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The best movies on Disney+ right now

The House of Mouse is dropping a lot of gifts for Disney+ subscribers this weekend, and it’s not even Christmas yet! You will have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, because Disney+ is the only place you can find almost all of the great Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic Entertainment films, along with a selection of 20th Century Studios’ family-friendly titles. And rather than simply relying on old material, Disney+ has added new titles to go along with a stacked lineup of classics. To pick out your holiday film selections, check out our updated list of the best movies on Disney+ below.

If you want to expand your search, we’ve also rounded up the best shows on Disney+ as well as the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Amazon Prime, and the best movies on Hulu.

The Pixar Story (2007) new

The Pixar Story
Genre Documentary
Stars Stacy Keach, John Lasseter, Brad Bird
Directed by Leslie Iwerks
g 87m
Until now, the only consistent way to watch The Pixar Story was as a special feature on WALL-E’s Blu-ray, or through a rival streaming service. Now, Leslie Iwerks’ acclaimed documentary has come home, and it’s an illuminating look at how Pixar rose from obscurity to transform the face of animation by outdoing Disney at its own game. The film chronicles Pixar’s early struggles as Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, and many others fought to keep the dream of 3D animation alive. Following the success of Toy Story, Pixar has become a cornerstone of Disney itself. This may not be a “warts and all” doc, but it is very entertaining and informative.

Becoming Cousteau (2021) new

Becoming Cousteau
Genre Documentary
Stars Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Vincent Cassel
Directed by Liz Garbus
pg-13 93m
You may have heard of Jacques Cousteau and his environmental crusade to preserve the oceans, but the documentary Becoming Cousteau sheds new light on the man himself. Cousteau was an accomplished explorer, filmmaker, conservationist, and celebrity scientist. He even hosted his own TV show, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. While Becoming Cousteau champions the cause of its subject, it doesn’t shy away from Cousteau’s personal failings when it comes to his family. By his own admission, Cousteau’s love for his family was secondary to his love for the sea. But that doesn’t diminish the importance of his environmental message, which still resonates decades after his death.

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (2011) new

Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas
Genre Animation, Family, TV Movie
Stars Billy Gardell, Ray Romano, John Leguizamo
Directed by Karen Disher
So, how exactly can there be a Christmas, complete with a Santa Claus, in the time of the Ice Age franchise? It’s best not to think too hard about it. Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas catches up with the core trio: Manny the Mammoth (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), and Diego the Saber Tooth Tiger (Denis Leary). Despite owning a cherished Christmas stone, Manny doesn’t believe in Santa. After Sid accidentally destroys the stone, he nudges his friends along on an adventure to the North Pole to replace it. And of course, there are more interstitial skits with Scrat (Chris Wedge), as his attempts to find and gather nuts inevitably go wrong.

Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020) new

Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions
Genre Music, Documentary
Stars Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner
Directed by Taylor Swift
In the modern era of music superstars, Taylor Swift is in a category all by herself. The singer made her directorial debut with Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, a documentary film that was shot at Long Pond Studio. While Swift performs every single song on her albu, Folklore, the singer/songwriter also takes the time to explain the meaning and inspiration behind each track. It’s an intimate look at Swift and her music, as well as compelling viewing in its own right.

Enchanted (2007)

Genre Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Stars Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden
Directed by Kevin Lima
pg 107m
The mid-2000s were a bit of a rough patch for Disney, but Enchanted blew into theaters like a magical breath of fresh air. Amy Adams is ridiculously charming as Giselle, an animated princess who is banished by the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) into the “real” New York City. Divorce attorney Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) reluctantly takes Giselle in at the insistence of his daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey), and Giselle’s relentlessly positive outlook brightens the lives of their family. Meanwhile, Giselle’s fiance, Prince Edward (James Marsden), journeys to New York to find her, while Narissa plots to destroy them both.

Up (2009)

Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Adventure
Stars Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai
Directed by Pete Docter
pg 96m
Get some tissues ready. The first few minutes of Pixar’s Up are some of the most emotional animated scenes ever put to cinema. And that is neither a joke nor an exaggeration. Following that harrowing opening sequence, Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) decides to fulfill a promise to his late wife by transforming their house into a balloon airship and taking it down to South America. Unfortunately for Carl, a young boy named Russell (Jordan Nagai) has accidentally stowed away. Once the unlikely pair arrive, they meet a talking dog named Dug (Bob Peterson) before they have an unsettling encounter with the legendary explorer, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer).

Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover (2021)

Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover
Genre Documentary
Stars Steve French
Directed by Mark Davis
You may not know Perseverance by name, but the image of the Mars rover is unmistakable. National Geographic’s documentary, Built for Mars: The Perseverance Rover, throws back the curtain on the next generation of Mars rovers by following its construction at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its subsequent journey and successful landing on Mars. This film explains the goal of the Martian mission, and offers viewers a greater understanding of the science behind this deceptively simple-looking creation.

Dan in Real Life (2007)

Dan in Real Life
Genre Comedy, Romance, Drama
Stars Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook
Directed by Peter Hedges
pg-13 98m
Yes, Dan In Real Life is an actual Disney movie, and not even one of the new additions from 20th Century Studios. It may seem like an unlikely fit for Disney+’s demo, but it does ultimately work as a slightly more mature comedy than many of the other films on this streaming service. Dan Burns (Steve Carell) is a successful advice columnist, and yet his own life is in shambles even years after the death of his wife. While accompanying his three daughters to an extended family gathering, Dan meets Marie Diamond (Juliette Binoche), a woman who reignites romantic feelings in his heart. And the feeling is mutual. Unfortunately, Marie is already dating Dan’s younger brother, Mitch Burns (Dane Cook).

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Simu Liu, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Awkwafina
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
pg-13 132m
Thanks to Disney+ on November 12, Day, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is skipping the Premier Access stage and is now available to all Disney+ subscribers. Simu Liu stars Xu Shang-Chi, a young man who ran away from his father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), to avoid becoming an assassin. While living in San Francisco and sharing misadventures with his friend, Katy (Awkwafina), Shang-Chi’s past is exposed. To unravel his father’s plans, Shang-Chi reunites with his estranged sister, Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), and takes on the Ten Rings organization.

Jungle Cruise (2021)

Jungle Cruise
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Action
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
pg-13 127m
Jungle Cruise is far from the first movie to take its inspiration from a classic Disneyland theme park ride. However, it is one of the best, thanks to the terrific chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. In 1916, Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) and her brother, MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall), hire a riverboat captain, Frank Wolff (Johnson), to take them on a dangerous expedition to find the legendary Tree of Life. Centuries ago, Spanish conquistadors attempted to steal the tree for themselves before suffering a terrible curse. As Frank leads the Houghton siblings through the jungle, they discover that the curse is all-too real.

Wolfgang (2021)

Genre Documentary
Stars Wolfgang Puck
Directed by David Gelb
You may have heard the name Wolfgang Puck, but how much do you really know about this extraordinary celebrity chef? Documentarian David Gelb helmed Wolfgang, a look back at Puck’s life, from learning how to cook from his mother to his rise to prominence. Puck and many of the people in his life share their thoughts about his history. In particular, the film chronicles Puck’s first brush with fame as head chef of Ma Maison, before he opened up his iconic restaurant, Spago, in Beverly Hills. But Puck’s life of fame and fortune didn’t come without a cost, and he openly discusses the price that he paid.

Bears (2014)

Genre Documentary
Stars John C. Reilly
Directed by Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey
g 78m
Before Disney acquired National Geographic, the studio’s primary documentary studio was Disneynature. In 2014, Disneynature’s Bears chronicled a year in the life of Sky, an Alaskan brown bear who tries to raise her two cubs, Scout and Amber. This family of bears faces constant challenges from both the environment, very unfriendly male bears, and even a wolf that seems eager to make a meal out of the cubs. Sky’s devotion to her children is a very relatable quality, and she really goes through a lot over the course of this film. It’s a remarkable cinematic journey, and a worthy documentary as well.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Adventure
Stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
pg-13 132m
One of the best X-Men movies is finally on Disney+. X-Men: First Class was a soft reboot of the original trilogy that sets the action back in the 1960s, with James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. The film gets a lot out of Fassbender’s performance as Erik hunts down the Nazis who exterminated his family. At the top of Erik’s hit list is former Nazi scientist turned Hellfire Club member Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). A pre-superstardom Jennifer Lawrence stars as Raven/Mystique, a young woman whose ideology is torn between Charles’ dreams of peaceful relations with humanity and Erik’s push for mutant supremacy.

McFarland, USA (2015)

McFarland, USA
Genre Drama
Stars Kevin Costner, Ramiro Rodriguez, Maria Bello
Directed by Niki Caro
pg 128m
In McFarland, USA, Kevin Costner portrays Jim White, a real-life football coach who founded a track team at McFarland High School in the late 1980s. Jim and his wife, Cheryl (Maria Bello), initially have trouble fitting into the largely Latino town of McFarland, California. However, Jim soon finds his calling by coaching Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz), Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), and the three Diaz brothers. Through rigorous training, the track team becomes a contender. However, Jim’s commitment to McFarland comes into question when his daughter, Jamie (Elsie Fisher), is attacked.

