Top 10 Walt Disney Animated Movies
The Most Enchanted Experiences of Our Childhoods
October 29, 2018
If you enjoy talking to enchanted mirrors, making wishes to stars, kissing with a mouth full of food or weird over the top musical numbers, then you are most definitely reading the right article.
In honor of Walt Disney Animation Studios releasing its newest film, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” next month, I’ve decided to construct a list of my top ten Disney movies.
This list will be specific to Disney Animated movies only; therefore, Pixar or Disney Channel Original Movies will not be included on this list.
10. “Sleeping Beauty”
Kicking off the list, we have Disney’s third princess movie, “Sleeping Beauty,” which is centered around the beautiful and fair Princess Aurora. Disney must have gone with the famous saying, “A movie is only as good as its villain,” because the antagonist in this film, Maleficent, is pure excellence. Her name is a combination of two words: malevolent and magnificent.
The movie begins with the king and queen throwing a huge celebration for their newborn daughter, Aurora. However, they make a mistake by inviting everyone in the entire kingdom except Maleficent. Long story short, Maleficent casts a spell on Aurora that will make her fall into an everlasting slumber on her sixteenth birthday after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, and she could only be awakened by a true love’s kiss, which Maleficent does not think exists.
“Sleeping Beauty,” following the iconic tale “Cinderella,” toys with what is typically thought about a fairy tale. In “Sleeping Beauty,” you have the traditional bubble gum, lollipop fairies (Flora, Fauna, Merryweather), and then, you have Maleficent, Disney’s first evil fairy. Characters in other movies, such as Scar and Jafar, were all based on her. She definitely goes down as Disney’s greatest villain of all time, thus placing “Sleeping Beauty” in my number ten spot.
Based on the Italian children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, “Pinocchio” is a timeless tale about a wooden puppet and his aspirations to become a real boy.
Pinocchio was brought to life by this enchanted blue fairy, and his friend that tagged along with him on his journey, Jiminy Cricket, was a visual representation of his conscience. “Pinocchio” is a beautifully crafted saga that exemplifies what the true nature of humanity should be by making him earn the “real boy” status by being brave, truthful and unselfish.
Even though the initial release of the movie was a total flop and struggled to live up to the fame of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” the re-release bounced back and became the iconic phenomenon we know and love still today. The Oscar-winning “When You Wish Upon a Star” is still the song most associated with Disney.
8. “Wreck-It Ralph”
Next up on the list, we actually have a movie from the 21st century, “Wreck-It Ralph.” It is a story about outcasts trying to find their true purpose in the world. In a sense, the movie is basically trying to tell the audience that there are two sides to every story. This movie was about Ralph, the “villain,” and his journey.
Ralph wanted to experience what it was like to be a good guy; therefore, he left his own arcade machine and started traveling from game to game trying to find a place where he can earn a medal and prove that he can be a good guy. He meets this adorable yet fierce little girl, Vanellope, who continuously gets bullied for being a glitch.
They both learn that their imperfections are what makes them unique. When Ralph is about to save the game Sugar Rush, he says these iconic lines: “I’m Bad, and that’s good. I will never be good and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be…than me.” Other than being one of the only Disney movies that is primarily about a villain, “Wreck-It Ralph” teaches a valuable lesson about self-worth.
7. “Lady and the Tramp”
May I say relationship goals? “Lady and the Tramp” is one of the most beloved love stories of all time, and the story is centered around animals (mostly dogs). Lady, a beautiful American Cocker Spaniel, was adopted by a very wealthy family. She got accustomed to being pampered. Tramp, on the other hand, is a mutt who was neglected by his ex-family, so he lives as a stray.
Lady’s family was about to have a new baby, and Tramp, without even properly introducing himself to her, rants about how her family is going to forget about her. Well, sadly they do, and she eventually gets muzzled because the Siamese cats sabotaged her. Lady and Tramp slowly get closer and closer, but she was playing the classic hard-to-get card until he took her on the date behind a restaurant where the most famous scene in the movie takes place. The iconic and cringy spaghetti kissing scene has been reused throughout many romance movies, making “Lady and the Tramp” a trendsetter. Take that, “Twilight.”
“Lady and the Tramp” reveals issues in loving others in different social classes. However, the two lovers’ differences bring them closer to each other, thus making their bond even stronger. It also touches on many common relationship issues. When Lady found out that Tramp was a player, her feelings were really hurt, but she had to learn to accept him for who he really is and not what someone tells her.
There are plenty of movies that tackle drug problems, crime solving, overcoming obstacles, racism, bullying and stereotypes, but tell me how many have an animated cast made entirely of talking animals. “Zootopia” is a huge amalgamation of metaphors all put into 1 hour and 50 min.
It starts off with a rabbit, Judy Hopps, becoming a police officer and having to prove her worthiness since everyone thinks she is weak because she is a small, herbivorous mammal. Later in the movie, when they are trying to find out why the predators are going savage, Judy and her unlikely partner, a fox named Nick Wilde, discover the drugs that had been used to make the predators go savage.
