The 20 best Disney movies

Disney is a household name worldwide for good reason. Not only did Walt Disney’s studio commercialize animated storytelling but for nearly a century, it has continually put out some of the most memorable, heartwarming films in the American canon. From all-time classics to modern animated masterpieces, Disney has mastered the formula of family-friendly content. Today, with the Disney+ streaming service, it’s easier than ever to watch almost any Disney movie — new or old — on-demand.

That said, with almost a century of film to choose from, finding something to watch can feel daunting. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best classic Disney and Pixar movies that you can watch on Disney+ right now.

Editor’s Note: With Disney owning so many different properties these days, we’ve excluded newer acquisitions like the Star Wars and Marvel franchises.

Frozen (2013)

Frozen
90%
75 %
7.4/10
pg 102m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family
Stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Frozen is an absolute earworm factory that poured into the zeitgeist like few films before it. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone today who hasn’t heard Let It Go or Do You Want to Build a Snowman? And while you might have been annoyed by everyone bringing up Frozen once upon a time, you’ll get it when you see it. Elsa (Idina Menzel) is the young princess of Arendelle, forced to pick up the mantle after her parents die in a shipwreck. But Elsa harbors a dark secret that she hasn’t shared with anyone — not even her sister, Anna (Kristen Bell), and it has put a strain on their relationship. When a terrifying magical winter descends on Arendelle, it’s up to Anna to figure out what’s wrong and how her sister is connected.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out
98%
94 %
8.1/10
pg 95m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Drama, Comedy
Stars Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader
Directed by Pete Docter
Everyone has big feelings, but especially children. Inside Out attempts to communicate and examine those feelings in a movie made as much for adults as children. Riley is a happy girl whose life is turned upside down when her family moves to San Francisco. Inside, her emotions — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust — attempt to handle the change. But when Joy and Sadness are accidentally swept into the furthest reaches of Riley’s mind, Anger, Fear, and Disgust are left to take the wheel.

WALL·E (2008)

WALL·E
95%
95 %
8.4/10
g 98m
Genre Animation, Family, Science Fiction
Stars Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Directed by Andrew Stanton
One of Disney’s most high-concept and provocative films, WALL-E issues an overt warning about the dangers of mass consumption and is unapologetic in its conservationist message. The anti-corporate, pro-environment film hits the nail hard on the head, and yet it’s still remarkably satisfying and engaging thanks to a satirical sense of humor and an enormous heart. The titular character is an out-of-date robot, out on an adventure with a next-gen companion but it’s the humans who are the target.

Soul (2020)

Soul
95%
83 %
8.1/10
pg 101m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Family
Stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton
Directed by Pete Docter
Death is scary, especially when it happens right before your big break. Such is the story of Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who aspires to be a professional jazz pianist. On the day he finally lands a gig with the renowned Dorothea Williams (Angela Basset), Joe stumbles into a manhole and into a world known as “The Great Before.” Determined to regain his earthly self, Joe teams up with Soul 22 (Tina Fey) — a stubborn entity that has refused to ascend to Earth since the dawn of time. As Soul 22 attempts to help Joe regain his presence on Earth, the two learn more about themselves and one another than they bargained for.

Ratatouille (2007)

Ratatouille
96%
96 %
8.0/10
g 111m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Lou Romano
Directed by Brad Bird
“Anyone can cook” is the prevailing message from Pixar’s Ratatouille, a movie about a rat chef. Remy (Patton Oswalt) lives in the sewers of Paris, raiding garbage with his family, but he dreams of eating better. Thanks to his sophisticated palate and love of the legendary French chef Gusteau, Remy’s determined to become a chef himself. So when he finds himself in the kitchen of Gusteau’s foundering restaurant, he can’t help but make an improvement on a soup, getting caught by the young custodian, Linguini. When Remy’s soup meets rave reviews, he’s forced to team up with the hapless Linguini to keep cooking since, you know, nobody wants to see a rat cooking in the kitchen.

Pinocchio (1940)

Pinocchio
100%
99 %
7.4/10
g 88m
Genre Animation, Family
Stars Dickie Jones, Cliff Edwards, Christian Rub
Directed by Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske
You’ve got to start with the classics. The tale of a wooden puppet on a journey to becoming a real boy, the story of Pinocchio truly stands the test of time. It’s a thrilling adventure, even if after rewatching it as an adult makes you realize it gets pretty darn real for a second there. If you don’t remember — and don’t worry, we didn’t either at first — a part of this movie takes place in an amusement park where misbehaving causes boys to turn into donkeys. Yeah, it gets bleak for a moment. We won’t spoil the 80-year-old movie for you, but trust us, it gets better.

Mary Poppins (1964)

Mary Poppins
96%
88 %
7.8/10
g 139m
Genre Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Disney isn’t all animated fun! You can’t hide the incomparable Julie Andrews behind a character, after all. Andrews originates the ultimate magical nanny in this classic. The children of the wealthy, uptight Banks family receive a wonderful surprise when their new nanny is the proper, magical, ludicrously fun Mary Poppins. Along with her Cockney friend, Bert (Dick Van Dyke), Mary and the children embark on a series of fantastic adventures that comprise some of the best Disney has to offer.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast
94%
95 %
8.0/10
g 84m
Genre Romance, Family, Animation, Fantasy
Stars Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White
Directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
A tale as old as time, nobody has done Beauty and the Beast better than Disney’s 1991 animated classic. With some of the most memorable songs, a refreshingly bright protagonist, and an all-time great villain in Gaston, some may argue that Beauty and the Beast is the greatest entry in the Disney Vault. You be the judge.

