1. The Lion King (1994)
Who can forget The Lion King—a conflict as complex as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with an additional happy ending? With the tragedy of death, alienation and hope lost, The Lion King teaches everyone that courage, belief in yourself and connection to your family conquers over all.
2. Fox and the Hound (1981)
This movie is perhaps the most depressing animated Disney movie of all time. Unlike previous and later movies like The Lion King or Up, which have sad beginnings and uplifting endings, The Fox and the Hound is the complete opposite. While it starts with an exciting beginning the doomed conclusion dawns on all, leaving most wanting to cry for hours.
3. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Who does not love a romance, especially one that has such a wonderful message of how looks do not matter—only love. In addition to this, we have a protagonist that is obsessed with reading. It gives the bookworms of the world and all little girls a role model to look up to, while also teaching patience, love and strength.
4. Bambi (1942)
One of the first films Walt Disney made, Bambi is a classic. With iconic characters like Bambi, Thumper and Flower the movie screams Disney. The vintage animation personifies classic Disney. Teaching friendship and the importance of family, Bambi is the favorite of millions. This is also one of the only Disney movies that have humans as the villain.
5. Pocahontas (1995)
The one Disney animated movie that has one of the closest connections to our country. Pocahontas is the tale of forbidden love painted in the time of America’s beginnings. Forget the sequel, this first film taught children to become one with nature, to understand their hearts and the world around them.
6. Aladdin (1992)
Flying carpets, magic genies, evil sorcerers and talking parrots, Aladdin had it all. Although incredibly racist, not unlike many Disney movies, Aladdin is the wonderful tale of love that defies social norms. Ignoring social classes, Aladdin and Jasmine fall in love with the backdrop of a starry night and sands of the Middle East.
7. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Most Disney movies have either human or animal characters, however not for these next two on the list. For these, Disney personifies small cuddly animals into heroic and menacing characters. In this fantastical film Sherlock Holmes is in the form of a mouse, Basil that helps a little mouse find her father. In the process the mice must battle the evil Ratigan, who if you had not guessed from his a name is a rat. This is one of Disney’s more frightening films.
8. Robin Hood (1973)
Like The Great Mouse Detective, Robin Hood, is another movie that takes animal characters and places them in the role of famous fictional characters. In this rendition, Robin and Marian are foxes, King Richard and Prince John are lions and Little John is a bear. This classic film is filled with surprising jokes that amuse all ages.
9. 101 Dalmatians (1961)
Forget the newer renditions, the first version of 101 Dalmatians is by far the best. Filled with romance, both the human and animal kind, 101 Dalmatians tells a wonderful story about a pair of heroic Dalmatians that go to the ends of the earth to find their missing puppies.
10. The Rescuers Series (1977 and 1990)
These two movies are wonderful films about a pair of mice that travel to rescue children that become kidnapped. These films span from the Devil’s Bayou to Australia. Both are actually extremely frightening, from alligators to the threat of drowning, the movies leave many scared. However, mixed with humor, these movies do a wonderful job and thus found themselves on the list.