Howard (2018)

Genre Documentary, Music
Stars Howard Ashman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Alan Menken
Directed by Don Hahn
If you loved Disney’s animated films in the early 1990s, then you loved the work of Howard Ashman. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1991 at age 40, Ashman and his composing partner, Alan Menken, created magic together with the music and lyrics for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. Documentary filmmaker Don Hahn’s Howard is a moving look back at Ashman’s life from the people who knew and loved him. Ashman’s life was relatively short, but his musical legacy will live on forever through his films.

Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles (2021)

Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles
Genre Documentary, Music, Animation
Stars Billie Eilish, Gustavo Dudamel, Los Angeles Philharmonic
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Patrick Osborne
Billie Eilish is a Grammy winner and one of the top singers in the world. But she’s not an obvious choice to headline her own concert movie on Disney+. And yet Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles fits Disney like a glove, with animated sequences of Eilish placed between a live Hollywood Bowl performance of her album Happier Than Ever. An unlikely duo directed this concert: Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Osborne. Some of the language of Eilish’s songs is toned down for the film, but the mature themes remain. She’s a superstar, and this is her showcase.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Genre Fantasy, Animation, Family
Stars Chris Sarandon, Danny Elfman, Catherine O'Hara
Directed by Henry Selick
pg 76m
With Halloween this weekend and Christmas right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to revisit Disney’s stop-motion masterpiece, The Nightmare Before Christmas. This was Tim Burton’s passion project when he was a Disney animator, and his success as a live-action director revived its prospects years later. Director Henry Selick adapted Burton’s tale for the screen, as Halloween Town resident Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) discovers that there are other holidays with realms of their own. Jack is so enthralled by “Sandy Claws” and Christmas that he enlists the residents of Halloween Town to help him take over the holiday. Musical mayhem ensues when Jack’s idea of Christmas horrifies the human world.

The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers
Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Directed by Joss Whedon
pg-13 143m
It’s not an exaggeration to say that The Avengers changed the game for superhero movies. Marvel Studios’ first-ever team-up film brought together Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) together under the watchful eye of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to take on Thor’s estranged brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). The heroes’ frequent personality clashes are even more engaging than the fights. Regardless, the climactic Battle of New York features the heroes at their best as they take on an alien invasion. It’s almost a perfect superhero film, even though it was upstaged by its sequels.

National Treasure (2004)

National Treasure
Genre Adventure, Action, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
pg 131m
Critics may not have loved National Treasure, but audiences sure did! Disney+ is already developing a new National Treasure series, but the original film is in a class of its own. A still plausibly dramatic Nicholas Cage headlines the film as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a renegade treasure hunter who is out to steal the Declaration of Independence before it falls into the hands of his rival, Ian Howe (Sean Bean). There’s an even more audacious adventure ahead, because whoever gets the Declaration also has access to the hidden map on the back that leads to an unimaginably large treasure that has been hidden since the beginning of America itself.

Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

Mr. Holland's Opus
Genre Drama, Music, Family
Stars Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas
Directed by Stephen Herek
pg 137m
Film lovers can not live on blockbusters alone. For anyone who is looking for more of an adult drama, Mr. Holland’s Opus hits all of the right notes. Richard Dreyfuss stars as Glenn Holland, a talented musician and composer who takes a day job as a high school music teacher so he can spend more time with his family and write his own symphony. However, Glenn becomes so involved with his students that he neglects the other areas of his life. Fixing that imbalance is the greatest challenge facing Glenn, as he openly worries that his teaching career will ultimately amount to nothing. But Glenn couldn’t be more wrong, because his actions have a positive impact far beyond his wildest dreams.

Rookie of the Year (1993)

Rookie of the Year
Genre Comedy, Family
Stars Thomas Ian Nicholas, Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine, Gary Busey
Directed by Daniel Stern
pg 103m
When a medical accident gives a 12-year-old boy the ability to pitch like an all-star baseball player, the boy suddenly finds himself the new ace for the Chicago Cubs in this delightfully silly film directed by Daniel Stern and starring Thomas Ian Nicholas.

The Greatest Showman (2017)

The Greatest Showman
Genre Drama
Stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams
Directed by Michael Gracey
pg 105m
Hugh Jackman stars as P.T. Barnum in this musically reimagined tale about the origins of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Bailey isn’t here yet, so the spotlight is all literally on Barnum (Hugh Jackman) as he pursues his vision of birthing the greatest show the world has ever seen. The Greatest Showman is far from biographical, skirting over some of the more controversial aspects of Barnum’s life and pursuit of glory, but it’s a fun, energetic musical that will get the whole family dancing.

