Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed #disneybloggerschat on Twitter tonight – being a host was so much fun, and I enjoyed chatting with you all! As the topic was “Underrated Disney Movies“, I decided it was only fitting that I share with you a chronological list of my personal favourite Disney movies (both animated and live action) that I feel don’t get enough deserving love, and why I think they’re awesome!
Fun And Fancy Free (1947): Possibly my favourite of Disney’s early package movies, this had everyone’s favourite cricket, Jiminy, at the centre, and tells both the adorable story of Bongo The Circus Bear (narrated by Dinah Shore), and the unforgettable tale of Mickey And The Beanstalk. One of very few Disney productions where Walt himself provided Mickey’s voice, and Donald Duck tries to eat a cow in a fit of madness… Literally. Let’s not forget those totally-not-creepy ventriloquist dummies, either, bringing back all of the wonderful childhood memories!
The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr Toad (1949): Another favourite early package movie of mine, and my personal favourite retellings of the stories of Sleepy Hollow and Wind In The Willows. Fun characters, entertaining stories and jolly, cheerful music, it’s hard not to love this underrated classic!
The Sword In The Stone (1963): Based on the legend of King Arthur, The Sword In The Stone is an upbeat, musical retelling featuring young boy Wart, absent-minded sorcerer Merlin, his owl companion Archimedes, and Mad Madam Mim, a delightfully batty villain! Throughout the movie, Wart progresses as a character through Merlin’s extraordinary teachings and of course, everyone knows how this famous tale ends!
Robin Hood (1973): Robin Hood is a story that has been reimagined over and over again in modern media, but the Disney movie retelling has got to be one of the best there ever has been. Even though anthropomorphic animals take centre stage as main characters to appeal to younger audiences, Robin Hood still pulls off being a heart-warming, never-ageing tale of heroism that any age can enjoy.
The Rescuers (1977): Featuring two of Disney’s cutest, tiniest protagonists ever created, The Rescuers is a story of bravery as two mice, Bernard and Miss Bianca, go on a mission to rescue young orphan Penny from the money-hungry clutches of Madame Medusa in Devil’s Bayou. I’ll admit that the intro song, “Rescue Me“, always makes me a little emotional every time I watch!
The Black Cauldron (1985): Often referred to as Disney’s darkest film to date, The Black Cauldron is based on the Welsh fantasy novels “The Chronicles Of Prydain“, telling the story of brave young pig-keeper Taran, feisty princess Eilonwy, bard Fflewdurr Fflam and the cutest little apple-loving creature, Gurgi (!) who embark on a quest to stop the terrifying Horned King from conquering the world with darkness through use of the ancient Black Cauldron. I’m genuinely surprised more people don’t like this movie! It’s definitely one of my biggest favourites on this list.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986): Based on the famous stories of Sherlock Holmes, The Great Mouse Detective features yet another heroic Disney mouse, Basil, who attempts to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a local toy maker; a new evil scheme thought up by Basil’s sworn nemesis, Ratigan, voiced by none other than monster movie legend, Vincent Price!
Oliver & Company (1989): A gorgeous musical based on yet another British classic novel, Oliver Twist, Oliver & Company reimagines the story taking place in New York City and the title character as an adorable little lost kitten, who soon befriends the care-free, confident Dodger the dog and his pals. I don’t quite understand why there isn’t more merchandise from this movie; how amazing would it be to have Oliver and friends in plush form! Georgette is my personal favourite character; voiced by the glorious Bette Midler!
A Goofy Movie (1995): Oh my, this is definitely a forgotten 90s hit that I still love watching to this day! Goofy is one of my favourite of the Fab 5, so to have a full-length feature all centred around him and his awesome adorkable son Max was the best. Who else wants to go to a Powerline concert?!
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996): The first Disney movie I ever watched! Also very dark/gothic in nature (similar to The Black Cauldron, another favourite of mine), The Hunchback Of Notre Dame has the most spectacular story, characters, soundtrack and art that showcases Disney animation at its absolute best. One of the best films of the Disney Renaissance in my opinion… If not THE best!
Flubber (1997): The first live action movie to feature on this list was a huge childhood favourite of mine! Starring the absolute legend that is Robin Williams as an absent-minded professor and everyone’s favourite mermaid Jodi Benson voicing his robot companion, Flubber was simply hilarious. I remember owning the cutest plush of Flubber that bounced about when his button was pressed! Now, sadly, hardly anyone I know remembers this gem.
