Disney Plus has been available in large parts of the world for close to two years now. It lets subscribers watch hundreds of movies from Disney’s extensive library. But which are the best movies on Disney Plus?
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While there’s not a ton of great TV shows to stream on Disney Plus at the moment, it’s actually the opposite for films. There are so many great classic and current movies on Disney Plus, it’s a struggle to create a list of the best ones. However, that’s just what we have done. Take a look at our picks for the top 12 best Disney Plus movies, plus a large number of honorable mentions. And if you don’t have Disney Pus yet, you can sign up for the service at the link below.
Best movies on Disney Plus:
Editor’s note: We will be updating this list as more Disney Plus movies are added to the service.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Walt Disney took a huge risk with this 1937 film. No one but the animation pioneer thought people would sit in a theater and watch a feature-length animated movie. However, Walt proved the doubters wrong. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was, and still is, an incredible artistic achievement. The cel animation artwork is still excellent. It also doesn’t try to be pretty all the time. This film can get really dark at times as the evil Queen tries to take down Snow White. It set the formula for so many Disney animated films to come, and it still works as well as it did over 80 years ago.
Three years after Snow White, Walt Disney took another huge risk with Fantasia in 1940. The idea was to introduce young people to classical music by creating a series of animated short subjects. Each segment of Fantasia was inspired by music by classic greats like Bach, Beethoven, and Stravinsky. The most famous segment is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It features Mickey Mouse who has his simple magic spell get way out of control. The final result got mixed reviews when it was first released, but has since been acknowledged as a true movie masterpiece. It features images and animation that had even been attempted before.
We will warn parents there is some pretty dark content in Fantasia. That includes the final segment, Night on Bald Mountain, which depicts devils and evil spirits. Be sure to also check out Fantasia 2000, which features mostly new animated segments inspired by more classical music.
The Lion King
In 1994, Disney released what many consider to be its best cel-animated film ever. It tells the story of a lion cub and his growth into the leader of an animal kingdom in Africa. There are so many sequences that stand out in The Lion King. The introduction of Simba to his subjects is terrific. The first meeting of Simba with his pals Timon and Pumbaa is funny. Scar’s act of betrayal gives us chills every time. The songs by Elton John and Tim Rice are also excellent. The Lion King may be as perfect as an animated film as you can get and easily one of the best movies on Disney Plus.
You can also check out the more recent CGI remake of The Lion King on the service as well.
Like Fantasia, there were many people inside and outside of Disney who didn’t think a feature-length CGI animated film would work. However, the Pixar studio (now part of Disney) knew better. This 1995 film broke ground for CGI in general, and for family films as well. The tale of a group of toys who live in “Andy’s room” now seems like a no-brainer for a family movie. The leader of the group, Woody, gets threatened when a new advanced toy, Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear, joins Andy’s collection. While the animation is a little crude compared to today’s CGI epics, the story itself is still entertaining. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen lead an excellent voice cast. Also, you can’t beat Randy Newman’s “You Got A Friend in Me” or the rest of the amazing soundtrack.
Many folks think the best superhero film ever made was this Pixar 2004 release, and it’s hard to argue! The Incredibles tells the tale of a family of powered individuals who have to keep their abilities a secret as “Supers” are officially outlawed. However, the family leader, Mr. Incredible, gets an offer from a mysterious benefactor that will let him return to his heroic ways. Of course, things are not what they seem, and soon his entire family is battling a villain who has a long-time grudge against Mr. Incredible.
This movie is ultimately about how people, even superheroes, should not try to hide who they really are inside. The animation is top-notch, the voice cast is terrific, and there are some great action set-pieces that rival those of even the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We also can’t forget the hilarious Edna Mode (voiced by director Brad Bird), who tries to help with her fashion abilities in a brilliantly curmudgeonly fashion.
You can also watch the 2018 sequel, Incredibles 2, on Disney Plus.
The Sound of Music
One year after Julie Andrews made her film debut in Disney’s Mary Poppins, she scored an even bigger hit with this 1965 musical classic. The film is considered by many people to be the greatest musical ever made. Andrews’ performance is perfect as Maria, a postulant who wants to be a nun but can’t help singing and wanting more. She gets it when she becomes a governess for the Von Trapp family in Austria. Maria soon becomes a huge influence on the Von Trapp children. She eventually makes their father, played also perfectly by Christopher Plummer, fall for her. While this is based on the real Von Trapp family and their experiences to get out of Nazi-led Austria in the 1930s, this is not really a history lesson. It’s just a joyous movie to listen to and to watch with family and friends.