Sky High (2005)

Sky High
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Family
Stars Michael Angarano, Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston
Directed by Mike Mitchell
pg 100m
As the child of the world’s two greatest superheroes, Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) has a lot to live up to, even if he’s not sure exactly what his superpowers might be. This action-packed film follows Will as he enrolls at a special school for superpowered kids and experiences the trials and tribulations of teenage life while making friends and enemies, falling in love, and attempting to chart his own destiny — all while his classmates (and teachers) fly, transform, and do all sorts of other amazing things around him.

Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)

Muppets Haunted Mansion
Genre Comedy, Family, TV Movie
Stars Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Matt Vogel
Directed by Kirk R. Thatcher
pg 52m
When Gonzo and Pepe skip the Muppets’ annual Halloween party in order to accept a challenge to stay the night in a haunted mansion, spooky stuff and hijinks ensue — along with plenty of celebrity cameos. The laughs-to-scares ratio of this feature is firmly in favor of the funny moments, and both kids and adults alike will find plenty to enjoy in the latest project featuring Jim Henson’s beloved creations. Along with appearances by the entire Muppets gang, the story also brings in Will Arnett, Yvette Nicole Brown, Darren Criss, Taraji P. Henson, John Stamos, Alfonso Ribeiro, Craig Robinson, and other familiar faces — including one of the final on-screen roles for the late, great Ed Asner.

Tron (1982)

Genre Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Stars Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner
Directed by Steven Lisberger
pg 96m
Its visual effects don’t exactly hold compared to sci-fi movies 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.

Cool Runnings (1993)

Cool Runnings
Genre Comedy, Sports
Stars Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
pg 98m
This sports comedy was loosely inspired by the true story of the Jamaican national bobsled team, which made its debut during the 1988 Winter Olympics and offered up one of the event’s most popular and enduring underdog stories. In one of his last roles before his death, actor John Candy plays a disgraced former bobsled champion who’s recruited to coach the aspiring team — a team composed of sprinters who missed their shot at qualifying for the Summer Olympics due to an accident that occurred in a qualifying race. Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, and Malik Yoba play the teammates who need to overcome their own differences and the prejudices of the sport’s governing body to realize their Olympic dreams.

LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales (2021)

LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales
Genre Animation, Sci-Fic, Comedy
Stars Jake Green, Raphael Alejandro, Dana Snyder
Directed by Ken Cunningham
g 45m
It’s more of a short film than a full-length movie, but this Disney+ original film packs a lot into its short running time with three scary — but mostly silly — stories set within the Star Wars universe, delivering that same self-aware fun we’ve grown accustomed to with Lego films and series. The film follows pilot Poe Dameron (voiced by Jake Green) as he attempts to repair his ship after crashing on Mustafar, Darth Vader’s former home. While there, he gets a tour of the “all-inclusive, Sith-inspired, luxury resort” being built there, which apparently comes with its own creepy, former Sith servant, Vaneé (Tony Hale), who takes the opportunity to share a trio of stories unfolding at various points in the sci-fi saga. It’s all good fun, though, in a galaxy far, far away.

Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow
Genre Action, Adventure
Stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz
Directed by Cate Shortland
pg-13 134m
After more than a year without a Marvel movie, Black Widow brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe back to the big screen and — thanks to the uncertainty of theatrical releases during the pandemic — also to streaming audiences on Disney+. The prequel film features Scarlett Johansson as superhero secret agent Black Widow and is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. On the run after the events of Civil War, Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) is forced to confront her mysterious past and the relationships she left behind when she fled the organization that trained her. Johansson is joined in the cast by Florence Pugh, David Harbour, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Hocus Pocus
Genre Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy
Directed by Kenny Ortega
pg 96m
A Halloween classic for kids of a particular generation, this family-friendly adventure chronicles a teenage boy’s efforts to thwart the diabolical plans of three witches he accidentally resurrected on Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts. While the film’s young leads are the protagonists of the story, it’s the trio of witches who steal the show, memorably played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. The film is directed by Kenny Ortega, who directed the previous year’s Newsies and went on to direct the High School Musical and Descendants films for Disney in later years, making him one of the studio’s most teen-friendly filmmakers — a quality on full display in Hocus Pocus, which still manages to be a fun watch for kids and older audiences alike.

A Goofy Movie (1995)

A Goofy Movie
Genre Romance, Animation, Family, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Bill Farmer, Jason Marsden, Rob Paulsen
Directed by Kevin Lima
g 78m
Included on this list almost entirely based on its nostalgic appeal, Disney’s ’90s 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.

