Call Now! 888-765-0942

Top Disney Animated Movies

Top Disney Animated Movies

Disney has long been an iconic name in the American entertainment industry. Since 1939, the studios that were started by the legendary Walt Disney have been producing animated feature films for theatrical release. The first film was actually released 2 years prior to the Burbank studio’s opening. In 1937, Disney and his team of dedicated animators created a wonderfully creative adaptation of the Brothers Grimm classic Snow White. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a hit upon its release and continues to have successful theatrical runs today due to the public’s voracious appetite for all things Disney.

Since the late 1930s, the studio has gone on to produce dozens of films that have been considered to be the “classics” of the animation genre. From the undisputed masterpieces like Dumbo, Pinocchio and Fantasia, to the modern classics like The Lion King, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story, the company’s catalog is a favorite among both children and adults seeking quality, feel-good entertainment. Here is a list of the top Disney animated movies, a representation of a few of their finest works that have garnered the accolades of both critics and moviegoers alike.

Bambi (1942)

Bambi actually lost money during its initial release but quickly recouped its expenses in re-releases that followed for years to come. The film is considered a classic due to its uncharacteristic examination of mature themes such as death and grief, which was something that other animation studios hadn’t examined as much up to that point. In fact, the book which Bambi was based upon was written for adult audiences, which made the translation of the story from text to the big screen all the more complicated. Disney studios’ cost of production was relatively large compared to other animation projects at the time. The movie was considered a gamble at the time, one which could have left the studio in dire financial shape. The result, however, was a film that moviegoers have enjoyed for decades. It continues to be a favorite among Disney collectors and parents who wish to introduce their own children to classic animation. Simply put, this is a movie that is on almost everyone’s list of top Disney animated movies.

Cinderella (1950)

With this film, Disney once again returned to the familiar stories of the Brothers Grimm. This classic is best known for its titular heroine, who suffers through countless indignities before being rewarded by a fairy godmother. Critics love the film for its rich colors, beautiful animation and catchy songs that continue to enthrall audiences to this very day.

Fantasia (1940)

As with many Disney productions, Fantasia was so far ahead of its time that the critics initially criticizeds it during release. In fact, just like Bambi after it, the movie initially lost money. It was only during subsequent re-releases that the movie began to make a profit, going on to become one of the top 25 grossing films in American history. Modern critics consider it to be a masterpiece of the genre due to its wide range of colors, innovative use of sound, and unique aesthetics that hadn’t been seen up to that point in animation. Fantasia is considered by many to be the first modern animation film, one that could rival live action movies in terms of artistic quality.

The Lion King (1994)

This feature film is considered to be a modern classic, having been adapted into a long running Broadway musical and re-released theatrically several times since its initial release. The film is both a favorite of critics and audiences alike, who praise its emotional complexity and wonderfully detailed animation. In fact, the whole production—from writing, animation to music—have received accolades both from moviegoers and award associations.

Toy Story (1995)

Produced by Pixar Studios and released by Disney, this film featured a new type of computer animation that had never been seen by moviegoers before. Many critics believed that this film reinvigorated the genre and helped to produce a boom in the animation field that would spawn other computer-animated classics in years to come. The film earned more than $360 million domestically and has led to two sequels. Overall, the series of Toy Story movies is the highest grossing animated films of all time.


Ready for a career in animation? Get information about animation degrees using our animation school finder at the top of this page. ↑ School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various animation programs available.