Disney has made a lot of great movies―like, a lot. Since 1937 when Snow White came out, Walt Disney Pictures has pumped out dozens of films touching on many different topics. But for some reason a select few of these masterpieces seem to get lost in the fray because everybody is too focused on movies like Frozen.
Now, Disney has made a lot of great movies in the past so perhaps that’s why some above average movies do get lost, but come on, The Emperors New Groove is practically a masterpiece on every level. I think we all can agree.
This is a list for those films that didn’t get the recognition they deserved. This article sets out to right the wrongs of our ancestors and bestow upon these shunned projects an aura of praise they haven’t seen before. With every stroke of my keyboard I intend to right the wrongs of Disney’s past.
Ladies and Gentleman, without further ado, here are the top ten most underrated Disney films of all time.
10. A Bug’s Life
It’s practically Zootopia, except it’s just about insects. A Bug’s Life was super fun for me in the theatres when I was a kid. The only reason it got so drowned out was because it was the follow up to arguably the greatest animated film of all time: Toy Story.
Favorite Quote: “I’m the only stick with eyeballs!”
9. Into The Woods
I saw this on Christmas Day two years ago and I’ll never forget it. This is actually a bit of a sad story with harder lessons than you might expect from a Disney movie. It’s a musical, the performances are solid, and by the end you’ll be questioning whether characters of fairy tales do live happily ever after.
Favorite Quote: “Nice is different than good.”
8. Tron: Legacy
This movie rocks, plain and simple. With a soundtrack by Daft Punk, great performances from a younger and older Jeff Bridges, and an ultra-sleek concept design, Tron: Legacy is one of those Disney movies you’ll be happy you rented on a whim while sitting on the couch this weekend.
Favorite Quote: “The thing about perfection is that it’s unknowable. It’s impossible, but it’s also right in front of us all the time.”
7. Saving Mr. Banks
It took me a while to like this film, but eventually I came to love it. Emma Thompson delivers a particularly complex performance as P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, alongside Tom Hanks who does a stunning job as Walt Disney himself.
This movie is definitely underrated. I never hear anyone talking about it anymore and it seemed to slip quietly by during the busy Christmas season a few years ago. This is a great movie.
Favorite Quote: “George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”
6. Fantasia 2000
When I was seven Fantasia 2000 happened to be an explosion of creativity I hadn’t ever seen before. It absolutely captivated me. When I saw the short with the whales who swim up out of the water into mid-air I was hooked. If you’re feeling extra artsy and want to see something spectacular with very minimal dialogue, Fantasia 2000 is it.
Favorite Quote: None, it literally has that little dialogue.
5. The Rescuers Down Under
Among members of my family The Rescuers Down Under is regarded as a classic―mostly because of the villain and his pet Joanna. Joanna is definitely one of the top five funniest animal sidekicks of all time, and Percival McLeach happens to be my favorite Disney villain ever.
If you want a movie about adventure with a villain you can laugh at in almost every scene, then go pick up Rescuers Down Under. None of my friends ever talk about this movie.
Favorite Quote: “These are not, Joanna eggs!”
4. The Princess and The Frog
The Princess and The Frog needs to be talked about more. When is a ride going to pop up in DisneyLand? They have New Orleans square, people. Anyway this Disney film is so refreshing because it takes place in an uncommon place―the bayou of New Orleans, and it’s heavily influenced with the music that makes that place so charming in the first place.
And Louis the Alligator is my jam, too. Seriously, the amount of attention this movie gets is depressing.
Favorite Quote: “If you are going to let every little thing bother you, it’s going to be a very long night.”
3. The Emperors New Groove
This is hands down one of my favorite Disney movies of all time, and I swear it never gets talked about. I either get a look of complete confusion or a look that says something like “Oh! You too?”
Seriously though, Kronk is the saviour of this film. Kronk is one of the best Disney characters ever created, and for those of you who passed this off as perhaps being not up to par because it’s sarcastic in nature need to get a grip. This movie is fantastic, and deserves a higher place in Disney lore.
Favorite Quote: “Break it down? Are ya kidding me? This is hand-carved mahogany.”
Tangled, you’re one of my absolute favorites of all time. Why Frozen became so popular and you didn’t still boggles my mind to this day. Frozen didn’t have Maximus, and Frozen most certainly didn’t have Flynn Rider. It also didn’t have a scene in a dirty bar where a bunch of ugly men sing about their dreams.
This movie hits it out of the park on so many levels, and it actually makes sense. The scene with the lanterns is still one of my favorites in any Disney movie.
Favorite Quote: “Really let that seep in. What are you getting? Because to me, that’s part man-smell, and the other part is really bad man-smell. I don’t know why, but overall it just smells like the color brown. Your thoughts?”
1. Treasure Planet
Treasure Planet is THE movie I think about when considering what the most underrated Disney film of all time is. This one got swept under the rug so much despite having a very interesting take on an old story. It made just $109 million at the box office with a budget of $140 million.
It just seems like the collective audience of younger kids back in 2002 completely forgot about this one. Beneath the layers of this beautiful film is a message about hope, purpose, and potential. You won’t regret getting this one―I promise.
Favorite Quote: “You got the makings of greatness in you, but you got to take the helm and chart your own course. Stick to it, no matter the squalls! And when the time comes you get the chance to really test the cut of your sails, and show what you’re made of... well, I hope I’m there, catching some of the light coming off you that day.”
A few of my honorable mentions were Dinosaur, Atlantis, Hercules, Enchanted, and Brave. What do you think? Please chime in below, I would love to talk Disney movies with you all.