Zootopia (2016)

Genre Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Stars Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Idris Elba
Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore
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.

Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2018)

Genre Comedy, Romance, TV Movie, Fantasy, Music
Stars Milo Manheim, Meg Donnelly, Trevor Tordjman
Directed by Paul Hoen
g 94m
Even Disney found a way into the zombie genre with this musical adventure about a star-crossed couple — one a human cheerleader, and one a zombie football player — who meet while attending high school together and must navigate the tricky waters of both teenage love and the two very different worlds they each live in. Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly portray the zombie Zed and cheerleader Addison, respectively, and the film’s infectiously catchy songs are matched by some impressive dance sequences that offer a treat for both the eyes and the ears. The film was so successful for the Disney Channel that it spawned a 2020 sequel, as well as an upcoming third film in the franchise, which manages to be entertaining for both kids and adults alike.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

Queen of Katwe
Genre Drama
Stars Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Mira Nair
pg 124m
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.

Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone
Genre Comedy, Family
Stars Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
Directed by Chris Columbus
pg 103m
The film that made Macaulay Culkin one of Hollywood’s most popular child actors, Home Alone chronicles the adventures of Kevin McAllister (Culkin), who’s left to fend for himself after his family accidentally takes off for a vacation in France over the holiday season without him. Believing his family’s disappearance is a wish come true, McAllister initially decides to make the best of the situation, only to realize the harsh reality of his solitary life when two bumbling burglars target his home. Determined to protect his house against the robbers (hilariously portrayed by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), McAllister uses every trick he can muster to keep them at bay.

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big Hero 6
Genre Adventure, Family, Animation, Action, Comedy
Stars Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney
Directed by Chris Williams, Don Hall
pg 102m
This 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 and spawned an animated sequel series currently available on Disney+. 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.

Luca (2021)

Genre Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Stars Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman
Directed by Enrico Casarosa
A shy, young sea monster living off the coast of Italy meets a free-spirited fellow sea monster, and their friendship brings them out of the water and into the world of humans in this delightful film from director Enrico Casarosa. The filmmaker’s own childhood in Genoa, Italy, inspired this tale of friendship, which casts Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer as sea monsters Luca and Alberto, respectively. Fun, funny, and beautifully brought to the screen, Luca is a love letter to childhood friendships and the sights, sounds, and delicious food of the Italian coast.

Avatar (2009)

Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by James Cameron
James Cameron’s Avatar didn’t quite turn into the genre-defining franchise many expected it would — and those three Avatar sequels he promised have been perpetually delayed — 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,  but when the corporate interest that funds the scientists’ mission discover the Na’vi capital lays on the mother lode of a valuable element, it’s up to marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to help save the Na’vi from the human threat before it’s too late.

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

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley
Directed by Gore Verbinski
pg-13 143m
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 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.

Behind the scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean

The Rocketeer (1991)

The Rocketeer
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Family
Stars Timothy Dalton, Alan Arkin, Billy Campbell
Directed by Joe Johnston
Before Iron Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney struck superhero gold with The Rocketeer, director Joe Johnston’s film based on the comic book character of the same name. Set in pre-war Los Angeles in 1938, the film follows a stunt pilot who acquires a strange jet pack, only to suddenly find himself on the run from both aggressive FBI agents and a group of deadly Nazi operatives in pursuit of this new technology. Considered by many to be one of the best superhero movies of the pre-MCU era, The Rocketeer stars Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, and Timothy Dalton.

Descendants (2015)

Genre Family, Music, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, TV Movie
Stars Dove Cameron, Cameron Boyce, Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson
Directed by Kenny Ortega
g 112m
You might not have heard of this 2015 Disney Channel movie, but if you know anyone between the ages of 5 and 15 right now, you can bet that they know all about it. This musical fantasy from Newsies and Hocus Pocus director (and Dirty Dancing choreographer) Kenny Ortega is set in a world where the villains of classic Disney films have been exiled to a remote island while the rest of the world lives in peace and prosperity under the benevolent rule of Belle and Beast. When four children of the villains are given the chance to attend school on the mainland, they must decide whether to follow their parents’ legacy or prove there really is good in everyone. Along with some amazingly catchy songs and impressive dance choreography, Descendants also features some familiar faces among its adult actors, including Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent. The film went on to spawn two sequels, countless tie-in projects, and a seemingly endless torrent of merchandise on its rise to become one of Disney’s hottest properties for the tween audience.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out
Genre Animation, Family, Adventure, Drama, Comedy
Stars Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader
Directed by Pete Docter
pg 95m
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.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Mrs. Doubtfire
Genre Comedy, Drama, Family
Stars Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan
Directed by Chris Columbus
pg 125m
The films of Home Alone director Chris Columbus were a staple of ’90s cinema, including this film that cast Robin Williams as a divorced actor who poses as a female housekeeper in order to spend time with his children. As he gets sucked deeper into his ruse, he ends up learning more about himself and his relationship with both his kids and his ex-wife, all while dealing with a constant stream of hilarious scenarios and complications that unfold. The film went on to win an Academy Award for its makeup, which turned the acclaimed actor into “Euphegenia Doubtfire,” the British nanny who changes everyone’s lives for the better.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Genre Drama, Fantasy, Adventure, Family
Stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by Tim Burton
pg-13 127m
This dark fantasy film based on Ransom Riggs’ novel of the same name follows a young boy whose decision to investigate his grandfather’s tales of a youth spent among children with amazing abilities leads to a meeting with Miss Peregrine, the headmistress of a strange school off the coast of Wales. Pursued by terrifying creatures only he can see, he embarks on an international adventure through time to protect his “peculiar” new friends from a sinister cabal.