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King
93%
88 %
8.5/10
g 89m
Genre Family, Animation, Drama
Stars Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons
Directed by Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Disney had been incorporating tear-jerking scenes into the beginning of movies long before 1994, but it’s hard to find a more emotional moment near a movie’s outset than in The Lion King. You know the one we’re talking about. The good news is you’re able to gather yourself just in time for a wonderful coming-of-age story filled with lovable, quotable characters and more than one song that will be stuck in your head for the next week.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
98%
95 %
7.6/10
g 83m
Genre Fantasy, Animation, Family
Stars Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Harry Stockwell
Directed by David Hand
Try not to get bogged down on the optics here. In 2020, a man kissing a sleeping woman admittedly isn’t the greatest look. Just try and keep in mind that this is an 83-year-old movie, enjoy the funny antics of the seven dwarves, and marvel at what was the first Disney feature film ever. It’s great in its own right, and paved the way for the many Disney flicks that came after it.

Moana (2016)

Moana
95%
81 %
7.6/10
pg 107m
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Family, Animation
Stars Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House
Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker
It may be one of the newer movies on this list, but Moana has all of the traits for a successful Disney movie. There’s a solid storyline, characters that you can easily invest in, humor throughout, and powerful meaning embedded into the picture itself. Plus, seeing Dwayne Johnson sing one of the movie’s hit songs in real life almost never gets old.

Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin
95%
86 %
8.0/10
g 90m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Stars Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin
Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker
If you’re like us, watching this just reminds you of how much we all miss Robin Williams. Sure, at its core, Aladdin is an incredible story following forbidden love and what that love will lead you to overcome. But has there been a more hilarious animated character in Disney history than Williams’ Genie? There’s probably an argument to make somewhere, but the big blue wish-granter absolutely stole the show.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Little Mermaid
93%
88 %
7.6/10
g 83m
Genre Animation, Family, Fantasy
Stars Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Pat Carroll
Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker
Before Frozen came along, The Little Mermaid may have featured the catchiest Disney song. You know how we know? We don’t even have to name it, and you’re already singing along in your head. That’s not to mention this movie had a final-boss-level villain in Ursula who succeeded in making you love to root against her.

Frozen (2013)

Frozen
90%
75 %
7.4/10
pg 102m
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Speaking of Frozen, it was only a matter of time before this blockbuster appeared on the list. It sure didn’t seem that long ago that the world was caught up in a Frozen frenzy, and the song that showed up literally everywhere. Now that Disney has brought Frozen II to its platform early, you can get lost in this animated world long enough to take your mind away from the real one.

Bambi (1942)

Bambi
91%
91 %
7.3/10
g 70m
Genre Animation, Drama, Family
Stars Donnie Dunagan, Peter Behn, Stan Alexander
Directed by David Hand
The original painful moment in animated cinema? We think so. Disney’s fifth animated feature film hit us with a true gut punch, then whisked us along for a compelling story about an orphaned deer. So compelling, in fact, that nearly 80 years after its release, Disney is rumored to be developing a live-action version of the timeless classic.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo
99%
90 %
8.1/10
g 100m
Genre Animation, Family
Stars Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Can you name a better pairing of animated character and voice actor than Dory the forgetful fish and Ellen DeGeneres? Neither can we. With Dory serving up the right comedy at the right time, Finding Nemo brings us on an extraordinary adventure of a father swimming across the ocean in search of his son. If you’re in the mood for a solid sequel, Finding Dory is streaming on Disney+, too.

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story
100%
95 %
8.3/10
g 81m
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Directed by John Lasseter
Probably the most quotable animated Disney movie, Toy Story helped a new generation of children imagine what their toys do in their spare time. As it turns out, they do quite a lot. Like, four surprisingly solid movies worth of stuff in their spare time. All four Toy Story movies, by the way, are available to stream on Disney+.

Coco (2017)

Coco
97%
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
Coco was a smash hit in 2017, and if you missed out back then, it’s just as good three years later. It’s a story of a boy chasing his passion and searching for answers, told in an incredibly unique way and packed with emotion. It delves into heritages not often represented in Disney movies, and resonates with viewers young and old.

Up (2009)

Up
98%
88 %
8.2/10
pg 96m
Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Adventure
Stars Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai
Directed by Pete Docter
We mentioned one of the more classic emotional moments in Disney movies. Now, Up brings us one of the more modern examples of Disney breaking our heart before slowly repairing it in a feature-length film. Plus, it features one of the more odd duos in a Disney movie in recent memory. And it works so, so flawlessly as we follow the tale of a grumpy old man and a boy scout.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
79%
63 %
8.0/10
pg-13 143m
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley
Directed by Gore Verbinski
It sticks out as the only non-animated film on the list, at least so far. But for good reason. What Disney was able to do with the original Pirates of the Caribbean — transforming a theme park ride into a thrilling universe set on the high seas, starring Johnny Depp in what’s likely the defining role of his career — was nothing short of spectacular. Let’s just not discuss the rest of the Pirates movies.

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