The predators in this movie are supposed to represent African Americans and Hispanics because they are minorities seen as criminals by other animals and, primarily, the voices behind the predators are voiced by these minorities. The surprise antagonist of the film was an “innocent” sheep that wanted to make predators look bad, so she can be mayor thus trying to prove her superiority. Yes, Disney played the white-supremacist card. Other than the underlying theme being way too deep for its intended audience to understand, “Zootopia” is a wonderful film that tells a story about friendship, loyalty and determination.
If I were to rank the most horrifying moments of my childhood, “Bambi” would also fall somewhere in the top ten of that list. Let’s face it, we were all petrified as children when we heard the gunshot that took Bambi’s mother’s life.
Other than the devastating death, “Bambi” is the story of a young fawn and his journey growing up to become a strong, independent buck. The movie also revealed some harsh truths on the havoc that humans cause not only to animals in the forest but also the forest itself.
The movie received three Academy nominations and placed third in the American Film Institute’s best ten films in each ten American film genres. “Bambi” is one of the most dramatic and heartfelt films of its time.
“Aladdin” is a musical and a fantasy set in a real-life setting (even though the town is a made up place). The main character, Aladdin of course, is an extremely poor and orphaned teenager who has to steal in order to eat. He always dreamed of being rich and living in a palace. One unlucky-yet-lucky day, he was tricked by Jafar, the antagonist, to go fetch a magic lamp. Long story short, he ended up having possession of the lamp, and the genie, voiced by Robin Williams, popped out of the lamp all loud and energetic. With three wishes, his life changed forever.
Aladdin is a kindhearted person, and his love interest, Princess Jasmine, is strong-minded and determined to marry for the sake of love and not anything else. She was also the first and only Arabian Disney princess. Even though Aladdin couldn’t wish for Jasmine to love him, he used two of his wishes to make sure that he can legally marry her. He also uses his last wish to free the genie. “Aladdin” teaches us to be grateful of what we have, and no matter what predicament that we are in, we should help those in need.
3. “Beauty and the Beast”
This “tale as old as old as time” is none other than “Beauty and the Beast.” The main character, Belle, was Disney’s first step in the direction of the strong female character movement. Instead of acting like the traditional lady of the time, Belle was a bookworm determined to go out into the world and explore it. Her focus was not on men.
However, when she is forced to stay in a castle with a beast, she slowly builds a connection with him. The movie further exemplifies that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Belle is a very stubborn character. She consistently was made fun of throughout the movie because of her wit, but Beast loved learning as much as she did. She helped him become a more loving person, and he helped her realize that there was something there for her other than her “poor provincial town.”
“Beauty and the Beast” had a total of 70 nominations in different categories. It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and Best Original Score in 1992. It also won the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score.
Let’s be honest. “Let It Go” was stuck in your head for at least four months after you watched “Frozen.” This movie was pure genius. It was the epitome of what you want to see out of a Disney movie: good music, magic, a surprise villain, a great underlying theme and an Olaf. If you noticed, I did not list a strong male that saves the damsel in distress. That was because Anna and Elsa’s love for each other is more powerful than a true love’s kiss. Unlike “Mulan” and “Brave,” “Frozen” proved that a female character can be strong and independent without having to be a tomboy.
“Frozen” now holds the number one spot for the highest grossing animated movie of all time. It won the Critics Choice Award for Best Animated Film, Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature and plenty of other awards. “Frozen” will go down as one of the greatest animated films of all time.
1. “The Lion King”
Here’s a list of things that Walt Disney Pictures did: that. One cannot explain in a thousand breaths how magnificent this masterpiece is. “The Lion King” is brilliant work of art that used African animals to tell a heartfelt story about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, obedience, independence and tragedy. It has strong female characters, a wonderful villain, a dying father, the catchiest music, a variety of vibrant colors, action and love.
I truly send my condolences Bambi’s mom, but nothing can compare to the trauma I receive every single time from watching Mufasa’s death. Because of Scar’s mendacity, Simba believed he was the cause of his father’s death, thus causing him to run away. Then, he meets my personal favorite characters in the movie, Timon and Pumba, who teach him a new way of interpreting life: “Hakuna Matata.” After a bit of time has passed and Simba is an adult, Nala finds him, beats him up and admits her love for him. Eventually, Simba decides to return to the pride lands and take back what is rightfully his, and he does so.
“The Lion King” temporarily held the spot for highest grossing animated movie of all time for a couple of years before being passed by eight movies. It is the best selling videotape of all time. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, Annie Award for Best Animated Feature, Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture and Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie. “The Lion King” will go down in history as one of the greatest movies of all time.
Here are a few movies that I feel are worth mentioning, but they just did not make my top ten: “Moana,” “Dumbo,” “Fantasia,” “Cinderella,” “Tangled,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Hercules,” “Mulan” and “The Lion King 2.”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” will be released November 21, 2018. Will it make a spot on my top ten list? Only time will tell.