Jungle Cruise (2021)

Jungle Cruise
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Action
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
pg-13 127m
Disney has a spotty record with its films based on theme-park attractions, but Jungle Cruise has more in common with the studio’s Pirates of the Caribbean films than any of the underperforming adaptations in years past. The film casts Emily Blunt as a scientist on an expedition into the jungle in search of a tree with magical healing properties. Her dapper brother, played by Jack Whitehall, is along for the ride, and the pair recruit a scruffy riverboat captain played by Dwayne Johnson to get them to their destination. Full of exciting action sequences, family-friendly humor, impressive visual effects, and moments that will appeal to both younger and older audiences alike, Jungle Cruise is the kind of all-ages fare that Disney does so well. The film is currently available to Disney+ subscribers for an additional fee via Premier Access.

Onward (2020)

Genre Family, Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Stars Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Directed by Dan Scanlon
g 103m
With a star-studded voice cast, this animated adventure film is set in a suburban fantasy world where two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot (Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, respectively), embark on a journey to find an ancient artifact that they believe will bring back their father who passed away shortly after the youngest son Ian was born. While magic has all but disappeared from society, this artifact can presumably invoke a “visitation spell” that would bring dad back for a single day. That would be helpful, since they botched the spell and managed to bring back just the bottom half of dear dad and need the artifact to complete him! While the film isn’t considered one of the best within the extensive Pixar library, it has been praised for being a heartwarming and funny story, released in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic when viewers needed such uplifting content the most.

Clouds (2020)

Genre Music, Drama, Romance
Stars Fin Argus, Sabrina Carpenter, Madison Iseman
Directed by Justin Baldoni
pg-13 121m
Based on the memoir Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way by Laura Sobiech, this musical drama is about the life of Zach Sobiech, who wrote a song called Clouds as a way to say goodbye to his friends and family following his cancer diagnosis. The song gained international recognition thanks to plays on YouTube, charting on the Billboard Hot 100, and even ranking No. 1 on iTunes in 2013, the year of Sobiech’s death. It’s a sweet story but break out the tissues for this one — you’re going to need them.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Directed by Gareth Edwards
pg-13 133m
Filmmaker Gareth Edwards gave audiences a Dirty Dozen-style war story set in the Star Wars universe in this film, which was also the first major spinoff film from Disney’s Star Wars Story anthology series. Set in the time period between Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and the franchise-spawning Episode IV – A New HopeRogue One follows a ragtag group of rebels tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star, the Galactic Empire’s powerful, planet-killing weapon. One of the highest-grossing films in the Star Wars franchise to date, Rogue One earned critical acclaim and a pair of Oscar nominations for its impressive blend of old-school aesthetics and modern visual effects. The film’s closing scene is arguably one of the greatest scenes in the sci-fi saga, leading directly into the events of A New Hope.

Mulan (2020)

Genre Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Liu Yifei, Jet Li, Tzi Ma
Directed by Niki Caro
You no longer need premiere access to watch this live-action adaptation of the 1998 animated film of the same name. Based on the Chinese folklore The Ballad of Mulan, the story follows the adventures of the title character, a young girl with much more ambitious aspirations for herself than to simply get married and become a good wife. But when her frail father is recruited to help fight off an enemy attack, his fierce daughter Hua Mulan takes matters into her own hands. She grabs his gear and joins the training camp, hiding her identity — and gender — as she trains alongside the men.