Hercules (1997): Out of all the underrated movies on this list, Hercules is one of the more popular, but it still receives zero-recognition in marketing and merchandise. Hercules, without a doubt, has one of the best soundtracks; who knew gospel and Grecian go hand in hand? Plus, along with Esmeralda and Frollo from Hunchback, Megara and Hades are two of the best heroine/villain combos.
A Bug’s Life (1998): Arguably the least popular of all Pixar movies, I remember being completely immersed in the wonderful insect world of A Bug’s Life when I was a child. A true underdog story that proves it doesn’t matter how “small” you are, you can still break free of the mould and achieve extraordinary things.
Tarzan (1999): Not to dissimilar from other 90’s movies such as Hercules and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Tarzan has outstanding music, provided by legend Phil Collins. While not a musical in the traditional sense (for example, all-singing, all-dancing), Phil Collins music really helps drive the narrative of this beautiful story, a tale of two worlds so different, but can come together through love.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001): Atlantis differs from the monarchy of its predecessors in that it’s not a musical at all, but an action packed adventure, as professor Milo Thatch and his expedition team unravel the secrets and mystery of the hidden underwater land of Atlantis. As far as Disney’s adventure genre stretches, I’d class Atlantis as one of Disney’s masterpieces in that field!
Brother Bear (2003): Disney love a tale of transformation, and the story of Kenai, a man who was transformed into a bear as punishment for murdering one in an act of revenge, and Koda, a cute and cuddly innocent cub who lost his mother, is one of the very best, and I’m honestly surprised it’s not more of a popular classic. Once again, Phil Collins provides the most gorgeous soundtrack for this tale of brotherhood.
Enchanted (2007): Without a doubt, Enchanted is my all-time favourite Disney live action movie. It’s a true ode to classic Disney animation and features so many hidden Easter egg gems! Not afraid to parody themselves, Disney introduces beautiful heroine Giselle from the fairytale land of Andalasia, who dreams of nothing but finding her true love… When she finally does in the form of being saved by Prince Edward, Edward’s evil stepmother becomes jealous and banishes Giselle to… New York City! Amy Adams makes a beautiful real-life would-be princess, it’s a shame that she couldn’t be part of the official line-up!
Meet The Robinsons (2007): “Keep Moving Forward” – This movie is amazing for including that famous Walt Disney quote at the heart of its story alone. Lewis is an orphaned boy genius who almost gives up after his prize invention was stolen from his school’s science fair by the nefarious Bowler Hat Guy, but after meeting Wilbur Robinson, travels to the future! Wilbur’s family is full of eccentric characters, and soon after, secrets are revealed.
Bolt (2008): Bolt is such a sweet movie, featuring John Travolta as the voice of a super-cute wonder-dog!… Or, at least that’s the role he plays on a tv show, alongside his child-star owner, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). When Bolt accidentally goes missing believing Penny to actually be kidnapped, he’s forced to live without his SFX and stunt team and he soon realises that he doesn’t really have superpowers. After bumping into down-on-her-luck alley cat Mittens and fierce hamster Rhino, the trio go on a Homeward Bound style journey to “rescue” his beloved Penny, the only person in his life who isn’t a lie.
Alexander & The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014): Based on the 70s children’s book with the same incredibly long title, the story centres around Alexander and how he feels left out from his family as they all go about their normal day-to-day lives – that is, until they all have the infamous terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! Through a whole hilarious laugh-out-loud bunch of mishaps, Alexander and his family come together and realise that family is the most important thing.
Tomorrowland (2015): I’m seriously surprised this very recent release is rarely talked about! Tomorrowland is simply breathtaking – and while we only glimpse it every so often throughout the movie’s runtime (the story is about the journey there, rather than taking place inside Tomorrowland itself) so much love and dedication clearly went into making it come alive. George Clooney, Britt Anderson and Raffey Cassidy performances as the main cast make the perfect team in creating the Sci-Fi Disney magic. If you need convincing to watch this movie: THAT ENDING SCENE. That’s all I’m saying!
That’s all for my Top 20 Favourite Underrated Disney Movies! I tried to narrow the list down, but there’s simply just TOO MANY brilliant masterpieces – in all honesty, I could’ve included a few more! What are your favourite underrated Disney movies? Let me know in the comments!