Man started it all, and Endgame brings it all to a close. After an incredibly ambitious, epic buildup, Avengers: Endgame somehow manages to brilliantly bring the first phase of the MCU to an elegant emd while still raising the stakes until the very end. Five years after “The Snap” that ended Infinity War, the remaining Avengers embark on a dicey, desperate plan to go back in time and stop Thanos before he acquires the Infinity Stones without causing any lasting damage to their original timeline. Across multiple, simultaneous missions in different timelines, Endgame weaves a complex, action-packed story with heart-pumping stakes that sees beloved characters pushed to the absolute limit. The epic final battle scene is one of the most mind-blowing, VFX-rich scenes in movie history.
Big Hero 6
This 2014 animated feature is set in the fictional, futuristic city of San Fransokyo and follows a young boy determined to use his brilliant robotics skills to find the masked villain who killed his brother and stole his one-of-a-kind invention. Joined by his protective android pal Baymax, Hiro Hamada assembles a team of reluctant students-turned-superheroes to take down the bad guy and save the day. Loosely based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, Big Hero 6 took home a well-deserved Academy Award as the year’s best animated feature. At a time when Marvel Studios’ live-action films rule the box office, Big Hero 6 holds its own as one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Yet another entry in Pixar’s rich library of diverse cultures, viewpoints, and worlds, Coco is one of the most visually stunning and musically enriching films of the entire Pixar collection. Centering on Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this fantasy follows a little boy, Coco, on a magical, accidental journey into the afterlife. The more he learns about his family and heritage through his colorful journey, the deeper his connection grows to his history and to his future. With an uplifting, energetic soundtrack, you’ll want to sing, dance, and revel in the excitement, right until it goes full Pixar and starts to play your heartstrings.
From National Geographic, Free Solo follows climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to summit El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, one of the toughest climbs in the world … without a harness or rope. Honnold is one of the most accomplished free solo climbers in the world, and his death-defying feats are thrilling and, frankly, horrifying to behold. This visually stunning documentary takes you into the mind of one of the world’s most fearless adrenaline junkies and on a trip up some of the most beautiful and difficult climbs on the planet.
A Goofy Movie
Included on this list almost entirely based on its nostalgic appeal, Disney’s 1995 animated film about the relationship between Goofy and his son, Max, is a touchstone film for an entire generation. The silly story follows Goofy’s attempts to connect with his teenage son on a fishing trip that — as with most things Goofy does — devolves into chaos almost from the start. Although it didn’t do particularly well at the box office or among critics, A Goofy Movie developed a massive following among kids of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and prompted no small amount of excitement when it was announced as part of the Disney+ launch-day library.
Guardians of the Galaxy
It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when every Marvel movie wasn’t initially expected to be a surefire blockbuster, but that was the environment when Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in 2014. The cosmic adventure was led by a cast of characters then-unknown to mainstream audiences, played by relatively low-profile actors, and co-written and directed by indie filmmaker James Gunn. As if that wasn’t enough of a gamble, it put a talking raccoon and a sentient tree only capable of uttering one sentence front and center in its featured cast. And it went on to become one of the biggest, most critically acclaimed Marvel movies of all time. Not too bad for a bunch of cosmic a-holes, eh?
What if your emotions were little beings that lived inside you? That’s the question Pixar answers in Inside Out, a hilarious and beautiful story about 11-year-old Riley’s move to a new city and her Emotions’ desperate — and occasionally misguided — attempts to help her cope. Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness aren’t exactly accustomed to working together but they’ll have to if they’re going to help Riley get through this pivotal time in her life. However, when Joy and Sadness get lost, it’s up to the rest of the team to get them back so Riley doesn’t experience a complete emotional breakdown. Featuring the voice talent of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Richard King, Mindy Kaling, and Phyllis Smith, Inside Out is an emotional roller coaster with all of the feels to be expected from a Pixar film.
The Marvel movie that started it all, Jon Favreau’s 2008 film took a C-list superhero and turned him into a global icon, thanks to a brilliant performance by star Robert Downey Jr. and inspired casting and writing that firmly established the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a franchise to be reckoned with. The story of a brilliant industrialist playboy who develops a powerful suit of armor that lets him become a superhero, Iron Man is the foundation that the MCU is built on, and the film’s legacy reverberates throughout the MCU to this day.