The Sandlot (1993)

The Sandlot
Genre Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna
Directed by David M. Evans
pg 101m
It didn’t generate a lot of buzz when it was first released, but David Mickey Evans’ coming-of-age film about a group of childhood friends who form a tight bond while playing baseball together in an abandoned lot became an under-the-radar hit when it arrived on the home video market. Evans directed, co-wrote, and narrated the film, which follows a shy fifth-grade boy who moves to a Los Angeles suburb in 1962 and initially struggles to make friends, only to fall in with a motley crew of local kids who bring him out of his shell. Dripping with nostalgia and filled with memorable — and quotable — scenes, The Sandlot is a powerful reminder of the rollercoaster of emotions and simple joys found in the years between childhood and adulthood.

Maleficent (2014)

Genre Fantasy, Adventure, Action, Family, Romance
Stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley
Directed by Robert Stromberg
pg 97m
Angelina Jolie’s shift to fantasy in this film was polarizing. Though many critics applauded her performance and the story itself, they weren’t thrilled with the overuse of CGI and 3D effects. Nonetheless, this fairy tale flick, loosely inspired by Charles Perrault’s original and Disney’s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, put Jolie on the map among younger audiences and across new genres. Rather than tell the familiar story of the beautiful young girl stuck in a deep sleep, waiting for her Prince Charming, this story is told from the perspective of the powerful fairy Maleficent. It provides context as to why she cast the spell that put the 16-year-old Aurora into a permanent sleep in the first place and the reasoning behind only a true love’s kiss being able to break it.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Genre Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by Irvin Kershner
pg 124m
Widely considered the best installment of the entire sci-fi saga, The Empire Strikes Back is the chapter that featured the most dramatic character arcs of the original trilogy and established both their legacies and the tragic events that intertwined their destinies. Not only that, but it also introduced some of the franchise’s most popular supporting characters, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett, and featured one of the trilogy’s most memorable battles, set on the frozen planet of Hoth. After the heroic events of A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back offered a far more somber exploration of the gritty realities of war against an oppressive, formidable force led by a seemingly indestructible foe: Darth Vader.

What's next for the Star Wars universe

Remember the Titans (2000)

Remember the Titans
Genre Drama
Stars Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris
Directed by Boaz Yakin
pg 113m
Denzel Washington plays the new Black head coach of a recently integrated Virginia high school football team in this film based on true events. The series follows the head coach’s efforts to inspire and unite his players and navigate the racial prejudice that exists both within the school’s walls and outside of them. Will Patton portrays the white school’s former head coach, who must set aside his own prejudice and animosity while working under the team’s new coach.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Raya and the Last Dragon
Genre Family, Fantasy, Animation, Action, Adventure
Stars Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Izaac Wang
Directed by Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
pg 107m
A lone warrior sets out to reunite the fractured land of Kumandra by reassembling a powerful magical artifact in this feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Part martial arts adventure, part heist film, and soaked in visually stunning images and wonderful fantasy elements, Raya and the Last Dragon is a story about the families we create for ourselves and the strength it takes to build trust after a tragedy. Kelly Marie Tran voices Raya, a capable, independent warrior who must journey to the far corners of her world to bring it together. She’s joined by the dragon Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina, as well as a host of other colorful characters portrayed by Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, and Alan Tudyk, among others.

Stargirl (2020)

Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Grace VanderWaal, Graham Verchere, Karan Brar
Directed by Julia Hart
pg 107m
Musician Grace VanderWaal portrays the titular new student whose arrival at a New Mexico high school creates a ripple effect throughout the student body and the surrounding community as she challenges the status quo and pushes them to embrace the boundaries of their own self-expression. Graham Verchere portrays the teenage boy whose relationship with Stargirl prompts him to open up and come to terms with what he wants from life. One of the first original films to premiere on Disney+, this high school romantic comedy is a touching coming-of-age story that was praised for its emotional depth and nostalgic spin on teenage relationships.

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Stars Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Directed by John Lasseter
g 81m
The film that made Pixar a household name and one of the giants of the animated movie world, 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. More than just one of the best Pixar movies, Toy Story is considered one of the greatest animated movies ever made, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, spawned three sequels, and was inducted into the National Film Registry in its first year of eligibility.

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther
Genre Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Filmmaker Ryan Coogler and the late Chadwick Boseman brought the tale of Marvel’s most famous African superhero to the screen in 2018, and the film went on to break a long list of records at the box office and become one of the most critically praised installments of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Boseman plays T’Challa, the newly crowned king of the secretive African nation of Wakanda, who serves as both his country’s leader and primary defender as the hero Black Panther. When his rule is challenged by the brutal Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), T’Challa must reconnect with the origins of his power and his legacy to save his kingdom. Following its impressive theatrical run, Black Panther became the first superhero movie to be nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Picture” category, and the first Marvel movie to win an Academy Award. Black Panther 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters in 2022, though who will be able to fill Boseman’s tremendous shoes in the title role remains to be seen.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Genre Fantasy, Animation, Comedy, Crime, Family
Stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
pg 104m
Robert Zemeckis directed this 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.