Oh, and Rolfe is still a jerk.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
George Lucas might have thought he was making a kid’s movie when he thought up Star Wars. In the end, the release of this film in 1977 transcended all genres and ages. At its core, this is a space fantasy tale of a farmer boy, Luke Skywalker, who dreamed of leaving his home for adventure.
Lucas’ original film has humor, action, and suspense. It also had visual effects that were years ahead of every other sci-fi movie, which made this tale of galactic conflict even more real to an audience.
We will state this version of A New Hope is the 1997 “Special Edition” version with unwanted and distracting new effects and sequences. Despite this, and also the new “Macklunkey” edit of the Han Solo-Greedo shootout, it’s still an all-time classic.
This is the only Disney Plus original movie on this list, at least for now. However, it is a big one to get. Originally planned for a 2021 theatrical release, Disney decided to put this filmed version of the acclaimed stage musical on its streaming service instead. The musical is based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Hamilton, the musical, was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also plays the title role in this filmed stage version. The storyline of how the United States was formed, combined with catchy pop and hip-hop songs, is a big reason while this is on our best Disney Plus movies list.
The release of Iron Man in 2008 was considered a risk at the time. The character was a B-grade Marvel Comics superhero, played by an actor, Robert Downey Jr, who had been on the outs in Hollywood. He was also headlining the first film from Marvel Studios, who wanted more control of its characters in movies. The $100 million gamble paid off. Directed by John Favreau, Iron Man was a breath of fresh air in superhero movies. Downey Jr. proved himself to be the perfect choice to play Tony Stark, a billionaire playboy who gets a rude awakening when he sees how the weapons his company makes are used first hand. He creates the Iron Man suit, partially out of necessity, to combat the use of his own weapons.
The final result is a movie that is very faithful to the Marvel source material but takes it in new directions as well. The post-credit sequence is also significant as it shows the true beginning of the interlinked Marvel Cinematic Universe films. You can also check out Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 on Disney Plus.
Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame
Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are basically two parts of the same massive (5 1/2 hour) superhero epic. They are the culmination of 10 years of storylines and over 20 movies in the MCU that got started with Iron Man. Infinity War is basically the story of the main villain Thanos, played terrifically (with some motion capture animation) by Josh Brolin. He’s out to kill half of the living things in the universe, but he thinks he’s a hero for doing so. The Avengers try to stop him from getting access to the six Infinity Stones, which are needed by Thanos to carry out his task.
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The 2019 released Endgame reveals the aftermath of the first battle between The Avengers and Thanos. The first third of this three-hour movie is a post-apocalypse film, followed by a heist movie in the second third. It all leads to the last third of the movie, with the Earth’s superheroes battling Thanos’s army. Get your tissues ready.
The latest Pixar film may be also one of its best. Jamie Foxx voices the role of Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher who finally gets the chance to play at New York City’s best jazz club. However, an accident kills off Joe, and his soul is sent to The Great Before, where new souls are created before they head to Earth. Joe has to figure out how his soul can get back to his body. In the process, he learns about his own life.
Best Disney Plus movies: Honorable mentions
Even making an honorable mentions list for the best movies on Disney Plus was pretty difficult. However, we think you should check out these films on the service as well:
- The Little Mermaid — The 1989 animated musical basically saved Disney’s animation department. The tale of a mermaid who wanted to be human still resonates today.
- Frozen — The 2013 Disney animated feature was a surprise hit. It combined fairy tale storytelling with some modern humor and a twist on typical gender roles in Disney movies.
- Mary Poppins — The 1964 classic live-action adaptation of P.L. Travers’ book is truly practically perfect in every way.
- The Muppet Movie — The 1979 film remains a funny introduction to the Muppet characters. It also has tons of great celebrity cameos.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl — A movie based on a theme park ride? As it turns out, this 2003 pirate film was incredibly entertaining, full of action, spectacle, and humor.
- Finding Nemo — This 2003 Pixar film may start with a tragedy, but it remains one of the most touching films you will ever see.
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back — The 1980 sequel to A New Hope took risks with its storyline and characters. The result was one of the best sequels ever made.