Miracle on 34th Street
There are more than a few films considered to be true Christmas classics, but few have the generation-spanning longevity of Miracle on 34th Street. The 1947 film chronicles the events that occur when a department store Santa Claus named Kris Kringle insists that he’s the real deal, and ends up going to court to prove it. The film won three Academy Awards, and even received a nomination in the prestigious Best Picture category. It has remained a staple of holiday season programming for more than 60 years now.
The 56th animated feature from Disney’s animation studio, Moana tells the story of a young girl raised to be the next chief of her Polynesian village. Not content to stay on her small island, she embarks on an ocean-spanning journey to find the legendary demigod Maui, return a magical artifact to its island home, and save her village from the mysterious blight that threatens it. Along with breathtaking animation and a phenomenal voice cast led by Dwayne Johnson, Jemaine Clement, and newcomer Auliʻi Cravalho (as Moana), the film also features originals songs from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and a beautiful score inspired by the film’s Polynesian setting and culture.
The Muppet Movie
The very first theatrical film featuring Jim Henson’s beloved creations, The Muppets, this 1979 musical adventure has Kermit the Frog leaving his home in the swamp on a cross-country journey to Hollywood. Along the way, he encounters Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and the rest of his Muppets pals, who share his show business aspirations and join him on his wild road trip. Packed with hilarious cameos and featuring Henson’s brilliant knack for blending elements for children and adults, The Muppet Movie stands as one of the greatest Muppets projects ever made, and inspired multiple sequels, spinoffs, and countless other projects over the years.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Some consider it a Halloween movie, while others classify it as a Christmas film, but one thing all of its fans agree on is that Tim Burton’s weird, wonderful 1993 stop-motion film is a masterpiece of music, animation, and storytelling. The movie tells the story of Jack Skellington, the king of a colorful village where every day is Halloween, and his discovery of a Christmas-themed village that fascinates him and offers him an escape from his daily, scary routine. His efforts to understand the holiday take a disastrous turn when he’s forced to fill in for Santa Claus when his actions endanger both holidays. The film capped off its critical and commercial success by becoming the first animated feature to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The first film in what would become the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Curse of the Black Pearl offered audiences their first introduction to Johnny Depp as the pirate Jack Sparrow — an iconic performance that not only led to multiple sequels but also brought the entire pirate movie genre back into the spotlight. Given that the 2003 film was based on a classic Disney theme park ride, that’s no small feat. The massive success of the franchise following this initial film turned it into a Hollywood staple for nearly a decade. Depp is joined by Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush in the dark fantasy film, which also holds the status of being the first PG-13 movie released by Walt Disney Pictures.
Queen of Katwe
This feel-good tale chronicles the true story of 10-year-old Ugandan chess phenom, Phiona Mutesi, who became a Woman Candidate Master recognized on the global chess stage. Born in Katwe, the largest slum in Kampala, Uganda, every day is a constant struggle for Phiona and her family. However, when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess, her life is completely changed. Phiona falls in love with the game and develops incredible skill, soon dominating local competitions and tournaments. With Katende’s guidance and fierce support from her mother, Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), Phiona soon discovers chess is a golden ticket out of a life of poverty for herself and her family.
You’re killing me, Smalls! David Mickey Evans co-wrote, directed, and narrated this heartwarming film about a young boy in 1962 who moves to a new town in California’s San Fernando Valley and becomes friends with a group of local kids who play baseball in a sandlot near his home. The coming-of-age story chronicles his struggle to fit in, his strained relationship with his stepfather, and the close friendship he develops with the neighborhood kids as they have all manner of adolescent adventures — and finally, how all of those moments shape the rest of his life. Infinitely quotable and full of memorable scenes, The Sandlot is a little movie with plenty of heart.
Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope
You may have your own viewing-order preference for the Star Wars movies but you can’t go wrong starting with the original. Although it falls in at number 4 chronologically in the Skywalker saga, 1977’s A New Hope was the first Star Wars film, and it forever altered filmmaking as we know it. It’s also one of the most innovative movies ever made, ingeniously repurposing the Hero’s Journey of Greek mythology into an epic, infinitely imaginative tale of a faraway, technologically advanced galaxy embroiled in an interplanetary war. A New Hope is our first introduction to some of cinema’s most beloved characters, from Luke Skywalker and Han Solo to Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids C3P-O and R2D2. We can debate all day about which Star Wars movie is best but the importance and impact of A New Hope is inarguable.
Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The most recent Star Wars film available on Disney Plus, The Last Jedi is the penultimate film in the Skywalker saga. In the second film in the final trilogy, a new cast of heroes, including Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron, join General Leia Organa’s rebel force to resist and overcome the power of The New Order, a restoration of the classic Imperial Fleet. Led by the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke and villainour former Luke Skywalker protégé Kylo Ren, The New Order is an even more destructive and terrifying force than its predecessor and is hell-bent on galactic dominance.
Director Taika Waititi completely reenergized the Thor franchise with Ragnarok, easily the best entry in the series. Taking a completely different tone than the prior two films, Ragnarok finds the God of Thunder imprisoned on the strange garbage planet of Sakaar, where he is forced to earn his freedom by fighting as a gladiator. In the meantime, Thor’s estranged, enormously powerful sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), has returned to Asgard to fulfill her destiny: Bringing about Ragnarok, the destruction of the Asgardian realm. Thor must get off Sakaar and return to save his people before they are completely wiped from existence. Sounds dark but Ragnarok is the lightest of the Thor movies, leaning into star Chris Hemsworth’s charm and putting the spotlight on hilarious characters like Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and Waititi’s rock monster gladiator Korg.
The film that made Pixar a household name and one of the giants of the animated movie world, 1995’s Toy Story is set in a world where toys come to life the moment humans aren’t paying attention to them. The ridiculously high-profile cast for the film includes Tom Hanks as Woody, a cowboy doll who begins to feel his status as Andy Davis’ favorite toy threatened when the boy gets a new, flashy action figure named Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen). Silly hijinks ensue, of course, but the film truly succeeds in its thoughtful exploration of adolescence, friendship, acceptance, and everything we leave behind as we grow older. Considered one of the greatest animated movies ever made, Toy Story was nominated for three Academy Awards, spawned three sequels, and was inducted into the National Film Registry in its first year of eligibility.
Its visual effects don’t exactly hold up today, but when TRON hit theaters in 1982, there was nothing that looked even remotely like it. The story of a software programmer who’s transported inside the mainframe of a massive computer and must find his way out of the digital world he inhabits, TRON prompted writer and director Steven Lisberger to create an entirely new type of studio dedicated to blending computer animation and live-action acting in a single feature — something that was so unusual at the time that even the Motion Picture Academy of America wasn’t sure how to classify the film initially. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner starred in the film, which went on to become a cult hit and inspire a sprawling franchise of video games, comic books, and animated spinoffs, as well as a 2010 live-action sequel.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Robert Zemeckis directed this 1988 film set in a version of 1947 Hollywood in which humans coexist with animated characters. Bob Hoskins plays a private detective investigating the murder of a prominent businessman, only to find himself teamed up with Roger Rabbit, the zany cartoon star who has also become the chief suspect in the businessman’s death. Credited with renewing interest in the golden age of animation and sparking Disney’s renaissance as a movie studio, Who Framed Roger Rabbit ended up winning three Academy Awards for its unique blend of classic cartoons and crime noir.
Ron Howard directed this 1988 fantasy film based on a story penned by George Lucas, and the end result was a movie unlike anything else in the genre. Willow follows a reluctant farmer played by Warwick Davis who finds himself thrust into a magical adventure when he finds an orphaned human baby. His efforts to return the baby put him in the center of a battle for the fate of the world, with a group of colorful characters — including a charismatic mercenary played by Val Kilmer — accompanying him on his quest. The recipient of two Academy Award nominations, Willow featured impressive visual effects produced by Industrial Light and Magic and a memorable story that reignited interest in the high fantasy genre.
Zootopia is the New York City of animals and, as with any city, there are all kinds of politics, crime, and shenanigans afoot. When Judy Hopps becomes the first bunny on the police force, she’s determined to make a name for herself and overcome the doubts of her peers. When predators begin mysteriously disappearing and the police dismiss the case’s legitimacy, Judy jumps at the chance to prove herself, even without the backing of the force. Unfortunately, that means teaming up with two-bit, scam-artist fox Nick Wilde. To their surprise, however, they prove to be a great team, developing a strong friendship while uncovering a massive conspiracy that goes right to the very top. More provocative and polemical than your typical Disney movie, Zootopia is great fun for youngsters and thought-provoking for their parents.
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