The Muppet Movie (1979)

The Muppet Movie
Genre Music, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Stars Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson
Directed by James Frawley
g 97m
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.

Coco (2017)

Genre Family, Animation, Fantasy, Music, Comedy, Adventure
Stars Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Directed by Lee Unkrich
pg 105m
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, Miguel, 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 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.

The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride
Genre Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance
Stars Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
Directed by Rob Reiner
pg 99m
Often cited among the funniest movies of all time, director Rob Reiner’s fantasy adventure told the story of a poor farmhand who must rescue his true love from a group of mercenaries and the evil nobleman who is forcing her to become his bride. As the farmhand Westley and the beautiful Buttercup, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright lead a cast that also includes Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, and Christopher Guest. Peter Falk and Fred Savage also play supporting roles, presenting the story as a novel that a sick boy’s grandfather reads to him. A cult hit, The Princess Bride was added to the National Film Registry in 2016 for its significance in cinematic history.

Hamilton (2020)

Genre History, Drama
Stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Renée Elise Goldsberry
Directed by Thomas Kail
pg-13 160m
The cultural phenomenon that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s celebrated musical Hamilton finally became accessible to everyone who can’t get a ticket when a cinematic recording of the show arrived on Disney+ in July — just in time for Independence Day. The film is pretty much the only remaining way to see the production — which chronicles the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton — performed by its original cast, with Miranda himself in the title role. He’s joined by Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. as Hamilton’s longtime rival, Aaron Burr, in a performance that earned him industry-wide recognition and one of theater’s most prestigious honors. Disney’s feature-length film offers a front-row seat to the musical that took Broadway by storm and became one of the most critically praised and hotly debated productions in recent memory. There’s no word on how long the musical will be available on Disney+, so don’t throw away your shot to watch it.

Willow (1988)

Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Stars Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley
Directed by Ron Howard
pg 126m
Ron Howard directed this fantasy film based on a story penned by George Lucas, and the 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. A sequel to Willow is currently in the works for Disney+.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Genre Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Directed by George Lucas
pg 121m
You may have your own order to watch the Star Wars movies but you can’t go wrong starting with the original. Although it falls in at No. 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 are inarguable.

The future of Star Wars

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Family, Science Fiction
Stars Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman
Directed by Joe Johnston
pg 93m
Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston made his directorial debut with this sci-fi comedy about a group of kids who get shrunk to a quarter of an inch tall and must find their way home through the dangerous jungle of their family’s yard. Rick Moranis famously plays the inventor whose latest project accidentally shrinks his own children and his neighbor’s kids. An unexpected hit, the film became Disney’s highest-grossing live-action movie when it was released in theaters — a title it held for five years.

Moana (2016)

Genre Adventure, Comedy, Family, Animation
Stars Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House
Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker
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 Auli’i 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. Despite its recent arrival, Moana is often ranked among the best Disney movies ever made.

Soul (2020)

Genre Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Family
Stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton
Directed by Pete Docter
pg 101m
A middle-school music teacher dreaming of his big break finally gets it, only to suffer an accident that sends him on a journey through the afterlife in this Pixar feature from Up director Pete Docter and Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami). Jamie Foxx voices Joe Gardner, the aspiring New York City jazz musician who embarks on a quest across various planes of existence to return to his body. Along the way, he’s tasked with teaching a free-spirited soul (voiced by Tina Fey) why life on Earth is worth living. The film has been praised for both its music and its life-affirming message, and features an impressive cast of voice actors and spectacular visual effects used to bring the afterlife to the screen.

Free Solo (2018)

Free Solo
Genre Documentary, Adventure
Stars Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin
Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
pg-13 100m
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.

More great documentaries

Frozen (2013)

Genre Animation, Adventure, Family
Stars Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
pg 102m
Disney’s 2013 blockbuster, Frozen, was the highest-grossing animated feature of all time until it was surpassed by its 2019 sequel, and it remains the highest-grossing original — as in, not a sequel or spinoff — animated feature of all time by a wide margin. More than a movie, the story of a fearless princess who sets off in search of her estranged sister to save their kingdom from her icy powers became a global phenomenon upon its release. Along with offering a compelling adventure and plenty of clever comedy, Frozen gave the world one of Disney’s most catchy songs, the empowering Let It Go. The film’s success earned it not one, but two Academy Awards, as well as a wildly successful franchise led by musically gifted voice actors Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad.

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